Amazon Sword Care Guide

Amazon sword plants against black substrate

Amazon Sword:

With sleek leaves and a vibrant green glow, the Amazon sword is loved by beginner and expert aquarium enthusiasts alike.

Amazon sword care is simple and straightforward. These plants can survive in a wide range of conditions and have a slow to moderate growth rate, making maintenance a breeze.

Interested in buying one for yourself? Consider purchasing an Amazon sword plant through a reputable seller on Amazon (the company)!

Background Information:

The scientific name for the Amazon sword is Echinodorus grisebachii ‘Amazonicus’.

There are other varieties of the same species that have similar care requirements.

This particular plant is both aquatic and semi aquatic, meaning that it grows both above and fully below the water line.

Interestingly, Amazon swords have both an underwater and above water form that impacts the shape of their leaves.

Swords grown above water will tend to have oval shaped leaves extending from a thin stem.

However, if grown under water their leaves begin closer to the base of the plant and take on a sword shape.

This species grows up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) in height, making it an ideal plant for backgrounds.

Lastly, Amazon swords are native to Cuba, Central American, and the Northern parts of South America.

They are usually found growing in marshes, river banks, or shallow parts of ponds.

These plants are also great with most freshwater species of fish, and Petco includes a comprehensive list of compatible creatures.

Amazon Sword Light Requirements:

Amazon swords do best in moderate lighting, however, they are able to adapt to both low and high lighting environments with time.

Aim to provide 8 to 12 hours of direct light, but they can easily handle up to 14 hours without issue.

Also, it’s good practice to provide aquatic plants with an artificial light to ensure they are getting enough.

Full spectrum LED, fluorescent, and incandescent aquarium tube lights are all great options.

As far as the strength of the lights go, aim for a power output of about 2.5 to 4 watts per gallon of aquarium.

For temperature color ranges aim to be between the 6000K to 7000K range.

Amazon Sword pH Range:

This species is able to adapt to a range of pH values, making it great for use in most freshwater aquariums.

An ideal pH is between 6.5 and 7.5, though they can tolerate pH ranges as low as 6.0 and as high as 8.0.

As with other aquatic plants and animals, avoid exposing Amazon swords to wide and rapid swings in pH values.

Exposure to rapid swings is damaging to the health of the plant (and other aquatic life included).

Temperature Requirements:

Swords plants are native to tropical and subtropical regions throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

As a result, they do best in temperatures from 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C).

However, they tolerate temperatures as low as 60°F (15.5°C). Anything higher or lower can damage the plant.

Water Hardness Parameters:

Amazon swords tolerate a wide range of water hardness parameters, with 2 – 12 GH (General Hardness) being an optimal range.

Ensure that your water does not contain any heavy metals or materials that may be harmful to aquatic plants or creatures.

Amazon Sword CO2 Requirements:

These aquatic plants do not require CO2 (carbon dioxide) supplementation in order to survive.

However, carefully adding carbon dioxide through injection or through liquid or solid boosters help to increase growth.

The dosage depends on the brand (or the desired result if there are other species of aquatic plants in the aquarium).

Generally, a lower dosage of CO2 works best for Amazon swords.

Fertilizer Usage:

Amazon swords draw most of their nutrients from substrate through their roots like terrestrial plants.

This is different from most other plants in the aquarium trade, which draw nutrients from the water into their stems and leaves.

As a result, Amazon swords do not need fertilizer if a nutrient dense substrate is used.

If a nutrient dense substrate is not used, root tables or other solid fertilizers are recommended.

Generally, one root tab per plant once every month per plant is a good starting point.

Carefully examine plants over time to see if they need more fertilizer, usually indicated by yellowing and decaying leaves.

Amazon Sword Planting Guide:

Unlike many other freshwater aquatic plants in the aquarium trade, Amazon swords should be directly planted into substrate.

This requirement is a result of these plants taking up nutrients through their root systems, which is why it is crucial to provide them with fertilizer or nutrient dense substrates.

First, carefully dig a small hole using either tweezers or by hand.

The hole needs to be deep enough to cover all the roots of the Amazon sword.

However, do not cover the rhizome or crown (the base of the plant where the leaves grow from) with substrate.

Leaving the rhizome above the substrate reduces the risk of rotting.

Also, it makes it easier for the leaves to grow because they do not need to push past the substrate.

After the plant is set in the hole, carefully fill in the substrate around the roots.

Again, take care to ensure the rhizome is left uncovered and that the sword is pointing upwards and not on its side.

Lastly, plant swords towards the back of the aquarium.

Their large size makes them excellent background fillers.


Planting Depth:

Amazon swords grow at any planting depth as long as they have access to enough light and nutrients.

However, keep in mind that they can grow over 20 inches (51 centimeters) in height if given enough care.

For this reason they do best in deeper aquariums or even ponds.

They also thrive in shallow aquariums, but they need regular maintenance to prevent them from growing out of the tank.

Additional Care Tips:

Amazon Swords Do Not Tolerate Saltwater:

Swords are freshwater plants and are unable to grow in high salt concentrations found in seawater.

However, some individuals have had success adapting their plants to brackish water with lower salt concentrations.

They Tolerate Water Currents:

Amazon swords make great choices for aquariums with moderate water flow rates created by semi-powerful pumps/filters.

Additionally, water currents in aquariums help to prevent the development of algae, fungus, and bacteria along the leaves of plants.

Also, a moderate water current helps to improve the health of aquatic plants by providing them with more CO2 from the atmosphere.

Propagation Guide:

Amazon swords primarily spread by shooting out stems (called adventitious roots or runners) across the substrate that grow new plants on the end.

The new plantlets are genetic clones to the parent plant and happily thrive so long as the parent plant remains healthy.

Overtime, the plantlets develop roots and leaves. Eventually, they are able to survive independent from the parent plant and support themselves.

After some time the runner root wilts away and the parent plant and the plantlet are completely separate.

However, the runner root can be sliced by hand to separate the plants if one needs to be relocated or the root becomes unsightly.

Wait to slice the runner root until the plantlet has a few roots and leaves.

Then, plant the plantlet back into the substrate and care for it as a normal Amazon sword.

Also feel free to check out some of our other care guides on various aquatic and semi-aquatic plants on our Aquatic Plant Care Category Page.

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