How strong are the lights on this? Depending, he can get away with lowlight plants, minimal to no fertilization and perhaps even without a filter. He can't stock the tank with too many fishes though but if the balance is there, the bioload provided by the livestock could be just enough to support the plants. The plants take care of absorbing the nitrates as ferts and the ammonium, nitrate and nitrite levels are kept low as a result. He'd need to manually clean the gravel every now and then to clean up fish poop and dose excel and Seachem equilibrium periodically but should be good. The biggest concern is lighting. If the lighting is too much, then the balance is off so it all depends on that.