The Anubias barteri is a popular plant among aquarium hobbyists because it is relatively easy to care for and propagate. This aquatic plant is so versatile that — depending on the available variety — it can be placed in the foreground, middle, or background of your aquarium.

Both beginners and experienced planted tank hobbyists acknowledge that the Anubias barteri is a great plant to have in most types of freshwater aquariums.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the different varieties of the Anubias barteri as well as how to care for this lovely plant. There’s a lot to learn, so let’s get straight to it!

The Anubias Barteri in a Nutshell

Before you learn about the varieties and care specifics of the Anubias barteri, you need to familiarize yourself with its basic biostatistics and local ecology. This will help you have a better understanding of the Anubias barteri’s needs, as well as its strengths and weaknesses as an aquarium plant. Below is a short reference table that lists the most common attributes and facts of the Anubias barteri.

Class Liliopsida
Order Arales
Family Araceae
Height 11 to 17 inches
Color Bright to Deep Green
Aquarium Position Variety-dependent; versatile
Care Difficulty Easy; recommended for beginners

The Anubias species is native to Central and Western Africa, where its many variants grew alongside rivers, streams, and the banks of wetlands. Of the different species of Anubias that exist in the world today, the Anubias barteri variant is what is most commonly used in aquarium setups.

Some aquarists confuse the Anubias barteri with another common aquarium plant, the Anubias nana. Actually, both the barteri and the nana are variants of the same Anubias species. These two variants, however, differ mainly in physical features. The Anubias barteri is taller and spreads its leaves along a larger area in the aquarium, whereas the Anubias nana is shorter and has smaller leaves.

Anubias Barteri Care

The Anubias barteri is generally easy to care for in a freshwater aquarium setup. This is largely due to its thick rhizome structure and tough leaves. In this section, we’ll focus on how to care for your Anubias fish tank plant. Below is a quick reference table you can use as a guide when you prepare your aquarium and water parameters for the Anubias barteri.

Temperature 72 to 82 °F; 22 to 27 °C
Light Level Dim or low light only
pH Level 6.5 – 7.5
Water Hardness 2 to 15 dGH
Substrate Fine gravel or sandy substrate; can also be grown attached to rocks, debris, and wood
Fertilizer/Chemical Additives Not required
Tank Size 15 to 20 gallons

Once you have prepared your aquarium parameters according to the facts and figures listed above, you can move on to the next step of selecting healthy Anubias plants for your fish tank.

– Selecting the Best Anubias Barteri

Here are some pointers you might want to consider when you look at potential Anubias additions to your aquarium:

  1. Inspect the leaves of the plant you want to buy. They should be bright green, free of rot, pests, insect bites, and tears.
  2. The stems of Anubias barteri are long and tough. Observe the stems of your potential purchase and make sure that there are no holes, strange growths, or parasites.
  3. Lastly, check the plant’s rhizome and root structure. The rhizomes should be thick, while the roots should be strong, and spreading horizontally.

– Planting Procedure

When it comes to planting Anubias you have a couple of options to choose from. In this section, you’ll learn all about how to plant the Anubias barteri in the substrate or attached to decorative elements already positioned in your aquarium.

1. Settling Down in Substrate

If you choose to plant your Anubias barteri in the substrate of your aquarium, you mustn’t bury its rhizome completely. Burying the plant’s rhizome under a few inches of substrate will result in rhizome rot and will eventually cause your Anubias to die.

Instead, you should only partially cover the Anubias’ rhizome. Plant the rhizome in the substrate in such a way that it is still clearly visible on the surface of the substrate. This will give it enough space to grow horizontally and establish a sturdy root structure.

At this stage, you should keep your newly planted Anubias away from rowdy fish or nosy bottom-feeders. Positioning it away from fish traffic and heavy water disturbances will allow you to grow Anubias at a steady rate.

2. Attaching To Decorative Elements

You can also plant the Anubias barteri by simply attaching its rhizome and roots to rocks or wooden decorations inside your aquarium. You can do this easily by using light fishing strings or even rubber bands!

Carefully wrap the string of your choice slightly above the plant’s rhizome and then tie it securely to the rock or wood debris in your tank. If you are planting a young Anubias barteri, then it would be best to position the rock or wood that it is attached to in an area of the tank that is not frequently visited by fish or disturbed by strong currents.

After you successfully plant the Anubias barteri in your aquarium, give it a few days to adapt to the water conditions in the tank. For the most part, you don’t need fertilizers or chemical additives for growing Anubias. However, you should monitor the amount of light that you expose your aquarium to.

Too little lighting will result in your Anubias suffering from stunted growth, while too much will cause algae growth. Aside from being mindful of the light level in your tank and how your fish interact with your plants, you can simply leave your Anubias to grow at its own pace.

Propagation: Tips and Tricks

In this section, our experts share their proven tips and tricks on how to properly propagate Anubias.

Anubias propagation is a straightforward task. You simply need to cut off parts of the rhizome while making sure to leave at least three to five healthy leaves per rhizome part. You can then plant these young Anubias the same way you did its parent plant. Here are some other suggestions:

– Have a Propagation Tank Ready

One tip you to ensure proper propagation and growth of new Anubias barteri shoots is to have a propagation tank ready. Your propagation tank does not need to be a large or fully outfitted aquarium.

You can even opt to use empty containers as a propagation tank if you want. The key takeaway here is to have a separate tank or container which you can use for the young shoots that you cut off from the parent Anubias.

Using this method will result in several benefits. First, your new Anubias plants will have a place where they can grow undisturbed. Second, your young plants are less likely to be nipped or eaten by fish if they are grown in a separate container. Finally, using a propagation tank will mean that you can monitor the young Anubias plants and choose which among them to plant in the fish tank, share with friends, or place in other habitats.

– Propagate the Healthiest Plants Only

Sometimes hobbyists do not select the healthiest plants for propagation. The resulting plants are usually weak, small, and prone to illnesses. Be highly selective of the plants you want to propagate. While Anubias barteri is truly one of the hardiest plants known to the hobby, it is not completely immune to problems like algae overgrowths, melting stem, root rot, and many others.

Observe your Anubias plants before deciding which ones to propagate and which ones to prune or remove from the tank. This will save you a lot of time and effort later on, when you have multiple Anubias barteri to look after.

– Avoid Overcrowding Your Tank With Anubias

When you plant Anubias cuttings in the home tank, avoid positioning them too close to each other. Provide at least two to three inches of space between each propagated plant. This will help you avoid overcrowding the substrate or tank with Anubias, and will also prevent severe competition between the aquatic flora. Having too many Anubias barteri in a single aquarium can make it difficult for your fish to move while resulting in stunted growth of other plants.

Final Words on the Anubias Barteri

We certainly tackled a lot of aspects about the Anubias barteri. By now, you should be familiar with its planting and propagation methods. Here is a quick breakdown of the key points from our discussion:

  • The Anubias barteri is a freshwater plant native to Central and Western Africa.
  • It is known for its adaptability and hardiness.
  • It can be planted in the substrate or attached to wood or rocks.
  • It is prone to algae overgrowths when exposed to too much light.
  • This plant is easy to propagate.

You probably now understand why the Anubias barteri is a favorite among new aquarists. Go ahead and try your hand at caring for this simple yet amazing flora in your fish tank.

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