What are the dimensions of the tank? Is it the 36" X 12" X 16"H, or is it the 24" X 12" X 24"H? This question will help determine your light source.
I run this model on my 150 gallon reef tank: Nova Extreme Pro T5HO
. I have a 27" depth, so with coral selection, LPS and SPS have to have a high seat in the tank. I don't really keep any SPS at the moment; I keep mainly LPS and Softies.
If you are using the 36" X 12" X 16"H tank, then I would suggest either the Nova Extreme SLR T5HO
(the four bulb model) or the aforementioned Nova Extreme Pro. The number of bulbs allow for good penetration and color variety. If you are using the 24" high tank, I personally use the Pro, but some others would lean towards Metal Halide. I am a big fan of the AquaticLife HID/T5HO w/ Lunar Lights
. it supposedly runs cooler and has a nice light output, also it is a gas discharge lamp. That allows for more UV light output and better light penetration in deeper tanks. Any Metal Halide light will run hotter and more expensive than T5's or PC's, but you can keep anything alive under it, at any reasonable depth.
As far as corals go, I would probably start with softies and zoas. Leathers, toadstools, kenya trees, and also zoa polyps (you'll hear names like green giants, purple people eaters, red hornets, etc.). These types of corals rely more on particulates in the water column for food and use light as a secondary food source.
LPS corals, such as frogspawns, torches, hammer corals, brain corals, duncans, etc, will be a good step up once you feel comfortable with softies. These require more light than the softies, but also feed off particulates in the water column. Water quality is more important than softies with these corals as they do calcify to construct their skelotons. Alkalinity and Calcium must be in appropriate levels.
SPS corals, such as birdsnests, monti caps and acropora, are much harder to keep than the other two. Light is vital to the survival of these corals and water quality must be pristine. Nitrates must be undetectable and Alkalinity and Calcium must stay in levels of dKH=8-12 and Calcium=400-450ppm.