• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Super Shallow Tanks

Steven Chong

Member
Joined
20 Jun 2009
Messages
40
Location
Hawaii
ada-45-f.jpg


So, today I treated myself to a new aquarium. I recently moved, and decided to leave my 60-P with a friend in case I ever moved back-- but I brought all the equipment for the tank with me. Looking in the shop, I thought why not try something different? Stand, filter, lights, everything-- I got it ready for a 60cm tank, but I'll try a new dimension. The 60-F is a super low tank, 18cm high (so dimensions are 60 x 30 x 18). That's pretty cool in my book.

Proportionally shallow tanks have a lot going for them-- good surface area for oxygenating water (so more fish possible), easily lit from top to bottom, and easy to keep well circulated (water flow). On the design side of the coin, they have fantastic depth, with a proportionately huge foot print to give you space for hardscape and plants. ADA's 90cm tank looks much deeper than the standard 60cm, but it's not just because it's bigger-- it's also because the 45 x 45 depth-height compared to 30 x 36 depth-height. Also why Cube tanks can look very deep. ADA's "F" line are not the first "Flat" tanks, but tanks that do have shallow height take the proportionate depth even further than those with a square side-panel.

Of course there are disadvantages. For the foot print of the tank, you are getting a lot less viewing space (the front panel is very small). There's a reason why people love those skinny flat screen TVs. Also if you've got a stand of a standard height, odds are you'll have to kneel down to get a true frontal view, or you'll just be looking down into the tank from above. That's all well and good if all you care about is taking photos for contests with your camera at the right height, but not the most appealing if your goal is to make the tank appealing for everyday viewing.

This might be obvious for some, but for me it was something that took hands-on experience to fully appreciate: You can't bring your vision to the aquarium, you have to pick the vision for the aquarium. What I means is that the dimensions of the aquarium have a very strong say in what you can and cannot do with the layout visually. You can't make a great "Dutch" stem-display with only 18cm of height. You can't make a sophisticated mid-ground design if you've got no depth-to-height: You can't make an iwagumi if you don't have a big enough footprint to fit in a big enough main-rock to reach the 2/3 height focal point of the tank.

Getting to the point of discussion here-- what are all your thoughts and experiences on super-short/flat tanks? Thoughts on tank-proportions in aquascaping in general?
 

aaronnorth

Member
Joined
19 Feb 2008
Messages
3,953
Location
worksop, nottinghamshire
i havent seen any short tanks, except one, but that had a piece of bogwood with a fern attached to it :lol: There is also wabi-kusi (spelling) which look good

I suppose it is just like a standard nano, except you have more length, perhaps an iwagumi wouldsuit this tank best, but it would also be interesting to see what you can pull off!
 

rawr

Member
Joined
14 Apr 2009
Messages
604
Location
Enfield
I like tanks with weird dimensions, always a challenge! I remember seeing a few shallow tanks in the AGA showcases, so you might want to take a look there for some ideas.
 

George Farmer

Founder
Staff member
Joined
30 Jun 2007
Messages
7,080
Location
Cambridgeshire
Nice one, Steven!

I've always thought that most mass-produced aquariums lack front to rear depth in favour of height. IME this makes creating a sense of real depth quite challenging, having to resort to almost optical illusions when considering plant choice, hardscape and layout.

Another downside to taller tanks is to fine suitably tall hardscape, especially with Iwagumi.

For serious aquascapers I would say they prefer to have the same aspect ratio of height or depth i.e. 90x45x45, or even in favour of a greater front to back depth.

I think your main considerations will be plant and fish limitations (not too tall, obviously), but with your skill and all that extra front to rear depth to play with, I'm sure you'll create something pretty special.

Remember Jeremy, Steven? He has a nice reef which is 100x50x50cm opti-white, but now wishes he went for a 60cm front to rear depth... :D

aaronnorth said:
There is also wabi-kusi (spelling) which look good!
Steven knows all about them... ;)

http://showcase.aquatic-gardeners.org/2 ... l=-1&id=18
 

vauxhallmark

Member
Joined
29 Jan 2008
Messages
570
Steven Chong said:
Also if you've got a stand of a standard height, odds are you'll have to kneel down to get a true frontal view, or you'll just be looking down into the tank from above. That's all well and good if all you care about is taking photos for contests with your camera at the right height, but not the most appealing if your goal is to make the tank appealing for everyday viewing.

That's true if you make a display which is designed to be viewed through the front pane.

If I had a tank like yours, though, I would design it to be viewed looking down on it (well, just a bit higher than the angle in your posted pic). There's a lovely tank in the TFH book "Natural Aquaria" (I think that's the name - not at home so can't check). It was also serialised in TFH before the book was published, about ten years ago. The tank was 80 x 80 x 30cm, boy did I covet that tank (it was even harder to get wide front to back tanks in UK then than it is now).

They set it up twice - once with lots of lilies and a bit of vallis for gouramis (the lilies growing up to the water surface and flowering, and (my prefered set up) with a lovely mixed colour river gravel, and clumps of Echinodorus quadricostus - this tank was to showcase corydoras (many of which look great from above) and juvenile flag cichlids. Both looked great.

I've always wanted a tank with a massive bottom area. there used to be a tank in Tachbrook Tropicals (Vauxhall Bridge Road, I think closed now) which was about 120 x 180 x 45cm - I was desperate for a setup like that. They always had really rubbish plants in it, and whatever old guppies and goldfish they couldn't find a proper tank for, so it never looked great, but I've always loved thanks that you look down on like a pond (this tank was on a stand about 30/45 cm high). Hmm, I think the shop's derelict, I bet the tank's still there - I'll offer the rubbish removal men a fiver for it if anyone ever takes the shop on again!!

With your tank, the biggest equipment hurdle (in my opinion) is going to be lighting it in an aesthetically pleasing way. With a tank of that size I'd go for a single MV light, so that a minimum of the surface is covered by lights - you also won't need it that near the water with such a shallow tank.

Can't wait to see what you do with it,

all the best!

Mark
 

Steven Chong

Member
Thread starter
Joined
20 Jun 2009
Messages
40
Location
Hawaii
First off, as for my own tank (and future project I guess . . .) honestly I am not intending to set it up immediately, probably sometime around September-October due to some real-life plans. I'll be sure to make a journal when I do though.

Mark-- I have also been thinking that the tank has to be attractive from above as well. If you can't get people to look at it strictly from the front, than make it attractive in the way it will be seen. The trick is to create a world that draws you in if you were to kneel and look at it straight, but also attracts a lot of interest when viewed from above. While I'm not intending to go with the simple ADA-brochure-wabikusa plan, I think that plants that grow out of the tank and features attractive from above are almost a must, at least a very good idea. If we were talking about a tank like the one you mentioned-- 80 x 80 x 30, or similar largeness, that issue could be somewhat avoided simply because of the sheer size of the tank. When looking at a small tank that will inevitably be far below people's eye-level, an attractiveness from above seems really important.

Honestly, I hadn't considered the issue of lighting and I'm glad you brought it up. Sure almost any aquarium light designed for a 60cm tank will surely light it up like a sports stadium, whether or not it will hinder viewing of the "above water" features is something of an annoying problem to consider-- especially for people who don't want to buy special lighting for the tank. *cough* *cough*

George-- I agree, and I think a lot of folks in both aquascaping and marine aquariums have long since found annoyance with the "flat screen" aquariums that tend to be the manufacturing standard. I think the 60 x 30 x 36 dimensions for ADA's standard 60cm tank are reasonable height-to-depth, and quite good for most basic layout styles, but anything beyond that becomes a nuisance. Same depth-to-height like 45 x 45 does seem ideal in a lot of respects, or keeping relatively close to it.

For iwagumi, I actually think the 75 x 45 x 45 may be close to ideal. The thing about the iwagumi formula, especially sticking to tradition, is that length is really important to consider too. Even if you have rocks of the appropriate height, if you have too much length, the rocks will either end up too spaced out, or you will end up leaving a lot of open space around your iwagumi (rock group). Of course one could make a 5 stone iwagumi, or could make 2 iwagumi in the same tank, possibly 1 dominant taller iwagumi and 1 smaller iwagumi. This is why I think 75 x 45 x 45 might be even more ideal than 90 x 45 x 45 for a traditional rock-garden layout.

As for tanks that favor depth v. height, I'm not sure an iwagumi layout is ideal. If one chooses to have depth > height, than the implication is that you are using the deep space to make many layers of visual interest. You've got enough space that instead of the typical 3 levels of fore-mid-back (or say, hc-rocks-hair grass), you have enough space to make 4, 5 or even more levels like sand-hc-hyrdocotyle/fern area-moss wood-stem plants-tall crypts. That's just hypothetical simplification of course.

The point I'm getting at is that in iwagumi, the rocks are the big visual players, with plants softening and supporting. The most raw basic form of Karesansui (stone gardening), doesn't even need support from plants, or looks good even in the winter months when the mosses might die off. In a very deep tank, I think it's possible that the rocks might get lost in the shuffle of the many plants that will be needed to fill all the ground space. Of course, 1 interesting solution would be to just get bigger rocks, and let them pop through the surface of the water. That could be interesting too. :)

Really, just like flat tanks resemble ponds dimension-wise, they do seem to lean towards the same type of aesthetic.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
S Shallow, long tank inspiration Aquascaping 1
Dantrasy Back into planted tanks Aquascaping 17
PotteryWalrus What types of rock are okay for tanks? Aquascaping 4

Similar threads

Top