I absolutely love your threads. I will not go very far into this but I am a bit skeptical on all the additives as well. I don't want to say there is no benefit, I am not sure, but I know you don't need to use anything but a good substrate to get good results.
Now the only reason I bring this up is I feel you are seriously downplaying your commitment to maintenance and your routine. I mean this in a good way. Obviously, you are showing this in the thread, but it kind of gets diluted by all the other great info and explanations of your (and other people's) philosophies.
I bring this up because my first tanks, though lacking in many area's from a cost/technology perspective, look better than my tanks now. I attribute 100% of this due to my maintenance habits. I was in college when I started and always had more than enough time to do what was needed that day. Now I am a musician with serious lack of time, I often don't see my tank for up to a week at a time, or I am home all the time, one or the other. I can either go overboard on things or not touch things, not a good combo.
Not to say I have not been successful with some low tech tanks, when you set something up correctly to your needs, it's a lot easier. But it's going to be almost impossible if not entirely impossible to have an impeccable tank without being able to rectify problems as they come about, no matter what you do. I have even seen my tank turn around in a week when I am home and spend 5-10 min per day (max) when I am home for each of those days.
Again, I only bring this up because I know how much daily maintenance helps, compared to any other factor. I will go as far to say that diligence trumps knowledge (assuming you are trying to learn from mistakes). It has for me. Great thread and I only mean for these words to be taken complimentary