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Anubias Barteri Aquarium Plant Care Guide

Anubias Barteri Aquarium Plant Care Guide

Anubias barteri is an elegant plant that brightens up any aquarium with its lush green color. It’s great for community tanks and has easy care requirements. 

Anubias barteri plant care is easy, as the plant adapts to a wide range of aquarium conditions. This amphibious plant grows partially or fully submerged, preferring fast-flowing waters of temperatures ranging from 72 to 82 ºF (22-28 ºC). 

This post covers everything you need to know to care for Anubias barteri. Keep reading to learn if this plant is right for you and your aquarium. 

What Is Anubias Barteri?

Anubias barteri is a common species of Anubias native to West Africa, found in swift-moving waters throughout Cameroon, Nigeria, and Bioko Island. This hardy plant is easy to care for and hard to kill, making it great for beginners. It can even flower underwater under certain water conditions.  

Anubias Barteri Appearance

Anubias barteri has thick rhizomes and tall, sturdy stems. Its tough, dark green, arrow-shaped leaves grow larger than most other Anubias, though their form varies between varieties. 

This lush plant has a glossy, tough, leather-like appearance.

Anubias Barteri Size & Growth

Unlike most other Anubias species, Anubias barteri tends to grow upwards rather than outward. It also grows quite slowly, slower than most other common aquatic plants. 

With enough space, Anubias barteri can grow to 16 inches (40.5 cm). The rhizome gradually grows horizontally, reaching widths up to 12 inches (30.5 cm).

Tank Setup

Anubias barteri are hardy plants suitable for a range of tank conditions. To ensure the health and growth of this beautiful plant, it’s important to consider some key factors.

Tank Placement

Most commonly, Anubias barteri plants are attached to rocks or decor placed in the midground of larger aquariums. Still, they’re also great as foreground or background plants depending on tank size and layout. 

As this plant is prone to algae growth, many recommend placing it where the water current has moderate movement. 

Tank Size 

Anubias barteri can live in any tank size. Yet, keep in mind that it may start to surpass the top of smaller tanks when fully grown, given optimal conditions. If you want your Anubias barteri to remain fully submerged, a 15-gallon tank or larger is recommended. 

Water Temperature, pH, and Flow

Anubias barteri can live in water temperatures ranging from 72 to 82ºF (22 to 28ºC).

It prefers soft to moderately hard water with pH levels ranging from 6.5-7.5.

This plant also enjoys a moderate water flow, as this helps minimize algae build-up on the leaves.


Anubias barteri doesn’t require carbon dioxide supplements but certainly appreciates them. For optimal growth, pair CO2 supplementation with doses of a quality liquid fertilizer. 

Notably, excellent conditions containing phosphate levels around 2 ppm are required to encourage flowering. 


Anubias barteri can live in most lighting conditions, even capable of living in total darkness for long durations. Still, low to medium light for 12 hours is best to promote optimal growth. Lower lighting also helps reduce the growth rate of algae. 


Anubias barteri doesn’t require a substrate to grow; it pulls nutrients from the water. Aquarists suggest using substrates like pebbles, fine-grained gravel, or sand if you plan to plant the roots.

Usually, this plant is attached to wood, rocks, or other decor.   

Anubias Barteri Benefits

Several benefits come with having Anubias barteri in your aquarium:

  • Excellent for long-term aquarium keeping
  • Undemanding plant, perfect for beginners
  • Herbivorous fish won’t eat the broad leaves
  • Provides shade and hiding spots for fish and shrimp
  • Oxygenates water
  • Brightens up aquariums with lush, dark green foliage
  • Provides broad surfaces for the growth of beneficial bacteria

How To Care for Anubias Barteri

Anubias barteri is considered an easy-care plant since it grows in nearly any condition, making it perfect for beginners. To keep this plant healthy, regularly clean off algae build-up and remove rotting roots and rhizomes upon discovery. 

How To Plant Anubias Barteri 

Planting Anubias barteri is unnecessary, as the plant takes nutrients from the water. If you want to plant the roots, a high-nutrient substrate is recommended to ensure the plant receives adequate nutrition. 

Only bury the roots of the plant, and keep the rhizome above the substrate. The rhizomes will rot if buried, leading to the death of the plant. 

When planting multiple Anubias, leave at least 2 inches (5 cm) between them so they don’t compete for nutrients. 

Alternatively, use a fishing line, thread, or aquarium glue to attach the plant to driftwood, rocks, and other decorations.

Does Anubias Barteri Need Root Tabs?

Anubias barteri plants need root tabs when planted to supplement gravel, sand, and other nutrient-lacking substrates. At the same time, this plant is hardy and can survive in low-nutrient waters. The roots pull nutrients from the water, so Anubias benefit more from a liquid fertilizer when anchored.

Should Anubias Barteri Be Floated or Planted? 

Anubias barteri can be floated or planted, yet the standard practice is to tie or glue it to decor until the roots anchor themselves. Notably, Anubias barteri left to float will eventually anchor itself to something in the tank. 

Pruning Anubias Barteri 

When left unpruned, Anubias barteri slowly spreads to cover a wide area, while regular pruning results in bushier growth. To cleanly sever the stems, bend them backward at the rhizome until they snap. Take care not to damage the rhizome in the process. 

If you notice roots turning brown, carefully cut off the dying section to preserve the plant’s health. 

Anubias Barteri Propagation & Care

Anubias barteri propagation is easily accomplished via the rhizome division of mature plants

Use a sharp tool to carefully cut the rhizome and remove side shoots, taking care not to damage the roots. Cuttings should have at least 3-4 healthy leaves to ensure photosynthesis occurs. Don’t cut more than a third of the original plant, as this could shock and stunt it. 

The cutting can be planted, tied down, or left to float until roots fully develop. Provide young plants with light and keep water parameters stable. Add nutrients to expedite growth. 

How To Clean Anubias Barteri 

Your Anubias barteri plant will benefit from regular cleaning to remove accumulated algae from the leaves. Gently rub the leaves using a soft plant brush or toothbrush, and your filtration system will handle the rest. 

Common Issues & Prevention 

Aquarists face a few common issues with Anubias barteri:

  • Algae growth: With a slow growth rate and wide leaves that don’t move much in the water, Anubias are prone to algae growth, especially in high-lighting or nutrient-heavy waters. Algae build-up blocks the plant from receiving light, discouraging photosynthesis. Placing these plants near the filter or air bubbler usually provides enough current to deter algae growth.
  • Rotting rhizome: Occasionally, the rhizome may rot, turning brown and mushy. Rotting typically occurs in unsuitable water conditions or if the rhizome gets buried too deep in the substrate. Remove all traces of rotten tissue as soon as you notice it to prevent it from spreading.  
  • Yellow spots: Strong lighting can lead to yellow spots developing on Anubias. If this happens, add floating plants to subdue lighting or move the plant to a shady spot in the tank. Iron supplements also help to combat this issue. 
  • Difficulty adapting from emersed to submersed life: Anubias have trouble adjusting to underwater life if grown above the water’s surface. In such cases, the plant loses most or all of its leaves and appears to be dying. If you purchase an emersed plant and submerge it in your aquarium, be prepared to wait weeks or even months before it adapts and begins growing new foliage.

Anubias Barteri Tank Mates

Anubias barteri does great in community tanks, as it’s compatible with many invertebrates and fish, including most herbivorous species. Some good tank mates include:

It’s commonly used in tanks with goldfish and African cichlids. Still, the best tankmates include bottom-dwelling species like catfish and loaches

Is Anubias Barteri The Right Plant For Your Tank?

Anubias barteri is the right plant for a beginner’s or low-maintenance tank. This hardy plant is also compatible with many fish and invertebrates, making it great for community tanks. Experienced hobbyists will enjoy the challenge of cultivating this plant.

What To Look for When Buying Anubias Barteri 

Anubias barteri plants may be sold as bare-root plants, potted in containers, or attached to decorations. 

Look for a healthy plant with thick rhizomes, good roots, and deep-green leaves. Avoid plants with damaged leaves or visible algae growth

Furthermore, there are several varieties of Anubias barteri. Most are labeled as Anubias barteri var. barteri, but you may come across other common types, such as:

  • Anubias barteri var. broad leaf
  • Anubias barteri var. round leaf
  • Anubias barteri var. caladifolia
  • Anubias barteri var. glabra
  • Anubias barteri var. angustifolia
  • Anubias barteri var. nana

Anubias Barteri FAQs

Does Anubias Barteri Need Fertilizer?

Anubias barteri does not need fertilizer and can thrive in its absence. Still, the plant will appreciate and benefit from small amounts of liquid fertilizer. Just keep in mind that extra nutrients also encourage faster algae growth. 

Will Anubias Barteri Grow Out of the Water?

Anubias barteri can grow out of the water, as it is a semi-aquatic plant. However, it must be kept in a humid environment and not dry out. Open-topped containers are not recommended since these plants need plenty of moisture, yet you can allow the leaves to grow out of the water. 

How Big Does Anubias Barteri Grow?

With enough space, Anubias barteri can grow to 16 inches (40.5 cm). The rhizome gradually grows horizontally, reaching widths up to 12 inches (30.5 cm).

Wrapping Up

Anubias barteri plants are a wonderful addition to any aquarium, bringing vibrant and lush green colors that instantly brighten up the tank. One of the remarkable aspects of these plants is their resilience and adaptability, as they can thrive in a wide range of conditions. Their hardy nature makes them nearly impossible to kill, as long as appropriate care is taken to control algae growth. 

I’m Elle, the founder of FishHQ. I created this website to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration for beginner hobbyists to help them create a healthy, happy, and vibrant environment for their fish to thrive. Read more...