The Amazon Sword is a highly adaptable aquarium plant that is beloved by fish keepers all over the world.
Its bright green and narrow leaves bring life to any tank setup. In addition, this amazing plant is not only aesthetic but also beneficial for many types of freshwater fish.
In this article, you’ll learn all about the origins of the Amazon Sword, how to care for it, plant and propagate it, and with which fish to pair in both dedicated and community tanks. There’s so much to learn about this aquarium plant, so let’s dive right in!
What Is the Amazon Sword?
The Amazon Sword is a freshwater plant that originates from the Amazon River basin. It is often referred to by hobbyists as the sword leaf plant. This plant is known for being able to withstand different water parameters such as varying temperatures and pH levels. This high adaptability has consistently made it an instant favorite among both novice and experienced aquarium hobbyists.
In addition, the Amazon Sword can be classified as a low-maintenance plant; it can be grown partially or fully submerged in tank water. Once you master how to plant and care for this type of fauna, you will be less likely to run into any problems or else experience difficulty in maintaining Amazon Swords in most of your aquarium setups.
Today, the Amazon Sword can be purchased from most local fish stores, or you can even obtain these from other fish hobbyists who actively propagate and share this beautiful plant.
How to Plant Amazon Sword?
In this section, you’ll find out what to prepare before planting your Amazon Sword and how to root this plant properly in your chosen tank. Before we take an in-depth look at how to plant your new Amazon Sword, here is a table of facts and stats that you can use as a quick reference.
|Scientific Name||Echinodorus bleheri – broad leaf variety
Echinodorus amazonicus – narrow leaf variety
|Experience Level Needed||Beginner|
|Growth Rate||Moderate to Fast|
|Maximum Size||14 to 16 inches in height, but some plants may reach 18 to 20 inches if grown in highly conducive conditions|
– Prepare the Aquarium
The first thing to be aware of is that the Amazon Sword plant can easily grow to more than a foot in height. With this in mind, it is best to select and prepare the largest and tallest tank you can source.
Aside from the tank size, you should also pay close attention to the substrate you choose. Aim for substrates that are used specifically for planting aquatic fauna, or you can also look for fine-gravel substrate as the best alternative.
Some plant guides might note that Amazon Swords can be planted in 10-gallon aquariums. This is certainly possible, but it is not recommended. If you want your Amazon Sword to reach its maximum height and reach, you need to invest in a larger and taller tank to begin with. This will also significantly cut down the time you will need to pour in for trimming it and replanting its young shoots.
– Set Ideal Water Parameters
Another factor you have to prepare prior to actually planting your Amazon Swords is the water parameters in your chosen aquarium. Setting the water parameters beforehand will help establish the tank before you introduce any living beings, be that aquatic fauna, fish, or other aquarium invertebrates.
Take a look at the table below to learn all about the ideal Amazon Sword temperature, acidity level, water hardness, and light level.
|Temperature Range||60 to 82.5 degrees Fahrenheit; 15 to 29 degrees Celsius|
|pH Level||6.5 to 7.5|
|Water Hardness||8 to 15 dH|
|Light Level||Medium to Bright|
– Select Healthy Amazon Swords
Once you have the bare aquarium prepared, you can now focus on selecting the healthiest Amazon Swords to take home with you. You can do this by paying attention to the following details when you look at Amazon Swords for sale. Your Amazon Sword aquarium plant should:
|Bright green leaves with even coloration||Brown leaves with yellow spots|
|Smooth and even leaf edges||Holes and cracks in the leaf surface|
|Healthy-looking and strong, white roots||Weak, pale roots|
Depending on where you source your Amazon Swords, you can get each young plant for around $6 to $7. There are also sellers that will gladly part with their adult Amazon Swords for $10 and above, depending on the plant’s age, height, and girth.
– Plant Amazon Swords Properly
Now that you have selected the best possible Amazon Swords for your aquarium, you need to gently position it in your tank.
Amazon Swords are usually placed in the middle layer or background of aquariums. Be sure that your substrate runs at least 3 to 4 inches deep, as the roots of the Amazon Sword tend to grow both downwards and sidewards.
Planting Amazon Sword is a straightforward matter. Once you have chosen a place for your Amazon Sword, gently bury the roots of the plant. Cover the roots of the Amazon Sword up until its crown only.
This part should be visible above the surface of your substrate. Prop the Amazon Sword upright, and make sure that it does not bend due to its weight or because it is poorly rooted in your substrate of choice.
You could still encounter problems with your Amazon Swords even if you have prepared diligently and put in a lot of effort towards choosing a robust plant. This is true for even the most experienced aquarium hobbyists.
While the Amazon Sword is certainly one of the hardier aquarium plants, it is not immune to illnesses, rot, or pests. Take a look at the common problems listed below and learn how to prevent or treat them accordingly.
1. Yellow or Brown Leaves
If you see your Amazon Sword leaves turning brown or yellow, this is a sure sign that the plant is not adapting well to the current water conditions in your tank. To prevent this problem from occurring in the first place, be sure to fertilize your substrate before planting your Amazon Swords.
In addition, you should also monitor the water conditions in your tank two to three days prior to adding the Amazon Swords. This should give you enough time to confirm that both the water and substrate in your tank are capable of providing the nutrients and support that your plant needs.
On the other hand, if your Amazon Sword already has yellow or brown leaves, here are the simplest solutions to your problem. If you notice yellow leaves on your Amazon Sword plant, it is possible that this is caused by a nutrient deficiency.
In this case, fertilize the substrate where your Amazon Sword is planted with an iron booster. Amazon Sword leaves turning brown means that part of the plant has decayed already; be sure to remove these from the stem and leave only the green shoots to grow as the plant adapts to its environment.
2. Pale Green Leaves or Stunted Growth
While there are many possible causes of pale green leaves and stunted growth, most of the time the main culprit is a lack of light. This is almost always true for aquariums that are placed in dim rooms or have other plants that are larger than the Amazon Swords. These plants need about half a day’s worth of medium to bright light.
To prevent or treat this problem, invest in a high-quality plant lamp that you can dim and brighten whenever necessary. Place this plant adjacent to your tank, and shine it on the location of your Amazon Sword for about 10 to 12 hours daily.
Alternatively, you can place the aquarium containing your Amazon Sword near a window that lets natural light in. Just be sure to keep your water temperature in check, as sunlight during the afternoon can make your tank water overly warm for your fish and other plants.
3. Frequent Plant Deaths
Some aquarists become discouraged when they witness their Amazon Swords dying frequently. However, this problem is most certainly caused by something that is easily remediable: the water hygiene in your tank.
Though Amazon Swords are certainly hardy plants, they cannot survive in dirty tank water for too long. In most cases, you just need to implement weekly water changes of 10 to 15 percent to either solve or prevent this problem from occurring.
Weekly water changes are essential not only to prolong the lives of your Amazon Swords but to provide the other tank inhabitants with a high quality of life as well.
4. Uncontrollable Algae Growth
Amazon Swords need long hours of exposure to a light source in order to grow to their maximum height and to remain healthy. However, this presents the challenge of controlling algae growth.
There are a few ways you can mitigate this problem. You can introduce algae-eating aquarium inhabitants like small shrimps and snails, or you can monitor your water conditions closely to prevent algae growth from taking place.
Avoid brushing or wiping algae clusters off of your Amazon Sword plants, as this makes the leaves prone to tearing, cracking, and other kinds of damage. If you notice that one of your Amazon Swords is quite heavily infested by algae, consider uprooting that particular plant from the tank entirely. This should slow the algae colonies from spreading in your aquarium and give you enough time to control their population or eradicate them completely.
Propagating the Amazon Sword
Aquarists who are fond of the Amazon Sword will most likely want to try their hand at propagating this beautiful aquarium plant. Thankfully, Amazon Sword propagation is simple and can be undertaken by even the most novice of hobbyists. Here are some expert-approved tips you can apply when you begin propagating the Amazon Swords in your own tank.
1. Choose a Healthy Maternal Plant
Select an Amazon Sword that has no history of sickness, physical damage, or algae growth. This plant should ideally already be at its maximum height and width. Choosing the healthiest maternal plant in your tank will result in healthy young Amazon Swords that are more likely to survive the cutting and replanting process later on.
2. Observe the Plantlets for Root Development
Once you have selected a good maternal plant, look for viable plantlets along its stem. You should see plantlets in different stages of development running down the length of your maternal plant.
Look for plantlets that have already grown their own roots and leaf clusters. Ideally, these plantlets should be 3 to 5 inches in height and look healthy enough that they could grow on their own.
3. Cut Off and Replant the Young Shoots
Cut off the plantlets you’ve identified prior to this step. Use proper plant scissors for this task. Cut at an angle and as close to the maternal stem as possible. You can then replant the plantlets you harvest in another area in the same aquarium or in an entirely different tank.
If you want to grow these young Amazon Swords in another tank, be sure that you have already prepared the aquarium and the necessary water parameters. This will prevent your young Amazon Swords from being shocked at the change in environment. Lastly, keep the young Amazon Swords fully submerged in water as this will help them grow stronger and quicker.
Fish and Aquatic Creatures Compatibility
The Amazon Sword can often be found in home aquariums across the world. Though this aquatic plant is extremely hardy, it is not immune to fish roughhousing or being uprooted by other creatures.
We’ve compiled a short list of aquatic creatures that will serve as suitable neighbors to keep your Amazon Sword from being bullied or completely uprooted.
1. Tetra Fish
Most species of Tetras have a peaceful and easygoing nature. These fish are also usually too small to damage or eat through your adult Amazon Swords. More importantly, a lot of Tetras hail from the Southern American waters, meaning that they share the same ecosystem requirements as your Amazon Sword plant. This will make maintaining your water parameters easy as both your fish and fauna have roughly the same preferences.
Catfish are also mostly docile aquarium inhabitants. Most Catfish species are bottom-dwellers. This means that they will be too busy scouring the substrate to be interested in nipping or dislodging any of your Amazon Sword plants.
3. Shrimp and Snails
You can also add other kinds of aquarium inhabitants to live with your Amazon Sword. As mentioned in a previous section, adding small shrimp and snails to your tank will not only add to the variety in your aquarium but will also provide your Amazon Swords with a formidable defense against algae growths.
We certainly covered a lot of knowledge bases regarding the beautiful Amazon Sword. Here’s a quick recap of the most important points discussed in the article.
- The Amazon Sword is a freshwater plant that can grow partially or fully submerged in water.
- This plant can reach a maximum height of 16 to 20 inches.
- Prepare a large enough tank, the ideal water conditions, and a reliable source of light if you want to grow this plant in your aquarium.
- Amazon Sword plants can be propagated by simply cutting plantlets from a healthy maternal plant.
- You can house Tetras, Catfish, shrimp, and snails with your Amazon Sword plants.
The Amazon Sword is considered a must-have plant by many aquarium hobbyists who love aesthetic but low-maintenance fauna. With a little bit of TLC, you are sure to have these green beauties gracing your own aquarium in no time!
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