Amazon Sword, Sword Plant or “Echinodorus bleheri” is a hardy plant that originated in the Amazon basin, and was first used as an indoor aquarium plant in Brazil in the early 20th century.
The Amazon Sword is one of the most popular plants among aquarium keepers of all types, as it will thrive in both tropical set ups and coldwater goldfish tanks. However, the Amazon Sword does not do well in very cold temperatures, so is not suitable for ponds.
The leaves of the plant range from pale to dark green, and have short stems with long pointed tips. Amazon Sword plants can grow up to 18” or so tall, and are happy either fully submerged or partially submerged within the tank.
Caring for Amazon Sword plants
The Amazon Sword plant is an easy care plant that is not particularly challenging to cultivate, although it does require medium to high levels of lighting, so may not be suitable for tanks that are not lit. The Amazon Sword can either be planted in the substrate, or grown in pots.
Amazon Swords are happy with a pH range of 6-8, and thrive in coldwater goldfish tanks. They need a substrate that is rich in iron, so using an iron-based fertilizer in the tank is recommended.
Amazon Swords will live for several years when well cared for, and make a lovely backdrop when planted at the rear of the goldfish tank where they will not obstruct the view of other plants.
Keeping Amazon Sword plants with goldfish
Goldfish really enjoy nibbling on the Amazon Sword plant, making it a good choice of plant to provide a nutritious snack. Amazon Sword plants continually grow and produce new leaves, so unless your tank is overcrowded, your plants will reproduce to keep up with demand!
Be aware that if your goldfish are left without supplementary food for a few days, they will make significant inroads into eating all of your plants. Well-fed goldfish, however, will be fine.
Where to buy Amazon Sword plants
Amazon Sword plants are commonly found in aquatic retailers and pet shops that sell fish, and can also be bought over the internet.
Starter Amazon Swords retail for around $5 on average, but if you buy larger plants or plants that are grown by means of tissue culturing, a method of almost sterile propagation well suited to sensitive set-ups, expect the price to rise to around $8.