Anubias hastifolia, also known as the snake plant or wandering jew, is among the most popular and adaptable aquarium plants. It is one of the most popular aquarium plants due to its low maintenance needs and high resistance to disease.
The most important thing to remember when caring for Anubias hastifolia is that it can be sensitive to fluctuating water temperatures, so always keep the water temperature between 68 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
In this guide, we’ll cover how to care for Anubias hastifolia in your aquarium in order to provide it with optimal living conditions and ensure its survival.
We’ll also share information about how to distinguish Anubias hastifolia from closely related species so you can be sure you know what you’re buying at your local pet store.
Origin and descriptions
Anubias hastifolia is from a genus of slow-growing aquatic plants from Africa, with thick, long leaves. It has wider leaves than other varieties and can reach up to 2 feet (18 inches) in height when fully grown. As its name suggests, it grows pretty quickly, more than its other cousins.
If you want your anubias hastifolia plant to grow even faster and bloom more frequently, give it fertilizer at least once every two weeks during its active growing season. In cold weather or darker environments like greenhouses, it may appear less vibrant or halt growth altogether; some growers suggest replanting their anubias in these environments to induce new growth.
Even so, they are relatively low-maintenance species that survive under a variety of conditions.
Anubias hastifolia, also known as Anubias barteri var. hastifolia, is a rhizomatous aquatic plant from West Africa that belongs to the family Araceae. It’s characterized by long, trailing stems that bear short leaves that resemble filigree fans when submerged in water. The broad green leaves grow up to 20 cm (8 in) long and 10 cm (4 in) wide on healthy specimens.
Propagation is achieved through the division of established plants or rhizome cuttings which can be potted or planted directly into your aquarium substrate. Lighting will have an impact on stem growth; low-intensity lighting will result in slower but taller plants with wider leaf spread than those grown under high-intensity lighting conditions.
Anubias hastifolia size
They grow moderately slow, usually not exceeding 18 inches (46 cm) in height. However, their leaf span can exceed 8 inches (20 cm) or more depending on age and lighting conditions.
In terms of size, you can grow Anubias hastifolia in a 10-gallon tank, but 20 gallons is optimal. The smaller tanks will make it difficult for the fish to swim around, and it’ll be hard to properly filter your water. Aim for at least 20 gallons per anubias hastifolia plant. If you can fit more than one plant in a tank, do so! This makes your maintenance easier and let you enjoy their leafy beauty even more.
Anubias hastifolia propagation
Anubias hastifolia can be propagated via rhizome division or by leaf cutting. With leaf cuttings, rooting is achieved when two or three nodes are submerged and held underwater for at least 24 hours. Cuttings may also be stored in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag, but should then be potted as soon as possible to reduce risks of rot and loss of vitality.
While they are not among the easiest plants to propagate, they have exceptional longevity compared with many other aquatic plants. In fact, it’s rather hard to kill them. Even if you break off a leaf accidentally while netting an aquarium plant (yes, I know—it’s like my personal bane), it will likely survive over weeks underwater until you notice and retrieve it for repotting.
This species has proven equally persistent in both soft and hard water; its ease of cultivation is widely regarded as making it one of a handful of ideal species for beginning aquarists.
One word of caution: Like most members of its genus, it prefers very little light; direct sunlight on leaves induces bleaching/etiolation that quickly leads to death. For planted tanks, use floating cover to shade topsides that face overhead lighting during daylight hours.
Anubias hastifolia Care
The anubias hastifolia is a great beginner plant, being easy to care for and low maintenance. It’s recommended that you keep it in slightly acidic water (PH 6-7) and feed it weekly with a general all-purpose fertilizer. With bright lighting, they can grow up to 4 inches per month. They have a natural tendency to reproduce using runners, so you may need to separate them or plant them in pots if you don’t want them taking over your aquarium.
You should trim off any fronds that are touching other plants or animals to avoid damage by your fish nibbling on it. You can attach fronds to bogwood or decor with small rubber bands; doing so will give them extra support and prevent them from falling into your tank and potentially clogging filters. Some hobbyists use ties around their stems as well, but be careful not to put too much stress on their delicate roots when doing so.
Anubias hastifolia can grow in a wide range of lighting, although it needs at least some direct light to thrive. If you have low-light conditions, consider placing it next to a window with bright indirect light. Avoid full-sun locations or other intense lighting environments. Anubias doesn’t like direct sunlight, which can damage its leaves and cause them to bleach out or burn up.
Anubias hastifolia grows best in a heavily-planted aquarium with relatively soft and slightly acidic water. The substrate should consist of sand or gravel, as long as it’s loose enough for easy root penetration. As for filtration, a simple canister filter or sponge filter should be sufficient.
Lastly, Anubias need to be planted on something hardy so they don’t fall over when they get bigger; driftwood works great in most cases. And because its leaves are large, strong light is required—and low levels of added CO2 wouldn’t hurt either!
A peaceful tank environment is ideal: though Anubias do not have any requirements for movement in the water column (aside from being able to send out roots), its undemanding nature also means that it doesn’t require a lot of attention from other fish.
If you have a mature Anubias in your tank, it’s likely getting enough nutrients from its environment. However, in the case of younger plants or ones which are slowly growing, you may want to consider fertilizer dosing. Fertilizer usually contains N-P-K—nitrogen (N), phosphate (P), and potassium (K).
Nitrogen is required for plant growth, but too much can lead to algae blooms. Phosphorus and potassium promote root growth and overall health. Recommended daily doses depend on what kind of nutrient mix you use, as well as your water parameters.
Aim for 2–3 ppm nitrate and 5–10 ppm phosphate; 15–20 ppm potassium should be fine if using a regular/balanced fertilizer, while additional amounts may be necessary if using an unbalanced one.
The Anubias hastifolia plant is considered an epiphyte, meaning it grows naturally in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Though it can survive cold temperatures, it prefers warm water (between 65–82°F) with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5 to keep its roots healthy. Ensure that your aquarium provides these ideal conditions for your underwater plants to grow successfully!
Make sure you also take into account how much light each variety of floating plants requires—the Anubias species needs moderate lighting as well as relatively low nutrient levels to remain healthy. If you have both fish and plants in your tank, be sure to consider what’s right for both species—some fish eat aquatic plants, so if you plan on keeping both live vegetation and pets together in one tank, make sure you’re prepared for any potential problems beforehand!
While Anubias hastifolia can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, it will grow best when subjected to medium-high humidity. Consider using a humidifier if you keep your home or apartment dry, or install an aquarium bubbler system in your tank. If you have live plants in your aquarium, these will add some natural humidity—but also consider giving your plants an occasional misting as well.
The ideal humidity range is 65–80 percent, but 80–90 percent humidity is tolerated by many plants and can be maintained by using peat moss products for substrate and/or driftwood in the tank. Additionally, choosing live wood rather than plastics (or nothing at all) for decor will further boost humidity levels within your aquarium and make for a more naturalistic environment for your fish and aquatic plants alike.
Anubias plants are broad-leaved, so you don’t need to prune them often. However, if you want a full-bodied plant or grow your anubias in a small container, you can prune it back by removing some of its leaves. Be sure to let your anubias branch out first before removing any leaves. If your plant was already planted in a tight spot when you got it, gradually letting off some of its leaves is one way to give it more space without uprooting it altogether.
To remove leaves safely, gently squeeze them between two fingers until they snap off at their base—an alternative method would be to snip them with a pair of tweezers but be careful not to cut into other parts of the leaf.
Anubias hastifolia growth rate
The anubias hastifolia plant grows quite slowly, so don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t seem to grow at all for a couple of months. After that, though, you should notice a significant increase in size over time.
Pests and diseases
Anubias plants are susceptible to a number of fungal and bacterial infections, including root rot. These attacks are usually due to overwatering, so make sure that your plant doesn’t sit in water for more than a few hours at a time and that it receives good drainage.
Anubias hastifolia is also vulnerable to snail and slug attacks, so be sure you keep your tanks free of these pests if you plan on keeping an Anubias plant indoors.
Keeping an eye out for pests and diseases is a key part of caring for any plant. Anubias hastifolia is an attractive specimen with broad, long leaves that will catch debris if not maintained properly. You can try to prevent these by keeping your tank clean and removing floating matter before it has a chance to clog up on your plants.