View Full Version : Amazon Sword doesn't look too healthy

05-20-2008, 05:54 AM
Ok, where do I begin.

I have been noticing that some of the leaves on my amazon sword are becoming transparent, as well as the veins turning dark on the said leaves.

Not only that, on the tips of 2 of the leaves, they're turning a yellowish color...

The leaves are also starting to look a bit wavy, and developing brown spots.

10g tank stocked with:
5 tiger barbs
1 opaline gourami
i also just added a piece of natural driftwood

pH: 7.5 ish
KH: 120~180ppm
GH: 30~60ppm
no ammonia or nitrites
Nitrates: 20ppm

I also put 1ml of SeaChem Flourish when I put the plants in, and I added a couple bulbs about a week later and added another 1ml.

what am I doing wrong?


05-20-2008, 05:56 AM
Your Amazon sword is not taking in nutrients well. Try a root tablet fertilizer.

doug z
05-20-2008, 06:58 AM
Sounds like an iron deficiency..

Swords are notorious iron mongers..

They need lots of iron in the substrate, as that's where swords absorb most of their nutrients..

Have you been adding tab ferts, like Seachem Flourish?

05-20-2008, 07:15 AM
no i have been using liquid fertilizer, and also i forgot to mention i have 1.5 wpg of lighting

05-20-2008, 07:42 AM
here are a couple of pictures, linked because of size:



i also noticed this stuff sticking to this leaf... i don't know if it's good or not..


yes, i'm a newb. these are my first aquatic plants... i'm moderately experienced with fish keeping... now i'm trying my hand at plants...

doug z
05-20-2008, 08:17 AM
1.5 wpg isn't BAD, but they would certainly do better with more light AND an iron-rich substrate ..

Try the tab ferts, and you should see improvement..

What do you have for fish in there? Any algae eaters?

Let us know how it works out!

Lady Hobbs
05-20-2008, 12:10 PM
Your swords are planted too deep, too. They can not be planted with the entire bottom in the gravel. Lift them up so you can see the bottom of the plant where the roots start. I agree with the gravel ferts, too. Your gravel looks a bit large to get plants to grow well in it but it might work.

I've had a hard time with swords, myself.

05-20-2008, 12:18 PM
Also cut away the dead leaves. They will never grow back so it would be better for the plant to start putting it's energy into new growth instead of trying to save the old growth. Plus they're just rotting and putting more junk/chemicals into your water.

That and what the others said above(IRON). I had the same problem and still kind of do. Except my sword has about 40 leaves so i only lost about 10 and wasn't too worried. I am just using Seachem Flourish Iron but then i also have the fluorite substrate and 3wpg +CO2 that you don't have so you better get the root tabs.

05-20-2008, 06:00 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys... it really helps

When I moved the plants around, I noticed that they were growing quite a few new roots, and the old roots seemed mushy... should I prune these too?

05-20-2008, 07:30 PM
First off everyones advice is spot on.Next,I only see one thing left out for a problem,a kH that high with most any plant is way high and needs to be addressed,if possible.As for how to plant a sword,you want to trim the roots back to just over an inch and half long and remove any leaves that are not perfect when you replant them.The high KH can be brought down with seachem acid buffer if you wanted to try it.

Drip Loop
05-20-2008, 08:35 PM
Co2 wouldnt hurt either.

05-20-2008, 09:19 PM
Co2 is not necceasary at all at that level of light,seachem excel would be just fine..Iron,pottasium and not planted so deep is the proper rx for this problem.

05-20-2008, 10:14 PM
Sorry for long post, but I put cliffnotes at the bottom if you don't have time to read it all.

Well, today I removed the plants and pruned them... I removed all the leaves that looked like they were dying, as in becoming transparent and changing color... upon replanting, I took Lady Hobbs' advice and just put the roots in the gravel.

I'll also be honest. I really don't have that much funds to dispose of on this, as I'm using just what I can get right now. I know that I need to put a bag of Flourite as the substrate to really grow plants, as well as supplement them with some SeaChem fertilizers, but petsmart doesn't really have much of a SeaChem collection, and theres no LFS within a reasonable driving distance. The only SeaChem plant fertilizer they had was Flourish.

I'll see how these swords do right now, and in the mean time I'll be saving for some Flourite and maybe tackle a DIY co2 project to save on costs of a retail setup.

As for the KH, smaug, I believe Lady Hobbs and a few other members agreed that the white crusty junk that builds up when tank water evaporates is calcium.... and I didn't completely remove ALL of the white junk, but I got most of it off with a razor.

Soon, I'll be getting my 30g moved here, I'll be damn sure to clean that one really well, and take time to set it up... then transfer fish, plants, and seed the tank with bacteria from this already established 10g

1:-:(taking smaug's advice)..removed plants, pruned dead leaves and crappy roots as suggested by VETTE, and then replanted like Lady Hobbs suggested.
2:-:no immediate access to iron rich fertilizers... saving funds for a couple bags of Flourite; maybe walmart or something may have iron fertilizer.
3:-:gonna wait until I get my 30g to start using the flourite and adding more plants...

Now I understand that if I really want an "underwater garden", I need to have the stuff to do it.

05-20-2008, 10:23 PM
walmart will carry tetra brand flora pride,I used that for awhile with good success,it contains iron as well as pottasium,which is all you realy need at the moment,the plants tabs as soon as you can get them will do wonders as well.

05-21-2008, 02:00 AM
alrighty then... thanks for your help. it's a learning experience that'll last for the rest of my life... i absolutely love the peacefulness it gives..

i caught myself staring at the aquarium instead of watching a movie last night.

+ rep for all of you who helped :)

doug z
05-21-2008, 03:50 AM
Welcome to the forum, btw..

The advice about removing the dead leaves is excellent.. Good catch!

And though the gravel you have in there is way too big, there's not much you can do about it besides take the whole tank down and redo it, and recycle it..

And if you DO want to get into plants in a significant way, that's what I would suggest..

Keep us appraised..

06-14-2008, 07:43 AM
I agree with Smaug, potassium and/or iron deficiency is your problem (I'm betting on a lack of potassium myself). Since sword plants are heavy root feeders, root tabs will help considerably to correct this problem. Try placing a root tab directly beneath each plant (1.5-2" below the level of the substrate if possible). Any dead or rotting roots should be removed as they can spread rot to healthy roots. Dying leaves should also be pruned as low as possible near the central rosette. KH should not be an issue as most sword plants will tolerate much higher KH values than you describe. Just make sure that the plants are getting ample nutrition by using some root tabs and I suspect you will see major improvements.

Evil Slimy
06-14-2008, 08:19 AM
How long ago did you plant those plants? If they are 'new' additions, fertilizers is probably not the cause.
Amazon swords for the hobby are usually grown emersed. I might be wrong but from your picture most of those leaves look like the emersed version which is usually woodier and a bit rougher.
After you plant them underwater all their leaves will slowly die, leaching nutrients back in the water and gradually be replaced by new underwater versions of the leaves that are a lot more jelly-like.
Because of the leaching of nutrients, beside slow decay of the leaf you'll also notice staghorn or hair algae start to form on the old leaves. As the leaves decay, trim them near the base. Do only a couple at a time and give the plant a chance to grow replacements before you trim more.

Root tabs are really only useful if you are not dosing the water column with trace elements. Since you are dosing flourish I don't think that is your problem unless your substrate is so compacted that it's water proof.