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Pygmy Chain Sword Caresheet

Pygmy Chain Sword Echinodorus Tenellus Care Guide Planting Growing And Propagation 2 4752123

Introduction to Chain Swords

Chain sword is the smallest of the sword plants and is very popular among the aquarium enthusiasts due to its ease to care for and hardiness. It is also known as Narrow Leaf Chain Sword, Grassy dwarf sword plant, Dwarf burhead or Pygmy chain Sword.  It is a perfect foreground plant due to its dense and carpet like nature. It is excellent for small aquarium but can also be used as a foreground or mid-ground plant in bigger aquariums. It is found throughout North, Central and South America, especially in southern Brazil and southeastern North America. It is a semi-aquatic species and normally it occurs in wet sand on the shores of lakes, coasts of rivers and floodplains. Its popularity is increasing day by day among the hobbyists as a foreground plants.

Chain Sword’s Overview

The Chain sword is a great plant for creating a green carpet in the aquarium. It is considered an annual or delicate perennial species with population numbers fluctuating yearly. It can grow up to 10 cm long and 1.5 mm wide. It has elongated narrow leaf which is medium green or olive green to reddish in color. The leaf blades are about 25 cm long and 1-2 cm wide. It is hardy and grows very quickly and has short and thick rhizome with rosulate. The plant can be completely or partially submerged and emerged. The stem is thin, erect and often curved. This emergent plant produces numerous flowers during the period from late summer to fall. Flowers are small (0.6-1 cm wide) with three white petals (2.5 mm long, 2 mm wide) and three green sepals (up to 4 mm long, 2.5 mm wide). The Chain Sword requires sandy soil and plenty of light. Under the proper conditions in the aquarium, it soon forms a dense carpet with its numerous runners and provides hiding spots for any fry fish species that may prefers cover. It also provides a rich environment for the microorganisms that young fish feed upon.

Scientific name: Echinodorus tenellus

Common name: Narrow Leaf Chain Sword, Grassy dwarf sword plant, Dwarf burhead or Pygmy chain Sword

Origin: North, Central and South America

Care level: Medium

Placement: Foreground

Propagation: Adventitious Plants, Runners, Seeds

Height: 5-10 cm

Width: 5-8 cm

Water pH: 5.5-8.0

Water Hardness: 3.0-8.0 dGH

Water temperature: 68-840F

Lighting: Moderate – strong

Growth: Medium


Chain sword (Echinodorus tenellus) was originally described by Buchenau in 1869. It belongs to the family Alismataceae under order Alismatales.  The genus ‘Echinodorus’ is derived from the Greek words echinus, meaning ‘rough husk’ and ‘doros’ meaning ‘leather bottle’ referring to the prickly fruit while the species ‘Tenellus’ meaning ‘delicate’. This species has several synonyms such as Echinodorus parvulus Engelm.; Echinodorus tenellus (Mart.) Buchenau var. latifolius (Seub.) Fassett; Buchenau var. parvulus (Engelm.) Fassett; Helianthium parvulum (Engelm.) Britton; Helianthium tenellum Britton, Alisma tenellum Martius 1830, Echinodorus tenellus var. ecostatus Fassett, Echinodorus parvulus Engelmann, Echinodorus parvulus Engelmann, Buchenau var. parvulus (Engelmann) Fassett. It is considered as threatened species due to various factors such as alterations to natural water level fluctuations, Sedimentation, chemical discharge in water etc.

Housing and care

Chain sword is a popular plant and it should be planted in the foreground or middle of the aquarium. It requires moderate lighting and water temperatures that should be between 68 and 840F for best growth. In a large aquarium care should be taken to provide enough light because it is rather light demanding. The plant prefers a fine-grained nutrient rich substrate with 25% clay and laterite. For optimum lighting, the tank should have at least 2 to 3 watts per gallon with full spectrum (5000-7000K) bulbs. The light should be consistently on 10-14 hours a day. It prefers good water chemistry with a pH of 6.2-7.5 and hardness of 3-4 dGH. In the water with too low temperature, without nutrients and minerals it does not develop the runners. For optimum growth organic rich substrate and good fertilizer should be added in the aquarium. The tank bottom should have a layer of aqua soil powder because it has the smaller granule size which allows the plant portions to be placed into it safely and securely. It is a fast growing plant that can achieve great results in a relatively short period of time. It grows by sending out runners which makes it a perfect carpeting plant by forming a very dense carpet. If algae develop on the plant, simply trim it by cutting off the affected leaves and it should be removed from the aquarium.

Pygmy Chain Sword for Sale & Availability

Chain sword is a very popular aquatic plant among the aquarium enthusiasts due to its elongated narrow leaves and gorgeous leaf coloration. It is a fine and shapely looking plant with handsome leaves and stems. It is a great choice for a carpet plant because they can grow to cover the substrate. It spreads by runners and can form a nice carpet in the foreground areas of the aquarium. If you want to purchase Chain swords from home online, look down below to purchase today!


Echinodorus tenellus can easily propagate in aquarium conditions with proper care.  It can generally propagate by producing runners from the mother plants. This plant sends runners through the substrate and plantlets appear along the length of the runner. After forming roots, the plantlets can be separated from the mother plant. During planting in the aquarium the plantlets should be placed 2-5 cm apart. Soon, the plant spreads and covers bare areas. It occasionally can do sexual reproduction through seeds production and form new plants. It can also produce adventitious shoots and forms new plants.

We sell Pygmy Chain Swords

In the market for some Chain Swords? well we are now selling it right here on Aquatic Mag. You can can also get a 10% off discount just by sharing this post.

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