Plant Profiles: Amazon Sword


Plant Profiles: Amazon Sword

With so many options available, choosing the right aquatic plant can be overwhelming. But chances are, you’ve considered adding the Amazon Sword to your tank. With its striking bright green leaves, it’s easy to see why this plant is a top pick among hobbyists.

What’s even better? They’re super easy to care for, which makes them a perfect first step into the world of aquatic plants. Plus, many enthusiasts, perhaps even someone you know, often use the Amazon Sword as a background plant in larger setups or as a focal point in smaller tanks.

In the following sections, we’ll delve into everything from planting to nurturing the Amazon Sword, ensuring your tank becomes the thriving oasis you envision.

Amazon Sword Plant Facts and Overview

“Amazon Sword” refers to the Echinodorus genus of aquatic plants.

Under the Echinodorus genus lie several species including Echinodorus amazonicus, Echinodorus grisebachii, and Echinodorus bleheri. These varieties have different leaf shapes, with Echinodorus bleheri having broader leaves compared to the narrower ones of Echinodrorus amazonicus.

When buying, be aware that pet stores might use “Amazon Sword Plant” for multiple species, each with slight visual differences. Yet, the good news? They all share similar care requirements!

Origin and Natural Habitat

As its name implies, the Amazon Sword plant originates from the vast freshwater regions of the Amazon River basin. In its natural habitat, it’s commonly found in slow-moving waters where it has ample space to grow and spread its roots in the underwater soil. These areas, rich in nutrients, offer the ideal conditions for the plant to thrive.

However, it’s worth noting that during certain seasons when the water levels drop, Amazon Swords can be found partially or even fully exposed to air.

In the aquarium hobby, some enthusiasts grow them out of water in high-humidity setups like terrariums. If transitioning between submerged and emersed states, it’s crucial to do so gradually to ensure the plant adapts well.



The Amazon Sword leaves are primarily bright green or dark green, often with hues of green running through the veins. The most distinctive feature of this plant is its lance-shaped leaves, which elongate gracefully from a central point, mimicking the shape of a lance or sword, hence the name.

The plant’s stem is hardy, but despite its toughness, the leaves themselves are surprisingly delicate. This fragility allows the leaves to sway gently with the water current, creating a mesmerizing underwater dance that captivates any observer.

Size and Growth Rate

The growth rate of the Amazon Sword is moderate when compared to other aquatic plants. This means it doesn’t proliferate too quickly, but it’s not slow-growing either. When given the right conditions, they produce large, wide leaves. Because of this, many aquarium enthusiasts use the Amazon Sword as a background plant to create depth and fill spaces in their tanks.

As the plant matures, its roots grow deep and strong, anchoring it firmly into the substrate. In captivity, the Amazon Sword can grow up to 16 inches tall. This impressive height, combined with its wide leaves, makes it not only an effective backdrop but also a central focal point in many aquarium setups.

Whether you want to use it as a central focal point or as a background plant, it is essential to provide these plants with adequate space to flourish, as their size can overshadow smaller plants and decorations if not positioned thoughtfully.

Benefits of Adding Amazon Sword Plants to Your Aquarium

If you are on the hunt to enhance your tank’s ambiance and appeal, the Amazon Sword plants might just be your answer! Not only do these plants give your fish a hideout with their large leaves, reducing their stress, but they also work wonders on the water quality by absorbing unwanted waste and toxins.

Plus, their sturdy roots? They do an excellent job of grounding the substrates and keeping everything stable! Oh, and if you’ve got fish that are looking for the perfect leafy spot to lay their eggs, these plants have got them covered.

Now, let’s talk looks. Amazon Swords create that lush, natural feel to any tank. Their tall, bright green leaves stand out beautifully against darker backgrounds. And there’s something kind of mesmerizing about watching them sway gently with the water’s flow.

So, if you’re aiming for a healthier, more visually appealing tank, these plants are a top pick!

Amazon Sword Care

Amazon Sword Care

Given their origins in the diverse ecosystems of the river basin, Amazon Sword plants have a certain hardiness and adaptability that make them fairly low-maintenance. Their ease of care is a big reason why they’ve become such a favorite in the aquarium hobby.

You have the option to grow them emersed (out of water) or submerged (underwater) – they’re versatile like that. But even with their easy care routine, it’s good to note that they thrive best when given the right conditions.

Tank Size

At the very minimum, a 10-gallon tank is recommended for a plant-only aquarium. This size ensures a stable environment for the plant. However, you might find yourself having to the plant more often to keep it in check.

If you are considering adding fish or pairing the Amazon Sword with other plants, then it is a good idea to scale up!

Starting with a 20 to 30-gallon tank is your best bet. This larger space ensures that your community has ample room to thrive without overcrowding each other. Plus, with the extra space, the Amazon Sword tends to grow vertically, reaching for the light and showing off its full majestic potential.

Water Parameters and Flow

Hailing from the varied ecosystems of the Amazon River basin, the Amazon Sword plant has naturally learned to adapt to diverse water conditions. While they can survive a range of parameters, they truly flourish when conditions are stable and consistent. Ensuring these ideal parameters guarantees their health.

  • Water temperature: A consistent temperature bracket of 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C) best suits Amazon Swords.
  • pH Level: The sweet spot for Amazon Swords lies between a pH of 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Hardness: A general hardness (GH) of 3 to 8 dKH (50 to 140 ppm) and carbonate hardness (KH) of 3 to 6 dKH (50 to 100 ppm) are typically preferred.

For optimal conditions, you must ensure your water flow remains moderate to mimic their natural habitat. Too strong a flow can cause its leaves to tear or become damaged.

Equally important is the practice of regular water changes. It’s recommended to complete water changes by swapping out 10–25% of the aquarium’s water every two to four weeks. This routine not only ensures the removal of potential toxins but also reintroduces essential minerals.

Lighting Requirements

Lighting Requirements

Amazon Sword plants, while adaptable, have specific preferences when it comes to lighting. They grow best under moderate lighting conditions. Ideally, an aquarium housing these plants should provide about 2 to 3 watts per gallon of water.

A consistent lighting schedule of 8-12 hours daily is recommended. However, be wary of over-lighting. Too much light can lead to unwanted algae growth, and too little light will result in discoloration of leaves.

To strike the right balance, monitor your plants and adjust the light levels as needed. If you notice the Amazon Sword plant leaves turning pale or see excessive algae growth, it might be time to reassess your lighting regimen.



Amazon Sword plants are notably heavy root feeders, meaning most of their nutrition comes from the substrate they are planted in. Hence, nutrient-rich substrate is a must-have!

While you have options for substrates, loose plant substrates are highly recommended for these plants due to their optimal nutrient composition.

Small gravel is an excellent choice, as it allows for proper root spread while still retaining the necessary minerals. Sand is also an option, but it may require a bit more attention as it can sometimes compact, potentially hindering root growth.

When setting up your substrate, a depth of at least 2.5 inches is advisable. This depth provides the Amazon Sword’s extensive rootstock ample space to spread out and anchor the plant securely.

Fertilizer and CO2 Recommendation

Being heavy root feeders, Amazon Swords absorb a significant portion of their nutrition from substrates. Over time, even nutrient-rich substrates can become depleted.

To compensate for this, consider adding root tabs—fertilizer tablets designed to be placed directly into the substrate—after water changes. These tabs slowly release essential minerals, ensuring the roots get a consistent supply over time.

Fertilizer and CO2 Recommendation

Liquid fertilizer can also be beneficial, especially if you notice the leaves turning yellow or exhibiting other signs of nutrient deficiency.

Now, unlike many aquarium plants that often require a boost from added CO2, Amazon Swords flourish even without it. However, if you’re after an even denser or faster growth, you could consider a CO2 setup.

How to Plant Amazon Sword Plant

Amazon Sword plants are not only widely available, but they’re also wallet-friendly! Most times, you can pick one up for just $5 to $7.

Once you have your plant in hand, it is essential to give it a good once-over. Check for any signs of discolored or dying leaves. These signs could pose serious threats to the rest of your aquarium’s health.

If you spot any, it’s wise to quarantine your plant for at least 2 weeks before introducing it to the main tank.

Assuming you have your plant prepared, go ahead and place the Amazon Sword directly into your chosen substrate. As it settles in and its roots begin to grow, they’ll secure the plant in place.

But, and this is a BIG but, while you’re tucking those roots in, make sure you do not bury the crown – this is where the root profile meet the base of the stem. Keeping the crown visible allows it to receive enough lighting and ensures they are healthy.

Trimming and Pruning

Since this plant has a slow-growing pace, trimming and pruning aren’t needed as frequently as with some other aquarium plants.

However, over time, older leaves may become damaged or discolored, turning yellow or brown. If left unchecked, these can restrict lighting sources to newer, healthier leaves.

To maintain the plant’s wellness and aesthetic, it’s a good idea to occasionally remove these older leaves, ensuring the Amazon Sword gets ample light and remains a vibrant centerpiece in your aquarium.



In the wild, this plant employs a rather captivating method of propagation by developing blossoms. However, within the confines of an aquarium, the conditions are not always conducive for them to flower. Instead, Amazon Swords tend to rely on their runner system for propagation.

To propagate this plant, you’re mainly looking at its runner system. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Wait for the Runners: Over time, a mature Amazon Sword will start to send out runners, which are long stems with baby plants at the tips. These will usually appear at the base of the parent plant.
  2. Allow Growth: Let these baby plantlets grow until they develop a few leaves and a decent root system. This ensures they have a better chance of survival when separated.
  3. Separate and Plant: Once you’re confident the baby plants are sufficiently developed, gently cut them from the main runner and plant them directly into the substrate, just as you would with a mature plant.

After you’ve planted the baby sword, make sure to monitor their progress in the initial stages.

Tank mates

While some hobbyists prefer a plant-only aquarium, showcasing the plant as the focal point, many opt to use them as a scenic backdrop for a bustling tank community.

The Amazon Sword plant pairs perfectly with peaceful fish, especially smaller species that treat the lush green leaves as a sanctuary for shade or refuge. Some of them include:

While there are many fish that harmonize well with Amazon Swords, it’s crucial to be discerning in your choices because not all of them respect the sanctity of the plant.

  • Goldfish: These large species might view Amazon Swords as a tempting snack, especially when they grow bigger and more curious.
  • Cichlids: Notorious diggers by nature, they can easily uproot plants in their quest for digging spots. Their behavior can quickly dishevel an otherwise pristine planted aquarium.
  • Plecos: While they are often desired for their algae-eating habits, plecos have been known to graze on plant leaves, weakening the plant and even leading them to death.


So, now thinking of adding the Amazon Sword to your aquarium? Great pick!

Its beauty, easy care, and the cool benefits it offers make it a favorite for many. You don’t have to be an expert to have this plant in your tank.

With its tall and impressive leaves, it’ll feel like you’ve got a little piece of the Amazon right at home!

Still unsure? Don’t sweat it!

Consider joining our Facebook community with over 470k members. It’s packed with aquarium hobbyists who are always eager to share their insights, tips, and experiences. Whether you’re an aquatic expert or just starting out, with the Amazon Sword and our vibrant community by your side, every page of this adventure promises to be amazing!

And if you want to explore more plants for your thriving aquarium, here are more articles for you!

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