My water is so soft already that R/O would be a waste. I have to add everything just to get my GH and KH above 1.
I have to dose or it takes 3 weeks just to see that any of my plants have even grown. With my tank I have about 33 watts on each 10 gallon and dosing makes for awesome growth. According to the chart, tis only gives me moderate lighting so I shouldn't even have to dose Excel but it helps to control the algae.
As far as the ways planted tanks differ:
Colors of plants
Which plants will and won't grow
How CO2 effects growth and algae
How much lighting and how it translates into growth with or without CO2 or Excel.
Which plants seem to hog nutrients and compete with other plants
Which fertilizers you use, Seachem, dry, non, only micros, only macros, root tabs etc and how much you dose
Is there a difference in using HOB filters and Canisters
Does the tank get any direct sunlight
How long the lights are left on
Tap water parameters
And so on and so forth, just 100's of variables that make or break each individual tank
And yes, it is supposed to be planted vs. planted tank, non-planted you don't even need a light over it.