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Look into finding a reef club in your area. It is a great way to get local/informed advice and also the opportunity for coral frags for cheap! They'll be able to tell you which stores are trustworthy as well, and possibly a library to borrow books from.

On a 20g you don't need a skimmer but it is a help. Larger water changes can take its place. You can still use the AC50 as water movement. May well be able to trade the planted+ for a SW fixture.

Note that in a 20g you will be pretty limited fish-wise. If you do get clowns then you are probably talking one other non-water-column fish to join (maybe 2 others if they are tiny). But you can do lots more with inverts/corals to add interest as well.

The type of coral you are interested in is going to be important for your lighting choice (and probably the decision whether to use a skimmer). Take a while to peruse the stores or public aquariums local to you and see what captures your fancy. Then you can build around those types. Soft corals are a lot more forgiving than stony.

Do the research and get good quality equipment the first time - if you get a skimmer, get a quality one like reef octopus, bubble magus, etc. Stay away from crap like Seaclone, Prizm, and other wastes of money.

As Hunter said, you don't need to get all live rock - get mostly dry rock and add a few pieces of LR - the bacteria will colonize the dry and it will all be live anyways. A local reef club is also a good place to get LR off people who are leaving the hobby, at a much cheaper price than the LFS.

Resist the urge to add fish/corals right away. Let it get established first, then add some cleaners (hermits or snails). Hermits tend to eventually eat snails, so it's a good idea to decide which you would like and stick to one or the other. FWIW, there are some cool snails available. Add one fish at a time in a small tank like that. Utilize a QT system - you can use a 10g tank for $10 from Petco with literally just a heater and some form of water movement. You can't treat diseases in a reef...

This is a bit down the road, but it is a good idea to know what the typical SW pests look like - ie aiptasia anemones, bryopsis - so that you can avoid bringing them home if possible.
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