View Full Version : Help with diagnosing an issue with my Sword plant please?

07-15-2010, 02:31 AM
Hey guys, I have the amazona compacta (mini sword) plants. They are beautiful and work perfectly for my 6.6 bookshelf tanks. They were doing well for a couple of months but now I see that the edges are turning a gray or black. I am enclosing a photo to see if some of you might be able to recognize the problem so that I can rectify it.

These are my favorite plants. I love their emerald green color. I would hate to lose them. :(

Here is a link to the photo.

Thank you!


07-15-2010, 02:32 AM
I use the icon above to put the address of the photo in the [IMG] brackets but it does not seem to work. Can anyone teach me how to do this? I can do it on other sites but I cannot seem to get it to work on this site.

Here is a link to the photo of the plant.


07-15-2010, 02:51 AM
It looks to me kind of like some diatom/algae growth I had on my bleheri swords for awhile. I very gently held my leaves against my palm and used a sotf bristle tooth brush to gently scrub it away.

07-15-2010, 02:58 AM
It looks like black beard algae.

07-15-2010, 03:12 AM
Is it a discoloration in the leaves, or is there something on the leaf? It's hard to tell in the photo - it makes a big difference based on the answer.

07-15-2010, 03:31 AM
Hey, everyone. I thought it was "in" the leaves but it appears that I can brush only some of it off. This is going to be a pain. The leaves are so fragile and it is taking an eternity to get it off with a tooth brush.

It appears to be black beard algae. Is there a more thorough way to get it off?

I heard of someone using a 1/19 bleach/water combination in an attempt to get it off but it killed their swords.

I love my swords. Are there any tricks to get this off and save my beloved beauties? :19:

07-15-2010, 10:41 AM
It is BBA. Try spot treating it with some Excel.

07-15-2010, 10:43 AM
Thanks, I have Excel Flourish. Can anyone explain how this kills the algae? I would simply like to know how it works. :11:

07-15-2010, 11:22 AM
Very cool! I don't think I have ever heard of 'compact swords'! Definatly a new thing for me! But, before you go dipping/bleaching stuff, maybe just try one at first and treat it. If it works, and the plant is still alive after a while, then do it for the rest of them.

My larger swords have some of that too. Hmm... Maybe I should try Excel.

Lady Hobbs
07-15-2010, 02:03 PM
Black beard for sure. Excel is actually a liquid CO2 but it was discovered by over-dosing, it can kill this stubborn algae. I elected to not overdose and simply dosed what is recommended for my size tank + 1/2 dose more because I was afraid for my fish. Dose daily for about 10 days doing a water change before you start and after you're done dosing. BBA should began to turn red and some fish will then eat it. If not, you may have to trim some of your plants.

Do not try to rub it off as you don't want spores left in the tank to began growing again. Cut it off or dose it. Excel only remains for one day. It's not like a medication that remains in the water.

I had a terrible outbreak of BBA when my city water changed to well water for their yearly cleaning of city pipes. The Excel killed the algae for me and now I dose about 2 or 3 times a week just a regular dose since I don't use CO2.

Your swords appear to have transparent leaves. That's a sign of lack of iron and you probably could use some plant tabs at the roots.

07-15-2010, 02:15 PM
Definitely try the excel. Try to put it right on the algae with an eye dropper or something. It works! The stuff will turn red and then you will know it is dead. I have the same stuff (but just a little bit) and I try my best to squirt it right on the stuff and I overdose (twice as much) until it dies. I did this for another nasty algae I had which I think was staghorn algae...except I just overdosed and did not spot treat as I didn't know to do this. The stuff turned purple!

Lady Hobbs
07-15-2010, 02:20 PM
Definately good stuff and I also recommend the spot dosing if possible. I just had so much of the stuff that I had to dose the entire tank.

07-15-2010, 09:37 PM
Thanks, everyone, for all the great input. I really appreciate it. :19:

By the way if I were to spot treat one of my swords I would take it out of the tank and apply the excel with a brush or simply soak it in a similar fashion to the bleaching process.

For those that are interested in compact swords do a google search. There seems to be two types that look similar but they both grow to a maximum height of about 6". Mine seem to only grow 2" which is perfect and I use them as a foreground plant.

Thanks for the iron suggestion. I also got some Total substrate pellets from aquariumplants.com. They also sell the compact swords there but the swords I have had the best luck with thus far have been from ebay. This vendor has the best quality plants I have purchased from online and I have purchased from about five different vendors.



I love how mine produced those shoots which gave me about 5 new baby plants and I have only had them for about 3 months so far.