Stocking my first tank (45 tall or 56 column)
So I'm starting my first tank soon! I'm still deciding between a 45 gallon (36x13x24) and a 56 gallon column (30x18x24). (I would honestly love to have a much larger tank, but I'm pretty close to running out of wall space with a uromastyx in a 75 gallon and a huge chameleon cage already in my living room.)
I've read a lot about stocking taller tanks, so I'm already well aware that I'm not going to be able to fill either tank with African ciclids or anything like that (not that I think that would be a good starting off point for a relative beginner). I'm doing a fishless cycle with added ammonia and help from a friend's established media that he's donating to my good cause.
These are my tentative stocking ideas:
1 rubberlip or bristlenose pleco
1 angelfish (unless I'd be better off with a pair; I've found conflicting advice on that)
2 rams (I love the blues, but the ph of my tap water is 7.0 and I'm not sure if that's too high, so maybe Bolivians?)
6-8 black skirt tetras
6-8 cardinal tetras
Now, I'm not actually sure if the cardinals would end up as angel dinner at some point, but really, this whole plan is up in the air right now. I'm open to anything - I've been looking into discus as well, but I'm not sure if they mix with angels? And I know they need a well established tank, so I wouldn't be even thinking about getting one for months.
I actually would have loved to keep gourami, but I'm having trouble finding much solid info about them and their compatibility, so I'm leaning more towards a South American themed tank simply because I don't know how to approach the Asian species.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Would I be overstocked with the above list? Understocked? Keeping in mind that the longest tank I can fit at the moment is 36 inches, would I be better off with the 56 or the 45?
I know I'm asking a ton of questions here, sorry. I've been researching this for nearly two months now, so I've been banking this stuff. I don't want to start until I have as much information as possible.