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Small 1-gallon tank

Has anyone tried to keep a 1-gallon planted tank with no CO2?  I have been
trying to do that at the office, keeping it near the window (for light).
It has no filter, air pump, or CO2.  Just a small heater to keep it
reasonable for the fish, and a 10% water change daily.  In it I keep a
Beta, 2 Otos, and a bunch of snails.  Plants include Java Fern, Anubias
nana, and Pygmi chain swords.

The problem is that the Otos keep dying.  They would be fine, eating a lot
for a while (the tank had a fair amount of green algae before the otos were
added, and which the otos have been slowly bringing under control), then
would have a curved spine, and die.  I think one problem could be the pH.
The tap water pH is around 7.6, and the gravel has been previously
neutralized with acid, but the tank water keeps rising to above 9.  I
wonder if it's due to biogenic decalcification.  The plants I keep are not
known for that (or are they?).

Is it okay to add Aquarium Pharm.'s pH Down (Sulfuric acid) daily to
control the pH?  What would the long term effect be?  (I have not been
doing that, just thought I would ask first.)

Does anybody have any idea or related experience to share?