Anubias care: the ultimate guide to grow Anubias




July 11, 2023

Anubias verzorging

Let me guess: Anubias was one of the first plants you added to your very first aquarium?

You’re not the only one! Anubias is a favored choice among aquarium enthusiasts and aquascapers. Known for their unique leaf structures and slow growth rate, Anubias plants add a touch of elegance to any underwater setup. Moreover, there are so many varieties of Anubias on the market that there is something for everyone and for every aquascape. In this blog post, I will delve into the care of different Anubias species including large variants like Anubias gigantea and small ones such as Anubias afzelii. We’ll explore the optimal growing conditions these plants require for healthy development – from water quality to light tolerance levels and discuss the correct propagation techniques for achieving best results with your Anubias plants,

Table Of Contents:

Understanding the Anubias aquarium plant species

Originating from West Africa, Anubias is known for their lush green leaves and hardy nature. This aquarium plant species come from regions with varying climates, ranging from rainforests to savannas. This diversity contributes to their adaptability in different aquarium conditions. There are many variants of Anubias, from very large to medium-sized and nano variants. Here’s a quick overview:

Large variants of Anubias

  • Anbuias gigantea
  • Anubias barteri

These bigger variants make excellent centerpieces due to their size and striking appearance. They’re perfect for creating depth and contrast in your aquascape.

Medium-Sized Variants of Anubias

  • Anubias barteri
  • Anubias petite
  • Anubias frazeri
  • Anubias coffeefolia
  • Anubias congensis
  • Anubias longifolia
  • Anubias hastifolia

These medium-sized variants of Anubias are popular among aquarists due to its versatility and ease-of-care. The offer a delicate beauty with their compact form and unique leaf shapes

Small to nano variants of Anubias

Moving towards the smaller end, we have

  • Anubias nana ‘Pangolino”
  • Anubias nana “Chilli”
  • Anubias bonsai

These tiny gems can add intricate detail to any aquatic layout. There’s also an array of variegated versions available on the market which bring a pop of color into your underwater garden.

Anubias coffeefolia
Anubias coffeefolia

How to grow and care for Anubias

Anubias plants are the perfect addition to any aquarium, but to keep them healthy, you need to provide the right growing conditions. Here are some of my personal tips to improve the health of your Anubias aquarium plants.

Tip #1: water quality matters

Clean water is essential for healthy Anubias plants, in fact it’s important for ALL aquarium plants! So keep organic waste levels low by doing regular water changes and using an efficient filtration system. This will not only keep your tank looking great but also prevent harmful algae from taking over. This is especially important for Anubias because it’s a slow growing plant and thus more likely to get algae! Here are some “specs” that apply to most varieties of Anubias, but be sure to check the requirements of the specific variety you want to add to your aquascape:

  • Temperature range: 22°- 30° Celsius
  • PH range : 6 – 8
  • GH range : 4 – 30
  • Light: low / medium

Tip #2: lighting is key

An important aspect of helping your anubias grow is providing it with appropriate lighting conditions. As these are low-light plants native to shaded areas in nature, they do not require intense light in aquarium settings either. In fact, too much light can lead to unwanted algae growth on the organic material of their leaves.

If you notice green spots appearing on your plant’s leaves (GSA or “Green Spot Algae”), consider reducing exposure time or intensity until conditions improve. Remember that unlike huge Amazon sword plants, which thrive under strong light, most varieties extract carbon ineffectively due to their slower metabolism rates. It may seem counterintuitive, but placing Anubias towards darker sections within aquascapes often results in healthier specimens since they’re less likely exposed excessively against harmful algal blooms while still receiving adequate amounts of necessary nutrients through the water column itself provided by regular maintenance routines.

Tip #3: fertilizing and CO2

This is a question I get regularly: are fertilizers and CO2 injection really necessary for Anubias? The answer is: yes and no. No, because the plant is a really slow grower and not very demanding, it should be perfectly able to survive with low levels of carbon dioxide and nutrients in the water column.

Anubias care: the ultimate guide to grow Anubias | PlantedBox

However, if you want your Anubias – and any other aquarium plant in your tank – to thrive and go crazy then I recommend giving them the nutrients they need. For this you could use my All-in-One aquarium fertilizer which uses a great mix of trace elements and NPK for a complete dose. Injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into your aquarium is also not really necessary but it CAN do wonders for your Anubias plants. The CO2 injection enhances their robustness against algae and significantly increases growth rates. It’s like giving them a shot of espresso 🙂 Be sure to check out my complete CO2 kit to easily add CO2 to your tank.

PS: have you noticed pale or yellow leaves on your Anubias? Then you probably have a nutrient defiiciency!

CO2 system aquarium
Although not necessary, adding CO2 can certainly help!


How to plant Anubias: on rocks, driftwood and soil

First of all: Anubias is an epiphyte by nature and should NEVER be buried in substrate unlike other aquarium plants! The rhizome is where all its roots sprout from; burying it could cause rotting leading to eventual plant death. Instead, they should be stuck into hardscape crevices or attached onto rocks or wood using string or super glue.

Zip Tie Method

The zip tie method is a popular and straightforward technique for attaching Anubias to driftwood or rocks in your aquarium. Simply wrap the zip tie around the rhizome of the plant and secure it tightly enough that it won’t slip off but loose enough so as not to damage the plant itself. It’s like giving your plant a little hug. Instead of a zip tie, you could also use some (nylon) string.

Superglue Technique

For a more lasting fix, you may want to try using superglue. Yes, you read that right. Certain types of superglue are safe for use in aquariums and can securely attach your Anubias plants to various surfaces without causing harm. Be sure to choose a glue that’s cyanoacrylate-based; these glues become inert when wet, making them harmless for fish and other aquatic life forms. It’s like giving your plant a makeover with a little bit of glue 🙂

How to trim your Anubias aquarium plant

Is your Anubias happy and has it grown already? Awesome! It is important to regularly trim your plants to maintain their shape. When cutting back excessive foliage from mature plants, always use sharp knives as this reduces damage during pruning. By doing so, new shoots can emerge more effectively, ensuring the overall health of slow-growing species that are naturally adapted to harsh environments with limited resources.

PlantedBox offers a nice range of super sharp scissors for trimming your Anubias, be sure to check it out.

Anubias flower
If your lucky and with the right conditions, your Anubias can flower

How to propagate Anubias for the best results

Want to propogate your Anubias? With a few simple techniques, you can easily multiply your collection

Natural Sprouting Process

Anubias plants are like magic. When they reach a certain size, new shoots start to emerge from the main rhizome. It’s as if they’re signaling, “Hey, time to reproduce.” This makes it effortless to multiply them without any extra tools or knowledge. Allow nature to take its course. To learn more about this process, check out this informative article on Anubias propagation.

Dividing Rhizomes

If you’re feeling impatient (we’ve all been there), dividing rhizomes is another effective method of propagating Anubias. Once the plant’s rhizome reaches a suitable length, it can be divided using a sharp blade or scissor into smaller pieces each with at least one leaf attached. Remember to make clean cuts to avoid damaging the plant tissue and potentially causing disease.

This technique requires some care but is generally straightforward even for beginners in aquascaping. It’s important not only for multiplying your own stock but also helps maintain healthy growth by preventing overcrowding within the tank environment.

Aquascapes with Anubias

Need some inspiration for your next aquascape with Anubias? Below are some great examples that I have collected for you on AGA, the copyright goes to the aquascaper mentioned.

Want your aquascape listed below, then feel free to contact me!

Nicola Parrella
Aquascape by Nicola Parrella


Stefan Danila
Aquascape by Stefan Danila
Puji Suprastivo
Aquascape by Puji Suprastivo


Anubias is the aquatic plant that every aquascaper needs in their tank. With various species available, it’s important to know the right growing conditions and nutrient needs to keep them healthy. Propagation techniques and attaching them to hardscapes are also important to consider for a successful aquascape. Follow my guidelines in this article and you’ll have a beautiful Anubias-filled aquarium or aquascape in no time!

Got extra tips or questions? Let me know in the comments below!

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