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Sword Rot Question

This question is for anyone on the list who has had experience with sword
plants and has successfully battled sword plant "rot".  I would like to know
the cause and cure of "sword rot" that I have experienced periodically in my
45 gallon hex.  Any guesses, tips, and wags would also be appreciated.

My E. cordifolius sword plant flourished for several months sending out
strong broad leaves 7 to 8" that I could almost see growing.   A few weeks
ago it "froze up" suddenly leaving a few half grown pale green leaves in mid
growth. (This "freezing" has happened before which I usually attributed to a
hungry bristlenose missing his evening cucumber.  Usually after paying more
attention to supplemental feeding I would notice a strong new leaf
emerging.)  Anyway, this time there was no plecostomus because I tired of
being a nursemaid and traded him back to my LFS several months ago.  I
waited for the new leaf which never came and after several days I spotted
dark areas near the base of the stem .  I extracted and examined the plant
and to my horror the large leaves pulled off easily at the base. All the
leaves were easily pulled off leaving a "stump" of roots with a woody ball.
(The roots were still very white, numerous, and strong looking around the
perimeter of the woody ball.))

This actually happened before with several beautiful batches of E.
Amazonicus.  The stems became brittle and when I extracted the plant all the
leaves except perhaps the brand new ones pulled off like a well boiled
artichoke. I was able to salvage a miniature version of the original plants.

 I have a 45 gallon hex UGFw/gravel-flourite 5inch substrate, 2
watts/gallon, DIY CO2, "Flourish"fertilizer added weekly, and pretty heavy
plant and fish load. (The sagitarria runs rampant and has to be thinned
regularly) I do clean a portion of the gravel each time I do a water change
(wherever I find an open spot)  PH 6.8-7.0, ammonia and nitrite non
detectable, nitrate 10ppm, 82 F,

The only sword I've had extended success with was an E. Bleheri which
eventually took over the tank and was removed.  Again, any tips would be

Craig David
Long Beach, CA