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48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my tanks are chugging along OK, except for basically every sword. One very large one is melting, a smaller green is developing holes in the leaves, and the little brown / red one is just sitting there.

The big one is in very bad shape, and honestly was too big for the 30 gallon show it is in anyway. I'd like to cut away the worst of the leaves but I'm unsure where to cut them off.

Water is high pH: 8.5-9.0
Medium hard Gh: 14
and clean, no ammonia, no nitrites.

Actually, beyond the specifics of the sword, I'd very much like a guide to pruning aquatic plants in general. Can anyone point me to one online? I've found dozens of references TO pruning, and not a single explanation of how. Lots of "with proper pruning" or, "you'll need to prune well once the tank is set up" but no flipping advice on HOW! :)

So, summed up:

1) My swords are all dying. Lame.
2) I want to prune back the ugliest of the leaves. Advice on how, where?
3) Unrelated! Will Otocinclus eat green thread?
4) Any good online guides for general aquatic pruning?

Thanks a million!

Premium Member
1,997 Posts
With plants like swords and crypts that grow new leaves from the base you take off the individual leaves you no longer want at the base - so you take off the leaf and stem down to the substrate.

Sometimes swords have to convert to growing underwater because the big growers grow them in emersed setups so they grow faster. How long have you had them? Are they getting any new, healthy looking leaves? I don't know if they'd have problems with the high pH since I have a slightly acidic pH in my tanks.

I've never seen ottos eat thread algae. I think that the Florida flag fish will eat it, but I've no personal experience with them.

42 Posts
Here is a website:

Since the page is pretty long, here is an excerpt from it..

"Cuttings: Cuttings are the easiest way to propagate plants. Simple cut a lengthy (6-8") section of stalk from the plant and plant it in the gravel. Plant cuttings with at least 1" (2.5 cm) of the stem under the substrate. Remove the leaves on the section that will be in the substrate. Plant tubers and bulbs at a 45° angle in the substrate with the growing tip pointing out of the gravel. Both the cutting and the original plant should continue to grow. Most bunch plants can reproduce by cuttings.

Runners: Many aquarium plants, especially foreground and Sword plant species produce outgrowths known as runners. These new shoots are formed on stems and usually grow along the substrate or within the substrate. Plants that reproduce by runners (daughter plants), are often prolific.

Rhizome: The roots of some plants produce side-shoots. These plants can be propagated by cutting the rhizome into pieces. Be sure to include some leaves and some roots with the rhizome. Replant the cut sections along the surface of the substrate. These sections should root.

Adventitious plants: Adventitious plants are plantlets that arise from the mother plant. The mother plant produces a number of plantlets with drift free of the mother plant, and root on their own. Adventitious plants will either be released by the mother plant or can be cut when the plantlets reach a suitable size. Also referred to as "division."

Seeds: Plants that flower produce seeds only after pollination, in nature, usually be insects. In aquaria, use a fine brush to transfer pollen from the stamens to the stigmas."

48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks CS.

No, I don't see any new growth. The tank's been up since, let me check: a little less than a month.
Let me do this better. Here's what I ordered for the tank:

1 x Hygrophila Corymbosa = Lost lots of leaves. Remaining leaves on top look Ok, some grungy. New growth at base.

3 x Cardamine Lyrata = Ugly, hard to plant. Not dead. About all I can say for it.

1 x Echinodorus Rubin LG = Was gorgeous out of the box and huge. All leaves look great towards the bottom with nice healthy thick green stalks. All look like hell once on the actual leaf. Lost it's color. I see no new growth. Existing leaves have browned and begun to melt. *See Picture.

1 x Echinodorus Martii (Ruffle Sword) = All leaves developing holes and browning somewhat. I see no new growth.

1 x Echinodorus Indian Red = In best shape of the swords. Only two leaves have died. Hoorah!

2 x Gymnocoronis Spilanthoides = Going absolutely bonkers. Grew emergent two days after planting. Had four stalks above the water line by the end of three weeks. New growth at bottom. All leaves on the emergent stalks that are below waterline however are starting to look yellow and weak.

1 x Nymphaea Stellata Bulbs (Dwarf Lily) = A few leaves melted almost immediately. Very recently it's had some very low, big leafed, new growth.

2 x Ludwigia Natans (Ludwigia Repens) = Seems to be doing well. No horrible looking problems. Very attractive.

3 x Glossostigma Elatinoides = Not dying. I don't think I planted this well.

2 x Ceratophyllum Demersum (Hornwort) = Growing like a weed. I've harvested huge hand fulls a couple of times.

Lots x Limnobium Spongia = Brought some over from my smaller tanks. Three smallish clusters have greatly multiplied. Sending down long roots. Pretty cool looking.

3 x Anubias Barterii = Survivors from my old tank. Look great, have healthy new growth.

Some x Duck weed = Sweet Aquatics sent some for free at my request. I dumped it in when I set up the tank, didn't like the looks of it, and tried to take it out immediately. It quickly spread from a tiny collection of plants I was too lazy to completely remove to about 3/4 of the tank surface. Took tons out today.

So, anyway, that's my tank. It ain't great. :(

My 5 and 6 however are doing just great. Still have no fish in the 6 and some green thread is starting to grow there, but other than that I'm really happy. I just want to get this 30 working better. Hmm... I guess this thread didn't really stay talking about pruning for long. I'm sorry. Can I edit the title?
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