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Why Your Anubias Leaves Are Turning Black And How To Stop It!

Keeping the various types of anubias plants in various types of planted aquarium setups is sky rocketing right now due to the low prices of anubias plants as well as their relative ease of care.

Anubias plants really can be a great option for anyone who is new to aquascaping or keeping a planted tank but we do commonly see people reaching out and asking various questions about their anubias leaves turning black and having other problems.

The most common reason that the leaf of an anubias plant will appear to turn black is actually due to black algae growing on the leaf and provided you remove the algae quickly, the anubias plant should be fine.

Other potential problems that can cause the leaves of an anubias plant to turn black is due to issues with light, CO2, and nutrition in the tank.

The anubias plant is extremely versatile and can be used submerged, semi-submerged or completely out of the water depending on your setup.

Just keep in mind that it can take time for the anubias plant to switch between its different environments and some leaves can naturally turn black and wilt when moving an anubias plant that has been kept out of the water into the water and submerging it with this being totally normal and to be expected.

Is It Normal For Anubias Leaves To Change Color?

In some situations, it can be normal for anubias leaves to change color or curl slightly but for the most part, a healthy anubias plant should have leaves that are a shade of green.

Black leaves are usually a sign of necrosis and the leaves of a plant dying but if you have only recently submerged your anubias plant then it may have to shed its normal leaves to grow leaves better suited to submerged life.

We have dedicated articles on yellow anubias leaves and curling anubias leaves that you may find helpful if you can also see these symptoms in your own anubias leaves.

Normally, if the leaves of your anubias plant are actually turning black rather than algae growing on the leaf then they will end up a shade of black, brown or in very rare cases red though.

Once necrosis sets in on a leaf of a plant it is unlikely that it the particular leaf that is being affected will be able to make a full recovery.

That said though, losing a single leaf or even a large number of its leaves does not mean that the actual anubias plant as a whole will also perish. In time, an anubias plant that has had a number of its leaves turn black can make a full recovery and thrive.

Why Are My Anubias Leaves Turning Black?

Most anubias leaves that appear to be turning black actually have black algae growing on them and the actual leaf is fine.

Provided you remove the algae quickly, the anubias leaf should be unaffected and have no long term problems. Less common problems that can cause your anubias leaf to turn black include unsuitable light intensity, problems with water parameters, and issues with the nutrition levels of the tank.

Depending on the tank mates living in the tank, some types of fish, shrimp, and snail may try to actually eat the anubias plant before the plant is actually ready to be eaten as part of its natural detritus cycle.

This is very rare though as the majority of fish, shrimp, and snails that will eat detritus in your aquarium will not eat healthy plants and will wait for the leaf to turn black and then eat it.

Damage to the leaves of your anubias plant can cause problems with the leaves and cause them to turn black and wilt in time with this being common if you have only recently added the plant to your tank as you may have accidentally damaged it.

This will not usually cause the full plant to wilt though and one the damaged leaf is gone, a new, healthy leaf will usually grow and your anubias plant should be able to live on without major problems.

How Can I Stop My Anubias Leaves Turning Black?

If your anubias leaves are starting to turn black then the first thing that you should check is the light intensity in your tank.

Anubias plants tend to better in lower light intensity and high light intensity can easily damage the leaves of the plant and cause problems with growth.

Double check your water parameters in your aquarium too as poor nutrition can cause leaves to turn black too.

So many beginners to planted tanks and aquascaping drastically miscalculate how much nutrients the plants in their aquariums will require too.

If you keep a heavily planted tank then you really should be supplementing the natural nutrition in the tank with a decent aquarium fertilizer product as this can make the world of difference in both growth rate and color of your plants leaves.

There is usually no need to supplement the CO2 levels in an aquarium for anubias plants but in rare situations, usually planted tanks with a large number of plants in it, you may need to consider adding CO2 to your tank.

This should usually be the last step due to the costs involved as well as how rare it actually is for CO2 to be the cause of your anubias leaves turning black. We also have this article on treating black spots on aquarium plants that covers some of the less common causes of aquarium plant leaves turning black.

How Do You Get Rid Of Black Algae On Anubias Leaves?

Algae can commonly grow on anubias leaves and if left on the plant, it can quickly cause problems eventually being able to cause your plant to perish.

Depending on the type of algae that you have on your anubias leaves you may be able to just wipe it off without issue but some algae will require a chemical treatment to weaken it before you can easily remove it.

Black beard algae is usually the worst offender when it comes to the algaes that will grow on the leaves of an anubias plant but the other types of black algae that can form are usually easy to remove.

There are a number of DIY tricks that you are able to use to weaken black beard algae to make it as easy as possible to remove from your plant leaves but we usually just recommend that our readers do their best to get a chemical treatment if possible.


That brings our article going over why your anubias leaves are turning black to an end and we hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers have are having problems with their anubias leaves turning black as possible. For the most part, this really is an easy issue to fix and even an absolute beginner to keeping a planted tank should be able to easily identify the problem and treat it without having any major problems.