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>When experimenting, as you say, to find the desired balance, how do you 
>measure how much water is going into each way ? And later, how do you 
>control the balance ? I've benn fiddling with this sort of thing for a 
>while, and the only reliable way I found to control how much water goes 
>into the substrate pipes is to have the raiser tube have the open end 
>above the water surface. Water can then be poured in with a split line 
>from the filter or an auxiliary pump.

Good idea for lower flows to the RFUG.

 Also, too much piping directly 
>connected to the filter output will increase the head significantly.

This can used to your advantage by directing the overflow to a plant/regular
filter hanging off the back of your tank.
>Because of that, and because spray bars tend to clog easily 

I always use a prefilter for this reason before sending any water to the
RFUG. I haven't ever had a spray bar clog in 12 years with this method.

and so fall 
>into my class of "high maintenance devices" to be avoided, I entirely 
>gave up with spray bars. I use now just larger bore pipe at the filter 
>return line. It works by reducing the water velocity. The larger the 
>bore, the "tricklier" the filter output gets. The output nozzle is just
>a short piece of 3/4" PVC pipe pointing downwards at a 45 degree angle,
>just below the water surface. Nothing inside the tank, nothing to clean.

Good idea also but I like the spray bar on the bottom back where it is well
hidden. The water slowly flows up to the front along the gravel's surface
going through the plants from the bottom up.
     I think that the filtered/CO2 rich water spread evenly across the
bottom of your tank would be the best flow through a tank for nutrient
exchanges. On smaller tanks it wouldn't matter that much but on larger tanks
above 75 gallons I like this method and it has worked very well over then
years on many tanks. On thing with this flow method......... you don't need
much flow at all. 3 x of turn over per hour is plenty on about any size

Ivo's idea is good and it would be hard to quantify which would be better.
Both are good therefore!

Tom Barr