Aquarium Basics: Let?s Talk About Amazon Sword Plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-09-2015, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Aquarium Basics: Let’s Talk About Amazon Sword Plants




When it comes to freshwater tanks, the Amazon Sword Plant is a fan favorite – for many reasons. Here are the basics you need to know about this tank staple.

When it comes to stocking a planted tank, you have many different options to choose from. You could go with assorted floating plants to give your tank a shaded appearance or you can go with various mosses for a natural appearance. One of the most popular aquarium plant species for freshwater tanks is the Amazon sword plant.


About the Amazon Sword Plant
The Amazon Sword plant is by far one of the most popular species of aquarium plant among freshwater hobbyists. This species is easy to grow and it produces lush green foliage that looks quite attractive in the aquarium. The Amazon Sword plant is known by the scientific name Echinodorus amazonicus and it is native to Brazil. This plant grows fairly slowly but it does get large, growing up to 1-foot 8 inches tall. Amazon Sword plants are the ideal background plant for planted tanks because they grow so tall and they propagate themselves. It is also interesting to note that Amazon Sword plants can grow partially submersed – this makes them a good addition to terrariums or ripariums as well as the traditional planted tank.


Tank Requirements and Recommendations
The Amazon Sword plant is a hardy species, which is part of what makes it so popular among aquarium hobbyists. These plants only require a moderate level of care and they grow well in moderate to strong lighting. As is true for most aquarium plants, Amazon Swords need about 10 to 12 hours of full-spectrum lighting per day. For the best growth, make sure that your lighting system offers between 2 and 4 watts of lighting per gallon – this will vary depending on the size of your aquarium. To determine how many watts per gallon a particular bulb will provide, simply divide the total number of watts by the gallon size of your aquarium. For example, a 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb would offer 3 watts per gallon in a 20-gallon tank.


In addition to lighting, Amazon Swords also require certain nutrients in the tank water. These plants grow best in loose substrate that offers plenty of iron supplementation. Your Amazon Swords will draw most of their nutrients from the tank water (particularly nitrate and phosphate) but a nutrient-rich substrate will help to maintain healthy growth. EcoComplete is an excellent option, or you can put down a layer of fluorite or laterite under your regular substrate. You may also want to fertilize your Amazon Swords occasionally with a root tab to ensure proper growth.


As far as water conditions in your planted tank, Amazon Swords are fairly adaptable. They prefer a temperature range between 72 and 82 degrees with a water hardness between 3 and 8 dKH. The ideal pH range for this species is 6.5 to 7.5. Testing your tank water on a weekly basis will be very important for checking and maintaining the proper conditions in your tank. You also need to make sure you have a strong filtration system in place in addition to performing weekly water changes to maintain high water quality in your tank. Your filter will help to remove waste products from the tank water, as will your weekly water changes.


The Amazon Sword plant is a popular species among planted tank enthusiasts, and for good reason. Not only is it brightly colored and beautiful to behold, but it is easy to find in pet stores and also fairly easy to cultivate. If you are looking for a great plant to add to your planted freshwater aquarium, consider the Amazon Sword plant.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 01:31 AM
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As a community, we've been trying to discourage people from making "watts per gallon" statements for years now. It's a poor way to estimate how much light you have.

These front page articles are like getting advice from a big chain store employee. It's dated and some of it is just plain wrong. We should expect better.

Where are you guys pulling this information from?

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 01:36 AM
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I read "watts per gallon" and cringed, so my 39W Ray 2 on my 55g only gives me .7 WPG? I can't grow an amazon sword? These front-page articles need to be redone, maybe hand the job over to a community member? You are sure as heck not providing correct or up-to-date information right now.

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Last edited by sohankpatel; 12-10-2015 at 10:11 PM. Reason: typo
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 12:49 PM
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Anyone know if there is a definitive aquarium wiki? I've always wondered if one existed because that would allow the most up-to-date information to be out there in regards to this very complex hobby.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-10-2015, 04:42 PM
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Amazon plants are not demanding on light. I grow an Amazon Red Flame in my 24" high tank with a Beamswork 2nd gen led fixture and one Finnex Ray 2 DS 7000K. I don't think i have med light.

Many grow them in a tank with just fertilization coming from fish excrements.

Michel.

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Last edited by micheljq; 12-11-2015 at 04:03 PM. Reason: typo
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-11-2015, 04:42 PM
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I think this post was written from the viewpoint of ideal conditions. Yes, this plant will do fine under lower light and nutrients BUT it will grow extremely fast under ideal conditions. My amazon swords have flourished when grown under higher light with added nutrients. When no nutrients were added with the higher light, I ran into algae. When I had the Amazon Swords in low lighting with no additional fertilizer, they looked fine but no noticeable growth. It was not until I raised light exposure, added nutrients that I saw significant growth in the plant. (This sword was in the higher lighting described for the 75 gallon below).

I do agree that "watts per gallon" is not the right way to measure light. If you want to suggest a real measurement, track the lumens. You can have a two 6 watt bulbs that put out different lumens, temperature and so many other variables.

Saying you need 2 watts per gallon is like saying you need a gallon of gas per 10 miles you go in your car. How do you know my car gets 10mpg? Same principle applies toward lighting. You don't know if it's a CFL, tungsten, LED, etc. Instead of suggesting the wattage, you may want to suggest lumens per gallon. Also the kelvin rating of the bulb and the distance the light is from the tank is very important.

Wattage per gallon used to be a standard when the majority of light output was the same. As lighting technologies evolve, they get more efficient. As this progresses, this standard can no longer be applied. It is unfortunate though that the majority of lights you buy don't state the standard.

For example:
I have a 48" Aquasun T5 HO Fluorescent Light Fixture. It has space for two 54 watt bulbs pushing total power of 108 watts on a 75 gallon tank. It uses these bulbs at 5,000 Lumens each.

Total Specs:
75 Gallons
10,000 lumens
108 watts
1.44 watts per gallon
92.6 lumens per watt
133.3 lumens per gallon

Comparison Example:
Here is my 150 gallon tank, it runs two 72" LED light bars @ 81 watts BUT each puts out 10,800 lumens.

Total Specs:
150 Gallons
21,600 lumens
162 watts
1.08 watts per gallon
133 lumens per watt
144 lumens per gallon

I think this clearly demonstrates the point that wattage is no longer a good basis to judge the light intensity. Wattage is a measurement of power and not light intensity.

**NOTE:** I wanted to try those cheap LEDs from ebay because they were 1/4th the price of competitors with the same output. So far so good. Great light penetration on a 150G so far but it's only been running for 2 weeks. We'll see how that goes.

PS: If you decide to try these lights, be sure to get the .5 Watt and not the .1 Watt LED. They also have one in full spectrum with a few red and green LEDs. This one just has a few blue and all others are white.

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Last edited by Termato; 12-11-2015 at 07:21 PM. Reason: Lumens explained and spelling.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 10:50 PM
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Um, yeah...
I don't have the greatest tank set up as I run about as low-tech as you can get this side of a bucket with a clamp on light...

But these swords are growing in .5 watt per gallon.
They aren't luscious, but they aren't hurting either.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 11:15 PM
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I can never get these to do anything. Had good lights, good substrate, and good root tabs before and nothing.

I have a 125 gallon tank right now with stock. Fluorescent t8 fixtures. It has 2 24" 6500k bulbs installed. Pool filter sand substrate. Probably won't grow at all in these conditions will they?

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 11:25 PM
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Add some root tabs and a lot of patience and you should be fine.
They like a bit of iron from time to time.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 11:29 PM
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I have kept two smaller swords.
All the rest have been given away(3).
These turn into a very large plant and shade a lot of area.
In a large tank they are great.
Back ground plants in a 75 or larger maybe.
Small varieties are awesome though.

WPG really?


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 11:39 PM
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I don't really want to get another high output light as I don't do c02 and always get c02. Will they work in my 125 setup as stated above? Thanks

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 11:58 PM
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I don't do CO2 or HO lights.
My tank has 1 18watt broad spectrum florescent and 1 450 lumens 6500k led

I don't see why your setup won't work.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-19-2015, 05:02 PM
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Yea, Hooked on fish, I had similar experience with swords under similar lighting. When I raised my lighting to a higher output (as described) and put in fertz, I saw noticeable growth. Enough that the plant almost doubled in size within 2-3 months. That is what I was referring to, ideal vs it works.

You only ever have to run C02 and add fertlizers if you have enough light where the plants require more than what's in the water. Usually, low light tanks don't require any because there is not enough light to demand more nutrients.

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