Anubias plants are often found in aquariums, and since most people grow them submerged in water, some people wonder if they can survive outside of the water. The answer to that question is “yes,” they can. In fact, they can grow and thrive almost anywhere, but most people still grow them in water.
How Long Can Anubias Live Out of Water?
The anubias plant is a semi-aquatic plant, and most are used as landscapes in freshwater aquariums.
Outside of the water, the anubias plant will still grow, but keep in mind that they grow best in moist and humid conditions, which means they do especially well in a closed aquarium tank.
If you place the plant in water but keep the leaves out of the water, the plant will grow and thrive. Some people even put them in their terrariums, so they are not just for planting in an aquarium.
Anubias plants should either be submerged in water or placed in a moist and humid environment, so if you need to remove them for a while because you’re cleaning your aquarium, for example, it’s best not to leave them out of the water and moisture completely.
If you do, make sure they don’t stay in that environment more than 30–60 minutes. Even better, while you’re cleaning your aquarium, place the plant in a Ziploc-type bag that has moisture in it. This way, the plant will be protected if you happen to take longer to clean out the aquarium.
How to Keep Anubias Alive Out of Water
If you want your anubias to live out of the water, which means the bottom part of the plant is submerged in water and the leaves are out of the water, here is what you’ll need to keep in mind:
1. Light Requirements
Anubias plants do not need a lot of light to survive. You can even give them too much light, in which case they’ll turn a sickly yellow color. If the aquarium doesn’t get natural light, provide it with a lamp, such as a desk lamp, occasionally to give it the light it needs.
2. Water Requirements
The anubias plant needs water and moisture constantly. This means you should never let it dry out completely, regardless of the circumstances. It also should never be mixed in with other plants because each plant has its own moisture requirement.
3. Medium Requirements
If you choose a medium that is made for aquatic plants, this will work best with your anubias plant. Also, remember never to bury your horizontal creeping stem inside of that media. That stem, in other words, should be exposed and merely sit on top of the medium.
4. Food Requirements
Anubias plants do not grow quickly and really need nothing significant when it comes to receiving nutrition. If you like, you can occasionally coat the leaves with a highly concentrated water-soluble fertilizer or apply a few pellets of a slow-release fertilizer on those leaves.
Learn more about the fertilizer needs of Anubias in this guide.
What to Do If You Left Anubias Out for Too Long?
If your anubias plant stays out of the water for too long, you might not be able to bring it back to life.
Ideally, the roots of your anubias plants should always be submerged in water, even though you can keep the tops of the leaves outside of the water if you like.
If you keep the plant out for 30 minutes or so, it shouldn’t be a problem to revive it. But keeping it completely out of the water for, say, several hours will dehydrate the plant.
If you keep the anubias out of the water for too long, you’ll notice it will start to look dull, and the leaves will start to curl. It may even start to turn a light yellowish-green color if it remains out of the water for too long.
Can you revive an anubias plant in these circumstances? That depends on many factors, including how hydrated the plant was before you took it out of the water, the age of the plant, and what type of care it received up to that point.
The smartest thing to do if you accidentally leave your anubias plant out of the water for too long is to start soaking it in water again and see if that helps.
Remember that it may take a while to rehydrate the plant, so don’t throw it out just because it doesn’t look fresh and hydrated immediately. Give it some time, and you’ll know if the plant is beyond salvage, in which case you can simply throw it away.
Can Anubias Survive Out of Water?
Anubias plants can only survive completely out of the water for a short time before needing to be once again submerged in water.
In fact, the roots of the plant need to remain in the water all the time, even though the leaves sticking out of the water is acceptable.
Anubias Plants Are Easy to Grow
Don’t let all this talk about anubias plants needing water scare you. These are fairly tough plants that grow to around 18 inches tall and have attractive leaves that are usually shaped like hearts or arrowheads.
If you do take them completely out of the water, don’t keep them that way for long. They can grow in most lighting and water conditions as long as they’re not taken completely out of the water and kept there for long periods of time.
Also, keep in mind that even if you don’t submerge these plants in water, they may still survive if you keep them wet enough.
Dampness and humidity are these plants’ friends, and the longer they remain completely out of the water, the more likely they are to dry out and eventually die.
Anubias plants are tough and aren’t picky about their water or light requirements, but they do need to be kept in wetness the entire time. If you place the roots of the plant in water, they’ll be fine, but if you remove them for a short period of time, make sure they’re exposed to some dampness and humidity the entire time.