Echinodorus bleheri - Amazon Sword Plant
Echinodorus bleheri is known under several different scientific names, including Echinodorus paniculatus and Echinodorus pangeri. Just like is close relative, Echinodorus amazonicus, it is commonly sold as Amazon Sword in fish stores. Echinodorus bleheri is the most commonly kept Amazon Sword species among aquarists. Echinodorus bleheri is sturdy, easy to keep and can grow really big.
Echinodorus bleheri look very similar to Echinodorus amazonicus, but the leaves are broader and can be straight. One single plant can consist of up to 30 leaves and a Echinodorus bleheri leaf can reach a height of 50 cm and grow to be 8 cm wide. The leaves are sturdy and durable and healthy plants develop a bright to dark green coloration.
Since Echinodorus bleheri plants grow so big, they are often used as centre and focal plants in aquariums. I produce a fair amount of oxygen and will simultaneously bind a lot of organic waste. If you look closely at your Echinodorus bleheri, you may actually see a small stream of tiny oxygen bubbles heading for the surface.
Echinodorus bleheri care
Caring for an Echinodorus bleheri is certainly not hard and this plant is recommended for beginner aquarists. It is easy to grow and not very light demanding. It will however do best if given medium bright light. Echinodorus bleheri can be kept even with fish that like to nibble on live plants and is also known to cope well with algae and snail attacks.
Echinodorus bleheri hails from tropical regions of the South American continent and prefers a water temperature of 24-28 degrees C. It can adapt to both hard and soft water. Ideally keep the pH-value between 6.5 and 7.5. Echinodorus bleheri appreciates rich gravel and will loose its coloration if deprived of iron. If your Echinodorus bleheri turns yellow, feed it an aquarium plant fertilizer containing chelated iron.
Echinodorus bleheri propagation
Propagation is normally carried out by adventitious plants that develop at the parent plant. When the new plant is big enough, simply untangle it from the parent plant. You may have to uproot the whole plant.
Echinodorus bleheri can also develop a floral stalk in the aquarium and form buds and plantlets at the nodes. The buds will only open if the plant is allowed to grow up above the surface (in the wild, Echinodorus bleheri is often found in boggy environments). When the buds have opened, you can use a feather or soft brush to fertilize them.
The plantlets produced by a submersed Echinodorus bleheri will develop their own roots and can then be twisted from the parent plant and planted in the substrate. Be gentle and avoid injuring the stalks since they can produce more plantlets in the future if left unharmed.
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