Generally speaking, I am not a huge fan of sword plants. They're nutrient hogs, they're finicky, and if they do well many of them get WAY too big for your tank and spread so much they torpedo whatever aquascaping plan you started with. In addition, small algae eating plecos like bristlenoses or some pekoltia species love to browse on the leaves for algae, and they rasp so deeply they wear holes in the leaves. Clown loaches have a tendency to put holes in tender new leaves. Since I'm not about to give up my bristlenoses or my loaches, I've given up my sword plants with no pangs at all. The lovely plant at right, however, is a notable exception. This is the ozelot sword, and it makes a perfect specimen plant for any tank of at least 20 gallons or larger. It doesn't get totally out of hand sizewise, staying about 12-15 inches tall, and it's not as light or nutrient demanding as many swords are--and it is truly a gorgeous plant, with its lovely, mottled leaves. The more light and nutrients it has, the deeper its red mottling will be, but even in lower light situations it will still be very attractive, healthy and robust looking. It is more algae resistant than any other sword I've ever had; even older leaves stay clean and fresh looking, you just DON'T see any green spot algae (or any other algae) on this plant. It also reproduces freely, and flowers beautifully.
Ozelots, like all swords, really appreciate a nutrient rich substrate; I find that Flourish Tabs every few months work very well. It will also respond to CO2 addition but doesn't demand it. It's a great sword for people who don't like sword plants!
|This was the first flower stalk this plant put out. When younger, the leaves weren't nearly as red as they are now; the picture in the upper right corner was taken almost a year later, and you can see how much more red the leaves carry now.||This is a flower from the same plant; the most recent stalk grew right out the back of the tank. Usually I tuck them down under the hood so new plants will develop along the stalk, but this time I didn't notice it had sneaked out the back until I walked in and saw the lovely blossoms it had produced. It will flower underwater also, but the blooms are much smaller; this one is about an inch in diameter.|
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