Anubias Coffeefolia Care Guide

Anubias coffeefolia

Last updated on August 12th, 2022 at 02:33 am

Anubias coffeefolia is a species of aquatic flowering plant native to Africa, Madagascar, and Asia. Also known as a coffee bean or cut leaf anubias, Anubias coffeefolia is one of the most popular types of anubias available today. This plant features long, narrow green leaves that have dark red to black edges, and it can grow up to 15 inches tall and 12 inches wide in ideal conditions.

The plant lives up to its nickname with adorable little leaves that resemble the shape of coffee beans. While it’s not technically an anubias, this plant has earned the distinction of being called the coffee bean anubias because it looks so similar to other anubias plants, like Anubias barteri and Anubias lanceolata.

Anubias coffeefolia is one of the few plants that can grow directly attached to driftwood, making it an excellent choice if you’re trying to cultivate your own aquarium ecosystem. Despite its popularity, there are few resources detailing its optimal care, especially when planted in freshwater tanks.

It is one of the most popular types of aquarium plants available. It’s easy to grow, relatively cheap, and hardy enough to thrive in almost any aquarium environment. If you have any interest in getting your hands on this plant but aren’t sure where to start, the following article will help guide you through the process from planting to care and maintenance.

Origin and descriptions

Anubias coffeefolia

Anubias coffeefolia is a type of plant that is actually from west Africa. It can grow to be about five inches in diameter, but more often than not, you’ll see smaller plants under three inches in size. This makes it one of the most popular species available—and with good reason.

Anubias coffeefolia grows thick leaves and upright stems with small red-tinged bloom clusters at each node. The leaves are like little swords and have beautiful silver markings along their length (kind of like fingerprints). They do well in medium light and don’t need high amounts of nutrients or CO2 injection.

They also aren’t picky eaters so they will take almost any commercial fertilizer. Being easy to maintain has made them perfect starter plants, and they tend to look great when mass planted in pots! Not only do they look nice, but it is thought that Anubias coffeefolia produces chemicals that help prevent algae growth. That means it may act as a natural form of algae control – another bonus for newbie plant keepers!

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Species profile

Anubias coffeefolia

Anubias coffeefolia is a slow-growing, rhizomatous plant native to West Africa. Though they’re typically found in slow-moving waters, they are adaptable and will grow in a wide range of habitats. This makes them an excellent choice for beginner aquarists; these hardy plants tolerate many types of water parameters and low-to-moderate light levels.

They belong to the order Alismatales and family Araceae. Most anubias species prefer water with a pH of 5.5–7.0, but can tolerate some shifts in both directions.

Native to Western Africa, Anubias coffeefolia can grow up to 10 inches tall and 3 inches wide in its native habitat. Like other anubias species, it has a thick rhizome, making it perfect for growing in aquariums with limited space. A full-grown plant requires low-to-medium lighting and high humidity, conditions easy to achieve with most aquarium setups!

Anubias coffeefolia size

This plant will grow to approximately 6-10 inches (15-25 cm) in height with a growth rate of 1-2 (2.5cm-5cm) per month when it is given proper care. Like most plants, it will grow as big as you let it, so make sure that you keep an eye on its size and root system if you have limited space or are worried about the overgrowth.

Anubias coffeefolia tank size

The minimum recommended tank size is 10 gallons (38 liters), and the best place to grow this plant is either the foreground or the mid-ground of the tank.

Planting Anubias coffeefolia

Anubias coffeefolia

Like many other aquatic plants, anubias propagates via rhizome. This thick root is what holds it in place against a strong current, and has growth nodes where new shoots can be produced. To propagate new anubias plants, snip a section of rhizome at one of these growth nodes and plant in your substrate. The rhizome will produce new leaves from where you took them from.

These grow just like any other stem plant—by feeding them CO2 with an air stone or similar device. Since there are many varieties of anubias, refer to detailed care sheets about individual species to find out exactly how much light and CO2 they need; but as a general rule most require more light than normal stem plants because they come from fast-moving water.

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Leaf-only sections can also be rooted by wrapping them around an object such as a rock or another leaf (which acts like a scion). After several weeks (or months) new roots should appear that you can prune away from the original leaf and replant.

Anubias coffeefolia care

Anubias coffeefolia

The anubias coffeefolia is a sturdy plant that prefers cooler temperatures and soft, acidic water. This variety of anubias grows well in or beside plants that appreciate similar conditions, such as java fern, elodeas, and cryptocorynes. This variety of anubias can also be attached to driftwood, although it may grow slowly during its first few months in a new aquarium.

Be careful not to keep your new coffeefolia in direct sunlight at all times, as they prefer more diffused light. Overall, however, these plants are very hardy and easy to care for—but they do need stable water quality and consistently lower lighting levels than other types of anubias.

Light requirements

The coffeefolia plant, native to Africa, requires moderate light. Plants grown under too much shade will lose their variegation. Additionally, too much shade prevents blooming. The ideal position is a bright window that allows a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight per day. Another option is to put it next to a south-facing window with artificial lighting—which can provide 12–14 hours of light per day in winter months and up to 18 hours in summer months.

Fluorescent bulbs are better than LED lights; incandescent lights should be avoided because they produce intense heat. While all varieties of anubias are tolerant of low light conditions, water circulation is necessary for any plants receiving less than 2 watts per gallon or fluorescent lighting below 40 watts.

Substrate/soil requirements

Anubias species prefer slightly acidic soil, around a pH of 6.5. Substrate should also be on the lighter side. They grow best in either gravel or sand, although you can also opt to root them directly into driftwood with some roots left exposed if you prefer more natural-looking aquascapes. They don’t require nearly as much fertilizer as many other plants. A little bit every couple of weeks is sufficient.

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Anubias plants are, in most cases, slow-growing. It’s best to fertilize them lightly once a month. Use something designed for aquatic plants rather than regular garden fertilizer, as it will be more delicate and more likely to burn your plant’s roots.

Also note that if you have other aquarium inhabitants (fish), you should make sure any fertilizer doesn’t contain copper, which can kill fish. Some fish-safe options include Seachem Flourish Comprehensive Supplement or Kent Liquid Aquarium Plant Food.

Anubias coffeefolia temperature

Though Anubias coffeefolia is native to warm and subtropical climates, it’s a relatively hardy species. It prefers temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will also tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees and as high as 90 degrees. However, due to its slow growth rate, even minor temperature fluctuations can affect your plant.

If you live in a warmer climate without seasonal temperature variation, consider planting your Anubias in an area where there is regular shading from trees or structures. The cooler air beneath these areas offers a more stable environment while allowing your plant to remain exposed to direct sunlight during most of the day.

In cooler environments, utilize artificial lighting such as T5 fluorescents, which emit brighter light than traditional fluorescent lights but also use much less energy than full-spectrum bulbs.


Most anubias grow well in moderate to high humidity levels, which makes them great candidates for vivariums and terrariums. A good rule of thumb is to mist your plant once a day and increase that number if you notice that your plant isn’t thriving. Like most aquatic plants, they also appreciate plenty of light. If you’re growing your anubias under artificial lights, it’s best to keep them between two and five feet away from any bulbs.

The ideal humidity range is 50 to 70%. If you notice that your plant isn’t thriving, you can increase your daily misting routine in order to keep it within that range.

Pruning Anubias coffeefolia

Anubias coffeefolia

The leaves on a stem of anubias can grow to nearly three feet long, and so pruning them is necessary in order to keep your tank clean. This is also helpful if you want to encourage your plant to branch out and grow more leaves. The best time of the year to do some pruning is when you’re changing your water, as plants tend to suffer from excess light and nutrients at that time.

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After pruning, it’s important to run carbon dioxide through your filter or change out other gases added into your tank. It may take several days for new growth to appear, but once it does, you’ll be glad you did it!

Anubias coffeefolia growth rate

The anubias coffeefolia is a slow-growing plant. In fact, depending on how healthy it is, you may find that it grows at a rate of only about one new leaf per month. Given its habit of dying in unfavorable conditions, however, it is best to wait a few months before expecting any major growth from your plant.

USDA hardiness zones

They are hardy to USDA 10-11, with overwintering.


While generally easy to care for, Anubias coffeefolia does have a few things that might make it best for more experienced aquarists. First, it has been known to release toxic chemicals into its surroundings if it is unhappy with its environment; so if your tank is out of balance and in need of some TLC (read: water changes), you may want to think twice about introducing it until you’ve brought your tank back into shape.

Parasites and diseases

Anubias coffeefolia is fairly resistant to parasites, but in some cases, ich may occur. If you spot white spots or threads on your plant, it’s likely ich (algae that aren’t actually an algae at all), which has a gray film over it. It will likely spread fast and kill your plant unless you treat it with proper medication immediately.