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The small, almost grasslike Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus) is ideal for a foreground cover. The small size is best maintained in high lighting. Sprays of tiny white flowers frequently appear once established.
"Sword Plants" come primarily from the Echinodorus genus and are marsh or bog plants from the tropical western hemisphere (North, South and Central America as well as some islands in the region). While there are around 3 scientifically accepted species, many species are cross-bred and propagated by hobbyists and nurseries to create numerous variants and hybrids.
While swords may grow emerged in the wild (with their leaves out of the water), they are well adapted to submerged life in the aquarium as well. Emerged plants grow flowers, while submerged plants will reproduce by sending out runners to grow new plants. Most swords need high lighting to thrive. They also benefit from a nutrient-rich substrate and iron and CO2 supplements, especially in heavily planted aquariums.
I have two of these in my tank. It's been a little over a week since I got them and at first they looked ok but I've noticed they are both browning and not looking well at all.
Isn't doing well 1/15/2013
I've have 5 of these in my tank for almost a week now. I noticed two days after I put them in, there was browning on some of the leaves. I've let it sit longer to see if it would go away but it's just gotten worse. Most of them are at least yellow. Which I'm not sure why, I have other plant in my tank that have similar light and water condition requirement that are doing just fine.