Awesome. Glad to see a few people here interested in low-tech.
If you're serious about low-tech, you don't need a filter in a tank that small. Seriously. It may go against what lots of folks will say here, but it's true. There's a lot of "common knowledge" that works. But there's a lot of "uncommon knowledge" that also works.
I have a 2.5 gallon with no filter, planted well with a variety of plants. By the 1" to the gallon rule my tank should have crashed long ago. But it's easily the healthiest tank I've ever owned. Been running for well over a year now. My shrimp are reproducing like crazy. Very little algae. Very few water changes (once a month max). Zero ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. Stable ph, hardness. If you want to see more, just check my signature.
If you're serious about low-tech, the best place to start is to read Diana Walstad's Ecology of the Planted Aquarium. Be warned, it's not a pretty looking book. But there's nothing else like it. Aquabotanic Wet Thumb is also a good forum dedicated to "Walstad-style" aquariums - see the "el natural" sub-forum. There are some very experienced folks there that I've learned a lot from.
Also, just because you're not injecting CO2 doesn't mean the biowheel won't have an impact. You'd like to retain CO2 no matter what, whether it's naturally produced by respiration or it's artificially injected. Folks seem to like Excel... I've had some issues with it, so I don't see it as a magic cure all. To me, low-tech means not having to deal with stuff like that.
Anyhow, good luck and keep us posted!
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