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RUGF with Plants

We're in the process of re-building our planted 180 gal tank and I'm
considering using Reverse Under Gravel Filtration (RUGF) along with two
AquaClear 500s for filtration.  Dimensions of the tank are 6 x 2 x 2,
with roughly the back half to two-thirds of it to be mderately to
heavily planted.

The front portion of the tank will be plant-free and will have gravel
less than 1" deep which can easily be vacuumed and will not have RUGF.
However, the previously planted areas in this tank have always been
difficult to properly vaccum which is why I'd like to use RUGF where the
plants are to be located.

Based on my limited understanding of RUGF, the biggest benefit of using
such a system is that it flushes organic matter that would normally get
stuck beneath the gravel up into the water column.  The organic matter
can then be sucked into our AC 500s which can then be easily cleaned on
a regular basis.  Is this understanding correct?

The one drawback I forsee is that we won't be able to use fertilizer
sticks, etc., inserted into the substrate.  Are there other drawbacks
that I haven't yet seen?

Also, in this tank, I'm hoping to create a terrace using smooth river
rock and mopani driftwood to hold back the raised gravel.  Height of the
gravel on the back terrace will be roughly 3"-5" which is where the
plants will grow as well as where I'd like to use the RUGF.  Will gravel
this deep be a problem for water flow of the RUGF system?  Will the
plants and plant roots be a problem for the RUGF, for that matter?

All thoughts on this subject will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in

Beverly Wladyka
Edmonton AB Canada