I agree, have you looked into the walstad style planted tank?
Diane walstad pioneered the science of soil substrates, and I'm her book, Ecology of the Planted Aquarium, she describes soil substrates, a water change every six months or so, and no other maintenance other than feeding the fish. Her sustem relies on lots and lots of plants to filter the water.
If you insist on retiring your tanks for a while, please consider giving away or selling your plants and livestock on the forum here.
Who knows, they might be willing to send you some when you get the itch again.
Last edited by redchigh; 11-22-2016 at 09:13 PM.