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Good Size for a Large Tank

I am in the process of building a new home and like a few others around
here think of this as a good opportunity for a few new tanks.  I have
planned for at least two pretty good size ones (it's about all my wife
thinks I can handle and still earn enough money to pay the bills) but
think I will be able to squeeze in a few more small ones later on.  I
really would like for one to be a really large tank for either a school
or two of schooling fish (smaller tetras, micro corys, otos, shrimp etc.
- nothing big) or some Discus.  Not sure which fish right now but as we
are in the final design stage I need to commit to a size for the large
tank and this is where I need some help.

I have read many places (mostly here and on the sites of those who post
here) that as the tank length exceeds the periphery of your vision it
gives the impression that the tank is much larger than it really is and
that this effect is quite impressive.  Since I plan on schools of fish
or Discus, I know I will need a fair amount of water to pull this off.
Where this big tank will go I have room for up to an 8 foot (maybe up to
8.5 or 9 feet) long tank but am wondering how much I am biting off work
wise.  I really enjoy planted tanks - actually my wife would say I am a
bit overboard already even though she really enjoys them too.  I have
had other hobby endeavors that I turned into occupations and they soon
were no longer fun.  I would like for this to be something I continue to
enjoy and do not want to be overwhelmed by the upkeep.  I know bulb size
will be a determining factor for the length as will consideration of
space for a good size filter and pumps, and then there is the large
holding tank for water to do water changes.  I would think that the
difference between 5 and 8 feet is not that much (except for the plant
pruning) but the biggest tank I have so far is about 1/3-1/4 the size of
what an 8 footer would be.  I was hoping someone here with some first
hand experience might help keep me from finding out I was wrong the hard
way.  Because of better lighting selection, I am leaning towards a 6 or
8 foot length.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.