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Hardiness: Very Easy
Light Needs: Low
Plant Structure: Rhizome
Family: Araceae
Genus: Anubias
Region: Africa
Location: Cameroon
Size: 2-6 inches (5-15 cm) tall
Growth Rate: Slow
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


In nature, this plant is often found growing along the shallow portions of forest rivers in Cameroon, Africa. Tropica, a large aquatic plant nursery in Europe, was the first to grow this plant commercially in the 1970s. Anubias barteri var. nana is one of the most widely-available plants now in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

In the aquarium, this plant is nearly indestructible (often called "the plastic plant that grows"). The growth habit of this plant is composed of a creeping rhizome which produces leaves that can last for years. It can tolerate a wide variety of lighting conditions from very low (less than 1 watt per gallon) to very high (more than 4 watt per gallon). It does well with or without CO2, although CO2 addition does promote faster growth as does a rich substrate and removal of the older leaves. High phosphate levels (1.5-2 ppm) seem to encourage flowering in this species regardless of tank conditions or the health of the plant. These high phosphate levels, along with heavy iron and trace fertilization, reduce spot algae problems for plants directly under high light. Relocating the plant to a shaded area is another solution.

To propagate, simply cut the rhizome into two or more pieces depending on the size of the plant.

In aquascaping, this plant can be used as a midground accent in small to medium sized aquaria or as a foreground plant in very large aquariums. When planting in the substrate, do not bury the rhizome or it will rot. Anubias barteri var. nana can also be tied to driftwood and rocks using fishing line or cotton thread. This plant firmly attaches itself to the object by the time the cotton thread disintegrates.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by Oliver Knott All Rights Reserved

Photo #2: US and International Copyright 2004 by Tula Top All Rights Reserved

Photo #3: US and International Copyright 2004 by Bjarne All Rights Reserved