The Fish Guru

Anubias Plants: A Guide to Identification Planting Care and Propagation

Anubias Plant Overview:

Anubias, a genus of freshwater plants commonly found in tropical Africa, is popular among aquarium enthusiasts due to its hardiness and ability to thrive in a variety of water conditions. The name ‘Anubias’ refers to Anubis, the Egyptian god of the afterlife, because of the plant’s ability to grow in shaded areas and seemingly come back from the dead.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the Anubias plant, its identification, planting, care, and common problems that one may encounter when keeping Anubias in a freshwater aquarium. Identification:

Anubias plants are characterized by tear-drop shaped leaves that can be dark green, light green, or reddish-brown in color.

The plant can produce flowers, but this is rare in aquarium environments. The petiole, which is the stem of each leaf, is attached to a rhizome that houses the plant’s roots.

Anubias plants have a slow growth rate and are typically categorized into two main varieties: Anubias barteri var. barteri and Anubias barteri var.

nana. Anubias barteri var.

barteri is typically found in West Africa and prefers water conditions with temperatures ranging from 22-28C and pH levels around 6.0-7.5. It can grow up to 25-45 cm in height and requires moderate light conditions. Anubias barteri var.

nana is native to Cameroon and is the smaller of the two varieties, reaching a maximum height of only 5 inches. It is considered a dwarf Anubias, making it a popular choice for smaller aquariums.


Anubias plants are easy to plant and can be tied to driftwood or rocks using cotton thread or fishing line. The exposure of the rhizome and roots are crucial to allow the plant to absorb nutrients from the water.

Pre-attached Anubias can be purchased and planted directly into the substrate. Anubias plants can also be grown emersed, but this requires higher light exposure and careful maintenance.

Anubias Care & Tankmates:

Anubias plants are low maintenance and require only moderate lighting. They have a slow growth rate, which means they do not require frequent pruning.

Anubias can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, including salinity and brackish water. However, it is important to avoid overcrowding the aquarium and providing enough space for the plant to grow.

Anubias can live harmoniously with a variety of fish and invertebrates. They provide excellent hiding places for fish and can be used to create natural-looking aquascapes.

However, it is important to avoid keeping aggressive fish with Anubias, as they can damage or uproot the plant. Problems with Anubias:

Yellowing is a common problem with Anubias and can be caused by nutrient deficiency or algae growth.

To combat this, regular water changes and adding liquid fertilizer can provide a nutrient boost for the plant. It is also important to avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight and maintaining proper water pH levels.

Algae growth can be another issue, as Anubias is susceptible to it. Clearing the tank of excess food and maintaining proper lighting can prevent algae growth.

If algae growth does occur, it can be removed by gently rubbing the plant’s leaves with a soft brush or pad. In conclusion, Anubias plants are a hardy and versatile addition to any freshwater aquarium.

Their slow growth rate and low maintenance needs make them an ideal choice for beginner aquarists. With proper care and attention, Anubias plants can thrive and provide a beautiful and natural environment for fish and other aquatic inhabitants.

Anubias Plant Propagation:

Anubias plants can be propagated through two methods – flowering and division. While flowering is a rare occurrence in aquarium environments, it is still possible for Anubias plants to produce white flowers.

These flowers are small and appear on a thin stem that grows from the rhizome. Once the flowers die, they can produce seed pods, which can be harvested and sown to grow new Anubias plants.

The more common method of Anubias plant propagation is division. The rhizome is the stem from which the plant’s leaves and roots grow, and it is the part that needs to be divided during plant propagation.

When the rhizome has grown to a sizeable length – around 5-10 cm – it can be divided into several sections using a sharp blade or scissors. Each divided section should have at least one healthy-looking leaf and root system.

The new Anubias plant can now be re-planted in a new location or sold/given away to fellow aquarium enthusiasts. Dividing Anubias plants not only increases the number of plants in an aquarium, but it can also improve the overall health of the Anubias plants by allowing them to have more space to grow and absorb nutrients from the water.

Buying Anubias:

Anubias plants are readily available in both local fish stores and online. Local fish stores may be the best option for those who prefer to see the plant in person before purchasing it.

Additionally, purchasing from a local fish store gives you the opportunity to support small businesses in the area. Alternatively, many local aquarists may be looking to sell or give away Anubias plants that have been propagated from their own aquariums.

Another way to source Anubias plants is through online retailers or independent Anubias plant sources, which often have a more extensive range of varieties available. The price of Anubias plants can vary depending on the variety.

Anubias barteri var. barteri and Anubias barteri var.

nana are some of the more popular and common varieties, and therefore may be less expensive. However, for those looking for more unique varieties such as Anubias coffeefolia, A.

hastifolia, A. congensis, or A.

frazeri, the price may be higher due to their rarity. When buying Anubias plants, it is important to ensure that they are healthy looking and free from signs of decay or disease.

The leaves should be a vibrant green color, and the roots should be well-developed and white in color. Additionally, it is important to choose the right variety that suits your aquarium’s size and water conditions.

In summary, Anubias plant propagation is an easy and effective way to increase the number of plants in an aquarium and maintain their overall health. When buying Anubias plants, there are several options available from local fish stores to online retailers.

Ensuring that the plants are healthy and well-suited to your aquarium’s environment is crucial for their growth and success. In this article, we have explored the world of Anubias plants, a genus of freshwater plants commonly found in tropical Africa.

We have discussed their identification, planting, care, and common problems that one may encounter while keeping them in a freshwater aquarium. We have also covered Anubias plant propagation and buying Anubias plants from local stores or online sources.

Overall, Anubias plants are a hardy and versatile addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are loved for their low maintenance needs and slow growth rate, which makes them an ideal choice for beginner aquarists.

Proper care and attention can help Anubias plants to thrive and provide a beautiful and natural environment for fish and other aquatic inhabitants.

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