Anubias Rot: Symptoms, Causes, and Solutions
Anubias rot is an uncommon disease that can affect anubias plants in the aquarium hobby. There is not much information available about how it spreads and how to stop it. In this article, we explain the symptoms for anubias rot, possible causes, and the best course of action to take if you spot it.
Why is My Anubias Dying
Before we get into the details of anubias decay, let’s check that your anubias has not been affected by other, more common ailments. First, make sure your anubias plants are properly planted. The rhizome of an anubias plant is the thick, horizontal stem from which all its leaves and roots grow from, and it should never be covered up when planting it. If you would like to plant your anubias in the ground, make sure to only bury the roots and leave the rhizome on top of the substrate. To mount your anubias for hardscape, you can either wedge them between rocks cracks or attach them to driftwood with super glue gel or sewing string. (For more details on how to use super glue gel in aquariums, read this article.) The roots of the plants will eventually grow and wrap around the hardscape, making it difficult to remove.
Sewing thread is a popular method to attach anubias and hardscape. Be careful not to tie it too tightly so that the rhizome gets damaged.
Second, is your anubias still adapting to its new environment. Aquarium plants are generally grown out of water (or emersed) at the plant farms, but when you put them in your aquarium at home, they must get used to living completely underwater (or submersed). This often causes the leaves of your new aquarium plant to melt away, as it absorbs nutrients from the existing, emersed-grown leaves and creates smaller, submersed-grown leaves. Melting does not always occur with anubias (since they are such slow growers), but it’s one possible reason why your plant may be losing its leaves. One reason could be that the leaf was damaged accidentally during shipping or when it was removed from its container. You will most likely have a healthy anubias if the rhizome is healthy and has new leaves within 2 to 3 weeks of planting.
Do I Have Anubias Rot?
The loss of leaves is one of the most obvious signs of anubias. A leaf that has been lost to anubias is not as easily emersed or molten leaves. Instead, it often separates from its stalk at the end. The leaf stalk’s base may feel soggy, or there may be a bit of goo oozing from the end.
The discolored leaves of this anubias plant grow from the rotting portion of the anubias rhizome.
Anubias rot can be identified by the condition of the rhizome. A healthy rhizome should feel very firm and be light green. An infected rhizome often has a mushy or squishy texture. Additionally, the rhizome may be discolored and appear to be clear-ish jelly or yellow, brown, or even black. Depending on how advanced the disease is, it may have a foul, rotting smell associated with it. Finally, roots growing from or near the affected area of the rhizome often become discolored and rot away.
The Rhizome is beginning to decay, and roots that have grown from the infected region are also starting to soften.
What causes Anubias Rot
Researchers have yet to find a definitive cause for anubias rot. It is believed that the anubias-rot virus is caused by bacteria and fungus. But it’s difficult to know because the plant can be weakened by an infection, then another pathogen takes advantage. Based on our experience selling thousands of anubias we believe anubias are present in all plant farms. It is impossible to avoid this unless you only buy tissue-grown plants.
How Do I Stop Anubias Rot?
Several hobbyists have recounted attempts of using potassium permanganate, hydrogen peroxide, and bleach to cure anubias rot, but this disease seems particularly resistant to almost all chemical treatments. Over several weeks and months, we have seen no healing or spreading of anubias-rot.
You can cut the discolored, soggy rhizome with a knife or a pair of scissors. This is the best way to go. You can save the anubias by removing any damaged tissue and leaving behind only healthy tissue.
The next step would be to contact the fish store or plant seller you got the anubias from. If you purchased your plant from Aquarium Co-Op, simply email our Customer Service with your order number and pictures of the rhizome rot, and we’ll be happy to refund or replace the plant. Anubias are one of our favorite, beginner-friendly plants, and we want to make sure you enjoy them as much as we do.
Anubias Nayana Petite is one the most beloved varieties because of its compact size.
Your plant might also be experiencing other symptoms. For help in diagnosing your plant’s nutritional deficiencies, download our free guide.