How To Plant Anubias in Gravel - "tiger barb tank anubias" by snautsego is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
How To Plant Anubias in Gravel - "tiger barb tank anubias" by snautsego is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Introduction to Anubias

Anubias, a genus of aquatic plants native to Africa, has earned a special place in the hearts of aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. Known for their remarkable beauty and hardiness, Anubias plants have become a staple in both beginner and experienced aquarists’ tanks. These versatile aquatic plants are treasured for their lush, vibrant green foliage, and they can thrive in a wide range of aquarium setups, making them a top choice for aquascaping.

The popularity of Anubias in aquariums can be attributed to several key factors:

  • Ease of Care: Anubias plants are known for their low-maintenance nature, making them an excellent choice for aquarists of all experience levels. They are relatively forgiving when it comes to water conditions and lighting, making them suitable for a variety of tank setups.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: The striking, dark green leaves of Anubias add a touch of elegance and natural beauty to aquariums. Their unique leaf shapes and sizes can create visually appealing focal points in aquascaped tanks.
  • Compatibility: Anubias species are generally compatible with a wide range of fish and invertebrates, making them a versatile choice for community tanks. They also provide hiding spots for smaller aquatic creatures.
  • Water Quality: Anubias plants play a role in improving water quality by absorbing excess nutrients and helping to maintain a stable aquatic environment. This can lead to healthier and more balanced aquarium ecosystems.
  • Longevity: When properly cared for, Anubias plants can thrive and grow for many years, providing a long-lasting, evergreen presence in the aquarium.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to enhance the beauty of your aquarium or an experienced aquascaper seeking a hardy and versatile plant, Anubias is an excellent choice. In this article, we will guide you through the process of how to plant Anubias in gravel substrate, ensuring that you can enjoy the benefits of these remarkable aquatic plants while creating an aesthetically pleasing underwater landscape.

Gravel Size and Composition Considerations

  • Size: When it comes to gravel size, a medium to fine gravel is generally ideal for Anubias. Small gravel particles allow for good root anchorage and support. Avoid using extremely large or sharp gravel, as these can damage the delicate roots and rhizomes of the plants.
  • Composition: Opt for inert gravel or sand. Inert substrates do not alter the water chemistry, which is beneficial for most aquarium setups. Avoid substrates that can leach harmful substances into the water, such as limestone or shells.
  • Color: Consider the color of the gravel concerning your aquascape’s overall look. Darker substrates tend to make plant and fish colors stand out more vividly. Lighter substrates can provide a more natural appearance.

Preparing the Gravel

Before adding the gravel to your aquarium, it’s crucial to prepare it properly to ensure a clean and safe environment for your Anubias and other aquatic inhabitants:

  • Rinsing: Rinse the gravel thoroughly under running water to remove dust, dirt, and any loose debris. This step is essential to prevent cloudiness in your aquarium water when you fill it.
  • Cleaning: If you’re using new gravel, consider giving it an additional cleaning by soaking it in a bucket of water and stirring occasionally. This will help remove any residual dust or impurities. Drain and rinse the gravel once again before placing it in your tank.
  • Layer Thickness: When adding the gravel to your aquarium, create a layer that’s typically 1.5 to 2 inches deep. This thickness provides a stable base for your Anubias while allowing for proper water circulation and root growth.

By carefully selecting the right gravel substrate, ensuring an appropriate size and composition, and taking the time to rinse and clean it thoroughly, you’ll set the stage for a healthy and visually appealing environment in which your Anubias plants can thrive. In the next sections of this article, we will guide you through the steps of planting and caring for your Anubias in this well-prepared substrate.

How To Plant Anubias in Gravel - "tiger barb tank anubias" by snautsego is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
How To Plant Anubias in Gravel – “tiger barb tank anubias” by snautsego is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

How To Plant Anubias in Gravel

Regarding how to plant Anubias in gravel substrate is a straightforward process, but it’s essential to do it correctly to ensure the health and vitality of your plants. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to plant Anubias in gravel while emphasizing the crucial point of not burying the rhizome:

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary materials on hand:

  • Anubias plants
  • Clean gravel substrate
  • Aquarium-safe tweezers or planting tools (optional but helpful)
  • Small dishes or containers for soaking the plants (if you’ve received potted Anubias)

Step 2: Prepare the Gravel Substrate

As discussed earlier, ensure your gravel substrate is clean and properly rinsed. Create a layer of gravel in your aquarium, making it approximately 1.5 to 2 inches deep.

Step 3: Prepare the Anubias Plants

If your Anubias plants are potted, carefully remove them from their pots. Gently rinse off the excess substrate from the roots to expose them. If your Anubias plants are not potted, proceed with the next step.

Step 4: Plan Your Placement

Decide where you want to place your Anubias in the aquarium. Consider the layout of your aquascape, the lighting conditions, and the aesthetic you want to achieve. Anubias can be attached to hardscape elements like rocks and driftwood or planted directly into the gravel substrate.

Step 5: Plant the Anubias

Here’s how to plant your Anubias while paying careful attention to the rhizome:

  • Gently push the plant’s roots into the gravel substrate. The roots should be covered by the substrate to provide stability.
  • Important: Ensure that the rhizome is not buried in the substrate. The rhizome should remain above the gravel surface or be partially exposed. It’s crucial to avoid covering the rhizome with substrate as this can lead to rot and damage the plant.

Step 6: Anchor the Plant (if necessary)

If you’re attaching Anubias to hardscape elements like rocks or driftwood, use aquarium-safe thread or fishing line to tie the plant securely in place. Make sure the rhizome is above the tie, leaving the roots free to anchor.

Step 7: Fill the Aquarium

Carefully fill your aquarium with water, taking care not to disturb the newly planted Anubias. Use a bowl or dish to disperse the water gently if needed.

Step 8: Maintain Proper Conditions

Ensure that your aquarium maintains appropriate water conditions, including temperature, pH, and lighting, as discussed earlier in the article. Also, provide proper nutrient supplementation as necessary for healthy Anubias growth.

By following these steps and being mindful of not burying the rhizome, you’ll give your Anubias plants the best chance to thrive in your aquarium. Remember that Anubias is a slow-growing plant, so be patient and allow it time to establish itself and flourish in its new environment.


In the world of aquarium gardening, mastering the art of how to plant Anubias in gravel is a rewarding journey that brings both aesthetic beauty and a sense of accomplishment. Anubias plants, with their lush green foliage and remarkable hardiness, have captured the hearts of aquarists worldwide. Their ability to thrive in a variety of tank setups makes them an excellent choice for aquascapers of all levels.

In this article, we’ve explored the essential steps and considerations involved in successfully cultivating Anubias in a gravel substrate. We began by emphasizing the importance of choosing the right gravel, ensuring it provides stability, nutrient retention, and complements your aquascape’s visual appeal. We highlighted the significance of not burying the delicate rhizome, as improper planting can lead to issues like rot and hinder the plant’s growth.

Throughout this guide, we provided detailed step-by-step instructions, from preparing the gravel substrate to planting the Anubias, anchoring them to hardscape elements if desired, and maintaining the proper conditions for their well-being.

By following these guidelines and embracing the beauty and simplicity of Anubias, you can create an aquatic masterpiece in your aquarium. These enduring plants will not only enhance the visual appeal of your underwater world but also contribute to a healthier, more balanced aquatic environment.

So, whether you’re a novice eager to embark on your first aquascaping adventure or a seasoned aquarist seeking to add a touch of elegance to your established tank, remember that the key to success lies in understanding how to plant Anubias in gravel—a journey that brings nature’s beauty to life beneath the water’s surface.