With attractive arrowhead-shaped leaves and long stems, Anubias Hastifolia is an eye-catching and low-maintenance aquarium plant. Native to Africa, this epiphyte doesn’t need soil to grow and can be attached to rock or wood hardscape. This plant is much taller than other Anubias varieties and is best suited for midground or background placement in most aquariums. Like many Anubias varieties it is slow growing and can collect nuisance algae on leaves, especially in high light environments. Depending on your aquarium setup it may be necessary to take extra precautions to discourage algae growth. Even though this plant is often placed on hardscape it does need some nutrients to grow well. This can come from added liquid fertilizers or from including nutrient rich growing soil in the tank.
Anubias Hastifolia isn’t just able to grow submerged in aquariums, it can also grow emersed in paludariums, terrariums, and even on the edges of outdoor ponds. When growing emersed, it spreads and develops much faster as leaves have access to the open air. Many commercial aquarium plant producers will grow Anubias Hastifolia emersed as this is a quicker way to produce rhizomes for sale. While this is a simple plant to care for there are a few things you’ll need to know before adding it to your aquarium. We’ve assembled this guide which will show you everything needed for years of success with this unusual Anubias variety!
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Anubias Hastifolia Care
Anubias Hastifolia in simple to care for in most aquariums. It tolerates different lighting intensities and can grow without added CO2. A slow grower, this plant is susceptible to algae buildup on leaves which is increased with brighter lighting. In high light environments it can be a good idea to also include CO2 injection. Added CO2 will increase growth rate and help reduce algae buildup. Additionally, algae eating species such as the Amano Shrimp can be introduced with can help keep nuisance algae from collecting on leaves.
Often attached to hardscape, Anubias Hastifolia can grow without substrate. However, it does need some nutrients. These can be provided as added liquid fertilizers or by including nutrient rich growing soil in the tank that can leach nutrients into the water. Attaching to hardscape isn’t a requirement, and this plant can be lightly weighted down to substrate where it will eventually root. The woody rhizome itself should never be buried as it can rot and kill the plant.
One note of caution: Anubias Hastifolia doesn’t appreciate water quality swings. Adding to a new, immature aquarium can make it harder for this plant to establish itself and begin growing normally. It’s best to only plant in aquariums which are fully cycled and have stable water chemistry. Because it’s an epiphyte it is easy to place at later stages of your aquarium’s aquascape setup.
Are Anubias Hastifolia easy to care for in an aquarium?
Anubias Hastifolia is easy to care for, and a great choice for beginning aquarium hobbyists. This plant has flexible lighting tolerance, but does require nutrients to be present in the water column. A common mistake is to assume that this plant doesn’t need soil because it’s often attached to hardscape. Quality aquarium growing soil will leach nutrients into the water column where they can be absorbed by epiphytes such as this Anubias variety. If grown in aquariums with nutrient poor substrates like gravel, adding fertilizers with additional micronutrients can give this plant the nutritional support it needs to thrive.
Anubias Hastifolia can grow well under low light. This plant will also tolerate bright lighting, but this can lead to algae collecting on leaves. If you need to grow Anubias Hastifolia in a tank with high intensity lighting you’ll need extra precautions to deter algae growth such as CO2 injection and including algae eating species such as the Amano Shrimp.
Anubias Hastifolia can tolerate water temperatures between 68° and 82° F. However this plant does best with water temperatures around 75° F.
Anubias Hastifolia needs water which is neutral or slightly acidic: a range between 6 to 7.5 pH is best. Avoid tank substrates which can raise water alkalinity beyond what this plant will tolerate. For example, crushed coral or aragonite sand will slowly dissolve, and can gradually increase water alkalinity. Any substrates or hardscape which contains coral must be avoided.
Anubias Hastifolia is a slow growing plant which will produce about 1 leaf per month. This can be improved by adding CO2 injection and making sure proper nutrients are available. When grown emersed, Anubias Hastifolia displays much faster growth as the leaves are in contact with open air.
Anubias Hastifolia has exceptionally long stems for an Anubias variety, and can reach between 6 to 16 inches in many cases.
Anubias Hastifolia doesn’t require added CO2 to grow, but including CO2 supplementation can help this plant grow faster. If your aquarium includes high intensity lighting this can lead to algae growth on this plant’s leaves. CO2 injection can help reduce algae and may be necessary in high light environments.
Anubias Hastifolia is easily propagated through rhizome division. The rhizome is the thick, woody part of the plant which sprouts both leaves and small hair-like roots. To create new plants simply take a rhizome cutting a few inches long: long enough to have one or two leafs. This cutting can be placed on hardscape or along substrate. Hardscape placement is often easier, and can be accomplished by tying cuttings to the desired surface with thread or a zip tie. Alternatively, rhizome cuttings can be attached to hardscape with a drop of superglue gel. Substrate placement can be tricky because you must be careful to not bury the rhizome. A buried rhizome will rot and kill your new plant before it has a chance to grow. The best solution is to lightly weigh down rhizome cuttings onto substrate so they won’t move, but won’t bury themselves. Eventually rhizomes will put enough roots into substrate to allow the weights to be removed.
Anubias Hastifolia can also be propagated with the intention of growing both emersed or submerged. When making rhizome cuttings from a submerged growth plant intended for emersed placement – or vice versa – it’s best to remove any leaves. This allows the cutting to produce new leaves which are better suited to either submerged or emersed growth as needed.
Can you grow Anubias Hastifolia emersed?
Anubias Hastifolia can grow and thrive when growing emersed. This is an ideal plant for placement in paludariums or outdoor ponds. Emersed growth allows the leaves to contact open air which leads to faster growth compared to being completely submerged. Commercial plant suppliers often grow plants emersed for faster production. When switching to emersed growth from submerged it’s best to remove old leaves and allow the plant to produce new foliage more suited to the new placement.
Do Anubias Hastifolia flower?
Like most Anubias species, Anubias Hastifolia produces flowers easily when grown emersed. The flowers appear as clusters of small white blooms on a central stalk. It’s possible, but difficult, to encourage this plant to flower when completely submerged.
Where can I find Anubias Hastifolia for sale?
Anubias Hastifolia is more difficult to find than more common Anubias varieties. It’s unlikely to be available in local fish stores, and your best best is online suppliers. Expect to pay between $5 USD and $12 USD per plant depending on type. Usually offered as bare-root plantlets with leaves and a small amount of rhizome attached, Anubias Hastifolia can also be obtained as loose rhizomes only. A third, less common option is tissue cultures. Tissue cultures are grown in a sterile medium and are guaranteed to be pest and disease free. Plants grown from tissue cultures can take longer to become established but are a good choice when adding many different plant types to an aquarium. Every conventionally grown plant carries the risk of introducing diseases or pests into tanks. The more plants added, the greater the risk of disease. Tissue cultures let you add many different types of plants at one time and be confident that none are carrying diseases or pests.
What are the differences and similarities between Anubias Hastifolia vs Anubias Nana?
While Anubias Hastifolia and Anubias Nana have similar care needs they have different growing patterns. A. Nana has shorter stems and rounder, smaller leaves than A. Hastifolia. A. Nana is more suitable for foreground or midground placement in most aquariums. A. Hastifolia’s longer stems and larger leaves make it better for midground or background placement.
What are the differences and similarities between Anubias Hastifolia vs Anubias Barteri?
Anubias Hastifolia has longer stems and larger leaves than Anubias Barteri. A. Barteri’s leaves are also thicker and have a more pronounced wavy texture. Both plants are Anubias varieties and have similar care needs but A. Hastifolia’s longer stems and larger leaves usually make it a better plant for midground and background placement. A. Barteri is a good choice for hardscape rocks or wood where its shorter height won’t result in extending too far above the placement location as it grows and matures.