Anubias Rot: Symptoms and Causes. And Solutions.
Anubias rot is an uncommon disease that can affect anubias plants in the aquarium hobby. Unfortunately, there is very little information about how it starts and how to stop its spread. 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. Firstly, is your anubias plant 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.) Eventually, the plant’s roots will grow and wrap around the hardscape so that it becomes 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.
Is your anubias plant still getting to know 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. Anubias plants that produce new leaves within two to three week of being planted are considered healthy.
Do I Have Anubias Rot?
The loss of leaves is one of the most obvious signs of anubias. Anubias rot leaves often fall off at the end their leaf stalks, where they originally connected to the Rhizome. This is in contrast to the melting of emersed-grown leaf. The base of the leaf stalk may feel soggy or have a little bit of goo oozing out of the end.
The discolored leaves on this anubias plant are growing from the rotting part of the anubias’ rhizome.
The most prominent indicator of anubias rot is the state of the rhizome. Healthy rhizomes should feel firm to the touch and be green in color. An infected rhizome often has a mushy or squishy texture. It may also have areas discolored that look like jelly, yellow, brown, black, or clear-ish jelly. It may also have a foul-smelling, rotting smell depending on the severity of the disease. Finally, roots growing from or near the affected area of the rhizome often become discolored and rot away.
The rhizome has begun to rot, and roots from infected areas are beginning to soften and dissolve.
What Causes Anubias Rot
Researchers have yet to find a definitive cause for anubias rot. Current theories are that it’s caused by a bacteria or fungus, but it’s hard to determine since sometimes the plant is weakened by an initial infection and then a secondary pathogen takes advantage of the situation. 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?
Many hobbyists have reported that they tried to use potassium permanganate and hydrogen peroxide to treat anubias. However, this disease is particularly resistant to 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. It may be possible to save any remaining anubias by removing the affected areas and leaving only the healthy tissue. This will allow the plant to grow into a healthy, large-sized plant.
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 a favorite beginner-friendly plant and we want you to enjoy them as much.
Anubias Nayana Petite is one the most beloved varieties because of its compact size.
Your plant might also be experiencing other symptoms. Check out our free guide to plant nutrient deficiencies for help with troubleshooting your plant’s health issues.