PLANT OF THE WEEK: Anubias

Every now and then we like to focus on a particular species of aquatic plant and run through their benefits and quirks.

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Anubias is a low, hardy, large leafed plant adapted to grow in the shadiest of places (i.e under larger plants and rocks), this means that is will do well in even a low lit aquarium and in a wide spectrum of water parameters (pH, GH, etc). It is therefore incredibly easy to grow.

Anubias is relatively slow-growing so choosing the best size for your aquarium can be important but it is often nice to purchase small specimens and watch them develop. Due to its growth rate, the leaves of Anubias can last for several years, which means that they can be susceptible to slow growing algae over time but this is easily remedied by including some sufficient algae eaters in the aquarium.

As an epiphytic plant, like Java Fern and Moss, Anubias is happiest growing attached to a piece of wood or stone with its Rhizome exposed. It can then derive nutrient from the surrounding water rather than substrate like usual plants. This means that they are very efficient at removing nitrates from the water column. The thick leaves of Anubias also offer a degree of invulnerability against herbivirous fish whilst offering excellent shade for shy bottom feeders such as Corydoras, Otocinclus and Ancistrus species.

When purchased in a pot, remove the rock wool and gently wrap fishing line around the root of the Anubias and the piece of wood or stone you are attaching it to. Otherwise it is fine to carefully push between rocks or in a nook of wood that are already in place in the aquarium. Remember not to plant in the substrate as if the Rhizome is covered it will rot.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o70yHv7PbU&w=854&h=480]

Currently there are 7 key species of Anubias with variegated counterparts.

  • Anubias barteri sp.
  • Anubias barteri caladiifolia
  • Anubias barteri ‘coffeefolia’
  • Anubias barteri var. augustifolia
  • Anubias barteri var. nana
  • Anubias gracilis
  • Anubias ‘petite’

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