Substrate for Swords - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Substrate for Swords

I am doing a 29 gallon low light setup that is a South American tank. after researching it i realized this is going to have to be a all sword tank with my limited lighting. I know swords are strictly root feeders so I figure I could make the tank do really well with low light if I make sure the substrate is good. What is the best substrate to accomplish this? The tank will have xray tetras corys and a Bolivian Ram so it has to be fine for the cory's whiskers.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 09:28 PM
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I would use sand with or without root tablets. I have some regular old sand in my tanks and all of my plants love it. I have several large swords in it with and without root tabs and they do really well. The corydoras will like it and other bottom dwelling fish will too.

I'm pretty sure you can get play sand for cheap. Just rinse it really well and it should work fine. When you fill up your tank with water, make sure there is a plate or two in the bottom where you pour the water in so it doesn't stir up the sand and make the water cloudy.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 09:58 PM
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My personal recommendation is a higher nutrient substrate, rather than something inert like just sand or gravel. A miracle grow dirt tank or mineralized topsoil substrate recipe is a better choice. Cheap and effective. Gets most of the major nutrients into the substrate with minimal effort on your part and will give you long term comfort to get your feet wet in the hobby. You will need to be careful when moving plants around since this will churn up the "stuff" on the bottom, but it works. You can cap the top of it with an inert or CEC content substrate for cosmetic purposes if you wish (which I recommend anyway).

Regular sand or gravel with Root tabs does work. Keep in mind that the root tabs will have to be supplemented every few months. If you don't mind doing that, then that is another way to do it.

Good luck


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 09:59 PM
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Wait, I just saw that you are doing a south american cichlid tank. If you are hosting substrate spawning species, then my suggestions are out the door, unless you can pot the plants somehow.


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 10:03 PM
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With the way swords grow and the huge root system they have I'd hesitate to use dirt if I thought I'd ever want to remove one of the plants. lol

Even without the dirt I've taken to cutting around the plant and just leave the rest of the roots to rot.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 10:05 PM
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Here is my sword that grew from a stump to this in inert sand with one root tab buried at the base.



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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 10:14 PM
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They are not strictly root feeders, but do respond well to root feeding. I agree with Glenn, Gatekeeper. You can do soil or any type of clay gravel and suppliment with root tabs, but a 29 gallon tank is too small for most sword plants. There are only a few small swords:

E vesuvius
E parviflorus var tropica
and a new one:



Quote:
Echinodorus 'Pinwheel'
Echinodorus 'Pinwheel' is a great new sword plant for the aquarium created by Florida Aquatic Nurseries. It gets its name from the curved leaves that it displays in the emersed form similar to a pinwheel in appearance. Narrow leaves and a small stature help this aquarium plant to resemble a Cryptocoryne in growth habit. Echinodorus 'Pinwheel' is an excellent choice for midground settings in a planted aquarium. If you have been looking for a sword plant that won't out grow your aquarium, this is your choice.

Robert Paul Hudson

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 10:44 PM
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When I had my old 135g tank I had pool filter sand and added a few root tabs. The swords grew incredible quick. A dirt substrate might be a pain due to how fast swords will grow.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 11:11 PM
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I just use eco-complete with ADA Power Sand Special. My swords are growing like crazy...
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 11:12 PM
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My cories whiskers are not injured by eco-complete
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 11:33 PM
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substrate for swords isn't really a big deal, but root tabs are pretty much a must unless you have fertile substrate like Aquasoil or something.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2012, 11:53 PM
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Smile Swords

Growing swords? You may look at this post:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...nts-tanks.html

Good luck!
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Good point, I have had swords before and they do get huge. This tank is for my sisters waiting room she is a chiropractor. She did some work in Bolivia her senior year so I liked the idea of theming it after south america. Bolivian Ram, X-ray tetras (bones go with the doctor theme) and corys for the bottom. The light I have for the tank is a Coralife 36watt T-5 Normal output light. It worked well for low light when I had the tank. But I doubt it's enough for a lot of the plants native to south america. That was why I picked swords. But a few swords in that tank will start looking bare and empty but end looking like a couple huge plants and no fish to be seen. Maybe I should scratch the idea and just make the stock from south america but make the plants anything low tech like anubius and cryts and vals.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 08:25 AM
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I just got a couple swords from FAN, samples of their new swords. One is a yellow marble sword. Its potted, looks small to me, I stuck it in my 20 gallon, and the leaves stick out an inch and a half above the water! It only has four leaves and its a baby! I like your back up plan. Cryps are cool. Many to choose from.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-13-2012, 03:16 PM
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Also, as mentioned earlier, Echinodorus parviflorus, and the hybrids from it are very nice, small swords.
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