1 The initial choice

1.1 But First!

You have decided that the marine hobby is for you. You can't wait to get started. But first buy or borrow a good book or two. This means a modern book, aquarium technology has developed rapidly in recent years.
The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium, Vol. 1 by Svein A. Fossa, Alf Jacob Nilsen
(note that the English Vol. 1 covers the first 2 volumes of the German version).
The English itself is pretty average, but the info is first class.Once you have read up a bit, so you won't be completely lost when they talk technical stuff, you can do the rounds of your local dealers.

1.2 The Dealer

Try to go when they aen't too busy. The salesperson/ owner should show you what equipment they recommend, what they have in stock, and what they use in their own display system.

Any dealer worth their salt!? will have a display tank with a working filter in a closed system i.e. NOT connected to the sales tanks. This shows that they can actually talk from experience about a system which will workin the same way as the one they wish to sell to you.

Don't expect a dealer to have all the most modern ideas fresh out of last month's magazine on working display- they are, after all, there to sell you a system that they know will function longterm.

Look for a dealer who doesn't want to separate you from your money within the first few minutes

What you can't expect:
A dealer may have vast experience in aquarium care, but don't expect one to be a joiner, electrician, plumber or an expert on static floor loads.

1.3 Your Requirements

You need to have a rough idea of where the aquarium is to be sited, how big it should be, what livestock, in general terms, you want to keep, that means fish only or fish and invertebrates, and whether these inverts need intense light to flourish.