So here's the high level plan, keep checking back for updates on my progress with it. :)
I chose to buy a Cube Garden 60-p high clarity glass aquarium from adana-usa.com. I think that the ADA (Aqua Design Amano) aquariums are some of the best you can buy as far as looks and quality go. They are rimless, which adds to the clean modern look that I am going for with my aquarium system. The 60-p Cube Garden tank is about 24" wide x 12" deep x 14" high which is equivalent to about 17 gallons.
Not only does ADA make great aquariums, they also make really nice cabinets. Instead of forking over $769.00 for one made by them, I am going to build one that looks similar to the one in the picture above for a fraction of that cost.
For the aquarium lighting, I will be buying two of the Evilc66 PAR38 led spotlights pictured above from nanocustoms.com. They say that one is good for lighting a 12"x 12" area, so two should be sufficient for my 12" x 24" aquarium. I haven't decided on a light fixture yet for them.
The filtration system will be all natural, with lots of live rock and and a deep sand bed in an external sump. I will probably add a protein skimmer once the bio-load in the aquarium increases enough to justify using one.
I will be automating the fresh water top off using the sun tea jar method pictured above. You can read more about it at http://www.nano-reef.com.
I will be automating water changes also, but will give you more details on how I will go about that later on.
With automating those two tasks (top off and water changes), maintaining of the aquarium will be much easier.