My (very limited) understanding is that plants can provide o2, and surface current can depleate co2, so my wag is they are not needed in a planted tank. Personally, I like the aesthetics of surface currents and intend to keep some.
I use a cannister filter. All of the current is via the spray bar - so it is not excessive. It is enough, however, to make point source lights (moon light, metal halide) dance a little.