Anubias barteri: Types and Care Guide

VarietiesOver 13 subspecies
Scientific NameAnubias barteri
OriginWestern and central Africa
Temperature72-82 F
SizeVaries by variety; typically 2” – 18”
Growth RateSlow
Water pH6.0-8.0
DifficultyEasy; great for beginners
PlacementFloating or planted with substrate
Anubias Barteri
Anubias Barteri

Anubias barteri Care

The easiest aquarium plant to take care of for beginners is hands down the Anubias barteri plant. It is a popular aquarium plant for hobbyists to grow because it can survive in a lot of different conditions. It also grows beautifully and adds a lush, green pop to your fish tank.

Anubias barteri is native to the freshwaters of different parts in Africa. In the wild, this plant grows in rivers and streams with constant water flow and plenty of nutrients.

Typically, this plant grows either submerged or partially above water which is another trait that makes Anubias so hardy and great for beginners.

The physical features of this plant is another great reason to add it to your tank. The thick, lush broad leaves are typically medium to large with a medium to dark deep green color. They add a great look to any area of your tank as long as they are properly maintained. Luckily, Anubias barteri is one of the easiest aquarium plants to look after!

There are also different varieties of this aquarium plant species, each with their own unique characteristics which we will cover in this article. We will also mention all the many varieties that exist and how to choose one for your specific needs. In this article, we will also take an in-depth look at Anubias barteri including watering needs, lighting requirements, and best substrate.

One important thing to note is that Anubias has a lot of different varieties. In other words, they are similar plants but slight differences typically in some physical attribute. So, they generally have similar requirements when it comes to factors such as lighting and temperature.

Lighting, Temperature, pH

Anubias is a slow growing aquarium plant, therefore, the amount of light it receives will determine how fast is grows. This is a nice feature of this aquarium plant because you can specifically control the look and growth rate of your Anubias.

Although the growth rate for Anubias barteri is considered slow, you shouldn’t saturate your tank with light. Because Anubias is a hardy plant, the lighting requirement for other plants or fish in your tank should be sufficient for Anubias as well. 

As a general rule, aim to cover your tank with low to medium levels of light. Aim to give between 8-10 hours of total darkness as this regulates physical and chemical processes for all living things inside aquarium tank and is very important to having a healthy aquarium environment.

If you are planting Anubias with rhizomes, which are the plant’s horizontal growing root system, then make sure to not cover them in substrate, thus blocking them from receiving sunlight.

Anubias barteri is better off with less light than too much light. You can control the growth of Anubias by the exposing it to different levels of light. Some Anubias can grow without exposure to direct light from your tank. The natural lighting in your home may be enough to having a thriving population of Anubias barteri.

Another thing to note is that too much light may amplify algae growth on Anubias plants. But Anubias can grow in more exposure to light and it will grow fast so this tradeoff is important to consider when planning your lighting needs. 

Different Anubias varieties grow at varying heights but in general the biggest variety, which is var. gigantea, can grow up to 15 inches or more. The petite species of Anubias – var. nana petite – grows only to two inches. 

Temperature requirements for Anubias barteri are similar to their natural environment in the central and western portions of Africa. The best water temperature range for Anubias barteri is between 72 – 82°F. So aim to keep the water on the warm side.

The best pH range for Anubias barteri is soft water with a pH of 6.0 – 8.0. They can also withstand higher levels of pH. But aim to stay within these ranges as this is optimal for growth and will keep your Anubias healthy.

As a general rule, most Anubias varieties can withstand virtually any temperature range and pH range because they are a hardy aquarium plant. It is best to stick within the ranges listed here in order to see the best results for your Anubias plants.

Anubias Barteri
Anubias barteri. Edited. Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Do Anubias Barteri need substrate?

The best way to plant Anubias aquarium plants is to tie it to some object or decoration in your tank, like porous rock or driftwood, and leave the rhizomes uncovered.

Rhizomes, also known as creeping rootstocks, are the horizontal roots that form a network of underground roots for many plants. Their main function is to store essential nutrients like starch and protein.

Rhizomes help plants survive through tough conditions so it is a characteristic of hardy plants, like Anubias barteri! For this reason, it is important to keep the rhizome above ground or at least somewhat visible to the naked eye so that it can absorb sunlight.

You may consider adding Anubias to substrate. Most aquarium hobbyists plant Anubias barteri is some form of nutrient-dense substrate and it grows quite well. Aquarium gravel can also be substituted. Again, make sure to plant Anubias is such a way that it’s rhizomes are uncovered and the plant won’t float away.

Considering that the large, leather-type leaves won’t be moving too much in the water, you may spot some algae start to grow on the leaves.

The best way to avoid algae growing on the leaves is to keep some part of the Anubias barteri plant in the shade and try to place them near some current of moving water.

CO2 Requirements

Is aquarium CO2 injection necessary? No, CO2 injections are not necessary for Anubias plant growth. Also they do help speed up growth. But it is not an requirement.

Anubias barteri is a sturdy aquarium plant and will grow well in almost any water conditions so it is not necessary to add CO2 by means of injection.

However, you may wish to use these injections if you are wanting Anubias to grow faster, but, we would recommend playing around with the light intensity and frequency first before settling with CO2 injections. 

Anubias plant propagation

Anubias propagation is straightforward and easy to do. You will cut the rhizome of a healthy Anubias plant in such a way that you will have two or more sections of rhizome with a few healthy leaves still attached.

You can use a sharp blade to cut into the rhizomes making sure to not damage the root in any other way.  Make sure to leave some green matter on the section of newly cut rhizomes.

The end product should be sections of rhizomes with some plant matter still attached to it. These new sections will be replanted into your aquarium in the same way you planted the original parent Anubias. Make sure to leave the rhizome at least partially uncovered when replanting.

And that’s all there is to it. This propagation method should be done when your Anubias barteri aquarium plant is fully grown and has bigger rhizomes with sections of leaves.

Can Anubias flower?

Anubias barteri plants certainly do flower. This process happens on its own and is a sight to behold.

During flower bud formation, the stalk grows upward and eventually blooms showing little white or yellow flowers.

You can induce flowering by making sure you keep the water warm, monitor seasonal changes, and decrease the amount of leaves so that energy can be directed to producing flowers.

Are Anubias Barteri easy to care for in an aquarium?

Anubias barteri are a great beginner aquarium plant to introduce to your tank. They grow large, tough leaves that are beautiful to look at and provide great security for other species. Anubias plants are easy to care for and grow well in dim lit areas. And they don’t require any special care.

There are so many varieties of Anubias plants species that you will be able to find exactly what you are looking for and one that fits your aquarium tank well. The options provide extra diversity for your tank inhabitants.

Anubias barteri Types

There are many different types of Anubias Barteri. Here’s a list of types, along with some of their characteristics.

Anunias barteri angustifolia

  • Very sharp and narrow leaves
  • Easy to grow
  • Can grow up to 5 inches

Anunias barteri caladiifolia

  • Heart-shaped leaves
  • Can grow up to 10-15 inches
  • Require low light and low CO2 levels

Anunias barteri glabra

  • Lancelot-shaped leaves
  • Suitable for small tanks
  • Low demand and easy to care for

Anunias barteri nana

  • Smallest Anubias species reaching up to 10 cm in height
  • Originates from Cameroon
  • Low demand and easy to care for

Anunias barteri round leaf

  • Round leaves shaped like coins
  • Suitable for small tanks
  • They grow up to 4 inches
  • Doesn’t require much light and usually a foreground plant

Anunias barteri broad leaf

  • For larger tanks
  • The leaves are massive and best as a mid ground or background plant
  • Doesn’t require much light and usually a foreground plant

Anunias barteri coffeefolia

  • Dark, wavy green leaves
  • More susceptible to algae than other plants
  • New leaves are red-brown and adult leaves are deep green with an arch

Anunias barteri butterfly

  • Can grow large with big, broad leaves
  • Waxy leaves and deep green
  • Can provide a lot of shelter for other aquarium inhabitants

Anunias barteri dark angel

  • Broad and point leaves
  • Can grow quite tall

Anunias barteri striped

  • Broad and pointy leaves
  • Can grow quite tall

Other Anubias barteri types

  • Anubias nana “variegated”, “snow”, “gold” have different colored leaves that form interesting and unique pattern
  • More rare and more expensive to find

List of Anubias varieties and their average growth patterns

Anubias barteri var.Size Span
Gigantea12 – 18 inches
Barteri7 – 12 inches
Longifolia7 – 12 inches
Nana (incl. subvariants)2 – 4 inches
Gracilis7 – 12 inches
Congensis4 – 6 inches
Coffeefolia6 – 8 inches

Where to find Anubias barteri for sale?

Anubias barteri is for sale in pretty much any local aquarium hobby shop and all over the internet.

Anubias can be sold as potted plants in plastic containers typically. They also can be sold bare rooted which means you are purchasing the rhizomes right from the gravel from the store tank. You could also find adult Anubias plants that are attached to aquarium decoration.

Make sure to look for plants with lush and healthy green leaves that have thick rhizomes. Avoid any broken or cracked leaves or leaves that are browning. Avoid Anubias plants that have any algae growing on them. 

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