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Tom said

Holes??   Anyway, UGFs have long been regarded as NOT very useful and
non-conducive for long-term, stable (like 5+ years without total
planted tanks by many plant tank novices and experts,<<<<

True many falsely believe this. I know of many that have been run for many
years with no trouble. I have had a number that ran for 9 or more years
without any trouble. Having said that, I will say it is not my first choice
for people new to planted tanks unless space is a constaint. Were there is
no room for a filter outside a tank. 

>>> although quite a few people still use them.<<<

With very good results.

>>> An UGF effectively becomes both your biological and
mechanical filter which harbors lots of bacteria under the plate and
requires frequent cleaning.<<<

They require no cleaning in a properly set up tank. I had a 125 that was
set up for over 9 years. Durring that time with water changes only, I bred
Angels, Discus and cories in that tank at different times. 

>>> This is hard to do in a heavily planted tank
and unnecessary when you compare it to a good canister filter.  Many
nutrient ions will be oxidized to unavailable forms with all that
well-oxygenated water flowing through the substrate, and the plants will

I keep hearing this, but it does not seem to be true from my experience.
But Bumblebees can't fly and according to science you could never get a
radio to work in a moving car. Experience shows both to be untrue.

>>>RUGF are typically very slow-flow implementations that theoretically
cycle water column nutrients (and fertilizer additions) through the gravel
where they can be utilized by roots an/or become bound in the substrate by
the cation exchange processes.  RUGFs also may equalize the temperature
between the substrate and the water column avoiding the "cold feet"
syndrome and similar to the effect of Under Gravel Heating Cables.

IMHO I would definitly bag the idea of both UGF/RUGF because the space
under the plate becomes very full of detritus, the flow rates prevent
efficient utilization of nutrients by plant roots.<<<

Glad you said IMHO. <BG> RUGF are not typically slow flow that I am
familiar with. The ones I know of use powerheads of fair size. 

>>>because the space under the plate becomes very full of detritus,<<<

Great natural plant food when sent to the root area say with an RUGF. 

   >>> May I recommend a simple commercial laterite mixed into the bottom
1/3 topped with the remaining 2/3 small 2-3mm clean (aquarium gravel). 
Some like to add a small percentage of natural sphagnum peat moss for added
CEC and it's effect on slightly lowering the pH of the substrate.<<

That works great for plants also. A lot of great tanks are set up that way.
It is very easy to do. and a great way for people new to planted tanks to

Best Wishes,