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I have a similar goal as you to minimize maintenance. I'm going to setup a 5 Gal shrimp tank.
I decided to go with walstad method or Natural Planted Tank (NPT).

I'm not going to make mineralized soil for a small tank. I'm thinking about using aquasolum black humate. It's kinda expensive but I only need one bag. That'll save me lots of trouble mineralize soil. Some people don't mineralize soil before putting in tank but it takes long for ammonia to subside.

I'm new to freshwater aquarium too. So, take it as a grain of salt. However, the following links may help you.

Guide to setup a Natural Planted Tank
Guide to setting up a Soil substrate planted tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

Diana walstad article on shrimp tank. Sorta give yo the concept.

The kind of soil can be used.
Suitable soils for the Walstad method - El Natural - Aquatic Plant Central

How to mineralize soil substrate
How-To: Mineralized Soil Substrate, by Aaron Talbot - Library - Aquatic Plant Central
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