Echinodorus palaefolius – Aquarium Background Plants

Echinodorus palaefolius

Echinodorus palaefolius has round leaves with a horizontal leaf base.

The Echinodorus palaefolius is also referred to as the Mexican sword or stiff-leaved frog spoon. This plant may have deserved the attribute “stiff-leaved” because it develops long stems that are crowned by oval, slightly tapering leaves.

The long stems thus give the plant a stiff appearance to a certain extent. The stiff-leaved frog spoon belongs to the genus of sword plants and the frog spoon family, which explains the additional name “frog spoon”. This name could – but we can only speculate at this point – have been used, as many frog-spoon plants grow in nature in swampy areas, which are often also habitats for frogs.

The shape of the Echinodorus palaefolius leaves, which, in combination with the stems, is sometimes reminiscent of spoons, could also have played a role in the naming.

However, these speculations are not that important: it is much more important that the stiff-leaved frog spoon is also a plant that is suitable for use in the aquarium under certain conditions.

Echinodorus palaefolius
Echinodorus palaefolius

Echinodorus palaefolius: Quick facts

Scientific name: Echinodorus palaefolius

Natural occurrence: Brazil

Growth height: 20-40cm high and 20-40cm wide. The species normally reaches a height of approx. 40 cm. A new leaf is formed every 3 to 4 weeks.

Optimal temperature range: 20-28 ° C

pH tolerance: 5.5 – 8

Optimal water hardness: soft to very hard. Water hardness should be between 0 – 30 ° dH but it’s not critical.

Ideal Use: Due to its size, Echinodorus Palaefolius is suitable for the background. You can plant them in loose groups or as a specimen plant.

Propagation: Under water (submerged) by adventitious plants on the inflorescences or by dividing rhizomes. Land plants are propagated by seeds.

Soil: Echninodorus Palaefolius grows much better in nutrient-rich soils than in smooth gravel. The substrate should be at least 6-10 cm high so that the strong roots can develop well.

Light requirement: medium.

For orientation: If you only have plants that are easy to care for in your aquarium, 10 to 20 lumens (0.25 to 0.5 watts) per liter are sufficient. For plants with medium light requirements, 20 to 40 lumens (0.5 to 1 watt) per liter are recommended. Plants with a high need for light (“Advanced” category) need more than 40 lumens (1 watt) per liter for healthy growth.

CO2: low. For orientation: the average CO2 requirement of aquarium plants is approx. 6-14 mg per liter. Plants with a high CO2 requirement need between 15 – 25 mg per liter. This plant grows very well even without additional CO2 fertilization.

Care measures & fertilization: No special care measures are required for Echinodorus Palaefolius. A regular partial water change and the occasional fertilization with a commercially available, iron-containing aquarium plant fertilizer have a positive effect on the growth of the plants. A nutrient-rich substrate is beneficial, but it doesn’t have to be. You can also fertilize the soil easily and specifically with commercially available fertilizer balls or fertilizer tablets. Every now and then, a fertilizer ball or tablet is carefully pressed into the root area of ​​the plant.

Distribution: It comes from central and eastern Brazil.

Echinodorus palaefolius: In the aquarium

Echinodorus palaefolius is a pretty, sturdy beginner plant. It is undemanding and has long stems with pointed, egg-shaped leaves. It is suitable for the background of the aquarium and can be used as a solitary plant. As a marsh plant, it has round leaves with a horizontal leaf base.

In the aquarium, the leaves become narrower and the plant grows out of the water easily. This can be prevented by removing the long leaves that have almost reached the surface of the water. This makes the next leaves shorter and the plant stays under water. They can be grown above water in open aquariums. This plant is sometimes offered under the name Echinodorus rigidifolius.

It is not the ideal plant for the closed aquarium. This is primarily due to the vigorous growth of the plant. Over time, the stiff-leaved frog spoon can grow out of the aquarium, which should not be desirable in closed tanks. The plant can be stopped by pruning it regularly. The long stalks with the leaves that are already near the surface of the water should be removed. In the long run, however, this taming can also mean that the plant is no longer too attractive and can no longer fulfill its actual purpose of greening the pool without restrictions.

If you want to try the s Echinodorus palaefolius despite these restrictions – after all, this is a very nice plant for the aquarium – it is best to plant it in the background of the tank. In this case, it initially has enough space in the aquarium to develop. Another variant with which the stiff-leaved frog spoon can be used for the aquarium is to use it as a solitary plant. Precisely because this plant can get quite large in an aquarium, it forms a beautiful eye-catcher with which you can set accents in the aquarium.

Echinodorus palaefolius
Echinodorus palaefolius

Echinodorus palaefolius: Maintenance and care

Regularly pruning the Echinodorus palaefolius can be a bit of work for the aquarist, but it is also quite easy to cultivate in an aquarium.

Only with regard to the need for light, there seem to be different empirical values: Some aquarists recommend as much light as possible, while others assume that a medium supply of light in the aquarium is sufficient.

Aquarists who have chosen the Echinodorus palaefolius should take this into account and check the light supply if the plant is not thriving. Since the stiff-leaved frog spoon is often cultivated as a very large specimen plant in an aquarium, at least as a rule it cannot be assumed that other very large plants that could lead to excessive shade will be planted in the immediate vicinity.

Incidentally, the stiff-leaved frog spoon is very often available in stores, so that there should be no difficulties in getting supplies of this plant for your own aquarium.

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