Anubias Nana (Anubias barteri var. nana): Ultimate Care Guide

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A popular and hardy aquarium plant, Anubias Nana is a great aquarium plant for beginners. An epiphyte, it has a wide range of placement possibilities including attaching to rock and wood aquascape. The large, dark green foliage is a great addition to a planted aquarium. Slow growth rate means this plant won’t take over your tank.

Anubias Nana is a flowering plant that can grow emersed or fully submersed. This allows for use in semi-aquatic paludariums. These half terrarium, half aquarium hybrids are growing in popularity for their ability to showcase diverse habitats.

Anubias Nana Care

Anubias Nana is an easy plant care to for. Being an epiphyte, there are some tricks to growing it effectively. Let’s look at some care requirements and what you’ll need to know when adding this attractive plant to your tank!

Anubias Nana is hardy and will not need special treatment. Though it must be anchored correctly in your tank. When growing on soil it is important to only bury the roots and not the rhizome. Only bury the small “feeler” roots coming off the rhizome. The rhizome itself can rot if buried.

Attaching Anubias Nana to hardscape is easier. Simply position the plants as needed and attach with fishing line or a spot of super glue. Once the plant firmly attaches itself to the hardscape the fishing line can be removed.

Your plants may need some liquid fertilizer occasionally, but this is often not necessary.

Lighting Requirement

Anubias Nana prefers low to medium lighting. Ideal lighting is around 3 watts per gallon but it can tolerate more. This plant is prone to algae growth on its leaves. High lighting can aggravate this problem. If you are concerned with algae growth, consider adding Amano or Cherry shrimp to your tank. Amano shrimp in particular are voracious algae eaters and can keep your Anubias Nana leaves pristine.


Anubias Nana prefers water temperature between 72 – 82°F. For best results try to keep temperatures in the middle of this range.

Anubias Nana
Anubias Nana

Water pH

Anubias Nana likes slightly acidic water with a pH between 6 and 7.5.

Growth Rate

Anubias Nana is a slow growing plant. Usually you will only see 1 new leaf form from the rhizome each month. This plant doesn’t take over tanks like some other fast growing species. It should only need trimming every 2 to 3 months. If needed, growth can be boosted with Co2 injection and liquid fertilizer.

Growth Height

Anubias Nana will only grow to a maximum height of 7.5 inches. On average, expect this plant’s height to reach 5.5 to 6 inches.

Co2 Requirement

As a beginner friendly plant, Anubias Nana will grow well without Co2 injection. Increasing Co2 levels can increase growth rate and result in greener foliage.

Propagating Anubias Nana

Anubias Nana propagates through rhizome division. This is a hardy plant and its rhizome cuttings are easy to raise.

To propagate this plant, first you’ll have to identify the rhizome. This is the thick horizontal portion of the plant that produces leaves and the thinner roots. Take a cutting from this rhizome long enough to have at least 2 or 3 leaves. Don’t worry about being too rough during this procedure. Anubias Nana is hardy and will easily tolerate having its rhizome cut. You may need to trim the roots from this section to separate the cutting. Trimming roots won’t harm the plant as these are mainly used to secure itself and not for nourishment.

These cuttings can be weighed down on the substrate or attached to hardscape with fishing line or a drop of super glue.

How to use Anubias Nana in an Aquascape?

Anubias Nana is a short plant with thick leaves. It can be used in the foreground or attached to hardscape and grown as an epiphyte. While its short size lends itself to foreground use it isn’t restricted to growing in substrate. It can be attached to any hardscape in your tank.

Anubias Nana most often grows emersed in the wild. If it’s attached to hardscape close to the water’s surface, leaves and flowers will grow above the water.

A slow growing plant, it can be attached to rock or bogwood as an accent that won’t get out of control. Only occasional trimming is usually necessary, often every 2 or 3 months.

How to attach Anubias Nana to wood?

Anubias Nana can be attached to wood with either fishing line or a drop of super glue. Once the plant has enough time to anchor itself with roots, the fishing line can be removed. Be sure to give this plant enough time to fully attach itself before removing any support.

Do Anubias Nana need soil to grow?

Anubias Nana is an epiphyte and doesn’t need soil to grow. In fact, covering this plant’s rhizome with soil can lead to rot. It can be “grown” in soil. But the roots which the rhizome develops are mainly for attaching itself to hard objects instead of gathering nutrients.

Can Anubias Nana grow out of water?

In its natural environment, Anubias Nana grows emersed with it’s leaves extending above the water line. This makes for a very flexible plant, capable of growing fully submersed in an aquarium or emersed in a paludarium.

Why is my Anubias Nana melting?

Anubias Nana can melt when added to a new environment or when there is a nutrient shortage. If your plant starts melting after being added to a new tank, this is normal. It will adapt and regrow foliage naturally with time. In other instances there may be a nutrient problem. Although this is a hardy plant it can sometimes benefit from the addition of liquid fertilizers. If you see unexpected melting, a small amount of fertilizer may help.

Anubias Nana Flower

A popular feature of Anubias Nana is its ability to produce flowers. This can happen in different environments and some people try various techniques to encourage blooms. Let’s take a look as some information about Anubias Nana flowers!

Anubias Nana produce small white blooms. This usually happens emersed, but can also occur when fully submersed.

Anubias Nana can flower underwater as well. Blooms above water are more common, but submersed flowering can happen occasionally.

How to get Anubias Nana to flower?

It is difficult to get Anubias Nana to flower on demand. Some hobbyists will decrease the hours of light per day and reduce fertilizer supplements to encourage blooming.

Reducing the number of hours of light this plant gets in a day can simulate the change in seasons. Some people believe this boosts the chance of flowering.

Reducing nutrients can be another way of signaling that a change of season is coming. This may make Anubias Nana more likely to decide that it’s time to produce flowers.

Because there is no clear way to induce this plant to flower there are many theories. One hobbyist can get flowers with no special effort. Someone else can try everything and never get a bloom. Patience and a certain Zen detachment are recommended!

Once they have bloomed, Anubias Nana flowers can last 2 or 3 months.

Anubias Nana Types

Through natural selection or mutation, new varieties of Anubias Nana are available to aquarium hobbyists. From small dwarf plants to unusual color selection, we’ll look at some of the choices available to the adventurous aquascape enthusiast.

Anubias Nana Petite

Anubias Nana Petite is a dwarf version of Anubias Nana. This is a much smaller plant, only reaching a height of around 2 inches. Leaves are slightly over half an inch long.

Appearing as a mutation in an aquarium plant nursery in Singapore, Anubias Nana Petite’s small size opens many aquascape possibilities. It can be attached to branches of bogwood or other hardscape to create the impression of leaves.

Anubias Nana Golden

Anubias Nana Golden has lime green leaves as opposed to the dark green of regular Anubias Nana. It is the same in all other respects. This can be a great way to get a splash of lighter color while preserving the easy care that Anubias Nana is known for.

Anubias Nana Pinto

Anubias Nana Pinto was created through artificial selection. Its leaves have a striking white and green pattern. This plant will need more lighting than regular Anubias Nana. This opens the possibility of using this variety with other species which prefer higher light intensity.

Anubias Nana Snow White

A striking light color, Anubias Nana Snow White is a variant commonly available as tissue culture. Although this variety promises a shock of light colored foliage, in reality it is difficult for it to survive outside of tissue culture cups. Reports of this plant melting and dying are common. Some hobbyists believe that as an albino plant, Anubias Nana Snow White doesn’t have enough chlorophyll to survive in a regular aquarium. Buy this variety with caution.

Anubias Nana Round Leaf

Anubias Nana Round Leaf (or ‘Coin Leaf’) features distinctive round to heart-shaped leaves. This rare variety can add some variety to your tank while preserving the same easy care as regular Anubias Nana.

Where can I find Anubias Nana for sale?

Anubias Nana is a popular aquarium plant and is easily available from local fish stores and online sources. If you are interested in some of the rarer varieties the online stores might be your best choice.

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