07-04-2013, 12:35 PM
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Good that you are doing thorough research. Being aware of the issues is important, and they are there as any of the soil advocates will tell you. Plants will grow well in any substrate, if they have sufficient light and nutrients. Redchigh has done a lot of experimenting with soil, he has a thread (or two) on the subject you might track down.
On the sword division, do you mean there is a second plant growing up from the rhizome? If this is a plant arising from the same rhizome, you separate them by cutting with a sharp knife. I have myself never seen this occur in an aquarium, in 25 years of many species of Echinodorus. When you buy them, there are often 2 or 3 plants together, so if this is what you have, just pull the smaller one up and replant.