Anubias: A Comprehensive Guide

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Have you ever wondered how to give your aquarium that extra touch of beauty and elegance?

Well, look no further because I’ve got just the thing for you.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about this stunning aquatic plant, from its appearance and size to the different types available.

I’ll also be filling you in on the benefits, as well as the ideal water conditions and care tips.

So, if you’re ready to transform your aquarium into a captivating underwater oasis, let’s dive right into the world of Anubias!

Quick Facts

Scientific FamilyAraceae
OriginWest Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast)
Growth RateSlow
Water TypeFreshwater and brackish
Light RequirementLow; tolerates low light levels
CO2 RequirementNot required
Appearance & SizeThick, leathery, oblong leaves; glossy dark green; 2-12 inches in height
Popular TypesAnubias Nana Petite, Anubias Nana Golden, Anubias Barteri Round, Anubias Nana Pinto, Anubias Nana Snow White
Water ConditionsTemperature: 72°F-82°F (22°C-28°C), pH: 6.0-7.5, Water Hardness: 4-15 dGH
SubstrateNot strict; can be planted in substrate or attached to surfaces
Tank Placement & AquascapingAttach to surfaces or plant in the substrate without burying the rhizome
Planting MethodAttach to surfaces or plant in substrate without burying the rhizome
PropagationRhizome division or plantlet propagation
Ideal forBeginner aquarists, low-maintenance setups, adding aesthetic appeal to aquariums

Anubias: A Comprehensive Guide

Anubias is a popular aquatic plant that has gained a lot of popularity among hobbyists and aquarium enthusiasts.

These plants are known for their stunning appearance, ease of care, and ability to thrive in a wide range of aquarium environments.

Anubias Facts & Overview

Anubias is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Araceae family.

It is native to West Africa, mainly found in countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast.

The plants have thick, dark green leaves and a durable rhizome which allows them to thrive in a variety of aquatic environments.

They are commonly found in rivers, streams, and swamps, often growing on rocks, driftwood, or other surfaces.

Anubias are known for their slow growth rate, which makes them a popular choice for aquarists who prefer low-maintenance plants.

They are also a great addition to both freshwater and brackish water aquariums, as they are adaptable to various conditions.

The plants can tolerate low light levels and will not require CO2 supplementation, making them an excellent choice for beginner aquarists.

Appearance & Size

They have a distinctive appearance that sets them apart from other aquarium plants.

The leaves are leathery and oblong, with a glossy dark green coloration.

They have a thick midrib running down the center, which gives them a robust and sturdy look.

The size can vary depending on the species and growth conditions.

On average, they range from 2 inches to 12 inches in height, with some species having leaves as large as 2.5 inches in width.

Popular Types of Anubias

They come in various types, each with its unique characteristics and growth requirements.

Here are some of the most popular types of Anubias:

Anubias Nana Petite

Anubias Nana Petite is a dwarf variety of Anubias that is perfect for small aquariums or as a foreground plant.

It has tiny leaves that are only a few centimeters in size, making it an ideal choice for nano tanks or planted aquariums with limited space.

Anubias Nana Golden

Anubias Nana Golden is a stunning variety of Anubias that features vibrant golden leaves.

This unique coloration adds a striking contrast to any aquarium, making it a popular choice among aquascapers and plant enthusiasts.

Anubias Barteri Round (Golden Coin)

Anubias Barteri Round, also known as Golden Coin, is a larger variety of Anubias with rounder leaves compared to other types.

It has a deep green coloration and can grow up to several inches in height, making it a great background plant or centerpiece in larger aquariums.

Anubias Nana Pinto

Anubias Nana Pinto is a rare and visually striking variety of Anubias.

Its leaves have a marbled pattern with shades of green, white, and pink.

This unique coloration adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any aquascape.

Anubias Nana Snow White

Anubias Nana Snow White is a captivating variety of Anubias with light, almost translucent leaves.

This delicate appearance creates a beautiful contrast against dark-colored rocks or driftwood, making it a fantastic choice for creating focal points in the aquarium.

A bunch of Anubias plants on driftwood in an aquarium setting

Benefits of Anubias in Aquariums

Aside from their aesthetic appeal, these plants offer a range of benefits in aquariums.

  1. Oxygenation: Anubias plants are excellent oxygenators, helping to maintain healthy oxygen levels in the aquarium water. This is important for the well-being of fish and other aquatic inhabitants.
  2. Natural Filtration: The leaves provide a surface for beneficial bacteria to colonize, aiding in biological filtration. This helps to break down harmful substances, such as ammonia and nitrites, resulting in improved water quality.
  3. Algae Prevention: They can play a vital role in preventing algae growth in the aquarium. As they compete for nutrients, they effectively limit the availability of resources for unwanted algae, keeping your tank clean and free from unsightly algae blooms.
  4. Shelter for Fish: The dense foliage provides shelter and hiding places for fish, particularly smaller species or shy inhabitants. This can help reduce stress and promote a more natural and secure environment for your aquatic pets.
  5. Natural Aquascape Enhancement: Anubias plants are a fantastic addition to any aquascape, adding depth, texture, and visual interest to the tank. Their unique leaf shapes and vibrant colors can create stunning focal points and enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your aquarium.
Close up photo of an Anubias plant

Water Conditions & Requirements

Anubias plants are adaptable to a wide range of water conditions, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists.

Here are the optimal water conditions and requirements:

Temperature: They prefer tropical temperatures ranging from 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C). They can withstand slightly higher or lower temperatures, but extreme fluctuations should be avoided.

pH Level: These plants can tolerate a broad range of pH levels, typically between 6.0 and 7.5. However, it is important to maintain a stable pH within the preferred range for optimal growth and health.

Lighting: Anubias plants are considered low-light plants and do not require intense lighting. They can thrive in both low and moderate light conditions. However, it is essential to provide some light to support photosynthesis and promote healthy growth.

Water Hardness: They are not overly sensitive to water hardness. They can tolerate a range of water hardness, typically between 4 and 15 dGH.

Substrate: They can be planted directly into the substrate or attached to rocks, driftwood, or other surfaces. It is recommended to use fine-grained substrates like sand or gravel to avoid damaging the plant’s rhizome.

Tank Placement & Aquascaping

When it comes to tank placement and aquascaping, Anubias plants offer plenty of versatility and creative options.

Due to their unique appearance, they can be used as focal points in your aquascape.

Place them strategically to create visually appealing compositions and draw attention to specific areas of the tank.

Depending on the height and size, they can be positioned as background plants, midground plants, or even in the foreground.

Consider the growth habits and mature size of the specific variety to determine the ideal placement.

Anubias plants can be attached to driftwood or rocks to create a more natural and visually appealing layout.

Secure them using a fishing line or plant-safe glue, ensuring that the rhizome is not buried in the substrate to prevent rotting.

Planting several plants together can create a more impactful visual effect.

Group plants of varying sizes and varieties to add depth and dimension to your aquascape.

Remember to consider the growth rate and potential size of the Anubias plants when planning your aquascape, to avoid overcrowding and ensure proper growth and development.

A nice big group of Anubias plants attached to driftwood

How to Plant Anubias in the Aquarium

Planting Anubias in the aquarium is relatively simple.

Before planting, carefully remove them from their container or packaging.

Take care not to damage the fragile roots or rhizome.

Decide on the desired location for the Anubias plant in your aquarium.

Consider the plant’s growth requirements and the overall layout of your tank.

If you plan to attach the plant to driftwood, rocks, or other surfaces, use a fishing line or plant-safe glue to secure it in place.

Avoid burying or covering the rhizome, as this can lead to rotting.

If you prefer to plant the Anubias directly into the substrate, make a small hole or indentation in the substrate using your finger or a planting tool.

Gently place the plant’s rhizome into the hole, ensuring it is not buried in the substrate.

After planting, gently shake or swish the plant in the water to dislodge any trapped air bubbles from the rhizome and roots.

Position the aquarium lights to provide sufficient lighting for the newly planted Anubias.

Remember not to expose them to excessively intense light, as this can cause algae issues or stress the plant.

Monitor closely for the first few weeks.

If necessary, adjust the planting position, lighting, or other parameters to ensure optimal growth and health.

Care & Growing Guide

Anubias plants are known for their low-maintenance requirements, but they still require some care to thrive in your aquarium.

  • Lighting: Provide low to moderate lighting levels for healthy growth. Avoid intense lighting that can cause algae issues or damage the plant.
  • Fertilization: While these plants can absorb nutrients from the water column, occasional fertilization can promote robust growth and vibrant foliage. Use a liquid fertilizer specially formulated for aquarium plants, following the instructions provided.
  • Pruning: They have a slow growth rate and require minimal pruning. Remove any damaged or yellowing leaves regularly to maintain a neat and tidy appearance. Avoid cutting or damaging the rhizome, as this can lead to plant death.
  • Water Changes: Regular water changes are essential for maintaining optimal water quality. Aim for weekly or bi-weekly water changes to remove accumulated waste and replenish essential nutrients.
  • Algae Control: Although Anubias plants can help prevent algae growth, it is still important to actively manage and control algae in your aquarium. Maintain balanced light and nutrient levels, and promptly remove any visible algae to prevent it from competing with the Anubias for resources.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: These plants have a slow growth rate, so it is crucial to avoid overcrowding them in the aquarium. Provide enough space for each plant to grow and expand its foliage.

These plants pair nicely with Vallisneria in aquariums.

A person demonstrating how to plant an Anubias into gravel

Propagating Anubias

Propagating Anubias is relatively simple and can be done through rhizome division or by propagating the plantlets that grow on the rhizome.

To propagate through rhizome division, carefully remove the plant from the substrate, taking care not to damage the rhizome.

Gently separate the rhizome into sections, ensuring each section has healthy roots and leaves.

Plant the divided sections in suitable spots in the aquarium, following the planting guide mentioned earlier.

Anubias plants produce small plantlets that grow along the rhizome.

These plantlets can be carefully detached from the parent plant once they have developed a healthy root system.

Plant the detached plantlets in a suitable location in the aquarium, ensuring they have access to light and nutrients.

With proper care and attention, the newly propagated plants will grow and develop into independent individuals, contributing to the beauty and vitality of your aquarium.


In conclusion, Anubias plants are a fantastic addition to any aquarium.

Their distinct appearance, ease of care, and several varieties make them an excellent choice for beginners and experienced aquarists alike.

Whether you’re looking to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your aquascape, provide shelter for fish, or improve water quality, Anubias plants can fulfill a range of needs.

By following the guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of these plants in your very own aquatic paradise.

Photo of author


Irma Bense is the founder of She has over 42 years of experience in keeping fish.She has kept both freshwater and saltwater fish through the years.She has extensive knowledge in breeding numerous species of fish from Show Guppies, Cory Catfish, German Blue Rams to Apistogrammas.You can learn more about Irma on the 'About' page.

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