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Old 20-04-2003, 06:11 AM
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Default Amzon sword turning clear

I have an amazon sword plant in my aquarium (6 gallon, 8 watts, no CO2,
no special substrate). I never had high hopes for it's survival, now it is
turning a transparent color and seemingly melting away.

Is it producing any new leaves?

There are two common reasons for sword plant leaves to melt away:

1) They might be emersed-growth leaves. The nursery grows the plant with
leaves above water, because it looks better, grows faster, and ships better
that way. But once you submerse the plant in an aquarium, these leaves will
die off, to be replaced by new, submersed-growth leaves.

2) There might be not enough light. 1.3 watts per gallon is marginal for sword
plants, and probably too low in a tank as small as yours. (You need more watts
per gallon in very small tanks -- under 10 gallons, say.)

In either case, I don't think fertilizer will help. Swords are big
root-feeders, and appreciate root tabs or something buried near their roots,
but I don't think fertilizer is your problem here. In any case, sword plants
get way too big for a six-gallon tank.

If the sword dosen't recover. Any suggestions on another plany with a
similar profile (kinda tall background plant that provides good cover for
the bottom dwellers) that would be good for my setup?

You might have better luck with Cryptocoryne species, aponogetons, or anubias.
They are more tolerant of low light, and come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

I already have a java fern and some clumps of java moss, so I'd like to
get something different. I read that anubias is tolarant of poor conditions,
but i've also heard that it dies easily on transplant?

Anubias doesn't die easily on transplant. It's very hardy. It tends to be
expensive, though, simply because it's so slow-growing.

Try looking at this site:

They have a variety of anubias, not just the small A. barteri you usually see.
Anubias can be an impressive showpiece plant!

The plants that melt easily on transplant are Crypts. But they don't die, they
just look as if they have. Leave them alone, and they will soon grow back.

I think Crypts would be a good choice for your tank. Try C. wendtii. It
usually stays fairly short (good for a small tank). And it's less likely to
melt on transplant than other Crypts. It will eventually form a "thicket" that
provides good shelter for fish.