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Re: Second request, how to deal with Amazon swords

Catherine wrote:

> I
> really need to know if Amazon sword plants (E. Amazonicus? -- your regular
> kind, not a variety that stays small) can be contained somehow, or are only
> meant for very large tanks.

They get larger over time and in my tanks reach a maximum size when
they're almost 2 feet in diameter.  That can take a couple years to
happen, so they can be kept in smaller tanks for quite a while before
they get too big.

> I have a 38 gallon that is about 90% full of
> plants thanks to Amazon sword "takeover".

How many do you have?  I don't think I'd try to keep more than one in a
38 gallon tank.  Even then, the front-to-back dimension of the tank is
small enough that a full-grown sword plant will take up all of it.

> Is there a way to prune them so
> that they still survive and look good?  It is overshadowing everything else
> in the tank.  I really like the way it looks, but in a short time I think I
> am going to end up with an "Amazon sword tank" instead of a planted 
> aquarium.

I'm not sure what size they are now, so that's hard to answer.  If you
look closely at the base of a large plant you might see that the leaves
originate from more than one growing point.  If so, then the plant can
be "split" into two or more plants and the smaller individuals can be
replanted, traded or trashed.  Also, you can uproot a large plant, trim
its roots and if it has a large rhizome, cut off or snap off the
rhizome.  That will slow it down.

You can also prune off the outer leaves.  This works for a while but the
plant eventually gets unsightly because the base of the plant moves up
as the leaves are removed.  Eventually the plant stands above the
substrate.  This happens over time anyway with old plants, but you
accelerate the process by pruning the older leaves.

> If there is some way to control this monster, then great!  But if not, I
> would like it to go to a good home -- I need to trade it for something,
> because it is going to leave a huge hole if I have to take it out.

Ultimately you will only be able to control its size by keeping it
unhealthy.  It's an unfortunate fact that once you figure out how to
grow plants you find out real fast that a lot of our aquarium plants get
too big to fit in an average-size tank.  That's one reason why we prize
so many of the smaller plants.

Roger Miller