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Re: Swords

Regarding 2 posts....

the first....

>Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 00:56:01 -0500
>From: "Daniel Boyer" <dpboyer at axs2k_net>
>Subject: Swords
>Okay, my two amazon swords have gone from having about 5-8 leaves each with
>a maxumum length of ~6" per leaf, to having 25-30 leaves per plant with 50%
>of those leaves being >13" long, all in under three weeks!!!!  Okay, now I
>have two questions about these swords:
>1) Is it possible to cut each plant in half to form two plants or will that
>kill it?  (ie: how can I propogate the swords?)
>2) what is the best way to trim these swords? should I cut the offending
>leaves off at the base? should I just cut the leaves down to a reasonable
>Please help, Daniel
>PS: some of the leaves are turning yellowish (as apposed to the nice deep
>green of the other leaves)... this looks like a nutrient deficency... which
>deficency would cause yellowed leaves on swords?  (I can't afford an Iron or
>phospate test kit right now...  Nitrate levels were around 10ppm before the
>massive water change that I just did.)

and second....

>  My amazon swords (regular type) have all died. They were in the tank since
>the beggining and never put on new growth, Before I get some more of them
>could someone please tell me why this could have happened. The crowns may
>have been a bit low in the substrate that is all i could think of. I
>thought this plant would grow like mad in this tank due to the warmer
>temps, CO2, laterite etc..
>Any comments please....
>Daniel Green
>bevgreen at cygnus_edu.au

I will start off by saying that I have sword envy.  ;)   I hear these
stories of big amazon swords that need pruning and then I look at my tank.
I may not be able to grow a huge amazon, but I can find the info so that I
am well armed for my future.  :)   Rather than show my helpless amazon
sword, here's a much better example.


and some of the info I found (in the APD archives)

In my experience, what is more important for the growth of Echinodorus sp. 
is a good rich substrate and adequate trace element supplies.  Remember that 
in the wild, Echinodorus are only submerged part of the time. (some never 
are totally submerged)  For this reason, they have developed in a way that 
they are dependent to a large extent on root feeding.  If it is suitably 
enriched, you may be able to grow them directly in the substrate of your 
tank.  If you have throuble growing them that way, I find that they do best 
in my tanks potted up with potting soil and either laterite or micronized 
iron.  Sometimes I add an aquatic plant food tablet as well.

Occassionally I come across someone who grows good swords without the use of 
a trace element supplement, usually people with soft water and a lot of iron 
in their tap water, but most people find it necessary to add at least an 
iron supplement, if not a balanced trace element supplement.

Karen Randall

I know you have been working with the clay fertilizer pellet system,
Bill, and this is a typical example of how Sword plants respond to
substrate fertilization when they have adequate water circulation,
light, CO2 and minerals (K, Mg, Ca) in the water!! I avoid feeding Sword
plants because of the difficulties one of these monsters can pose in an
aquarium crammed with a dozen other species. They just take over.

For cropping, I snip off the outer leaves as close to the base as
possible. There's not much that can be done with the length of the
leaves but you can at least limit the area that they take over. Once a
leaf has been damaged or snipped, it tends to rot progressively. If you
leave the stems in place, they look a little odd but are easier to pull
off in a few weeks after they start to die. It's difficult to pull the
stems off initially without damaging the roots or risking pulling the
plant up. Deep substrates make this less likely but the roots can be
massive. I cut them with a small pair of folding scissors or pinch them
off with my finger nails if I can manage it.

Steve Pushak

I had an apparently common problem of calcium deficient amazon swords.  It
manifested itself in the yellow leaves.  After adding (a little too much)
calcium, the sword has sprung up some healthy green leaves.  Maybe,
someday, I too can have the "trouble" of having to crop my amazon sword.

Darin Simmons
darin at silcom_com