Cubes are inherently different to scape compared to standard prisms. I think ADA tries to stick with a ratio of 2:1:1 for length:depth:height.
I would recommend you look at the all example 30C and 45C scapes out there, since scapes for cube tanks are very different from scapes for rectangular/prism tanks.
When I scape my tanks I like to break down the parts/components into the following:
- Hardscape: Wood vs. rock vs. wood+rock vs. none
- Tech level
> CO2 (pressurize vs. DIY) vs No CO2
> Light level (low vs. med vs. high)
- Flow (high flow vs. med/low flow)
- Planted: Planted vs. plants
> If planted, planted style: Iwagumi, nature, dutch, biotope
> Plant coverage: full coverage vs. open, unplanted spaces (e.g. sand)
- Flora: Type of plants, carpet +/- stems +/- epiphytes +/- moss
- Fauna: Fish vs. shrimp vs. fish + shrimp
All of the components interplay with one another, so I always run through my list again to assess the difficulty of my overall setup (e.g. probably not a good idea to try to do a cory tank if you're gonna carpet the whole thing in DHG, probably not a good idea to try Rotala macranda without CO2 injection and high light, probably not a good idea to put cherry shrimp with angelfish or other predatory fish, etc.)
Also, I personally believe it's good practice to decide beforehand what you want to emphasis in the tank, i.e. "what's the goal/purpose of my tank? Do I want it to be an awesome habitat for my fish? Do I want to use it to breed fish? Do I want to prioritize plants over everything else? Do I want to priortize shrimp over everything else? etc. I'm oversimplifying things a bit, but it basically comes down to "Pick 1 of the 3: plants vs. fish vs. shrimp/other inverts". FME, it's painstaking to maintain a tank that can bring out 2 or more of these options to their max potential. (Either you put in a ton of time all the time to carefully balance things or you just run the risk of things failing one day (e.g. all your fish/shrimp get gassed, all your plants start melting or you get an algae bloom, etc.)
Regarding your answer about what rocks to use, it really depends on what type of tank you are going for. I personally like Seiryu stone the best for Iwagumis. I like Dragon stone for mixed rock + wood scapes, though Seiryu can also be used for the mixed hardscapes too.
Thank you very much for the recommendations. I couldn't find many pictures of the 45c but i found tons of the 30c. I saw several scapes that I really liked and that gave me ideas. The goal or emphasis in the tank will be plants. I love fish and all but I have become so amazed and addicted to plants over the years so I plan the tank to be more focused on plants/scape layout. I haven't ever kept shrimp before and I feel this would be a good tank to try it with. For the rock issue I now know that I will need to get rocks that will play nice with the shrimp and not leech anything that could be bad into the water like copper. I to love seiryu stone but I have it in 3 of my tanks now and have used it countless times in the past. Just kind of feeling like trying something different really. I am going to use your list to try and help guide me in decisions. I thank you again for the help.
- Hardscape: leaning towards wood + rock
- Tech level: high(pressurized co2,nice canister filter, already have a coralife led light. i cant find a model number on it though)
> CO2: pressurized
> Light level: medium-high
- Flow: medium
- Planted: plants
> If planted, planted style:unsure on this yet
> Plant coverage: some unplanted areas
- Flora: unknown
- Fauna: celestial pearl danios(or other nano sized fish) and shrimp
I have a same sized cube as well as a couple of others. Cubes are a little different from rectangular tanks in that they're not just viewed straight-on. Or not nearly as much so at least assuming that you have it in a place where it's sitting out. So what looks good in a typical front-of-tank picture isn't necessarily the best as far as other angles and as a tank that you'll want to live with. You kind of have another dimension to work with.
What I think works pretty well generally is to pick the rear corner on the less-viewed side. Build height there with rock, wood, whatever and work down and out from there toward the opposite corner. You could do the same rear-centered but you don't have as much room to work out from. Just plain centered middle-of-tank always ends up looking to me like I just dropped some rocks in the middle. Maybe someone with more talent could pull that off better.
The tank will be placed so it could be viewed from 3 sides but its likely people will only look at it from 2 sides. After looking up the 30c aquascapes that ced281 recommended I see what you mean about starting in a corner and working out to give more room to work with and to allow the scape to be viewed from multiple sides better. I will definitely be doing as I think it looks great. Thank you for the help.