Anubias barteri var. nana

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Epiphyte (growing on hardscape), Cichlid proof plant, Midground, Nano tanks, Foreground, group
Difficulty: very easy
Growth: slow
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Height: 5 - 10 cm
Width: 5 - 20 cm

Availability [?]: 
  • frequently available commercially

Habit, plant type:

  • rhizome or creeping stem
  • epiphyte or epilith
Botanical name [?]: Anúbias bárteri var. nána (Engler) Crusio

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Anubias


Anubias barteri var. nana originates from Cameroun, where it is found in shallow zones of forest rivers with a strong current. There is hardly any information about these locations, though. Tropica was the first to cultivate this dwarf variety in 1970 and brought it into the hobby. Anubias barteri var. nana is one of the most widely spread aquarium plants in Europe, Asia and the US.

This plant is almost indestructible in an aquarium, and is thus often called a "growing plastic plant".

The plant itself consists of a creeping rhizom from which leaves grow that may last several years. Anubias barteri var. nana is not finicky regarding light intensity and even grows under very low light (0.25 watt per litre and below) as well as under strong light (1 watt per litre and over).

It grows with or without the addition of CO2, however, a carbon dioxide fertilisation may be beneficial to its growth, as well as fertilisation via the substrate or a nutrient-rich substrate as well as the removal of old leaves.
High levels of phosphate (1.5-2 mg/l) seem to induce flowering independently of the other parameters in the tank or the health status of the plant.

High phosphate levels in combination with a good iron and micronutrient supply reduce problems with spot algae under strong light. Another way to control these algae is to place the plant in a shadier part of the aquarium.

For propagation, just cut the rhizome in two or more pieces (depending on the plant's size).

This species is very well suited for the accentuation of the middleground in nano tanks and small aquaria. In large aquaria it is better placed in the foreground. When planting, please keep in mind not to cover the rhizome with gravel to prevent it from rotting. Anubias barteri var. nana may also grow on driftwood or rocks, to which it can be attached with a nylon thread.

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