The sword (Echinodorus bleheri) plant or sword of the Amazon, as its name suggests, is a species native to the longest river basin in America, and its use to ornament aquariums and freshwater ponds has become popular in almost all planet.
It is an aquatic plant that grows with submerged leaves 30 to 60 centimeters long by 10 centimeters wide, attached to flat, triangular petioles with leaf blades lanceolate or narrowly oval.
Although it is usually cultivated completely under the surface of the water, the sword plant is able to continue growing and developing when it is only semi-submerged, although for optimal growth and a better appearance it will always be advisable to keep the level of the liquid above the height Maximum of the leaves.
The specimens of this species can constitute an excellent centerpiece in aquariums, and it is advisable to place them in large containers, larger than 75 liters, due to the length of the leaves. In a smaller aquarium or pond, plant foliage could completely cover the container, leaving little room for fish or other aquatic plant species.
The sword plant is easy to care for, and can thrive in most home aquariums. It should be grown on a loose substrate, either gravel or sand, although in the latter case it will require more care when it is planted for the first time. This is especially true if there are larger fish in the pond, since they can easily pull the plant out of the sand before it has rooted properly.
These aquatic plants benefit from regular doses of an iron-rich fertilizer that can be added weekly after a water change. It will also benefit from the supply of root stimulators and, unlike many other plants, will grow very well without the addition of CO2 to the aquarium or pond.
When choosing lighting for a sword plant , a high quality led, or a special plant lamp (CFL, fluorescent tube, etc.) may be the best option. Approximately 3 watts is needed for every 3.5 liters, but care must be taken not to give too much light. The leaves of these plants may be susceptible to algae growth.
In case of excessive growth of algae in the leaf blades, it should be gently cleaned during weekly water changes. It is also important to remember that sword plants should be checked for damaged and torn leaves during water changes. Because this species can not repair damaged leaves, they must be removed to allow the plant to redirect nutrients to healthy leaves.