Amazon sword (Echinodorus grisebachii) is a popular aquarium plant that is easy to care for and widely available in pet stores. They’re incredibly hardy plants and can withstand a wide range of aquarium parameters.
In this article, you will read all the important information you need to care for the Amazon Sword Plant in your home aquarium.
Overview & Appearance
Amazon sword is a large aquarium plant native to Cuba, Central America, and South America as far south as Brazil and Bolivia. Depending on the area this plant is coming from it can have different leaf shapes.
All the different types of amazon sword have “sword” shaped leaves which are named after. These leaves can be slightly different in shapes and size but all share the same characteristics and need the same care and.
The leaves are usually long and ribbed, with a central vein that stretches from the root. The leaves’ unique shape is comparable with a sword blade. With their blade-like appearance and impressive endurance, the Amazon Sword has earned a spot among the most popular water plants.
This plant is both easy to care for and attractive. It’s a great background aquarium plant that can add texture and color to your tank while providing hiding spots for the fish.
Amazon Swords make a great background plant that can be the centerpiece of your aquarium decoration and provide a lush, green appearance. They’re popular among hobbyists because they provide a unique jungle vibe to the tank. Simply having a dark background will make the green leaves really stand out!
This low maintenance plant with large leaves is often used to hide filter intake, heaters, and other equipment in the aquarium. Its large leaves and fast growth rates makes it a perfect plant for larger aquariums.
Amazon Sword Care
Taking care of an Amazon Sword plant is very easy. You will need to make sure your water parameters are close to what this plant has in nature. You want the pH level to be between 6.5 – 7.5, preferably at around 7.0, and the temperature should be between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit (22-28 degrees Celsius).
Amazon swords need Moderate to strong lighting. For the best coloration and fast growth, you should have a strong light and have it on for about 8-12 hours per day. Under these conditions, Amazon Swords will develop a lighter green color which looks great against a black background.
Amazon sword is a root feeder plant which means it needs a good planted substrate to grow. After some time, you might also need to supplement your substrate with root tabs. Root tabs are a great way to add nutrients back to the substrate.
Amazon swords are also known for being very resilient, meaning that they’re able to live in a variety of environments. This makes this plant an ideal choice.
Amazon Sword Plant Growth Rate
Amazon Sword is a relatively large plant that can grow up to 12 – 20 inches in height. It is also a fast growing plant; however, the growth rate might be different depending on the tank setup and light conditions. but will be slow if they have low light or less nutrition.
Amazon swords need quite a bit of space and do best in tanks that are more than 29 gallons and are tall. They live for 4-5 years and will continue to grow during that time. So if you have a small tank,You might need to do a lot of pruning.
Pruning and cutting leaves will also encourage the plant to grow faster. If you want your plant to grow faster, you might want to consider pruning your Amazon Sword the next time you are doing maintenance on your tank.
These plants are capable of living with most types of aquarium substrate but might not thrive with some. The best substrate for Amazon Sword is a planted tank substrate as these plants are root feeders. Root feeder plants are getting majority of their minerals and nutrition through the roots, thus they must have a good substrate to thrive.
Roots of this plant grow pretty deep and wide, so it’s important to have a deep substrate at least 2 inches thick when planting them. Roots should be completely covered with the substrate, but the crown of the plant should be visible.
Propagation of the Amazon Sword is easy and hustle free. Under the right conditions the plant will start to shoot runners above the substrate and at the end of this runner new leaves and roots will grow. The newly born plant will keep receiving nutrition from the mother plant while establishing a strong root system in the substrate. Once the leaves of the new plant are about 3-4 inches you can cut the runner and they both are now new independent plants.
Maintenance: Trimming, Yellow Leaves, Cracking, & Algae
Maintaining Amazon Sword is easy and it will not give you too many headaches. This plant will grow tall and wide and soon will cover a large portion of your aquarium. Which means it can block the light to other plants. To avoid this you can trim the leaves once they grow too long. Do not trim the plant when it’s too small.
When trimming the plant you should use sharp scissors and only cut the outer layers of leaves. You will need to cut the leaves as close to the roots as you can reach as the remaining portion will slowly rot. Rotting plant matters might cause ammonia spikes in the tank.
Never cut the middle leaves so the plant can grow and make new leaves. This will reduce the chance of leaf rot in the newly pruned leaves as the plant will absorb enough light to photosynthesis and produce energy to regenerate.
Sometimes leaves may turn yellow and start to melt or crack. This means the leaf can’t get enough nutrition or light. When you see cracked or dead yellowish leaves, simply remove that leaf and add a root tab close to the plant’s roots. Avoid adding root tabs more than what’s necessary as they might cause algae bloom or even kill your Sword plant.
Some types of algae love to grow on Amazon Sword! Which can cause the plant’s leaves to look ugly. To avoid algae growth on leaves, try reducing the time your aquarium light is on. Frequent water changes will also help to prevent algae growth by removing minerals that algae need to grow.
Sufficient lighting, regular water changes and enough water current all play a critical role in avoiding algae growth. Algae only becomes an issue when there is more nutritional content than your plants can handle, and the light has been on for too long. Try to find the right balance for your tank.
Adding a Powerhead to your tank will also help scrape off new microscopic algae before they can attach to your plant. Not only that, it will create a natural-looking movement on the surface and in the tank which makes it more pleasing to the eye.
Amazon plants are hardy and easy to care for, making them a good choice for most aquariums. They can grow along with fish and plants such as Anubias with no issues. However, certain fish should not be kept with them as they might uproot the plant.
Most fish that live in the Amazon river will coexist peacefully with an amazon sword; except during the breeding season. Fish like goldfish, Oscar or some African cichlids might not be good choices for a tank containing an amazon sword.
That being said, There are people that keep amazon swords with all the nippy fish we mentioned above without any issue. That’s because each fish has a different personality and the tank setup and placement of the plant and decoration can lower the fish’s aggression towards plants.
This is a relatively inexpensive plant, if you have nippy fish, you can always try it and see how your fish reacts to it. If you notice your fish are going after the plant, then just move it to another tank.
Possible Amazon sword tank mates include:
- Guppy Fish
- Molly Fish
- Platy Fish
- Gouramis (we love the Dwarf Gourami)
- Zebra Danio
- Neon Tetra
- Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
- Freshwater Aquarium Snails
Buying An Amazon Sword Plant
When it comes to buying plants, the general rule of thumb is to check if they look appealing and healthy. However, this rule might not apply to Sword plants.
Most of the Amazon Sword plants are grown out of water in farms before being available in pet stores for sale. Plants that are grown out of water will start to melt once they are placed in water. So be ready for the Amazon Swords leaves to die off after you bring it home. Do not panic if this happens! This is normal and the plant will start to develop new leaves soon. Just let the plant regenerate and make new leaves.
It is also normal for plants to look unhealthy when they first move to a new environment. It will take some time for them to adjust to the new environment. If this happens, simply trim the dying leaves, this will help it to get used to its new environment faster. Trimming dying leaves will also stop your aquarium from getting dirty
If you see yellowish leaves, or if the plant has holes on the leaves, then it’s a sign that it was not kept in optimal conditions and you should not purchase it. The best way to check to see if an Amazon sword is healthy is by looking at its roots. Roots should look white, no melting and look fresh.
Sword plants are root feeders, so a healthy root system means they have lived in a good environment before coming to the pet store. Roots should be white long and bushy.
The Benefits of Amazon Sword
Aquarium is more than just a display item, it is a small ecosystem. Plants are one piece of the puzzle to create a balanced ecosystem. Plants like Amazon Sword will add beauty and functionality to your aquarium. They will remove unhealthy toxins and minerals off the water and offer a great hiding place for smaller fish and fry.
The idea of having a static printed picture as an aquarium background is not pleasant to many fishkeepers. So most use live plants to create natural backgrounds for their tank.
Amazon swords are one of the most popular background plants. They grow bushy that can act as the focal point of your aquarium. They look best in an aquarium with a black background.
Despite the beauty aspects of the plant, Amazon Swords can have a positive impact on water quality. They help with removing toxins and produce oxygen for your fish!
Are Amazon Sword Suitable For Your Aquarium?
This hardy plant doesn’t require a lot of attention and it’s super easy to grow. It is a great plant for both beginner and Experienced fisheepers.
If you have a tall aquarium that needs a great background plant, then Amazon sword is an ideal choice. This plant is not suitable for small aquariums so it might not be an ideal plant for you if your aquarium is small.
Amazon Sword is a popular aquatic plant found in most pet stores. Its lush green, sword-shaped leaves will grow long and tall and create great fish hide. It’s easy to care for and a great starting point for anyone who wants to dip a toe in the planted tank world.
We hope the information in this article answers all the questions you had about amazon swords.