Anubias Barteri Growing Guide – Updated for 2022 (growing, feeding & propagating)

Anubias Barteri is an easy-to-grow aquarium plant that has been in the hobby for around 50 years. Although Anubias Barteri is a slow-growing plant, it is often used to add an instant sense of maturity to an aquascape. The broad, dark green leaves can add dramatic contrast when planted in the right setting.

Anubias Barteri grows well, even in low light or when shaded by taller, faster-growing plants.

The thick, glossy leaves of Anubias Barteri are tough and the plant requires little day-to-day maintenance from the fish keeper.

Overview of Anubias Barteri

Anubias Barteri is a slow-growing plant that boasts thick, glossy green leaves that can grow in low-light aquariums. It can even grow when in the shadow of taller, faster-growing plants. This plant has been in the hobby for many years and is rightly one of the most widely sold Anubias varieties worldwide.

Originally from the fast-flowing rivers and streams of West Africa, Anubias Barteri has evolved not to live in the substrate but rather attached to rocks, pieces of wood, and other naturally occurring features in the water.

Anubias Barteri is a super hardy plant that thrives in a variety of water parameters and can even withstand the attention known plant destroyers like African Cichlids give it.

Anubias Barteri Characteristics

Common Name:Anubias Barteri
Origins:West Africa
Care Level:Easy
Growth Rate:Slow
Light Level:Low
C02 Level:Low
Tank Location:Foreground or Midground
Temperature:72°F – 82°F (22°C – 27.5°C)
Propagation Method:Rhizome division
Maximum Height:12″ (30cm)
Minimum Tank Size:20-gallons (76 liters)
SubstrateSource Anubias barteri 'Nana' Live Aquatic Aquarium Plant (1 Pot)
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SubstrateSource Anubias barteri "Nana" Live Aquatic Aquarium Plant (1 Pot)
  • Live freshwater aquarium plant
  • Exclusively by SubstrateSource
  • Our most popular Anubias, one plant per pot
  • Tie to driftwood, stones, or other decorations

Last update on 2023-01-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Anubias Barteri General Description

Anubias Barteri is a short, slow-growing plant that makes rocks and pieces of wood its home. The thick, glossy leaves can extend up to 12″ (30cm) from the main rhizome.

This easy-to-grow plant is extremely undemanding and is happy to grow in low light settings, and even in the shade of other plants. Anubias Barteri does not need the addition of CO2 injection and as an epiphytic plant, it does not even require substrate in the aquarium.

Anubias Barteri naturally occurs in fast-flowing rivers and streams where the water typically is highly oxygenated and the nutrients constantly stream over the plant and its roots. Although this hardy plant grows in a wide variety of water parameters and works in numerous different setups, it grows best when we try to recreate its natural environment.

Anubias Barteri is loved by aquascapers as it adds an instant sense of maturity to any scape it is included in.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Anubias Barteri

As mentioned above, this plant is both easy to grow and undemanding. The only aspect of its care that we absolutely must get right is its desire to be grown attached to rocks, wood, or some other aquarium decorations. Anubias Barteri grows in a wide range of water parameters and does not require any special lighting or the addition of CO2 injection.

Although this is not a fussy plant, it does have its preferred conditions, many of which I have detailed out below.


Over the last few years, I have grown Anubias Barteri in a number of different tanks, each of which was set up quite differently. In my experience, Anubias Barteri wants to be grown in water that is around 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 27.5°C).

I have grown Anubias Barteri in water that was slightly cooler when I grew it in my unheated Fancy Goldfish aquarium, but it didn’t do as well as it could have. The water temperature then was around 68°F (20°C).

Recently I added a small piece of Anubias Barteri to one of my Discus tanks, which runs considerably warmer than 82°F (22°C), but it is too early at the time of writing to give feedback on its progress either way.


Anubias Barteri is considered a low light plant, meaning it will happily grow, even when light levels in the aquarium are low. Typically this means when a low light fixture is being used, or when the plant is being overshadowed by another plant.

I grow the vast majority of my Anubias Barteri under Fluval Aquasky lights. These lights are budget-friendly, but give off enough light to grow many of the plants we keep in our aquariums.

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CO2 is often injected into aquascapes to help the plants grow. Typically a CO2 injection system comprises a pressurized cylinder containing CO2, a regulator to control the amount of CO2 being released into the aquarium, and a diffuser to physically dissolve the CO2 into the water.

Anubias Barteri grows well, even without the addition of CO2 injection.


Anubias Barteri has evolved not to live directly in the substrate but rather attached to rocks or pieces of wood within the aquarium. If this plant is buried in the substrate the rhizome will rot, causing the plant to die.

Anubias Barteri needs water to flow constantly around its rhizome. As such, this plant has no preference for which substrate you use in its aquarium.

How to Grow Anubias Barteri

As discussed above, Anubias Barteri does not want to be planted directly into the substrate. If it is, the rhizome will rot, killing the plant. This plant has evolved to grow directly on or between pieces of rock or wood. In the aquarium, we need to try to recreate this scenario.

In the fast-flowing rivers and streams where Anubias Barteri naturally occurs, pieces of the plant would break off and tumble around in the water until they naturally snagged on an obstruction. This is where the plant would eventually end up growing.

In our aquariums, we typically don’t want pieces of Anubias flowing around in the water until it gets snagged on a decoration. What we do instead is physically attach pieces of Anubias Barteri directly where we want it to grow, either using super glue gel or a piece of fishing line.

Over the years I have attached pieces of Anubias Barteri to just about every aquarium decoration there is, however, I believe attaching it to wood gives the most natural feel.

When you first purchase your Anubias Barteri, the chances are it will be in a pot filled with Rockwool. Firstly remove the plant from the pot and gently break apart the Rockwool. This will expose the roots.

After removing as much of the Rockwool as you can with your fingers, carefully remove all the remaining pieces. I have found that using a pair of aquascaping tweezers and a bowl of water is the easiest way.

To attach a piece of Anubias Barteri to some wood, start by taking a piece of wood (which is ideally dry) and adding a small blob of superglue gel.

Next, take a small piece of Anubias Barteri, cutting an existing plant into smaller pieces if necessary. Shake off as much of the water from the plant as possible before pushing the rhizome into the super glue gel. Hold it in place for a few seconds until the superglue holds it.

The superglue will probably be touch dry within a few seconds but can take 10 minutes or more to fully cure. Don’t add the wood back to the aquarium until you are sure the superglue gel had cured. If necessary, cover the Anubias Barteri with a damp cloth to stop it from drying out.

There are other methods for attaching Anubias Barteri to wood or rocks. I have used fishing line or thread in the past and I have also used zip ties.

In my experience, superglue gel is the easiest method and looks natural straight away, whereas with some other methods you have to wait for the plant to grow and cover the tie, which in the case of Anubias Barteri, can take a while.

Fertilizing Anubias Barteri

As Anubias Barteri does not live in the substrate, it is not able to take advantage of nutrients that can be found there. Many of the stem plants we grow that are anchored to the substrate absorb nutrients directly from the substrate, whether that is in the form of root tabs or due to the amount of fish waste that breaks down and accumulates in the substrate.

Anubias Barteri has to draw all the nutrients it needs directly from the water column. For that reason, it needs to be fertilized with a good quality liquid fertilizer.

Over the years I have tested pretty much every liquid fertilizer on the market. Right now I believe Easy Green, which is made by Aquarium Co-op, is the best liquid fertilizer on the market.

To use Easy Green you just have to add a few squirts directly into the aquarium water once a week. That’s it. The plants will extract all the nutrients they need, and as a result, grow stronger and look greener.

Anubias Barteri Maintenance

Anubias Barteri really is a low-maintenance plant. There isn’t a great deal to do with it on a day-to-day basis. As it is such a slow-growing plant, it doesn’t really need that much trimming either.

Unfortunately, due to Anubias Barteri’s slow-growing nature, its older, broader leaves do tend to grow a lot of algae. You can try to prevent this by adjusting light levels, but I find the best thing to do is cust cut off or snap off the affected leaves with your fingers.

Alternatively, you could add some of the well-known algae eaters to tackle the problem.

Propagating Anubias Barteri

There comes a time when we might decide we want to add more Anubias Barteri to our aquarium, and propagating an existing plant may well be the best way.

In my experience, propagating Aunbias Barteri is fairly simple. Remove an existing piece of Anubias Barteri from the aquarium, and shake off as much excess water as you can.

Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the rhizome into as many pieces as you want. Each piece will grow into a new plant. Personally, I would keep each piece to a minimum of 1″ to 2″ (2.5cm to 5cm) ensuring each piece has at least 4 or 5 leaves.

You can then tie or glue each plant onto a rock or piece of aquarium-safe wood and return it to the tank.

Remember that Anubias Barteri is a very slow-growing plant, so the smaller each section is the longer it will take to grow into a good-sized plant.

Anubias Barteri can be propagated at any size. What I tend to do is wait until one of my main plants needs trimming, then trim it in such a way that I get more plants out of it.

What Other Plants Can Grow with Anubias Barteri?

Anubias Barteri is unusual in the fact that it doesn’t mind being overshadowed by other plants in the aquarium. This means it can essentially be grown with any other plant that is available in the hobby.

When I look around my fish room, I can see I currently have it growing with the following plants;

Mermaid Weed

Mermaid Weed, which is also known as Saw-Tooth Hygro thanks to the saw-like edges to its leaves, is one of the most dramatic plants in the aquascaping hobby. Not only do the leaves have a stunning natural shape, but they also change from green to deep pink when conditions are right.

Although not the easiest of plants to grow, the rewards for growing this plant are huge as a good specimen of Mermaid Weed makes any aquascape look amazing.

Amazon Sword Plant

Amazon Sword plants are probably one of the most recognizable plants, and certainly one of the most popular plants in the freshwater fishkeeping hobby. Amazon Sword plants have been in the hobby for 50 years or more, and their popularity has barely wained.

Amazon Sword plants are beautiful, architectural, and incredibly hardy, making them an ideal plant for those who are new to aquatic plants.

As I sit and look around my fish room, I think I have more Amazon Sword plants in my tanks than any other plant.

Hygrophila Corymbosa

Temple Plant, which is also known by its scientific name Hygrophila corymbosa, is one of the hardiest and easy to grow plants available to hobbyists today. This bright green plant makes an ideal background plant for any aquarium.


Moneywort, which is sometimes sold under its scientific name, Bacopa monnieri is a fairly easy-to-grow stem plant that is considered to be hardy, making it ideal for both beginners and those with a little more experience.

Moneywort grows fairly tall, making it ideal for growing in the midground (with regular trimming) or as a background plant. Tall plants like Moneywort provide excellent hiding places and line of sight blocks for the more timid fish in your aquarium.

Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus

Fortunately, Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus is easier to grow than it is to say! In fact, Pogostemon Stellastus Octopus is one of the easiest stem plants to grow. It is practically bulletproof.

This beautiful plant quickly grows to fill any space it is planted in. Whilst not necessarily one for a highly aquascaped tank, it certainly has its uses. I especially like to use Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus in all my breeding fish for profit tanks.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’

Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is a truly unique plant whose leaves offer a stunning contrast against the traditional green of most aquarium plants. In my experience, this slow-growing plant grows well, even in lower light tanks, and is suitable for use in the midground of medium to larger tanks.

Originating from Sri Lanka, Cryptocoryne Wendtii ‘Tropica’ is happiest when grown in harder water tanks with a nutrient-rich substrate.

Dwarf Hairgrass

Many of the plants that we can use to create these carpets require special lights and lots of dedication from the fish keeper. Dwarf Hairgrass is the exception. This low-growing, grass-like plant will create a lush carpet with very little help from us fishkeepers.

Water Sprite

Water Sprite is one of the easiest stem plants to grow in an aquarium. Whether grown traditionally as a rooted plant, or as a floating specimen, Water Sprite will quickly grow and fill your aquarium with lush green, fern-like foliage.

Water Sprite can be grown either as a background, mid-ground, or foreground plant, and just trimmed accordingly to be kept at the desired size.

What Fish Can Live With Anubias Barteri?

There are countless fish that could be kept in the same tank as Anubias Barteri. Of course, as I look into the tanks in my fish room where Anubias Barteri is growing I see all the usual suspects. Tetras, Guppies, Mollies, Angelfish, Rams, the list goes on.

However, where this plant really comes into its own is its ability to live with known plant destroyers. As well as lots of regular ‘community fish’, I have Anubias Barteri growing in tanks with Malawi Cichlids, Fancy Goldfish, and even large South American Cichlids including a pair of Oscars.

Due to its tough, almost leathery leaves, nothing seems to eat it. Providing you only add mature specimens that are well attached to whatever they are growing on, Anubias Barteri can stand up to the abuse almost any fish in the hobby will give it.

Benefits of Growing Anubias Barteri

The benefits of growing live aquarium plants in our fish tanks have been proven both by scientific research and the accumulative knowledge and experience of millions of fish keepers around the world.

Live aquatic plants bring many benefits to our aquariums. Firstly, there is the aesthetic benefit. I don’t think there can be any doubt that live aquarium plants give a fish tank a more natural feel. Anubias Barteri is no exception. When a piece of rock with a mature clump of Anubias Barteri is added to a fish tank it brings an instant sense of maturity to the tank.

As well as improving the aesthetic appeal of an aquarium, live aquatic plants also improve the quality of the water. Even plants like Anubias Barteri that grow very slowly absorb excess nutrients from the water as they grow. Those nutrients can include ammonia and nitrates, both of which accumulate in our fish tanks as a result of fish going to the bathroom, and both are toxic to fish.

Growing live plants reduces the amount of ammonia and nitrate in the water making it cleaner and safer for the fish. Live aquatic plants also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which again improves the quality of the aquarium water.

Finally, live plants provide hiding places and line of sight blocks in the fish tank. Any fish that is timid or being bullied may want to hide away. Also, any baby fish that are born in the aquarium can hide in and around the plants, reducing the chances of the adult fish eating them.

Common Problems Growing Anubias Barteri

Anubias Barteri is a fairly problem-free plant to grow. In my experience, it really is a case of keeping it wet and it will grow!

The only problem I really have when growing Anubias Barteri is the fact that some of the older, slower-growing leaves tend to get covered in algae. This can be a problem with all slow-growing plants, but Anubias Barteri seems to suffer more than most.

Fortunately, the answer to the problem is fairly simple. Each time one of the older leaves gets taken over by algae, it can just be cut or snapped off. In my own tanks, I probably have to do this about once a month.

Alternatively, adding some of the many different algae eaters available in the hobby might help.

Where to Buy Anubias Barteri?

Anubias Barteri is a fairly popular plant that tends to be available in good local fish stores. Just about every store that I have been in which had a good plant selection, sold Anubias Barteri. It usually sells for between about $7 and $10 a pot, depending on size and quality.

If your local store does not sell Anubias Barteri, try I have been buying a lot of plants recently from Amazon, and the quality has been excellent.

SubstrateSource Anubias barteri 'Nana' Live Aquatic Aquarium Plant (1 Pot)
255 Reviews
SubstrateSource Anubias barteri "Nana" Live Aquatic Aquarium Plant (1 Pot)
  • Live freshwater aquarium plant
  • Exclusively by SubstrateSource
  • Our most popular Anubias, one plant per pot
  • Tie to driftwood, stones, or other decorations

Last update on 2023-01-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In Conclusion

Anubias Barteri is a slow-growing but hardy plant that can instantly bring maturity and color to an aquarium. Provided it is not planted directly into the substrate, Anubias Barteri will grow for many years, giving your aquarium a natural look that tends to make the fish’s colors pop.

Whether you are new to growing aquarium plants or looking for the next best thing for your aquascape, Anubia Barteri may be the plant you are searching for.

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James

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