Anubias lanceolata (Anubias heterophylla lanceolata) is a beautiful, elegant, and fast-growing, evergreen aquatic plant that grows well in just about any freshwater aquarium set up. It’s ideal for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, making it one of the most versatile of all aquarium plants.
Anubias lanceolata is one of several plant species known as anubias that are commonly used in the aquariums hobby. It is one of the most popular aquarium plants among hobbyists because of its hardiness and attractive leaf shape. Anubias lanceolata, often referred to as Anubias heterophylla lanceolata, has triangular dark green leaves that can grow up to four inches long and up to 1/2 inch wide.
This article describes how to propagate and care for this plant species and how to distinguish it from its lookalike, Anubias heterophylla.
What Is Anubias Lanceolata?
Anubias lanceolata, also known as Anubias heterophylla lanceolata or Anubias barteri var. lanceolata is a variety of Anubias barteri, a broad-leafed plant that grows to 18 inches tall. Anubias has long, narrow leaves and grows well in low light levels. It does not require CO2 fertilization to thrive in a planted aquarium and will grow quickly under proper care.
Its slow growth makes it an ideal companion for fast-growing stem plants like Bacopa monnieri, Cryptocoryne wendtii, and Java ferns. All varieties of Anubias prefer acidic water with ample nutrients from strong lighting or CO2 injection. If your goal is to propagate plants from cuttings, softwood cuttings are best taken directly from actively growing shoots before they become woody.
Origin and descriptions
Anubias is a genus of tropical freshwater and brackish water plants belonging to the family Araceae. They are commonly used in aquariums, primarily as mid-ground cover or as ‘décor’ plants. Anubias come from African countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zaire and Madagascar. In East Africa, they are often found growing in calcareous streams with a high pH content.
The majority of species will not thrive if placed directly into an aquarium, as their delicate roots require precise conditions for successful growth. Common names for Anubias include: Bamboo Plant; Arrow Leaf; Tiger Tail; and Swordplant.
The most popular species worldwide remains Anubias barteri var. nana or Dwarf Chinese Sword. Other common varieties include: Anubias barteri Burbank; Anubias coffeefolia; and Anubias lanceolata among others.
Anubias lanceolata is an evergreen aquatic plant from a genus of tropical perennials. The leaves of the plant are light green and narrow, while those of its close relatives are dark green and broader. It requires moderate lighting and grows best in water temperatures between 68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. This species is relatively easy to care for if grown under optimal conditions, although certain varieties can be less forgiving than others.
Anubias lanceolata size
The Anubias lanceolata is smaller than its close relative, Anubias barteri var. nana. It grows to a maximum height of 18 inches (45 cm) tall, and its leaf has a length of around 2 inches (5 cm).
Anubias lanceolata tank size
This species can grow to a substantial size, so be sure to have plenty of room. The minimum recommended tank size is 20 gallons (76 liters). A rule of thumb is that your Anubias should not outgrow its container by more than two-thirds; however, if you choose a larger pot, you will want to make sure that it has adequate space at each side for root growth.
Ideally, place your Anubias lanceolata in an aquarium with a base diameter of at least six inches and with a height equal to twice its width. This should allow ample breathing room.
Plants that grow well with Anubias lanceolata
The best plants to grow with Anubias lanceolata are ones that thrive under low lighting and CO2 enrichment. Some of these include Cryptocoryne spp., Vallisneria spp., Eleocharis spp., Hemianthus callitrichoides, Echinodorus bleheri, and Glossostigma elatinoides.
Fish that live well with Anubias lanceolata
Larger, more aggressive fish may uproot these plants or make life too difficult for smaller tankmates. Also, avoid keeping anubias together with snail-eating or shrimp-eating fish such as loaches and dwarf cichlids; they will gladly chow down on your plant!
Anubias lanceolata propagation
The Anubias family of plants is also well-known for its ease of propagation, making it an ideal choice for a beginner aquascaper looking to stock their tank with many different varieties of plants.
To propagate Anubias, simply remove a single leaf from one plant and plant it into your substrate. If properly cared for, you should be able to produce new plants easily within a few months.
You can also propagate by dividing your existing plants. Simply take a sharp knife and carefully cut off any number of shoots growing off the main stem; again, replant these in your substrate to encourage new growth.
This will allow you to create a natural stacked effect that makes your aquarium seem larger and denser than it actually is. It will also give you access to dozens of options beyond what’s available if you were limited strictly to Anubias species.
Ideally, anubias should be propagated by division since it is difficult to increase its growth rate with leaf cuttings. New plants can be obtained by simply breaking off shoots from mature plants and planting them into containers filled with substrate that has been enriched with organic materials such as fully decomposed plant material or gravel from matured tanks.
Although more challenging, rhizome divisions are another method that may give better results than leaf cuttings if done correctly. The rhizomes must be broken apart using shears while being careful not to damage any growing tips. They then need to be replanted upright in moist substrate with each collar positioned above a clump of healthy roots so that they don’t dry out until they have taken root.
Anubias lanceolata care
Anubias heterophylla is one of my favorite plants. I think it’s gorgeous, and it’s really easy to care for. They are hardy plants that can tolerate most water conditions, though you should always look up information on specific varieties before making a purchase. To care for your anubia lanceolata, here are some basic guidelines:
Anubias, like other plants with long leaves, prefer medium to high light. If you have low light and still want to grow this, consider using a plant that grows slower, such as Anubias nana petite or petite Anubias barteri var. nana instead of Anubias lanceolata. Plant it in an area where you have medium to high light levels because low-light conditions can cause skinny growth or even death.
It grows well on most substrates, but in a planted aquarium, it grows best on fine-grained substrates. It needs bright light and CO2 injection to grow lushly. Propagation is relatively easy as long as new leaves are allowed to develop at least a quarter of their total length before harvesting for propagation.
Anubias doesn’t require an excessive amount of nutrients, but it still benefits from regular fertilization. Use a general-purpose fertilizer at one-fourth to one-half strength once a week during periods of growth and once every two weeks during periods of dormancy. Liquid fertilizers are best when applied in small doses, as they provide better consistency in concentration and spread more evenly throughout water plants than powdered varieties.
Anubias lanceolata thrives in temperatures between 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not let water temperatures rise above 86 degrees, as you risk damaging your plant. It’s best to provide cooler temperatures if you live in a hot environment. To keep the water temperature down, add a layer of floating plants that will shade your anubias and block sunlight from reaching it while also helping to retain water temperature.
Those with particularly cold environments can consider supplementing their tanks with a submersible heater for added protection. Water movement is key for circulation and oxygenation, but make sure to avoid blasting your aquatic life with aggressive currents.
Anubias thrives in low light and high humidity. While direct sunlight can burn their leaves, they do fine under bright indirect sunlight. Mist often, especially while they’re young—but be careful not to over-saturate their roots. If you find out your anubias are getting root rot, re-plant them with more distance between each other and your substrate.
The ideal humidity range is between 75-80%. If your tank’s glass feels slippery when you touch it, you’re going to want to increase that humidity. Don’t let water sit on their leaves and don’t keep your tank next to an air conditioner or heat vent—this will dry out your anubias.
Anubias lanceolata has a long, lance-shaped leaf that can grow up to 12 inches. It’s an easy plant to care for, however, its leaves do get quite large and tend to obstruct your view of other plants or décor you may have on your tank. You should trim it with clean, sharp scissors periodically. Some aquarium hobbyists use their pruning shears when trimming these because they are so powerful. Be careful though—you don’t want to remove too much at once!
Anubias lanceolata growth rate
They are slow growing and known to grow up to 15 cm a year in good conditions. In soft, acidic water, they can grow even slower. The most important thing to remember when taking care of anubias is that high levels of carbon dioxide cause brown tips. If you are using CO2, then do regular 10% water changes to prevent algae from building up on your plant and slowly decaying it away.
Parasites and diseases
Like many plants, Anubias lanceolata is vulnerable to various fungal and parasitic infections. And, like other plants, it is susceptible to root rot due to poor drainage. In extreme cases of either problem, you might lose your plant completely; in most cases, however, you’ll simply have to treat your plant for its affliction.
The first step in fighting any disease or infection is a thorough knowledge of your enemy—read up on what ails your plants so that you can identify its symptoms quickly. Most treatment solutions can be found at any home improvement store; if you’re familiar with them already, you should be able to tackle most minor issues in your own time frame.