My new sword plants are yellowing - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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My new sword plants are yellowing

I only them about a week but I notice they have some brown leaves, some yellowing and some healthy looking green leaves. Curious if this is just from shock of moving from store to tank or if this is a worse problem. They are planted in eco complete and I also use a little flourish every few days. Also doing a 30 percent water change about ever 3rd day as the tank is only about 3 wks old.
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 07:22 AM
byron would probably say nutrient deficiency and add root tabs as they are heave feeders and tell you to cut off the yellow leaves.hehe i know cause mines yellowing too.

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post #3 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 08:41 AM
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I wouldn't go cutting the leaves off yet. If you have a nutrient rich subtrate, there might not be a need for the root tabs either. Sword leaves will most likely start out yellow at the beginning of their growth and turn green over time. **I believe I read that from B, somewhere...**

If you overload the tank with nutrients (nutrient rich substrate, root tabs and liquid ferts) you could see some issues down the road. I would wait to see if Byron pops in here before cutting off the leaves. While you might need the liquid ferts for the stem plants, it might be overkill having all three and could acutally hurt the plants.

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post #4 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 09:27 AM
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+1 to Johnny. Also, new plants can experience different levels of shock due to shipping, different water parameters, etc. A few yellow leaves I would suspect to be quite normal in the first week or two until they adjust to your water parameters and root themselves. Have you noticed any new growth? If so, what does the new growth look like?

I must day, a little bit of Flourish every few days does seem like overkill. Most receommend once a week, twice at most.
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 09:47 AM
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Well Flourish says on the bottle to dose twice a week, so every few days might be right, if it's every 3-4 days. :)

I would say it's a nutrient deficiency as well, but don't dose any more. Could be 1 of 2 things...

1. Do you do the water change around the same time as you fertilise? Make sure you do the waterchange, and then 24 hours later dose the ferts. The water conditioner might be neutralising the iron.

2. Just give it time. Swordplants usually have their roots trimmed before they are shipped, so just let the roots grow out a bit.

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post #6 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 04:49 PM
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I need hardly respond to these questions, there are so many disciples.

Everyone is correct as far as it goes, but in this case I would suspect the issue is not nutrient-related. Assuming you bought relatively newly-arrived plants from the store, chances are they were supplied by one of the nurseries (Tropica, Florida-something, and some others) and these grow swords emersed because it is quicker and less expensive. If you have a look at the plant profile for these species [click on the shaded name in posts, example Echinodorus bleherae, or use the second tab from the left in the blue bar] you will find that the Echinodorus genus are amphibious bog plants in nature, spending half the year emersed (the dry season, when they flower) and half submersed (the flooded months). It also notes that the leaf forms are different between these two forms; this is because leaves that are emersed have to deal with air rather than water during exchange of gasses and water.

When you acquire the plant and submerse it, the leaves on it will be the emersed form and slowly yellow and die, and they should be removed once yellowing begins. They will never recover. New growth which arises from the centre of the crown on all Echinodorus will be the submersed leaf form, and provided you have new green leaves emerging, the plant is fine. Expect all existing leaves (when you bought it) to yellow and die, unless some may already be the submersed form.

Sometimes leaves will do the same (yellow and die) if the change in water parameters is significant between what they were in and what you put them in (pH, hardness, less likely temperature). I am not a botanist so I don't know how significant this change has to be, but it is always a possibility with almost any aquatic plant.

I agree with whomever above said nutrients from Eco-complete and Flourish would be sufficient. However, having never used Eco-complete, I have no personal knowledge of the extent of nutrient release in it, and as someone mentioned, Echinodorus are very heavy feeders. But as I have kept beautiful swords of several species with no fertilization other than Flourish Comprehensive twice a week, I would think that using Flourish once a week plus the enriched substrate might be sufficient. I would give it a couple weeks; if new growth starts showing nutrient deficiencies (yellowing usually) then increase Flourish to twice weekly, the second about 3 days after the first, such as Monday and Thursday. And always wait one day (24 hours) after a water change with a conditioner that detoxifies heavy metals, as most do; some heavy metals are micro-nutrients (iron, manganese, copper, nickel, zinc) and there is no point in dosing with Flourish only to have the conditioner in the water detoxify the minerals before the plants assimilate them. And conditioners generally remain active for 24 hours, possibly slightly more according to what the chemist at Seachem told me when I asked about this.

And I agree that dosing more than required is dangerous. As just noted above, some of these minerals are heavy metals, and all heavy metals are highly toxic to fish and plant life at sufficient levels (beyond "trace"). Many including myself have killed or severely decimated plants with overdoses of this or that mineral, which is one main reason I do not recommend dosing individual nutrients like some authorities suggest. Not to mention the loss of fish that could occur.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 05:22 PM
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My Swords did the same thing after I got them. It took a few weeks for them to settle and the new growth was nice and healthy but I have Eco-Complete for substrate too and used the root tabs around them. I also dose with Flourish 2 times a week. (didn't know I didn't need the root tabs) But my Swords look awesome. They are HUGE and bright green. Couldn't ask for better results.
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-18-2010, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I need hardly respond to these questions, there are so many disciples.
LOL, isn't that the truth! You can count me in as one of them.

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-19-2010, 05:46 AM
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I'm on board also. I believe as Byron has noted that many plant's we receive are grown emmersed (roots below water,leaves above) and then when they are completely submerged in our tanks, they are under a bit of shock.
I received a Echinodorus"Rubin" recently, and after one week ,leaves began to yellow despite Eco -Complete and Flourish Comprehensive. I removed the yellow leaves that did not seem to get better after another week, and the new growth from the center of the plant at approx four weeks, is indeed red to slightly dark brown. With low light,I don't expect the red leaves to remain red but they are quite pleasing to look at when they first appear.
I was also making the mistake of dosing flourish directly after a water change and have since corrected this Boo Boo.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-19-2010, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, fantastic responses from all you guys! Thanks so much to all of you, this is such a great site for our hobby!
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