One of the easiest freshwater aquarium plants to grow and maintain is the Echinodorus bleheri compacta, better known as the Amazon sword plant. The “compacta” part of the name indicates that this plant is well suited for smaller aquariums, since it only grows to be about 6 inches tall. Some of its relatives, very similar in appearance, grow to be as much as 20 to 24 inches tall. These lovely decorative plants can usually be purchased bareroot or potted from any tropical fish supplier. Install your plant in its new home as soon as possible.
Trim any damaged or yellowing leaves from your E. bleheri with clean, sharp scissors. Remove any discolored roots that are not perfectly bright white. Snip off the tips of all of the healthy white roots. The plant will soon respond with rapid, healthy growth. Look the specimen over, and pick off and destroy snails or snail eggs if you find any.
Choose a featured spot in your aquarium to show off this attractive plant. Unless the tank is under 10 gallons, the foreground is perfect for highlighting it.
Dig a hole in the substrate deep and wide enough to accommodate the bareroot specimen’s roots. If the plant has been purchased potted, you can leave it that way. Just dig a hole big enough to bury the pot in.
Position the E. bleheri in the hole with one hand, while gently packing substrate over and around its roots.
Provide your Amazon sword plants with about 12 hours of light daily. More than that will actually slow down their growth, as well as promote the development of excessive amounts of algae growth in your tank.
Add some algae eating shrimp, Siamese algae eating sharks, or Otocinclus algae eaters if algae begins to accumulate on your Amazon sword plant. You won’t be able to remove it manually, and these animals will clean the plant of algae while doing it no harm. Do not opt for adding a common plecostomus, which will strip the coverings from E. Bleheri’s leaves.
Things You Will Need
- Clean, sharp scissors
- Algae eating shrimp
- Siamese algae eating sharks
- Otocinclus algae eaters
- Don't plant Amazon sword plants in aquariums housing apple snails, Columbian ramshorn snails, or silver dollar fish. These will all devour the plants right down to the roots. Larger cichlids will keep them uprooted and often shred the leaves. Turtles and crustaceans are very destructive to all aquarium plants. Angelfish love to spawn in E. bleheri but tend to trash the plants while they're at it.