Steel tank as pony bottle for Self Reliant Diver.

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One on each side, and you effectively have a decent beginner tec rig.
Since when is 2 stage/deco bottles a "beginner tec" rig? I would think 1 bottle is plenty until you reach higher levels of technical diving...
Here the model is wearing a 3l steel auxilliary bottle, strapped to the right side, of a 15l steel main tank

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see the model being dragged sideways by his auxilliary almost plummeting to the bottom of the ocean

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Having made it back to a more stable environment, just, wetsuit clad model wears the same tank setup
about to indulge in a frenzy, with sharks

fifty years solo without an auxilliary, five years qualified, about, with

But I'm lucky I'm big so the momentum of tanks doesn't often overtake me for a ride
I'm definitely going for steel as I prefer it's buoyancy profile, but the size and comfort are somethings I would be keen to find your opinion about?
Broadly speaking, steel buoyancy profile is better for tanks you're actually using (emptying) during the dive. They're good for sidemount, back-mount, or doubles.

Depending on where you intend to attach or sling the steel pony, it'll throw off your trim, and then you're stuck trying to counter-balance the weight. I'd probably use a steel pony, if that's what I had, or what was cheap on the used market. But I wouldn't seek out steel for a pony bottle.

My "source" is experience. I've dove similarly imbalanced rigs many times. I can dive "monkey mount" an AL80, or mixed sidemount (AL80 + AL19), however trying to sidemount a single steel was a horrible experience. Though it was a 100cu steel tank, but even a smaller one would be a pain.
Steels on your side feel awful unless you put a second one on the other side.
On your back would be independent doubles which has loads of threads on here.

If it were me I'd get an AL40, learn sidemount or both.
A steel pony on one side seems like a terrible solution, which I understand is only being contemplated by OP as a way to get more use out of it as a single tank for simple dives.
Bad compromise.
Thank you all for taking the time to share your views. Very educational.
Indeed I was considering steel to have the option to use it as well for different dives - but “I was” and am not anymore.

I would ideally like to jump straight to Tech, but that‘s more costly considering it’s a new gear all the way.
The AL tank it is then.

Again thank you, and safe diving.
With an AL40, side slung, you really don't notice it in the water.
I would ideally like to jump straight to Tech
I love AL19 for self-reliant recreational redundancy. However, if you're going straight to Tech, you'll need at least one AL40 for Tech anyway.

edit: You could always contact the place you intend to do tech-training and ask what their requirements are, or what size they recommend for their classes however it's an easy bet they'll say "40 cu."
With an AL40, side slung, you really don't notice it in the water.
Except for the bulk!

I used a single (steel) OMS/Faber LP46 as my first deco cylinder (ca. 1994). But I used it slung, while drysuit diving with back-mounted manifolded doubles. Absolutely no big deal!

I used it, once, slung, while drysuit diving with a single back-mounted cylinder (OMS/Faber LP121). Again, absolutely no big deal (despite the gloom and doom posted above by some)--except I was using a STA, and I absolutely hated how unstable that massive 8" cylinder, mounted impossibly high on the STA, made things! I never need to do that again! Ever!!


P.S.: At one time I wore two OMS/Faber LP46's (two deco gasses), slung bilaterally, while drysuit diving with back-mounted manifolded doubles to deeper extended range depths. Some agencies/instructors used to teach "left lean, right rich." Again, no big deal--although when I switched to using two Al40's, slung on one side, I never looked back.

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