Small marine systems are “all the rage”; being cheaper to buy and operate, aquascape and livestock, and much easier to maintain than larger marine tanks. Being smaller and less money to purchase and keep however comes with some greater need for patience, more careful observation and limits on what one can easily, quickly or simply do. Smaller volumes of water are inherently less stable than larger… vacillating in temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and much more, and having difficulties much more quickly than larger volume systems. As with all endeavours in our lives, there is a series of compromises, trade-offs in putting together and maintaining a small saltwater tank. As you will see/read here, there are still many options in gear and avenues to explore in decorating and stocking a salty world of a few to several gallons. You won’t have to become a multi-field scientist, but knowing more of the actual background facts and rationale will greatly add to your enjoyment and appreciation for what is involved here. Similarly; sorting through what is currently available in the way of tanks, lighting, filtration and other components is not as daunting as it appears on first brush. Take your time, and good notes… Consider each part of your proposed set-up individually… per your space available, budget, desires… and then consider those parts, aspects as they relate, impinge and impact on each other. “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither will your system be completed in days or even months. In putting this little book together I have purposely selected some, but not all possible makes and models of gear presently available. As these are constantly changing, and some lines are improving, while others become obsolete, you must take on the task of keenly reading through pertinent hobbyist literature (e-magazines and pulp) as well as carefully (not with a grain, but a fifty gallon bag of salt mix) sorting through input of the several excellent blogs and bulletin boards for actual users’ experience with smaller marine systems.