Anubias are a great plant if you are considering starting or modifying an already planted aquarium. They are an extremely easy plant to keep, due to low lighting requirements and the fact that many kinds of herbivorous fish will not eat them. They belong to the Arceae family and are normally found throughout central and western Africa.
Anubias really are a great choice for a beginner, particularly if you are new to plants or trying to maintain a planted aquarium. As they do not need to be planted in substrate this is another reason that makes them easy to keep. They are normally found having attached themselves to rocks or driftwood, much like Java Fern will do. A secondary trait also shared with java Fern is that both are capable of doing well in poorly lit aquariums, which is an advantage to the keeper as excess light promotes the growth of both algae and cyanobacteria.
The most commonly available species of the genus is the Anubias barteri, which has an extremely slow growth rate, producing a new leaf roughly every three to four weeks. The leaf stem may growth up to a length of roughly thirty two centimeters in length, with the leaf itself extending another eighteen centimeters and roughly three to four centimeters width. Height in aquariums tends to be capped at around ten to fifteen centimeters.
Anubias will generally do well without any need for liquid fertilizer or Co2 supplements, as the fish will generally exhale everything they need. Optimum water temperature is between the range of twenty to twenty seven celsius which means they are relatively robust when compared to other plants. In addition to this, water pH between 5.5 to 8 is quite acceptable without detrimental affects to the plant, which is quite stark when compared to other aquarium plant life.
All of these factors come together to make Anubias an extremely good choice for someone who is just considered starting a planted aquarium. The wide range of temperatures, water pH and compatibility with fish which are normally damaging to plant life mean they are versatile where other plants would not do as well. They can be rewarding for another reason outside of their ability to survive even in poor aquarium conditions in that with subdued lighting it is still possible for them to produce flowers underwater.
Anubias have been found living in boggy environments and are normally found in shady conditions, which is where they get their name from. They are named after the Egyptian god Anubis, the god of the afterlife.