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Sword Plants (Echinodorus spp.)

Aquatic Sword Plants, or Echinodorus spp., make a beautiful and hardy addition to any home aquarium. Native to tropical South America, these adaptable marginal plants grow either fully submersed or partially emerged, creating a stunning aquascape for any home.

From the bold Amazon swords to the fragrant rose swords, these vibrant, undemanding plants are perfect for beginner and veteran aquarists alike. Read on to learn more about the care and cultivation of sword plants.

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name: Echinodorus spp.

Family: Alismataceae

Common Names: Aquatic Sword Plants, Amazon Swords, Fragrant Rose Swords

Habitat: wet and marshy grounds

Height: 3 feet

pH Range: 6.0 to 8.0

Temperature: 50°F to 86°F

What Are Aquatic Sword Plants?

Echinodorus spp. is a family of aquatic plants in the Alismataceae family, commonly known as Sword Plants.

There are several different species of Aquatic Sword Plants that have been widely cultivated, making this a popular choice for beginners and experienced hobbyists alike.

These plants form a rosette shape and have large textured leaves with pointed tips, resembling swords.

Echinodorus spp. "Sword Plant" Care Guide | Aquarium Plant

Sword Plants Facts

This plant can grow up to three feet tall in the wild but in their most common form for the aquarium, stay around 10-12”.

Echinodorus spp. require Co2-enriched planting substrate and lots of light to thrive. This plant family can be propagated by dividing the rhizome or by planting one of its many readily available seeds.

Description

Aquatic Sword Plants have large and wide leaves with pointed tips that resemble swords, hence their common name.

Depending on the species, the leaves can range in color from green to bronze, with veins of a darker shade.

Fish use the Sword Plant’s rosettes as a great hiding spot, so be sure to offer plenty of choices when deciding how to decorate your aquarium.

Habitat

Echinodorus spp. is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas and Africa, typically found in wet and marshy ground, shallow submerged swamps, or temporary streams.

These plants thrive in warmer climates with high levels of oxygen in the water, making them well-suited for aquariums. 

pH Preference

Echinodorus spp. prefer an acidic pH level of 6.0 to 8.0, however, they have the ability to adapt to more alkaline water. To maintain a more specific pH, add daily water changes of around 25-30%.

Vivarium Type

Sword Plants are quite easy-going as a species. With that in mind, it will not be too complicated when it comes to choosing the type of enclosure it is grown in. It is best to try and replicate the plant’s natural habitat as much as possible.

Doing so will make it easier to provide this foliage plant with its basic needs. The proper setup and theme of the enclosure will make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant. Be sure to choose setups that are moist and high in humidity.

Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Ripariums – Mostly aquatic-based enclosures with some terrain features present.
  • Aquarium– Fully aquatic-based enclosure with little to no dry terrain.

Vivarium Placement

Sword Plants will best fit in any submerged environment. Be sure to plant them in a Co2-enriched substrate as well as add directly soluble nutrients such as fertilizer.

These plants can also be planted on a normal substrate and in heavy tangles to give a feeling of a wild river bed. Be sure to leave enough space between them to allow water to flow throughout their aquarium.

Substrate

Echinodorus spp. prefer a Co2-enriched substrate, however, they can adapt to a variety of environments with varied pH and hardness ranges.

An enriched aquatic substrate will ensure that the Sword Plant receives all the needed nutrients to grow and keep the environment in balance. 

Lighting

Aquatic Sword Plants need a good amount of lighting for proper growth.

Adding medium aquarium lighting for 8-10 hours a day will provide the most natural habitat for the plant and prevent the excessive growth of algae.

Investing in LED lights or metal halide lamps for a brighter light level will really bring out the vibrant color of the leaves. 

Buy A Sword Plant

When it comes to buying Echinodorus spp., there are a few things to keep in mind. Making sure the plant is healthy when purchased is essential for its success in a vivarium or pond. Vegetation that is already in poor conditions will have a very hard time adjusting to new environments.

Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info about this plant.

Sword Plants Care & Propagation

Regular pruning of the leaves is recommended to give your Sword Plants an even and appealing look.

Trimming away old and decaying leaves will reduce bacterial and fungal growth in the tank and give new leaves the resources to grow properly.

Propagation can be done through the division of the rhizome or through the planting of seeds, which are readily available online.

How To Grow

Sword Plants are relatively easy to grow and require minimal maintenance, making them easy and fun to take care of.

Soil should be nutrient-rich and loosely mixed, to ensure the growth of roots and stems.

Ensure to add fertilizer weekly or bi-weekly to keep these plants healthy and growing and monitor nitrogen levels, as too much can lead to slower growth.

Water Requirements

Echinodorus spp. prefer an acidic water temperature ranging from 50-86°F.

Water should be changed weekly or more if necessary to keep the environment fresh, as this will help prevent a buildup of nutrient levels in the tank.

Plants Similar To Sword Plants

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup. Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.

Furthermore, if for some reason you find Sword Plants hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this aquarium plant… Here are other marginal plants you might find will do well with or in place of Echinodorus spp.:

Broadleaf Sagittaria latifolia Care Guide | Aquarium Plant
potamogeton spp. "Pondweed" Care Guide | Aquarium Plant
Lobelia cardinalis "Aquatic Cardinal Plant" Care Guide

Conclusion

Echinodorus spp. make a great addition to any vivarium, whether it is for aquatic animals or just for decoration.

With its wide range of species, this plant has something to offer for all types of tanks. Its sword-like emergent leaves look beautiful when planted in groups and give a lush, wild feel to any enclosure.

Not only is this plant attractive, but is also a great hiding spot for aquatic creatures. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hobbyist, Aquatic Sword Plants are an easy-to-maintain and enjoyable aquarium plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, echinodorus plants need substrate for their root systems to grow properly. The substrate should be nutrientrich, like claybased soil or fertilizerbased planting substrate. Aquarium gravel can also be used but must be cleaned regularly.

1. Water Sword Plant regularly, providing enough moisture for the soil to stay slightly damp.
2. Place Sword Plant in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight and warm temperatures (60-75°F).
3. Fertilize Sword Plant every two to three weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) using a balanced liquid fertilizer.
4. Prune Sword Plant every year by trimming away dead or damaged leaves and stems.
5. Repot Sword Plant every two years with fresh potting soil, lightly trimming roots if necessary.
6. Watch for signs of common problems like root rot, mealybugs, and leaf spot.

Yes, Sword Plants need a lot of light in order to stay healthy and thriving. They prefer bright, indirect light and will do best in environments with a lot of natural sunlight.

Yes, Amazon Sword Plants can spread by sending out runners and slowly expanding their growth.

Grow Echinodorus in aquariums with temperatures of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, ample light, and soft acidic water. Provide substrate with humus or rotten leaves, and prune old leaves and stalks regularly to maintain a healthy aquarium.

No, Amazon swords (Echinodorus sp.) are considered easy to care for and maintain in aquariums. They require consistent water temperatures and parameters, as well as regular fertilization and trimming. With the necessary care and maintenance, Amazon swords will thrive in home aquariums.

Yes, Amazon swords (Echinodorus sp.) should be planted in the substrate of an aquarium for optimal health and growth. They prefer a rich, loamy substrate with a neutral pH. Make sure the rhizomes are mostly covered by the substrate, with only a small portion of the stem and leaves exposed.

Yes, Echinodorus plants require CO2 to thrive in an aquarium environment. Without sufficient CO2, the plants will not be able to produce enough energy for growth and may even suffer from nutrient deficiencies. CO2 injection systems are available to help provide the plants with the necessary levels of carbon dioxide.

Yes, Amazon Sword plants can melt back due to a variety of reasons, including high temperatures, improper water levels, nutrient deficiencies, and too much light. The best preventative measures to take are to keep the water clean, maintain steady growing temperatures, and make sure the plant is getting adequate lighting and nutrients.

Yes, it is recommended to trim Amazon sword plants for two reasons. First, trimming helps to promote new growth and keeps the plant looking healthy. Second, it helps reduce the risk of plants becoming overcrowded and competing for resources inside the aquarium.

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