Anubias barteri var. "nana gold"

Author: Drinda Jacobson

Common Names: N/A

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Liliopsida

Order: Arales

Family: Araceae

Native Distribution: Cameroon, Africa

Aquarium Placement: Midground, tied to branches or rocks, shaded areas

Requirements: Very adaptable to different water chemistries and light intensities

Plant Description

Most aquarium hobbyists are familiar with the genus of plants named Anubias. The species in this genus are some of the most popular plants in the hobby due to their ease of care, and there are many, many varieties. The dwarf variety, Anubias barteri var. “nana,” hails from Cameroon, Africa. It can be found growing in the shallows of forest rivers.

Relatively new in the scene, however, is Anubias barteri var. “nana gold.” Its beautiful, light green to golden leaves indicate a true color variant not dependent on tank conditions. This color will not disappear as the plant ages or is propagated. Its thick, heart-shaped leaves are tough and can last several years.

It can thrive in a wide range of temperatures from 68° to 86°F. This gold variety will grow in light ranges of less than a watt per gallon, but it can also thrive in high light. It can tolerate pH readings from 5.5 to 9.0 and does not require added CO2 or water column fertilization.

It shares much in common with “nana,” such as a creeping growth pattern. Easily grown, it is a dwarf Anubias 2 to 6 inches tall. Its leaves grow from a horizontal rhizome that puts down thick roots. While the roots can be planted, the rhizome cannot. If planted, the rhizome will rot and the plant will die. The rhizome stores food for the plant, which is one of the reasons this plant is so easy to care for. Even if it should lose all its leaves, the rhizome will slowly begin to sprout new leaves.

Uses in Aquascaping

While all Anubias varieties are slow growers, “nana gold” grows even slower than the rest. The aquarist can expect, at low to moderate light, approximately one leaf per month. It will grow faster if kept in a high-light, high-nutrient, CO2-enriched aquarium. In a high-light environment, it’s best to find a shady spot in which to nest this plant. Because it is such a slow grower, it is very prone to accumulating algae. The more light it is exposed to, the higher the chances that algae cover will be a problem.

Aquascapers use Anubias barteri var. “nana gold” as a midground to foreground plant. It is best displayed against dark colors like deep greens so the gold coloration can truly be appreciated. It can often be seen tied to branches or wedged between rocks or driftwood. Given time the roots will self adhere to these surfaces. Others just weigh it down with rocks, letting it grow along the substrate. Regardless of its placement in the aquarium, Anubias barteri var. “nana gold” is truly a gem of a plant.


Anubias barteri var. “nana gold” can be grown emersed or submerged. Some believe it has a faster growth above water. It will flower either above or below the water line, but pollination occurs only above water. Once pollinated seeds are produced, new plants can grow from them. This, however, is not the only form of propagation. If the rhizome is cut into several pieces, each piece will grow as a plant. Nicking the rhizome will produce a new branch in that spot, which can later be broken off to survive on its own.