Anubias Nana ‘Petite’ Aquarium Plant Care Sheet

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Anubias nana ‘petite’, better known as Anubias barteri var. Nana ‘petite’ is possibly one of the most sought-after species of freshwater aquarium plants currently available to the hobbyist. The small, rich green leaves of this plant make it a popular foreground addition for many aquascapers, while its undemanding needs make it a favorite for beginners too!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about this strain of Anubia and how to grow one in your own aquarium!


Anubias nana ‘petite’, also known as Anubias barteri var.nana ‘petite’ and sometimes referred to as Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Bonsai’ is an epiphyte of the genus Anubias. An epiphyte can grow on other plants and absorb the moisture and / or the other water and nutrients in its environment without becoming parasitic or negatively affecting the other plant.

Although this plant comes from Anubias nana ‘petite’, it belongs to the species of Anubias barteri. It should be noted that some hobbyists see Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Bonsai’ as a hybrid of different varieties of Anubias, although the difference between them is often negligible.


These West African plants are fairly easy to distinguish from other genera, but can be difficult to distinguish when similar species are next to each other. They can usually be recognized by their dark green leaves with a lighter underside. These leaves are broad and shoot out of a rhizome.

Due to the darkness and robustness of these sturdy leaves, they can sometimes be mistaken for false or plastic.

How tall does Anubias nana ‘petite’ grow?

The main difference between Anubias nana ‘petite’ and other species of Anubias is its size. These plants are a variety of dwarf gnubia and grow only a few inches tall (<2.0 inches, <5.1 cm) with small leaves (0.6 inches long and 0.2 inches wide; 1.5 cm long and 0, 5 cm wide).

Does Anubias nana bloom ‘gracefully’?

All types of anubia are angiosperms; Angiosperms are flower-producing plants, although the flower may now always be visible without a magnifying glass or microscope.

Anubias nana ‘petite’ flowers, although this seems to be very rare in the aquarium. If you are lucky enough to have your plant flower, you will find that a white or yellowish flower stem emerges from a leaf-like structure attached to the rhizome.

Anubias nana ‘petite’ tank requirements

In general, species of Anubias are a favorite among fish lovers because of their dark green colors, ease of care, and epiphyte properties. Anubias nana ‘petite’ is particularly desirable because of its small size and placement in the foreground. The only major downside to these plants is that they tend to grow very slowly, which can sometimes lead to algae growth.


While most aquarium plants in the foreground require higher lighting, Anubias nana ‘petite’ is one of the few that actually works well in low to medium light. Since these plants don’t grow very quickly, strong light can actually encourage unwanted algae growth, which can choke new leaves and potentially multiply.

Algae on Anubia

Algae are particularly common in Anubia because the leaves are thick and sturdy, making it easy for algae to cling to and grow when there is excessive light and little flow. Many hobbyists like to put their Anubia in a shaded part of the aquarium or even create sections with floating plants like duckweed to have more control over the shade fans in the aquarium.


Otherwise, Anubias nana ‘petite’ does not need any overly specific water parameters. They are best for water temperatures between 20.0 and 27.8 ° C (68 to 82 ° F), but can usually adjust to parameters that are slightly outside of this range. The pH should be relatively neutral between 6.5 and 7.5.

These plants do not need any carbon dioxide additives or strong fertilizers. However, fertilizer does not appear to have any negative effects on the growth and overall health of the plant.

How to plant Anubias nana ‘petite’

Anubias nana ‘petite’ can be planted almost anywhere in the aquarium or terrarium, as long as the other conditions are met. Because they are epiphytes, they can grow on driftwood or rocks over time. You may need to first tie the plant to the surface with super glue or fishing line until it holds on by itself.

If you want your Anubias nana to be “dainty” in the substrate, it is important not to bury the rhizome too deep as this will kill the plant.

Why is your Anubias dying?

While these plants are marked as beginner species, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will thrive in the given tank conditions. First, make sure that your plant is not getting too much light and that there are no obvious signs of algae growth. Too much light and algae can choke it and slowly make it die.

Second, check the leaves of the other plants. If there doesn’t seem to be any signs of yellowing or melting, consider when you introduced the plant to the tank. If it was within the last month, it is possible that the system is still adapting to your tank conditions. When the other plants start to turn yellow, there may be a nutrient and / or carbon dioxide imbalance.

Most often, you should look at phosphates, nitrates, and some trace elements like iron and manganese. Too little of these nutrients can cause a deficiency and turn your plants yellow. Likewise, a lack of carbon dioxide could be the cause, although Anubias can usually withstand environments with a small amount of available carbon dioxide.

The number of nutrients you have in your system is directly related to your photoperiod. If you have a longer photoperiod, you will usually need to dose more often. This is because your plant photosynthesizes in daylight, which requires nutrients to complete the process. If you find that you have a long photoperiod and plants are yellowing, it may be that they lack the nutrients necessary to continue photosynthesis for that period. In this case, it is best to gradually decrease the photoperiod.

Also, make sure that the rhizomes of your Anubias plants are not covered. If you have a sand substrate, the flow of water can gradually push the sand onto the rhizome, which can cause the plant to die over time.

Propagation of Anubias nana ‘petite’

Anubias nana ‘petite’ are naturally slow growers who can make propagation attractive to get the most out of your plant. These plants can easily be propagated by rhizome division.

For this purpose, the plant should be mature enough to recover and give the new daughter plants enough healthy leaves. Use clean, sterile scissors or blades to divide the rhizome, carefully avoiding the roots. Each section of the rhizome should have at least 3 to 4 leaves for it to grow.

You can then move the daughter plants to a new area of ​​the tank or attach them to the desired surface. Some hobbyists are happy to give additional dietary supplements after propagation to aid healing.

Other kinds

There are many types of anubia that you will encounter on your freshwater aquarium trips. These plant species are particularly popular because of their low light and nutrient requirements and their firm structure, which can withstand being eaten by goldfish and African cichlids. Some of the most common species that you will come across are Anubias heterophylla and other variations of Anubias barteri / Anubias nana.

Anubias heterophylla

Anubias heterophylla, sometimes called the Congo Anubias due to its natural range, is a large-leaved species. These plants can reach impressive sizes, with leaves over 30.5 cm long under ideal conditions. Because of this, they work best in the middle distance and in the background of the tank.

Otherwise, this slow-growing person will appreciate little to medium light and need neither CO2 nor fertilizer. However, the rate of growth may reflect the availability of nutrients.

Anubias barteri / Anubias nana

As mentioned earlier, Anubias nana (including Anubias nana ‘petite’) actually belongs to the species of Anubias barteri.

Anubias barteri is the parent species of the Anubias nana ‘petite’ variant; The main difference is that these plants grow much larger, sometimes reaching more than 12.7 cm in height. Its leaves are just as green and robust as the “dainty” variant, but are more likely to be used as midground and background plants.

However, Anubias barteri grows just as slowly as Anubias nana ‘petite’ and is best suited for the same low to medium light settings. In addition to “petite”, other variations were introduced into the aquarium hobby, including “golden”, “snow-white” and “thick leaf”.


Anubias is one of the most popular plant species in the freshwater aquarium hobby. Unfortunately, they also tend to be the slowest to grow. As a result, their prices tend to be higher than average when compared to other freshwater plants. However, Anubias nana ‘petite’ is a favorite among hobbyists who want to fill in the foreground of their tanks or add some foliage to their driftwood or rocks.

If you have any questions about Anubias nana ‘petite’, other species of Anubias, or have experience servicing a low-tech freshwater tank, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

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