..Ozelot Sword

The Ozelot sword is a very nice centerpiece plant for a tank.  A "hybrid" developed by a nursery in the former East Germany. Ozelot Swords result from a cross of Echinodorus schlueteri 'Leopard' with Echinodorus barthii. The hybrid has marbled areas on green leaves.  Depending on the variety of Ozelot Sword, the marbled leaf areas may appear between red wine color to almost black.  Young, new leaves are the darkest, with individual leaves fading to a light green as they age, although the marbling pattern remains. Increased lighting and optimal conditions yield more intense coloration on new growth.  Easy to care for and very vigorous if nutritional requirements are met, the Ozelot Sword is an excellent plant for the beginner.

Growth Habits

Ozelot swords grow from 10 to 20 inches (typical 15”/40cm). The Ozelot Sword may be grown submerged or emersed in a riparium.  Ozelot swords grow from a moderate to fast rate. Under average conditions with no CO2 added, a new leaf per week is not uncommon. When grown emersed, the leaves are thicker and take on an ovoid shape and growth is much more rapid.  Submerged leaf growth has elongated leaves, more broad and not as long as those of the Amazon Sword.  Leaf growth is more horizontal than the Amazon Sword, resulting in a larger horizontal footprint closer to the substrate.


Propagation is by rhizome division or adventitious shoots (flowers and daughter plants).   When mature, Ozelot Swords may form natural “splits”, forming a second crown.  To fully divide this crown, gently extract the plant from the substrate and cut along the natural division.  Ensure that each new crown piece has sufficient roots! Emersed plants frequently produce flowers that are self-fertile, but flowering is less common for submerged plants unless stimulated by long photoperiods.  When exposed to an extended (12+ hour) photoperiod, presumably mimicking the summertime photoperiod, Ozelot Swords send up adventitious shoots that will extend above the surface. Between flowers on the shoot, plantlets will form.  If kept submerged, these shoots will produce more daughter plants and no flowers. Note that adventitious shoots will form at other times, but with lower frequency.  When removing daughter plants, be careful not to damage the adventitious shoot since the lower daughter plants may mature before plants that are near the tip of the adventitious shoot.  Do not remove the plantlets until they are two to three inches (5-7.5cm) long for best results.  If you wish to propagate by seed, be prepared for additional work.  You will need to assist the plants by pollinating the flowers with a horse-hair paintbrush and eventually collect the seeds.  The seeds can be germinated using peat or compressed peat pellets, but the moisture level must be kept high and exposed to direct sunlight. Germination takes approximately two weeks followed by an extended period of slowly raising the water level as the new plants grow. Note that growth from seed is a slow and poor-yield method of propagation.

 Placement in the tank.

Typically smaller that the common Amazon Sword and possessing eye-catching leaf color, an Ozelot Sword makes an outstanding centerpiece specimen.  While an Ozelot Sword’s vigorous growth can take over a tank, with pruning, an Ozelot Sword is easy to manage.  Placement in the back or middle of an aquarium is optimal.  Given the rosette growth form, an Ozelot Sword may easily reach the width of a standard 29 or 55 gallon tank.  

 Optimal Conditions

Ozelot Swords tolerate a range of lighting and water conditions.  While optimal growth is obtained in medium-high light and pressurized CO2 injection, Ozelots survive well under low light and without added CO2.  In low light, leaf marbling is retained, but is less vibrant.  Water pH and hardness are not critical. Supplemental nutrients, particularly iron, are recommended since Ozelots are heavy feeders.  An enriched/enhanced substrate with iron is recommended and they benefit from regular fertilization.  In addition to liquid fertilization, root tabs may be useful to enhance growth.

Light: low to high.  Red/brown coloration increases with higher light levels

2-16 dH (Water hardness not critical)
20-28C (68F-83F)
40cm (15”)
Difficulty: Easy
Growth Form: Rosette
Growth Rate: Medium/fast
Placement In Tank:
Mid to Background


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