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Anubias - great plants for the cichlid aquarium
that produce flowers no bee can reach!
by Frank Mueller (fmueller)
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This large Anubias plant needs regular pruning in order to not outgrow a 240G Frontosa setup. Java fern and Java Moss (also in the picture) all do well with strong digging cichlids like Frontosa, because these plants are not rooted in the substrate.

I didn't have much luck with Anubias plants in the early days of my fish keeping career. Anubias plants are a favorite of many people in the aquarium hobby, and they are often recommended to cichlid keepers due to their tough leafs that few fish would consider to be food. Unfortunately in my tanks many Anubias plants have withered away over the years. They hung around for a while, maybe even grew a couple of new leafs, but overall they became overgrown with algae, and more leafs died or were broken off by the fish than new ones grew in their place. Eventually my Anubias would disappear.

It was only after about 30 years in the hobby that I learned not to plant them in the substrate at all, but wedge them between rocks or attach them to a piece of wood. In my tanks those places were usually already taken by Java fern and Java moss, but once I tried it, I found it well worth reserving some of these prime planting locations for Anubias plants. In addition to the tendency not to be considered food by cichlids, the planting position on rocks and wood also makes Anubias plants well suited for cichlid aquariums, because it means the plants are safe from being uprooted by cichlids that like to dig through the substrate.


These small leafed Anubias plants are ideal for smaller tanks and foreground plantings.

Anubias are available in a variety of leaf shapes and sizes - from very small leafed dwarf varieties that will never outgrow a 10G tank, to huge plants that need to be pruned regularly to fit a 240G tank. This makes it possible to find just the right plant for many setups and planting positions within the genus Anubias.

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