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Plants 102 - Plants and African Cichlids
by Marc Elieson

INTRODUCTION

In this article we will discuss 21 aquatic plants commonly kept with African cichlids. Plants are like cichlids: We can make certain generalizations about them; notwithstanding each species is unique and may differ from another in radical ways, whether it be in husbandry requirements, size, behavior, or reproductive cycle. Because differences do exist, it's important to understand them before setting up your planted tank. Below, each species is discussed individually in a profile format.
 

Anubias barteri var. angustifolia (Afzelii)
Origin: West Africa
Ease of Keeping: Easy.
Appearance: This is a beautiful plant with long, narrow leaves.
Lighting: Very low - high
Substrate:
Temperature: 68 - 86°F
pH: 5.5 - 8
Propagation:
Max Size: 6 inches in height, 6 inches in width.
Growth Rate: Slow.
Edibility Rating:

Anubias barteri var. barteri
Origin: West Afrcia
Ease of Keeping: Easy
Appearance: Anubias barteri varies considerably in terms of size and leaf shape.
Lighting: Very low - medium
Substrate:
Temperature: 68 - 86°F
pH: 5.5 - 9
Propagation:
Max Size: 18 inches in height, 6 inches in width.
Growth Rate: Very slow.
Edibility Rating: Extremely distasteful.
Planting Tips: It is best planted in a shady spot to restrict algae growth on the leaves.

Anubias barteri "Coffeefolia"
Origin: Africa
Ease of Keeping: Very easy.
Appearance: This is a low variety of Anubias barteri. Its leaves arch considerably between the leaf ribs. New leaves are red-brown.
Lighting: Low - High
Substrate:
Temperature: 68 - 86°F
pH: 5.5 - 9
Propagation:
Max Size: 9 inches in height, 4 inches in width.
Growth Rate: Very slow.
Edibility Rating: Extremely distasteful.

Anubias barteri var. nana
Origin: Africa
Ease of Keeping: Very easy.
Appearance: Heart-shaped Leaf. A very small Anubias species.
Lighting: Very low - medium.
Substrate:
Temperature: 68 - 86°F
pH: 5.5 - 9
Propagation:
Max Size: 6 inches in height, 3 inches in width.
Growth Rate: Very slow.
Edibility Rating: Extremely distasteful.

Anubias congoensis
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Anubias sp. "Fifinda"
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Anubias gigantea
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Anubias lanceolata
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Anubias sp. "Limbe" (Wild Emerald Heart)
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Aponogeton boivinanus (Boivinanus "Hammer-Leaf Plant")
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Aponogeton crispus (Crispus)
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Aponogeton rigidifolius (Rigidifolius)
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Aponogeton ulvaceus (Ulvaceus)
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Crinum natans (African Onion Plant)
Origin: West Africa
Ease of Keeping: Easy
Appearance: Rosette of extremely long, broad, strongly crinkled, tape-like leaves that spread out like wings atop a tall bulb. Medium green in color.
Lighting: Medium To Bright.
Substrate: A depth of at least 3-4 inches of substrate is advised. Cover 1/3 of the bulb to prevent it from rotting.
Temperature: 68 - 86°F
pH: 5.5 - 8
Propagation: By brood bulbs.
Max Size: Up to 3 feet in height, 10 inches in width.
Growth Rate: Slow.
Edibility Rating: Very distasteful.

Echinodorus bleheri (Amazon Sword)
Origin: Wide range across the tropical parts of South America.
Ease of Keeping: Easy
Appearance: It has durable, thick bright to dark green lanceolate leaves which are 12 - 20 inches long and 1 1/2 - 3 1/4 inches wide. Each plant may consist of 20-30 leaves.
Lighting: Medium bright light.
Substrate: Medium-fine gravel bed.
Temperature: 73 - 83°F
pH: 5.5 - 9
Propagation: By adventitious plants which form frequently at the crown of the plant.
Max Size: 18 inches in height, 12 inches in width.
Growth Rate: Fast
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Echinodorus uruguayensis (Jade Hormanii)
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Microsorium pteropus (Java Fern)
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Vallisneria americana (Jungle)
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Vallisneria sp. "Asiatica" (Corkscrew)
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Vallisneria sp. "Contortionist" (Contortion)
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Vesicularia dubyana (Java Moss)
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CONCLUSION

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