Metal-complex dyes are widely used in textile industry, but harmful to the environment and human health due to aromatic structure and heavy metal ions. The objective of this work was to evaluate the adsorption potential of bamboo biochar for the removal of metal-complex dye acid black 172 from solutions. Freundlich model was more suitable for the adsorption process of bamboo biochar than Langmuir isotherm, indicating multilayer adsorption of acid black 172 on a heterogeneous bamboo biochar surface. Adsorption kinetics analysis of pseudo-second-order and Weber–Morris models revealed that intraparticle transport was not the only rate-limiting step. The bamboo biochar exhibited a good adsorption performance even at high ionic strength. Analysis based on the artificial neural network indicated that the temperature with a relative importance of 29 % appeared to be the most influential parameter in the adsorption process for dye removal, followed by time, ionic strength, pH and dye concentration.