Anubias Barteri Care Tips

anubias barteri

Last updated on July 3rd, 2022 at 01:02 pm

Anubias barteri is an aquatic plant in the anubias genus, and one of the largest species within the genus at that. It gets its name from German botanist Friedrich Ritter von Barter, who was in charge of the Botanical Garden at Berlin in the mid-19th century and described this plant for the first time. For this reason, it’s also known as Barter’s Anubias (or Anubias Barteri var. barteri).

Anubias barteri is one of the most popular aquarium plants, and it’s easy to see why once you start growing it in your own tank. Known by its common name, Anubias barteri has long, narrow leaves with white stripes on them that look almost like string beans and grow between two and five inches long.

Anubias barteri, or barteri anubias, is one of the most common types of aquarium plants and it’s easy to see why. Easy to care for and popular with both aquarists and fish alike, this particular type of anubias makes an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium no matter the size or species of fish you want to house in it.

If you’re interested in keeping this plant in your aquarium but aren’t sure how to care for it, here are some tips on how to keep Anubias barteri healthy and vibrant even after many years of growth!

Origin and descriptions

anubias barteri

The Anubias barteri has its origins in West Africa and is a slow-growing stem plant. It has long, narrow leaves with white stripes on them that look almost like string beans and grow between two and five inches long, and makes an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium no matter the size or species of fish you want to house in it.

However, it can also be found growing wild as an aquatic plant in several countries surrounding lakes such as Victoria and Tanganyika. In any case, wherever they do live, their numbers are usually sparse, with only small populations scattered throughout the area’s waterways. However, due to its ease of care and adaptability towards low-light environments, Anubias barteri makes for an excellent aquarium subject.

One of its greatest charms lies in its resemblance to miniature elephant ear plants.  Care should always be taken not to confuse it with one, however, since doing so will almost certainly lead to disappointment. This mistake occurs frequently due to confusion on behalf of hobbyists about how each species grows.

For example, Anubias barteri produces flat leaves which it spreads out over branches and rocks rather than upright stems like those of elephant ears (Anubias nana). It’s important to note here that both Anubias nana and Anubias barteri share similar requirements for successful cultivation, however, Nana does tend to require more light to thrive compared to Anubias barteri.

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Therefore, if you plan on keeping it long-term in your tank, try hardwood or floating driftwood pieces decorated with moss or Java fern. Driftwood is able to supply ample nutrients along with an ideal hiding place and, if managed correctly even, offers beneficial tannins via leaching into the water column.

Species profile

anubias barteri

In recent years, Anubias barteri has become a popular aquarium plant. It’s a good beginner plant with low requirements and an interesting appearance. Even though it’s not an ideal beginner plant before, most aquarists have at least one Anubias in their tank. Anubias grow on wood or rocks, but if you don’t have any, live or artificial plants will also work.

They need high humidity and don’t like to be left without roots for long periods of time—they also do well when given stable CO2 levels. All that being said, Anubias is still a great choice for beginners due to its durability and stability. It even seems to thrive under less-than-ideal conditions.

Despite what we know about it today, Anubias barteri was previously known under two different taxonomic identities: one belonging to the old scientific order Typhaceaceae, while another belonging to Nymphaeaceae (water lilies) – both were incorrect.

The Anubias barteri is a medium-sized plant, from the Arums family called Araceae, in the plant order Alismatales, that grows fairly fast and can adapt to a wide range of lighting conditions. It’s also one of several species in its genus that can grow fine roots underwater and is even suitable for growing outdoors in relatively shallow ponds.

There are several easy ways to get more out of your anubias barteri—in fact, it could be as simple as selecting greener leaves; new growth comes in at first very light green and turns deeper once full development begins.

Anubias barteri size (height)

Depending on the tank conditions, they have variable sizes, but generally, they grow to a maximum size of 9-14 inches (23-36 cm) tall.

Tank size

The minimum recommended tank size for this species is 10 gallons (38 liters)

Anubias barteri propagation

anubias barteri

Planting anubias is very easy. In its natural habitat, Anubias barteri is a perennial species that spreads slowly but naturally via rhizome. You can also propagate Anubias using rhizome cuttings of mature plants—which should be placed in moist sand or moss and allowed to callous over for a few days before being transferred to their new homes.

Transplanting newly propagated plants should be done with care; they may need additional weeks to settle into their new homes. If transplanting from a fish tank to a pond environment, use a net bag (or similar) to prevent accidental loss during transfer.

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It’s not recommended that you try planting Anubias directly into ponds because their thin leaves will easily tear away when disturbed by moving water. It’s best if you plant them at least 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) below surface level and allow slow growth up through gravel/sand bed bottoms as described above.

This way your investment won’t disappear overnight! As with most aquatic plants, ensure there are no significant changes to temperature or light conditions once rooted; sudden shock can lead to leaf burn.

Anubias barteri care

anubias barteri

The anubias barteri is one of the most popular plant species in freshwater aquariums because it’s relatively easy to care for. Plants are available in a variety of forms, such as leaf, cane, and caudex (the bulbous base) and many have variegated leaves. This makes them both beautiful and great for hiding or providing cover for fish.

Although they grow slowly under aquarium conditions, they can form dense mats that require pruning with some frequency. They prefer soft water with moderate to low lighting but will tolerate harder water better than other aquarium plants like java ferns and java moss. Water temperature between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable; they will grow faster at higher temperatures but may become more susceptible to algae infestation.

Light requirements

Like many plants in their family, Anubias barteri appreciates ample amounts of light. If it doesn’t get enough light, its leaves will be a lackluster green and its growth will be stunted. But don’t worry: Although it does prefer more light than its more shade-friendly relatives, Anubias barteri can tolerate low lighting conditions for a short period of time. You just have to pay close attention to when your plant is most comfortable—and then adjust accordingly.

For example, if you notice that your plant is beginning to fall over (which may indicate that it’s not getting enough light), try moving it to a brighter location until its stems are strong again—and then slowly move it back into lower lighting. As with all aquarium maintenance issues, observe your plants closely—and make adjustments as needed!

Substrate/soil requirements

The anubias barteri does not require a specialized substrate for optimal growth. The use of a substrate, however, will slow down plant growth significantly and may have other effects on plant health (e.g., root rot). Most commonly, growers use soil-based substrates with their plants, although peat-based mixtures or sand/gravel mixtures may also be used.

However, these mediums are typically considered less effective than soil-based mixes due to lower levels of available nutrients. Anubias barteri generally has low light requirements but requires moderate to high nutrient availability in order to grow effectively. As such, providing fertilizer in your tank is one way to boost growth and development as long as you don’t overfeed your plant and cause problems like algae blooms or fish kills.

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Like most plants, Anubias will grow faster and healthier with fertilizer. If you don’t want to use a chemical fertilizer, you can fertilize it with any houseplant fertilizer or a mixture of peat moss and fish emulsion. The standard amount is one-quarter strength; for example, if you are using half-strength fertilizer on other plants in your tank, use half that amount on your Anubias.

Don’t put straight fish emulsion directly into an aquarium as it could pollute your water and kill everything in sight (even plant roots need oxygen). When fertilizing live-bearing plants like Anubias, be sure to remove any dead leaves before adding new fertilizer.


Most Anubias species can thrive in a wide range of temperatures; however, we recommend finding one that works for your tank. A good starting point is between 77° and 86° Fahrenheit. Do not expose them to temperatures higher than 86° or lower than 68°, as they may begin to wilt.

Anubias barteri is an exception to this rule as it prefers colder water and can survive in temperatures as low as 60 degrees.

To make sure you find a temperature that works for your tank, drop by your local pet store and ask about which varieties work best for freshwater aquariums. If you’re interested in cultivating live plants but are unsure about how easy it will be to grow specific types of plants due to conditions like temperature limitations, start with fish-safe live plants such as Cabombas or java ferns.


Like all plants, Anubia barteri needs moisture in order to live and grow. Even though Anubias grows naturally in areas of higher humidity, you can still grow it indoors, as long as you provide enough water to keep its leaves and roots from drying out. If your house is particularly dry due to central air conditioning or other factors, then you will want to keep your plant on a pebble tray or use some other method of humidity control while it’s inside.

The ideal humidity range is between 40 and 60 percent, which you can maintain with a pebble tray or humidifier. For each watering session, wait until your plant is almost dry before watering it again. When in doubt, let it go longer between waterings than shorter; if your plant becomes crispy or yellow, then you’ve waited too long between waterings.


It is often recommended that new aquarists start out with stem plants like Anubias, because they are inexpensive and easy to care for. However, they have a tendency to grow very quickly and can overwhelm small tanks quickly.

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So when it comes to pruning anubias barteri, only minimal pruning is required to keep it healthy. The above-water portion of these plants can grow and spread freely, but their roots tend to become tangled. To control their growth, you should trim off any growing tips that extend below soil level about once a month.

If you need more dramatic results, you can cut back all growths beyond your desired height and allow them to regrow from their rhizomes.

Alternatively, if you simply wish to limit growth during the winter months (when plant activity slows anyway), you can trim older growths during spring and summer. Never remove older than one year’s worth of growth at a time when performing pruning on anubias barteri. This minimizes disturbance on the plant’s established root system.

Growth rate

anubias barteri

Anubias barteri is a slow-growing plant that can spread to cover a large area if left unpruned. If it is pruned, it becomes bushier. When growing this species, you should consider giving it plenty of room and allowing it to grow into its natural shape rather than cutting off any new growth to control its size and shape.

USDA hardiness zones

It’s often recommended to keep it in hardiness zone 8 or below, but with proper care, you can still have a lush, thriving Anubias barteri in zones 9 and 10.


This plant is not toxic, but like most plants, it will consume CO2 (carbon dioxide) from its surroundings. As such, it must be kept in well-aerated water conditions. Anubias barteri is extremely sensitive to fluoride and chloramine and should not be placed in an aquarium containing treated water; unfiltered tap water may cause root-rotting if used as a permanent substrate.

Parasites and diseases

Aquatic plant diseases that affect anubias barteri are usually caused by bacteria, fungi, or protozoa. Although bacteria usually cause more problems than fungi or protozoa, all three have similar symptoms and require immediate action. The best way to diagnose a disease is to know your plants well enough to recognize abnormal growth patterns or discoloration.

Plant roots become diseased when they are exposed to water that contains dangerous levels of pollutants (such as ammonia) or if they’re in contact with snails (which carry fungal spores). Bacterial infections attack roots, while fungal and protozoan infections cause holes in leaves or spots on stems. Certain predators will also infect your plants; one example is flatworms, which invade fish tanks through live rock rubble used for decoration.