Amazon Sword (Echinodorus amazonicus)

[Freshwater Plant]
Common Name: Amazon Sword
Proper Name: Echinodorus amazonicus
Category: Echinodorus
Temperature: 20 - 28 C
PH: 6.0 - 7.6
Lighting: Medium
Growth Rate: Slow
Difficulty: Medium
Origin: Brazil
Position in Aquascape: Background
The Amazon Sword Plant, Echinodorus amazonicus, is a Rosette plant (Any plant with its leaves radiating outwards from a short stem at soil level) that is very popular with aquarium hobbyists. They are capable of reaching approximately 20 inches in height under proper water conditions. The Amazon Sword Plant has short rhizomes, numerous lance shaped leaves that are pale to dark green with sharply pointed tips, and fairly short stems. It is an amphibious plant that will grow either partially or fully submersed.
For the most beautiful Amazon Sword Plants, a loose substrate and with an iron-rich fertilizer must be used. The Amazon Sword Plant requires at least 2 watts per gallon of full spectrum lighting (5000-7000K). The aquarium temperature should be from 72°-82°F, with an alkalinity of 3 to 8 dKH and a pH of 6.5-7.5. Propagation is by adventitious plants on the covered peduncles (stalks).
Best cultivated in large aquariums, Amazon Sword Plants make a great focal point if used singly. When used in groups, they create an interesting background when grown with other aquarium plants.

Origins: Oddly enough, Amazon sword plants originally came from the Amazon River. These days they come mostly from Florida and Fareast plant farms. Florida farms produce bare root as well as potted swords. The Fareast farms send us only bare root specimens because of U.S. import regulations. High air freight rates also make bare root stock more practical. 
Many Varieties: You’ll find several types of sword plants under the “Amazon” label. You’ll even find different species called Amazon swords. Certain farms produce their own particular strains. Others cross different species to come up with hybrids under the same rubric.
Starting Suggestion: Strip any damaged leaves off your new swords. Snip off any non-white roots. And snip the tips off any healthy roots. All these nips and snips encourage new growth.
Reproduction: Amazon swords usually reproduce by root division and by seed. Root division keeps the strain pure. Seeds produce the hybrids and the largest “litters.” Root division works best in your aquarium. Most sword keepers never see an adult sword plant bloom and produce seeds. Many Fareast plant farms use microbiology to turn out acres of identical sword plants. Do not attempt this at home. 
Broad-leaf amazon sword in aquarium
Substrate: Swords grow best in smaller grained substrates about the size of a b-b. Adding clay to the substrate helps a lot. Mixing in large quantities of vermiculite helps even more. Some growers add soil. We think soil’s way too messy to use.
Fertilizers: The laterite products on the market were developed specifically to help you grow sword plants. Swords also respond very well to leaf fertilizers and even better to root fertilizers. Avoid over fertilizing them.
Lighting: If you’re serious about your swords, put a timer on your tank and give them exactly 12 hours of good light. Deep tanks require more bulbs than shallow tanks. Swords respond well to nearly any good light source.
Algae Problems: Too much light will cause algae to grow on your Amazon sword leaves. YOU cannot remove it. The Siamese algae eating sharks and the algae-eating shrimps can do the job. Otocinclus help a great deal also. Never add a plecostomus.

Other Threats:Plecos skin their leaves and make them look like lace plants.Silver dollars eat them down to their roots.So will Colombian ramshorn snails and apple snails.Big cichlids like to uproot them.Keep turtles and crayfish out of any plant tank.
Plecos fish
Cichlids fish
Apple snail

Colombian ramshorn snail

Silver dollar fish

Water: Amazon swords grow just fine in Des Moines water. Don’t get excited about pH values. And our water contains extra lime. Ignore it. Don’t add salt or use softened water (which adds salt).
Size: Most tank-raised Amazon swords grow 12 to18-inches tall. Oddly enough, too much light keeps them from growing tall. They flatten out. On the other hand, we’ve seen these plant grow up and out of a 70-gallon tank under hanging lights. These big momma plants grow flowers and make lots and lots of little baby swordlets.
Great Egg Site: If you keep breeder size angels, you’ll notice your angels prefer to spawn on Amazon sword plant leaves. They’re both from the same river. Angels can wreck their leaves when spawning.
Last Word: Amazon swords will survive and grow even under less than perfect conditions. That’s what makes them one of the most popular decorative plants.