Step 1: Gathering equipment
Step 2: Cycling
Step 3: INVERTS
All that waiting is finally paying off.
You should now see hair algae growing all over you tank, and the best way to get rid of this ick is invertabraes. I suggest 1 BLUE LEGGED HERMIT CRAB per gallon and one snail per gallon. One of those snails should be a MEXICAN TURBO SNAIL. These things get the job done. In one day this snail had the front of my glass as clear as a window. The other snails can be NASSARIUS or REGULAR TURBOS. Other inverts you can get are star fish, but I have no experience with them to offer any tips. Do not add everything at once because this will shock your system, instead add 2-5 at a time. By the time most of your clean up crew is in the tank it should look pretty good. Now you are ready for fish.
Step 4: Fish
Some of the best fish for tanks smaller than twenty gallons include clownfish, gobies, damsels, and cardinals.
In a tank less than 5 gallons, do not attempt fish, it will end badly. I started my 10 gallon with a Yellowtail damsel, because it is the easiest fish in the world to take care of and only little sisters are able to kill them (I would know). In my fourteen gallon, I got a false percula clown fish because I enjoy the fish and my 14 gallon is a bit more stable. Another clown which I like is the tomatoe clown because of its bright color. Another fish which I will be purchasing soon is a firefish goby. Their colors are amazing and the have the coolest swimming habit ever due to their long dorsal fin. I talked to my LFS worker many hours and did tons of research before I bought any of my fish. Find one that you like and then see if it is right for you.
Step 5: Corals
Another cool creature that can reside in your tank is a feather duster. These creatures are actually worms that live in a 'tube' and have feather looking things coming from the top that resemble a feather duster. The 'feathers' are used to collect food floating in the water. These are simple creatures that are fairly inexpensive as far as saltwater goes.
Step 6: RECAP
What you need during cycle:
What you need by the end of cycle:
After tank is completly cycled:
MEXICAN TURBO SNAIL
After tank clean up:
And that is it. This is a simple process that needs to be done with great care in order to achieve a great salt water aquarium.