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?