Why is The Anubias With No Leaves? [How to Fix]

Anubis is an amazing aquatic plant that produces green, purple, or pinkish-red flowers and gets the aquarium look like a beautiful garden underneath the waters. But you cannot expect them to have flowers if they have no leaves on their stem. 

Moreover, if they are left with bare stems not have any leaves for too many days, it can make them vulnerable to many harmful pathogens and cause them to die in the process.

But the sad part is, most of the time they cannot produce any leaves without any outside help. This means you have to come to the rescue and help them get better. But before doing anything you need to be acquainted with every information so that the Anubis can grow leaves without any hassle.

In this article, you will find why these plants are losing leaves and how you can grow them back with a step-by-step action plan.

So, without making any delay let’s get this show on the road–

   Why Do The Anubias Plants Lose Leaves

infected Anubias Plants

The Anubis plants need some management and protection from algae, fungus, and bacterial attacks and if these conditions are not handled properly they start to lose leaves along with many other problems.

Now, let’s see some of the reasons why there are no leaves on your anubias plant–

  • If they are infected by rot due to any fungus, algae, or bacteria gradually they will have no leaves on the stem. Moreover, the bare stem will turn dark brown to black and become very soft to the touch. 
  • And the part of the stem that is attached to the rhizome will become soggy and discolored. The worst thing is, the severely rotten portion will increase and the plant can even gradually die.
  • Sometimes they take time to get used to the new environment in the tank. This can also cause them to shed their leaves.
  • And if the plant is somehow damaged by any accident during handling, it can go into shock and drop its leaves.
  • Sometimes very high exposure to light can also cause this problem. In this case, the anubias may still look green but the plant will not grow and even they will shed all of their leaves. 

Now the thing is, if you don’t take any action the anubias will not grow any leaves in the future. However, they can survive for a certain period in this condition because of the support of the rhizome. 

You see, aquatic plants with rhizomes can surprisingly survive without leaves and even without roots. This is because the rhizome is the most important part of the anubias as it works as a root and provides the plant with food and nutrients.

So as long as the rhizome is healthy your plants will survive. But the growth of the anubias plant will be too slow. however, if the rhizome is rotten and damaged then the whole plant will start to rot and die.

In order to propagate them, you have to bury the roots under the aquarium substrate because they just don’t survive very well when the roots are left floating in the water. But you have to let the rhizome free from any attachments.

How Do I Get New Leaves In My Anubias Plant

Cutting The Leaves Of An Anubias Rhizome

The thing is these plants will not grow leaves until you push them to. You can grow them by cutting the rhizomes in half. For instance, if you have one anubias plant then by splitting the rhizome you will have two of them.

Now let’s get to the process–

  • First off you have to save the rhizome if it’s suffering from rot. Cut off all the damaged and rotten parts with a sharp blade or cutters and dip them in peroxide solution for a few minutes to disinfect them.
  • And surprisingly they don’t repair or not even regenerate the leaves that are already damaged like any other plant. So you have to also pull all the diseased leaves off to make space to encourage some new leaves to grow.
  • Split the rhizome and place it in the tank properly and the anubias will naturally produce new leaves on their bare stems. However, it will take about 4-6 weeks to start the growth of a new flush of leaves.
  • And the best part is, You can split the rhizomes, again and again, every time to help the anubias to grow and duplicate.
  • However, while splitting the rhizome if the plant does not have any leaves it will grow very slowly than usual. This is why it’s best if you can try to make sure they have at least a couple of leaves if possible.
  • You see, the anubias plants have a thick stem from where all their leaves and roots grow. So you have to plant the stem properly in order to get them to produce leaves. 
  • Bury only the root portion of the plant and let the rhizome stay free over the tank substrate.
  • The good news is you can also mount them to any driftwood by using super glue gel. In this case, you have to glue the stem on your desired surface but you have to leave the rhizome free. The glued anubias will produce leaves and even grow new branches with time.
  • These plants are very versatile when it comes to planting material. You can even plant your anubias nana plants in aquarium substrates, gravel, porous rocks, or on any other decoration items.
  • It’s best if your aquarium has a moderate water flow as long as the anubias plants are firmly attached to hold onto something. Because the flow in the tank will constantly move the water around it and prevent any kind of fungal, algal, or bacterial attack.
  • Another good part is they don’t need any additional CO2 in the tank. So, that is one less problem for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Anubias Survive Without Leaves?

The rhizomes are the most precious part of the anubias plant. They will survive as long as they keep getting enough supply of essential nutrients from the rhizomes. So, they will easily keep going on without leaves or even roots.

Can You Keep The Anubias Plant Out Of Water?

Anubias can be grown out of the water but you have to make sure you keep them in a small closed area or an empty tank so that they can have a very moist and humid environment. Also, feed them enough water at certain intervals because the rhizome needs a good flow of water all the time.

How Many Hours Of Light Do Anubias Need?

Doesn’t matter if you have anubias nana or anubias barteri, both of the varieties need light almost up to 3-5 watts per gallon. But under high light conditions, their leaves will turn hard and compact and become susceptible to algae growth. It’s best if they can get moderate to low light conditions for at least 8 to 9 hours every day. 

How Long Can Anubias Stay Out Of The Water?

If you take them out of your aquarium they will survive a maximum up to 3 or 4 days without water. Since they are aquatic plants, they cannot survive in dry conditions at all.

Does The Anubias Plant Need Fertilizer?

The anubias don’t need the soil to be very fertile to grow. They can pretty much grow on any aquarium substrate. However, it will need some mild amount of liquid fertilizers of nutrients like chelated iron and manganese from time to time in order to prevent the leaves from getting yellow spots on them.


Anubis plants are one of the most fascinating aquarium plants that are so easy to maintain and require no extra care and not even any heavy doses of fertilizers. And the best part of these hydrophytes is you can easily divide the rhizome and get more of the same plants which you can even sell to other potential aquarists.

Yet they are of no use if they look ugly because of having no leaves at all. But the good news is, now you know exactly what to do.

I hope this article helped you to understand the basic information about the anubis and showed you the techniques of how to grow leaves on them.

Howard Parker

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