If you have never kept a planted aquarium before, choosing one of the hardy Anubias species is a really good idea. Anubias is a genus of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants that grow in tropical regions of central and western Africa. Wild Anubias are often found in rivers and streams, but they also appreciate boggy environments. Anubias plants have broad, thick, leathery leaves that normally display a dark green color. The shape of the leaves depend on which species you choose for your aquarium. 

If you are a beginner aquarist, you probably have an aquarium with standard aquarium lighting for fish-only aquariums. This means that you should stay away from plants that require a lot of strong light, unless you are willing to invest in fluorescent, or even more potent, aquarium lighting. Anubias is a great choice, since they grow best when the light is subdued. If you place your Anubias in a spot that receives a lot of light, algae can start growing on the leaves.

Anubias should not be planted in the substrate; use a piece of string to attach it to a rock, a piece of driftwood or similar. Gradually, the Anubias plant will anchor itself to the surface and you can remove the string.

Anubias plants are low demanding when it comes to nutrients, and the organic waster produced by the fish is usually enough. They will also do well with the carbon dioxide exhaled by the fish and do not need additional carbon dioxide. Another advantage of Anubias plants is that many plant eating fish species dislike them and refrain from eating them. Anubias plants are for instance commonly found in aquariums that houses herbivore African cichlids.

If you want a fast growing plant, Anubias is not an ideal choice because even when kept in favorable conditions, it will only produce a new leaf every 3 weeks. Trying to boost the growth rate, e.g. by giving the plant extra carbon dioxide, is fruitless.

Anubias are flowering species and will form seeds, but aquarists usually propagate Anubias plants using stolon division. You can also wait for side shoots to develop. In order to make the stolon survive, you have to make sure that the entire stolon is located above the substrate. Stolons growing in the substrate easily succumb to rot.

Anubias berteri

One of the most commonly kept Anubias species Anubias barteri. This species is divided into many different varieties, such as Anubias barteri var. barteri, Anubias barteri var. angustifolia, Anubias barteri var. caladiifolia, Anubias barteri var. glabra, and Anubias barteri var. nana.

Anubias barteri var. nana is the smallest of the Anubias and do not grow taller than 10 cm. The leaves can reach a length of 3 cm and be 2 cm wide. Anubias barteri var. nana has charming heart-shaped leaves and a creeping growth fashion. If you want to keep this Anubias, you should provide it with a water temperature of 22-27 degrees C and a water hardiness of dGH 3 – 10. It is extremely tolerant when it comes to pH and can adapt to a pH-value from 5.5 to 9.0. Do not expect this plant to produce more than one leaf per month, even under ideal conditions.

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