The Anubias plant is a common aquatic plant, typically attached to bogwood or rocks. The plant’s nutrient and light requirements are low, and aquarists love how easy it is to maintain it.
Most herbivorous fish species do not graze on the plant, which boosts the variety of compatible fish. There are numerous anubias plant varieties in the market, although most of them are advertised as anubias barteri var. barteri.
Anubias plants are generally hardy, and they will suit a beginner tank. Whether you place the plant in the foreground, background, or midground, anubias will brighten up your aquarium with its lush green color.
Anubias Appearance & Requirements
The size of the plant will depend on the variant. The Anubias Barteri, which is the most common variety used in aquariums, will reach a maximum height of 16 inches.
It is a slow grower, and it typically grows upwards instead of outwards. The smallest representative is the anubias nana “petite,” which reaches a mere two inches.
The anubias plant is known for its tough, leathery, and wide leaves, which measure 14 cm broad and 40 cm long at maturity. The leaves often have a vibrant green color and will deter even active grazers like goldfish. The plant can be cultivated in both small and large-sized tanks.
The anubias plant will thrive in the typical water parameters of a community freshwater aquarium. The water temperatures and PH can range between 72-78 °F and 6.5 to 7.8, respectively.
The plant will also tolerate high and low levels of light. Although it will grow more quickly in higher levels of light, it will be prone to algal growth on its leaves.
If your tank receives anywhere between 1.8 to 3 watts of light per gallon, you can expect the plant to grow slower.
Fish Compatible with Anubias Plant
Anubias is favorably compatible with most fish and invertebrates. Its broad leaves offer hiding spots for timid or breeding fish and eggs and fry.
The best tankmates are bottom-dwelling species like loaches and catfish. Other compatible fish include danios, gouramis, cherry barbs, tetras, snails, turtles, and shrimp.
You can add anubias to your aquarium if you have solitary species like bettas. Even fish that like to eat greenery like herbivore cichlids and goldfish dislike the taste of anubias and will mainly leave it alone.
How to Plant Anubias?
You will need to get a healthy anubias plant from the pet store for your tank. The plant can either be attached to decorations, potted in a container, or sold as a bare-root plant. Look for the one with healthy roots, deep-green leaves, and a thick rhizome. Ensure that the plant is free of algae or broken leaves.
Planting anubias is easy as long as you are careful with it. If you want to plant it in a substrate, the variety you choose is not that important, but it should be nutrient-rich. Sand is a great choice, although any fine-grained gravel will do.
Ensure that the rhizome is not planted under the substrate, as the plant will subsequently die. The rhizome is where the roots grow from, observed as the brown section at the bottom of your anubias.
Do not plant two anubias plants too close to each other. Ensure they are at least two inches apart so that they do not compete for nutrients. Some plants can die as a consequence of insufficient resources.
The Anubias plant should not be planted in shaded areas because its leaves require light to photosynthesis to grow. If you plant it in a substrate, it can quickly get overshadowed at the bottom and not get sufficient light.
If you want to use anubias plants to give top-dwelling species like bettas resting places, then you can attach the plant to rocks, driftwood, and decorations. Follow these guidelines for successful planting:
Anchoring Using Superglue
You can attach the anubias plant to a rock using superglue, although you will need to buy the gel version. Ensure that it has a safe liquid acrylic ingredient, as it is what forms the acrylic bond between the rock and the plant.
To start, remove the cotton-like material around the roots once you get the anubias from the pot. You can run the roots under a gentle flow of water and use your hands to clean any remaining material. Dab the roots on a hand towel or paper towel to get them ready for planting.
You should also locate the best part of the rock to plant the anubias plant, such as a natural crevice. Using the length of the rhizome as a guide, spread a thin layer of the glue on the rock. You should select a gel that is not runny so that it does not run down around the rock.
Hold the rhizome and roots vertically on the rock for about two minutes. The roots will attach to the rock in no time and anchor the plant. You can place the rock in the tank once the area of attachment is dry.
The only drawback of using glue is that the white remains in view until the plant covers it or mulm accumulates on it.
Anchoring with Fishing Line or Thread
Aquarists commonly use thread to attach plants like anubias to driftwood and other decorations.
To start, wrap a piece of thread on the rhizome, and ensure it is just tight enough to hold the anubias in place. The thread should not be too tight such that it cuts into the rhizome.
If it is loose, the anubias can wiggle out the hold, especially if you have diggers or foragers for fish pets. The thread will eventually disintegrate in the water, and you will be left with a well-anchored plant.
The fishing line is used in a similar fashion with the thread. The fishing line does not disintegrate, however, and you will have to cut it off once you are sure the plant is well-anchored.
This method is not very ideal in practice as there is still a chance of the plant wiggling out and floating in your aquarium.
How to Propagate Anubias Plant?
The anubias plant can reproduce via vegetative reproduction or seeds.
You will need sharp tools like scissors to get cuttings from mature plants. A rhizome section with several healthy leaves will blossom when replanted elsewhere, and you should see a root system developing in a few days.
Every cutting should have three to four leaves to enable the plant to photosynthesis. Do not cut out more than a third of the mother plant at a time because it can shock and stunt the plant.
The new growth does not demand any special tank conditions. Ensure the young plant receives light, and the water is stable and suitable. If you want to expedite growth, add some nutrients.
Do Anubias Plants Require Fertilizer?
The plant will thrive in the absence of fertilizer, although you can add small amounts of liquid fertilizer to your aquarium.
Can Anubias Grow Out of the Water?
The anubias plant is semi-aquatic, and it can be grown out of water. It should, however, not be allowed to dry out and should be kept in a humid environment.
Since the plant can tolerate a soggy substrate, it is often recommended for beginners who tend to overwater their terrariums. Keeping them in open-topped containers will, therefore, not work as they need a tank that has plenty of moisture.
With the roots attached to the substrate or driftwood, you can grow the leaves out of the water for an extra edge in your aquarium.
Can Anubias Grow Floating?
Anubias grows best when attached to something, but some aquarists leave them floating as well. If they float for long enough, they will eventually attach themselves to anything in the tank, including the filter tank, other plants, or rocks.
Since you will not be able to control where they anchor, they may attach to areas like the pre-filter. The spot where they attach can be visually unappealing. As floating plants, the anubias will be more prone to attracting algae, which can be frustrating for aquarists.
What to do About Algae on Anubias Leaves?
Anubias plants are prone to algal growth, primarily because they grow slowly and have broad leaves that do not move a lot in the water.
You may want to keep the plant in areas with a moderate water current to deter algae. Placing the anubias in front of the air bubbler or filter will provide enough current to prevent the growth of algae.
The presence of algae discourages photosynthesis in the plant since it will not be receiving enough light. To combat this, keep your anubias in areas with shade.
You can even include plants like Water Sprite to cover your anubias plants from bright light. It is advisable to ensure your tank is not brightly-lit by controlling the amount of light.
By maintain a high-water quality, you will also reduce the chances of an algae invasion. Some aquarists will add Hornwort, which releases chemicals to inhibit algal growth, but keep in mind that the chemicals can also stunt other plants.
The Anubias plant is very popular in freshwater aquariums because of the little care it needs. It can blossom in both high and low-light settings, and it does not require fertilization.
You can keep it with many freshwater fish species, including cichlids and goldfish, who are known to graze on greenery.