I am not going to try and talk you in to either choice. For me the inconvenience of not being able to reach the substrate in the center back is a small price for the larger viewing area. I do not think that PAR readings at your substrate, using a step stool, or any other imagined concern is really much of an issue. No matter how high your stand, a step stool will get you everywhere else you need to go. You will probably want long tools in either case.
If you want any pushing in any direction, tell us more about what kinds of fish and plants you want. That might help you figure this out.
Measure from the ground to your armpit. If your stand plus tank is higher, then you will need a step stool to do any serious maintenance. Not a killer to me since the stool is out whenever I am working the tank anyway.
RAOK Club #76
220g altum, 75g high tech, 6g shrimp: one office, three tanks
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Last edited by tomfromstlouis; 04-07-2014 at 11:15 PM.