How to Grow Amazon Sword in Your Fish Tank

By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise

Best Way to Grow Amazon Sword in Your Aquarium

Amazon sword plant is a rosette species that is quite popular with aquarium hobbyists. The plant is resilient and is easy to start when planted in loosely packed gravel.

However, though amazon sword will grow in low light, its care level is moderate to slightly hard which means the plant can be challenging to new aquarists.

The Amazon sword grows best in a tropical freshwater aquarium with soft water and a ph anywhere from 6.5 to 7.5 and a temperature range between 72°F and 82°F.

This plant also thrives more when used in large fish tanks to create interest in the background.

Plant your Amazon sword in a loose substrate, under moderate light. Plus, I recommend adding Iron-rich fertilizer for lush plant growth.

That said, this article will take you through everything you need to know before you establish Amazon sword in your fish tank. We’ll look at propagation, planting, care, trimming and more.

Amazon Sword Overview

Echinodorus grisebachii or Echinodorus Amazonius commonly called Amazon sword plant is native to Cuba, Central America, and South America as far South as Brazil and Bolivia.

The plant can grow submerged up to the leaves, which are lancelot or narrowly oval. However, stores sell different varieties under the same Amazon sword plants name which includes Echinodorus Bleheri which has broad leaves.

Moreover, beware the name Amazon sword may also be used to refer to similar aquatic plants that differ slightly from true amazon sword.

By and large, true plants of this species have short rhizomes, numerous lance-shaped leaves that are pale to dark-green with sharply pointed tips and short stems.

It also an amphibious plant that will grow either partially or fully submerged.

Amazon sword makes a great focal point if used singly, but when grown with other aquarium plants, it’s used to create an interesting aquarium background.

Planting Amazon Sword in a Fish Tank

Amazon sword is quite resilient so planting it in a fish tank should not be hard. Usually, it is planted in an aquarium substrate as opposed to floating or attached on driftwood or lava rocks.

That said, plant your Amazon sword in a loosely packed substrate, including fine gravel, making sure the roots will get enough space to spread.

The reason for this is because Amazon sword plants can grow up to 12 inches in height and to 18 inches in some cases, which means the roots travel quite deep and wide.

For the same reason, you are better of starting this plant in a large tank like in a 25-gallon. Otherwise, your plant will continually outgrow your aquarium and require a lot of trimming.

Once planted, Amazon plants will grow slowly but steadily developing the roots first which venture deep into the substrate in search of nutrients. Then the stems and leaves will come up a little later.

Assuming the primary purpose for planting Amazon sword is to beautify your tank, you may want to place the plant at the back of the aquarium where it’s best suited (unless you have longer plants).

The Amazon sword will start slowly at the back with little effect, but once established, it will tower over mid-ground and foreground plants to create a third plant level.

Finally, once you are done planting your Amazon sword, add Iron-rich fertilizer to maintain healthy growth. Also, remember to use a rich substrate at the planting stage.

How Do You Care for Amazon Sword Plant?

After you’ve planted your Amazon sword, there isn’t much else you need to do apart from the usual aquatic plant care process. Which includes making sure your aquarium water quality is right, lighting, fertilization and consider the companions.


Amazon sword doesn’t need strong lighting though more light will result in faster growth albeit boosting algae growth.

The best light bulb for an aquarium planted with Amazon sword should produce at least 2 watts per gallon of full-spectrum light that is between 5000K and 7000K.

The plant will also need the light to be on for between 10 and 12 hours per day, this includes the light coming from the sun in case your fish tank is in a well-lit room.

However, your Amazon sword light needs may vary depending on the size of your aquarium. So to determine how many watts you need your bulb to produce, divide the total number of watts from a light source by the gallon size of your fish tank.

For instance, a 60-watt bulb would offer 3 watts per gallon in a 20-gallon tank.

That said, remember too much light will encourage algae growth, therefore, leave your aquarium bulb on for not more than 12 hours per day. Also, consider using a moderate light source instead of a high light fixture.

Fertilization—Iron Supplement

In addition to lighting, your Amazon sword also require nutrients in the tank water and substrate especially in a heavily planted aquarium.

The plant will draw most of the nutrients from the water, particularly nitrates and phosphates, while a rich substrate will help to maintain healthy growth.

On the other hand, supplementation will feed the plant with nutrients that are not present in the water like Iron.

Therefore, fertilize Amazon sword regularly with a root tab or put down a layer of fluorite sand or laterite under your substrate.

When choosing a substrate initially, go with a loose, rich option and remember to Amazon sword has a strong root system which requires a large amount of substrate to develop effectively.

A brilliant hack that some aquarist use is to place two layers of substrate in the tank. The bottom layer is usually a rich and fine base that can support root development. While the layer on top, mostly gravel, anchor the plants and improve the aesthetics of the aquarium floor.

Water Conditions

As far as water parameters in your planted aquarium go, Amazon sword is fairly adaptable meaning there is nothing much to worry about.

The plant prefers a temperature range between 72°F and 82°F with the ideal ph range anywhere from 6.5 to 7.5.

Testing your tank water every week is also quite important to ensure all parameters are stable.

To maintain the tank in proper conditions, you’ll need a strong filtration system in place and perform 10 percent water changes every week or 25 percent after every other week.

Amazon Sword Tankmates

Amazon sword plant is generally a good choice for a community fish tank especially one with calm fish that won’t damage plant parts.

However, the plant is quite hardy and will handle a reasonable number of aggressive species though not as rough as Oscars, Jack Dempsey, and large cichlids.

Fish that snack on live plants are not the best in tanks planted with Amazon sword especially when planted as a decorative element in your tank.

Add Amazon sword in aquariums with fish that love heavily planted tanks like betta and gouramis. The numerous leaves also provide great cover for small fish trying to avoid bullies and young fry in danger of being consumed.

On top of that, Amazon sword does well with or without other plant companions. However, due to its large size and the possibility of outgrowing its designated space, you should consider putting it with smaller aquarium plants.

Amazon Sword Plant Propagation and Reproduction

Usually, Amazon sword plant reproduction can either be done via crown division or adventitious plantlets.

Mature plants produce by shooting a single long stem with runners where a baby plant forms every 3 to 4 inches. To propagate you only have to remove the plantlets and start them in a rich substrate.

Remove the small plants by cutting them off the runner below the clown while leaving the upper part of the runner to continue growing more plantlets.

Also, when you remove the baby plants, make sure you start with the ones furthest from the mother plant when they are large enough.

However before you cut your stem to replant, make sure your Amazon sword plant has already started producing the plantlets, this includes on stems you buy from a fish store.

Ideally, a stem should have 3 to 4 baby plants growing off the runners, but it is not a must for the plant to have full roots, as long as the stem is alive and healthy. Nonetheless, don’t place plantlets in the substrate until the roots start to show.

You can trim the first roots that develop to encourage new growth, then plant the baby in the substrate with the crown and a few roots exposed.

A thing to note is Amazon sword is not like other rhizome aquarium plants like Anubias where you split the rhizome into two parts and replant them. The division method is only merely possible with large plants, and the results are not always certain.

Lastly, as you’ll note, Amazon sword plants might take a while before runners start producing new baby plants, which is normal, so you may need to be quite patient.

Hope you enjoy your planted fish tank.

← All articles

The Aquarium Club ↓

Join the 37k+ strong aquarium community

The AquariaWise Newsletter is known for cutting through the noisy world of pet fish keeping showcasing stunningly breathtaking aquarium fish and superbly insightful aquarium plants to help you bring out the peace and serenity you seek with your aquariums. And it doesn't stop there... think aquarium fish care, plant care, building fish tanks, everything aquariums... you'll be right at home.