Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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hywaydave 12-16-2011 10:25 PM

Amazon Sword Plantlets
My Amazon Sword plantlets are starting to get bigger and growing roots. When is it time to cut or pull them off? Some of the plantlets haven't developed much on the lower parts of the runners, but the ones at the very top of the runners have 2" roots already, even though their leaves are not fully developed. Here are some pics.

Also, my algae still seems to be a problem. I have 3 ottos but they don't seem to be making much progress. I have a T5 HO 6700k and T5 Colormax bulb. 45 gallon tank. Ammonia and Nitrite are 0 and Nitrate is near 0. I was using activated carbon in my Fluval 305 but removed them tonight when I did a water change and am going to see how things go without carbon, as I've read that you shouldn't use it with a planted tank anyway. I have one CO2 injector from Nutrafin and only use Flourish tabs.

brownmane 12-16-2011 11:17 PM

Nice pics. I haven't had any plantlets on my sword yet. I've also not done any aqua plant division before, but do do houseplants and flower gardening.

Looking at your pictures, I would suggest that you let the plantlets produce a few more leaves before separating them from the parent plant. They are starting off nice though.

Jwest 12-17-2011 01:42 AM

i let mine keep growing till it stops budding new plants and then let them grow till the leaves are about inches then pull them off

Project1 12-17-2011 08:27 AM

i dont know but it looks good!

Byron 12-17-2011 10:13 AM

On the adventitious plants, I agree to leave them until they develop significantly more roots and leaves. They will root better with more of a root system.

On the algae...what algae? I can't see it in the photos.

You should be adding more nutrients (fertilizer) though. With high light and CO2, the other nutrients have to be added to balance.

hywaydave 12-19-2011 08:01 PM


Originally Posted by Byron (Post 923596)
On the algae...what algae? I can't see it in the photos.

You should be adding more nutrients (fertilizer) though. With high light and CO2, the other nutrients have to be added to balance.

I guess I don't have a really huge algae problem. There are spots here and there on the glass that I could probably clean off and then the bottom gravel has some, but that is also a good source of food for the ottos.

How do I know what nutrients I need to add? I put in around 5 or 6 flourish tabs about a month ago into the gravel in different places around the tank. Is there an easy way to determine where I'm lacking certain nutrients?

hywaydave 12-19-2011 08:23 PM


I read one of your other posts to another member about adding CO2 to his tank. You recommended that he didn't need to add CO2 and other nutrients. You mentioned that you do not add any CO2 or supplements to any of the aquariums you have posted under your aquarium profile.

Should I quit using the CO2 diffuser and not put any more flourish tabs once the current ones are used up? Will that help diminish any algae problem that I currently have? Or should I continue to do what I've been doing because my plants seem to be thriving really well right now except for the light algae on my glass.

Byron 12-21-2011 01:27 PM

This will take some explanation, so bear with me.:-)

The aim is to have a balance between light and the 17 essential nutrients. Plants photosynthesize (= grow) only when everything they need is available, and if it is, they will photosynthesize to the max until something is no longer available. What we term the limiting factor to growth. This balance can be at any level, but it is always best to have light as the final limiting factor. If light exceeds what the plants can use, which means that some other factor (a nutrient) is no longer available, algae will take advantage. More on algae later.

Carbon is one very essential macro-nutrient, but so is nitrogen, oxygen, calcium, and some others, plus there are the micro-nutrients or trace elements. And all of these have to be in relative proportion. [I won't here go into the detrimental effects of not having nutrients in proportion to each other according to the plant's needs.] So adding CO2 beyond the level where some other nutrient is no longer available, is not going to be beneficial to the plants, any more than adding more iron or copper. I don't add CO2, but I do add other nutrients because some are lacking in my situation [I have very soft water]. I also want minimum light due to the fish [read more on this here: ]. And there is a lot of natural CO2 in a healthy aquarium, more than many realize. If I were to add CO2, I would have to increase my light intensity, plus start increasing other nutrients--all to balance at a higher level.

Finding the balance sometimes takes a bit of experimenting. Assuming one does not intend to add CO2, then the first experimentation is with the light; once you have the minimum intensity for the plants you want to grow, the duration can be extended or lessened. Algae is the main guide to this; if I see algae increasing, I reduce the light period. Next I fiddle a bit with nutrients, using Flourish Comprehensive Supplement (liquid) in all tanks, plus the Flourish substrate tabs in some tanks. The tabs depend upon the plants; my large swords are heavy feeders so they get the tabs.

Back to the algae; algae is natural and will be present in any healthy aquarium. In one with live plants, we want to keep algae in check, only because it can attach to plant leaves and suffocate the leaf and the plant. Aside from this, there is no detriment to algae. It will always be there, in some form (there are many types, and some occur more than others in this or that aquarium), but it shouldn't be allowed to proliferate. I let it grow on wood and rock. I keep it off the glass mostly; cleaning the front glass especially at every water change is a good idea, even if nothing shows. But remember that algae is only there because there is more light than the plants require in balance with the nutrients.

You may have more questions from this, so I'll end here for the present.


hywaydave 01-01-2012 04:30 PM

How many root tabs should I place in my 45 gallon tank based on the plants you see in the picture? Right now I belive I placed 5-6 of them in there about a month ago.

Byron 01-01-2012 05:05 PM


Originally Posted by hywaydave (Post 936720)
How many root tabs should I place in my 45 gallon tank based on the plants you see in the picture? Right now I belive I placed 5-6 of them in there about a month ago.

I see three "large" swords, I would give each of these 1 root tab, a couple inches from the crown. Seachem says they last 2-3 months, so replacing them every 2 months seems logical. You could use 2 per plant, over-fertilizing is less of a problem in the substrate because the nutrients do not end up in the water column on their own and thus causing algae increases. But at the same time, the plant can only use limited nutrients if something is missing, and overloading micro-nutrients like iron is not going to be productive if the macros are used up before the light goes off.

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