A bit of background on my fish tank experience. As a kid we always had some kind of tank growing up. Mostly 5-20 gal. Generally cycled and cleaned out the tanks every few months, didn't keep live plants, and most of the time the fish lasted less than a year.
As an adult, my kid got a comet goldfish at a state fair. We were visiting from out of state and I never thought the fish would live (it was in a tiny plastic carrier). When it survived a week, we got a bowl and put him in there. Eventually I got tired of changing his water every few days, so I bought a 10 gal aquarium and put him in that. I eventually got an Anubias Nana and something else because I liked the idea of natural plants in an aquarium. That fish lived about 3 years until my daughter insisted on buying him a "friend" and we put a pleco in the tank and within a week both were dead. After that I cleaned and reset the tank and put neons in there, but they died, too. After a few other attempts I decided the tank was cursed and I wouldn't buy any more fish for it. But, then my older daughter and I got the idea to "fish" some mosquito fish out of a local culvert drain. We brought home about 30 and I put some java moss and a new Anubias plant in there and we were "off to the races." Those fish slowly died off over the first year or so until I got down to about 4, then eventually 3 of the remaining 4 died off until I was left with one. That fish seemed to do fine in the tank even after the java moss was removed. I have kept that fish and tank pretty much under control (save the constant battle against algae) for 3 years (unfortunately the last fish passed last night).
That 10 gal just had a single fluorescent light, was kept on a dark shelf, and had a timer to cycle the light so that it got daylight for about 8-ish hours. The Anubias has survived but hasn't grown much. When I last pulled it out I discovered it had a huge long root. The guy as the LFS says that means it was nitrogen-starved. The substrate was just cheap fish-store small blue gravel and I didn't change water or clean the bottom often so there was significant malm.
About 8 years ago we adopted a bearded dragon that came in a 55 gal aquarium. It was really too small for him, so I built him a home out of an old TV cabinet. That left me with a 55 gal aquarium just begging for me to do something with it. So I started researching and checked out books from the library on aquariums. That's when I discovered that Walstad method. I started reading up on the internet about it and learned bits and pieces. I decided that when I did my aquarium I was going to go for the low tech route. It seemed both less expensive and less involved than the CO2, heavy lighting route (though the latter do make for some amazingly beautiful set-ups).
About a year or so ago I got a new top frame for the 55 gal (heat lamp damaged the old one) and put it in the back yard on the cement slab and filled it. I let it run for a week or so and it seemed to hold water. But then it got an algae bloom so I drained it and put it back in the garage, as I didn't have time to start the project then.