Anubias Petite Nana Care Tips

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Last updated on July 22nd, 2022 at 01:51 am

Anubias petite nana, also known as Anubias barteri var. petite nana or petite anubias, is an aquatic plant that has been used in aquariums since its discovery in the 1940s and has recently become popular again with hobbyists thanks to its hardiness and adaptability. This plant isn’t difficult to care for, but it does have specific needs that need to be met if you want it to thrive in your aquarium.

Anubias petite nana is relatively small in size and requires little care in order to thrive. These plants have an elongated, oval-shaped leaf that grows out of short rhizomes. Commonly referred to as the arrowhead plant, Anubias petite nana are native to Malaysia and surrounding areas, and they prefer temperatures between 20-30 degrees Celsius (68-86 degrees Fahrenheit).

The plant is one of the most popular types of aquatic plants used in aquariums with tanks smaller than 10 gallons. They’re easy to care for, but a few simple steps can help your plant thrive and bring out the best of its beautiful foliage and vivid red fronds.

Here are some care tips to keep in mind when growing anubias petite nana in your aquarium or pond.

Origin and descriptions

Anubias petite nana

Anubias petite nana is a variety of anubias that originates from South Africa. It has heart-shaped leaves and grows best in soft and acidic water. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that’s great as a foreground or midground decoration, consider getting an anubias petite nana.

Unlike most plants we keep in aquariums, which come from areas with lakes and rivers, anubias petite nana lives near streams and rivers. It isn’t plant in large amounts of light, and neither is it plant in hard water; instead, it prefers low-to-moderate light and moderately acidic water (the pH range should be between 6.0 and 7.0). In addition, its roots grow naturally outwards instead of down; they often spread above ground rather than staying hidden underground.

Species profile

Anubias petite nana

Anubias petite nana is a lovely, small variety of Anubias from the Araceae family, native to Cameroon and Gabon in central Africa. It’s a creeping plant that produces clusters of small oval leaves along slender, reddish-brown stems. The leaves are usually 12-20 inches long by 1/2 inch wide and smooth or with fine teeth along their edges.

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Attached directly below each leaf cluster on each stem is an attractive red or green rhizome, the root structure of these plants, that allows them to readily propagate via cuttings.

When you propagate Anubias petite nana, it makes new plants that share characteristics of both parents; since they don’t grow from seed, rhizome division ensures you get plants similar to your original plant while keeping genetic diversity intact within your collection. This makes it easy to keep track of which plant might be best suited for different uses.

Anubias nana petite size

The Anubias nana petite is a small variety of Anubias plants that usually don’t exceed more than 5 inches (13 cm) in height with its leaves not wider than 2 inches (5 cm). While it’s not as large as some of its other cousins, you can still grow it in your aquarium or pond with just a few adjustments.

Anubias nana petite fish tank size

Due to its small size, anubias nana petite can be grown in any tank size, even in a nano tank as small as 5 gallons (19 liters). For best results and adequate room for tank mates, the minimum recommended tank size is 10 gallons (38 liters).

Anubias nana petite planting (Propagation)

Anubias petite nana

Depending on your situation, you may be able to plant an anubias petite nana directly into a prepared substrate. If you can’t plant it directly, root it using stem cuttings. Cut off a 2-3″ piece of rhizome from one of your existing plants and bury it in dirt or sand.

Allow it to grow new roots, then transplant that rooted rhizome into its permanent home once there are enough roots present to secure it. The process will take up to 6 months before producing a sturdy, full plant; during that time, trim back any leaves that fall victim to rot and make sure not to over-water. Anubias petite nanas also benefit from being placed near mature aquariums.

They prefer well-lit areas with hardy populations of natural nitrifying bacteria to help them stay healthy and disease-free; in low light conditions, they risk developing algae growth on their leaves.

When propagating a petite nana, it’s best to use a hardy cutting and leave at least three inches of stem attached. Though it’s not required, you can use a rooting hormone when propagating your petite nana. If you don’t have any, you can get some online or at most major home improvement stores.

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Using a potting mix that contains peat moss is also good because it encourages root growth, but using regular soil will work as well; just be sure to add some fertilizer. Plants need light in order to grow, but too much light can burn them and stunt their growth.

A general rule of thumb is one bulb per two feet of width if you want to keep things simple. It might take anywhere from one month to several months for your plant to fully propagate, so have patience!

Anubias nana petite care

Anubias petite nana

Anubias petite nana thrives when grown in water with a neutral pH (6.0-7.5) and relatively soft, non-carbonate water with a temperature that’s cooler than other types of anubias (64-75 degrees F). To encourage compact growth, use CO2 supplementation and fertilize once per week with macro-nutrients at half strength.

The addition of trace elements is recommended every two weeks, particularly iron for healthy leaves and dark coloration. Alternatively, you can add root tabs containing chelated iron at regular intervals as well as DIY liquid fertilizer formulas or additives containing micronutrients such as kelp extract or liquid ferric oxide (such as K2CO3).

Allowing your tank to go through weekly 10% water changes will keep nutrient levels stable while adding oxygen; filter out any leaves floating in your tank before replacing old water with new ones.

Anubias nana petite light requirements

In their natural habitat, they prefer low light and high humidity. In low-light conditions, they grow slower and have less variegation on their leaves than when grown in high-light conditions. If you want a big showy plant, we recommend that you provide an abundance of light; if you prefer smaller more slow-growing plants with fewer variegated leaves, moderate amounts of light are best.

If you plan on keeping it in low light, be sure to give it an underwater CO2 injection system. This will help promote faster growth rates and the overall health of your plant. CO2 injection can also be used if you are growing at a higher light level as well. Without proper lighting, your plant will remain small, pale in color, and may stretch out or lose its shape, depending on how much light is provided for it.

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Substrate/soil requirements

Since it’s an aquatic plant, Anubias petite nana needs substrate with high-draining capabilities. Coir (shredded coconut husk) or a river sand mix works best. If you use soil, choose something that allows water to pass through quickly but holds its shape, pine bark is a good option. The roots of your Anubias petite nana should be planted in the substrate about 2 inches deep.

Be sure not to cover more than 30 percent of your plant’s leaves and shoots when adding substrate, as exposure will promote healthy growth and establish itself as part of your shrimp tank environment sooner.

For quicker results, you can add some fertilizer to the substrate before planting. Just make sure not to exceed manufacturer instructions if using liquid fertilizer; when using dry products, add small amounts at a time and monitor how your plants respond.


The plant is an easy keeper and generally doesn’t require much in terms of fertilization. The best way to fertilize anubias petite nana is with a liquid fertilizer that contains an abundance of micro-nutrients. We recommend aquarium water test kits as a guide, but apply 1mL per gallon.

This means that if you have a 5 gallon tank, you will want to add 5 mL every week or so, depending on how much algae growth you’re seeing in your tank walls/surface; at least once per month should be sufficient. Under no circumstances should you overfeed your plants, even if they look like they need it; it’s better to underfeed than feed too frequently.


Since temperatures can get quite hot or cold in most homes, you’ll need to keep an eye on your plants. A good rule of thumb is that your tank should be kept between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but if it gets much hotter than that during the summer months (or much colder than that during winter months), you may need to start monitoring things more closely. This can be achieved by using a heater or cooler depending on what time of year it is.


The ideal habitat for anubias petite nana is one that is similar to that of a rainforest. A level of humidity between 70% and 90% will help create a humid microclimate, conducive to their growth. As with most other aquarium plants, anubias petite nana will not grow well in low-humidity environments, where their leaves become brittle and fall off more easily.

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Anubias petite nana

The Anubias petite nana plant will grow roots from leaf nodes. This means that cutting off leaves too early can stunt its growth, so trimming it just once a month will prevent it from reaching its full potential as a rooted aquarium plant. On top of preventing your fish tank ornaments from growing excessively tall, pruning also promotes healthy root and stem growth by allowing access to light. Keep in mind that you should only remove up to 25% of your plant’s leaves in one sitting!

Growth rate

Anubias petite nana, unlike other forms of Anubias, has an incredibly slow growth rate. It’s common for it to take a year or more to fill out its compact rhizome and grow more than 1.5 inches tall. As with other types of Anubias, you can increase your plant’s rate of growth by adding a thin layer of gravel above its roots and changing out 20 percent of its water every week.

Parasites and diseases

It’s a common misconception that aquarium plants are only susceptible to one or two diseases, but in reality, your plants can succumb to a variety of fungal and bacterial infections. Before you begin treatment, however, you should be sure that you have correctly identified what is causing your plant’s symptoms; otherwise, you may end up aggravating its condition without realizing it.

Pay attention to changes in color (if applicable), growth patterns, and leaf markings; if anything looks abnormal, bring it up with your local aquatic store’s staff before treating your plant.

While most aquatic plants are perfectly safe, it’s a good idea to clean your new purchase with water from your tank and an anti-parasitic agent. This will prevent any parasites that might be present in your tank from leeching into your new plant. A broad-spectrum anti-parasitic and fungal treatment are also recommended.

The best time to treat your plants depends on their size; large plants can handle a course of treatments over several weeks while small ones should receive one shot immediately after they arrive home.