Anubias – Plant Profile, Types, Propagation, And Care Guide

Anubias barteri is an extremely popular aquarium plant species that is ideal for a beginner’s tank. This hardy, attractive plant requires no special care and grows equally well in low-light and high-light tanks. The plant’s broad leaves create the perfect hiding place for shy fish species and provide a comfortable, natural hammock for a lazy betta. 

If you have a smaller tank, Anubias barteri nana petite is a miniature version of the Amauriella Rendle plant that’s just as easy to care for as its larger cousin. 

Keep reading to find out how to care for and propagate Anubias in your aquarium.

Anubias Barteri – Overview

Family/Species

Scientific Name

Anubias barteri

Common Name

Anubias

Care Level

Easy/Beginner

Growth Rate

Slow – 2 to 6 leaves per year

Max Size

7.5 inches

Minimum Tank Size

10 gallons

Water Conditions

72° to 82°F, pH 6-7.5, 3-8 KH

Lighting Requirements

Propagation

Rhizome Division

Placement

Foreground to Background

Anubias barteri and its smaller variant, Anubias barteri nana petite, are freshwater plants that belong to the Araceae family. Sometimes, the petite variety of the plant is called dwarf Anubias.

Anubias is native to Africa, specifically Nigeria and Cameroon. The plant is extremely hardy and tolerant of various water conditions. You can grow the plant fully or partially submerged, meaning that it can be used in paludariums as well as aquariums. Anubias adds a pop of beautiful bright green color to the tank, and the dwarf variety can be used to cover the substrate, creating the perfect habitat for bottom-dwellers such as catfish and loaches.

Propagation is simple, making it very easy and cheap to produce more plants from the original mother plant.

Appearance

Anubias barteri are sturdy plants that grow to a height of around 7.5 inches. The petite version of the plant reaches just a couple of inches tall, making it perfect for a smaller tank.

The plant has thick stems with dark green, teardrop-shaped leaves that branch directly from the plant’s stem. Although the leaves appear quite delicate, they are protected by a thin cuticle layer that gives them a robust structure to protect the plant from nibbling fish.

If you grow Anubias partially submerged, the plant will flower, the pretty white blooms lasting for up to three months.

Where To Grow Anubias Barteri

These plants are usually grown either anchored in the substrate or tied to rocks or driftwood with thread or fishing line. Anubias barteri sends out thin white roots that eventually secure the plant in position once planted.

Since this is quite a short plant, it’s ideal for the front of the tank, and the petite version makes a great carpet plant.

Anubias Barteri Care Guide

Here’s how to care for Anubias barteri.

Choosing Your Plants 

When you choose your plants, look out for the following signs that indicate a healthy specimen:

  • The plant should be dark green, not yellow or brown, which indicates an unhealthy plant.
  • Look for plants with robust stems that can support the weight of the plant’s leaves easily. Drooping plants are not a good choice.
  • Pick out plants that don’t have damaged leaves, which might not survive when you put them in your tank.

Anubias is readily available to buy at most fish stores and online. You can expect to pay under $5 for good quality, healthy plants. If you want a plant that’s already growing attached to bogwood or rocks, you’ll pay a little more.

Tank Requirements

Since Anubias barteri is quite a small plant, a tank of around 10 gallons is fine.

Anubias needs a soft substrate that its roots can easily penetrate and grow in. Gravel is a good choice, too, as the water circulation through the grains makes it easier for the plant roots to take up nutrients from the water column.

These plants will grow under low to moderate lighting. As long as the light reaches the leaves so that the plant can photosynthesize, Anubias barteri will be content.

Water Parameters

Anubias in a aquarium

Anubias likes warm, slightly acidic water.

The temperature should be in the range of 72° to 82°F with a pH in the range of 6.0 to 7.5 and a water hardness of 3 to 8 KH.

Maintenance Requirements

Anubias barteri is a slow-growing plant that only produces between two and six new leaves every year, and that makes it very easy to keep tidy. Basically, you only need to trim the stems every so often when they grow too long. 

Cleaning the soil in the aquarium with a siphon

You will obviously keep your aquarium clean for the health of your livestock by vacuuming the substrate and carrying out weekly water changes. Keeping the water clear also enables more light to reach your plants.

Supplements

Aquatic plants draw the nutrients they need from the water column. So, if the water is deficient in nutrients, the plants will grow very slowly or not at all.

If you’re concerned that your plants aren’t growing, you might want to consider adding a nutrient supplement or fertilizer to the water. However, do be careful that you don’t go overboard, as adding too many nutrients can cause algae overgrowth. 

Many aquarists also add CO2 to the water as a plant supplement. However, adding too much CO2 to the tank could harm your fish, and the plants generally get all the CO2 they need from fish respiration.

How To Plant Anubias Barteri In The Substrate

When you plant your Anubias barteri, there are a few important considerations to bear in mind:

  • Make sure that the plant is not shaded by decorations or taller plants that will deprive the Anubias barteri of the light it needs to photosynthesize.
  • Leave at least two inches of space between each plant. If the plants are put too close together, they will outcompete each other for nutrients, and one of the plants might fail to thrive or even die.

Use soft sand or fine gravel as a substrate, which replicates the muddy riverbanks where the plant grows in the wild.

How To Plant Anubias Barteri on Bogwood

Aquascapers often plant Anubias on bogwood or rock. 

To do that, use a piece of clear fishing line or fine thread and gently tie the plant to the wood or rock. In a few weeks, once the plant’s roots have taken a firm hold on the wood or rock, you can remove the thread or fishing line.

Leave the roots exposed to the water so that they can take the nutrients they need. Be careful not to bury the roots, or they will rot, and the plant will die.

Propagation 

Anubias propagates by rhizome division. That means that new plants grow from broken-off stems from the mother plant.

So, to propagate the plant, all you need to do is snip off a few cuttings from mature plants using a set of aquascaping scissors. Plant the cuttings in the substrate, and they will start producing roots within a few days.

Note that each cutting you take needs at least three leaves for the new plant to photosynthesize and grow. Be careful that you don’t harvest too much from the mother plant, or you might kill it.

Anubias cuttings don’t require CO2 or supplements, but they will grow best when they have plenty of light, and the water is clean.

Compatibility

Anubias barteri can be kept with any other species of aquatic plants, provided that you don’t plant them too close together or too densely.

As Anubias is a short plant that is best suited to life at the front of the tank, it looks good with something like Water Sprite planted in the central area of the aquarium, perhaps with hornwort as a floating plant if you want one.

Fish

Most freshwater fish species do fine with Anubias, especially those bottom-dwellers that like to seek shelter among the plant’s broad leaves. Suitable fish species to keep with Anubias include:

  • Loaches
  • Gouramis
  • Mollies
  • Platys
  • Guppies
  • Tetras

Fish to avoid are diggers such as Oscars that might uproot the plant and goldfish that can do a lot of damage by eating leaves and digging around the roots.

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed our guide to Anubias barteri.

Anubias barteri is a great choice of aquatic plant for a beginner. This species is easy to care for, tolerates a broad range of water conditions, doesn’t need special lighting, and takes very little maintenance. You can propagate the plant simply by taking cuttings and replanting them on the substrate.

What aquarium plants do you have in your setup? Tell us in the comments box below, and please share this guide if you enjoyed it! 

Alison Page has been an avid fish keeper for over 35 years and has owned many different species of freshwater tropical fish including bettas. Currently Alison has two large freshwater tanks. The first tank has two huge fancy goldfish who are almost ten years old and still looking as good as ever. In the other, she has a happy community of tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, corydoras catfish, platys, and mollies.

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