Anubias Gracilis Care Tips

Anubias gracilis

Last updated on August 5th, 2022 at 08:03 pm

Anubias gracilis, also known as Anubias barteri var gracilis or Anubias barteri ‘gracilis’, is one of the most popular and widely available species of Anubias that are suitable for aquariums and other water features. It is a slow-growing plant that can reach around 12 inches in height, with dark green leaves that have thicker, longer blades compared to other types of Anubias plants.

Anubias gracilis is a popular freshwater aquarium plant due to its low light needs and easy care requirements. In the wild, it can be found in shallow waters of Africa and India, but it’s equally happy planted in almost any freshwater tank or pond.

Anubias gracilis is an aquatic plant native to West Africa, especially Gabon and Cameroon. It can be used as both a foreground and background plant in the aquarium, though its growth rate isn’t particularly fast. The species name ‘gracilis’ refers to the plant’s slender leaves, which are reddish-green in color and covered with a thin layer of slime when healthy.

For beginner aquarists who want to learn more about this species, here’s an overview of its care tips and profile information.

Origin and descriptions

Anubias gracilis

Anubias gracilis is native to Africa. It can be identified by its small, narrow green leaves with stems that are oval-shaped. The Anubias genus contains some of the most popular aquarium plants due to their low light requirements, ease of care, and decoration appeal. Anubias sp. nana is another commonly seen species, while Anubias barteri var. nana has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its hardiness in a wide range of water conditions.

Properly caring for your anubias gracilis starts with selecting high-quality plant specimens from reputable sources. Even experienced aquarists have fallen victim to what’s known as plant drift: purchasing healthy-looking aquatic plants without knowing where they came from or how they were handled during shipping or storage.

Specifies profile

Anubias gracilis

Anubias gracilis (syn. Anubias barteri var. gracilis), is a tropical aquarium plant that belongs to the Araceae family (or in older literature Alismataceae). In general, Anubias gracilis reaches between 10 and 30 cm (4-12 inches) in height depending on its environment; when kept submerged it will quickly reach its maximum height as well as cover more territory with its foliage than any other variety.

Anacharis Najas (Narrow Leaf Anacharis)

There are several key differences between Anubias gracilis and other varieties of Anubias. First, Anubias gracilis appears much more wiry than its cousins because of prominent rhizome branches that shoot upward from the rootstock, creating gaps in leaves that are otherwise continuous for most species of Anubias.

Second, Anubias gracilis has light green fronds instead of dark green or reddish ones like those seen in Anubias barteri or Anubias nana var. nana; these fronds can still be sharp but they aren’t nearly as pronounced making them less invasive than those of other types of Anubias when placed in an aquarium setting.

Note: As with all versions of Anubias, direct sunlight will cause damage to these plants and should be avoided at all costs!

Anubias gracilis size

They reach maturity in two to four years and can grow to a maximum height of 12 inches (30 cm). Because they aren’t particularly fast-growing, it can take some years before they’re ready to be divided.

Anubias gracilis aquarium size

The minimum recommended tank size in which Anubias gracilis can be grown is 10 gallons (38 liters)

Planting Anubias gracilis

Anubias gracilis

To propagate Anubias gracilis, use a sharp knife to remove side shoots from runners. Trim each runner shoot back to 4-6 leaves. Plant them immediately into a very soft (sandy) substrate so that they are buried with only their rhizome exposed above substrate level. Use a dappen dish to water around each plantlet until it shows signs of new growth, then slowly acclimate it back into normal lighting conditions over a period of 1-2 weeks.

Be careful not to expose your plants directly into full sunlight too soon as they can burn. The new plants will grow best under moderate light levels and a nutrient-rich environment. When roots have formed, you can increase lighting levels gradually over time if desired, just make sure not to shock your plants with an abrupt change in environment or exposure.

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Anubias gracilis care

Anubias gracilis

Anubias gracilis is a great beginner plant for both freshwater aquariums and terrariums. It’s versatile, requiring low lighting, medium to high carbonate hardness, and medium to high general hardness. It also has no real special care requirements outside of what most aquatic plants require.

One thing worth noting about Anubias gracilis plants is that their leaves tend to be somewhat fragile, so keep them away from sharp tank decorations and monitor them for fraying or tears in their leaves. That being said, if you follow the care tips below, your Anubias gracilis should thrive in your home aquarium or terrarium!

Light requirements

Anubias gracilis is an incredibly adaptable plant that can thrive in a wide range of lighting conditions. Under low-light conditions, expect to see darker green leaves with darker leaf veins. Under high-light conditions, expect to see lighter green leaves with lighter leaf veins.

When kept under low light, slow growth should be expected. It will still do okay when placed under full sun, though it may lose some coloration. It’s important not to allow it to completely dry out or be overfed because it cannot recover from too much stress or fertilizer at once.

Substrate/soil requirements

This particular type of anubias is often sold, attached to rocks or driftwood, but it also makes a very successful free-floating plant. Because its roots are long, brittle, and relatively fragile, you’ll need to either attach it to some sort of floating media or be prepared to carefully remove any dirt from its root system before introducing it into your aquarium.

I prefer using a hybrid substrate that combines either fine-grade aragonite sand or pure silica sand with my regular gravel substrate. You can introduce Anubias gracilis directly into your tank after soaking it in dechlorinated water for at least 15 minutes; make sure not to wet its leaves during water changes. Once in place, slowly acclimate it over two weeks until you reach 50 percent water changes every two days.

Helanthium tenellum (Pygmy Chain Sword)


Anubias requires moderate fertilizer. If you’re using a liquid fertilizer, feed your plant once per month; if you’re using a dry fertilizer, apply once per week. A general-purpose aquarium fertilizer with all macro-nutrients will suffice. Keep in mind that fertilizers are only for supplementary nutrition for Anubias—it’s still recommended to provide your plant with ample light and oxygenation.

You should also trim your anubias roots at least every other month (preferably monthly) or whenever they become overcrowded, which can cause nutrient deficiency or excess algae growth. To do so, simply use pruning shears and remove up to 1/3 of their long roots. In turn, it’ll grow back quicker than before!


Anubias species are not very fussy, but their success is largely dependent on water temperature. Temperatures in excess of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) will stress them out. Anubias thrive at room temperature, so if you’re trying to grow them indoors, keep your home between 64 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 25 degrees Celsius). A temperature drop of 5-10 degrees for a night or two won’t hurt either.


Anubias gracilis thrives in low-humidity environments. While some species can handle high humidity, gracilis will eventually fall victim to a host of different diseases if kept in overly moist conditions. The best way to ensure your Anubias are healthy is to lower humidity levels to as close to 50% as possible without letting them dry out completely. Most tanks use foggers or other such devices for humidifying water, but there’s no need for that with an Anubias tank.


Plants growing directly under aquarium lights often grow much quicker than other aquatic plants in your aquarium. To help keep these plants looking natural, use pruning shears to remove any leaves or stems that will be hidden from view by other plants or decorations. When trimming underwater plants, it’s important to be cautious not to damage roots – avoid making any cuts within 1 inch of a plant’s base, instead of aiming for cuts just above where new growth begins.

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For tall-stemmed anubias species such as Anubias barteri var. nana, Anubias petite, and Anubias gracilis ‘nana’ (which do require occasional pruning), aim for just below where stems begin to branch out into many leaves rather than cutting directly at their bases; when cut correctly near branching points on stem branches, you can minimize stem regrowth without damaging long-established root systems.

Anubias gracilis growth rate

Anubias gracilis

The Anubias gracilis is a slow-growing plant, as it is considered to be among one of the slower-growing Anubias species. In ideal conditions with plenty of nutrients present, its rhizome will grow about 4 inches per year. It is somewhat hardier than other Anubias species, so you can expect it to live for 10 years or more with proper care.

USDA hardiness zone

Anubias gracilis is hardy to USDA zones 10 to 11.

Parasites and diseases

Anubias gracilis is a hardy aquarium plant, but it’s prone to several aquatic diseases that are common in Anubias plants. All types of Anubias plants (including Erect Anubias) often develop yellowing leaves. This is caused by a salt buildup in the aquarium due to overfeeding; new growth may be spotted with black spots or tiny white spider mites.

Spores from dead algae on live rock, pumps, and filter media will quickly colonize your Anubias gracilis, causing root rot and eventual death if not treated quickly. The best way to prevent these kinds of disease issues is to take good care of your aquarium environment as well as make sure that you don’t overfeed your fish!