Guppy Bent Spine – Scoliosis & Tuberculosis

Guppies can develop a sudden bent spine, be born with it, or it may occur during adulthood. The main causes of a bent spine are scoliosis and tuberculosis (TB). The main identifying element of the diseases is a curvature in the spine when the fish is viewed from above or the side. Unfortunately, the condition is untreatable however it can be prevented.

A guppy with a bent spine and a normal fish in a tank.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis usually occurs during the larval or fry stage of guppies. It is a spine deformity characterized by an S or C-shaped curvature of the guppy’s spine. Female guppies are more likely to develop scoliosis in adulthood more so after giving birth.

Guppy fish with bent spine experience trouble swimming and are often defenseless against harassment from other fish. Scoliosis also affects the growth rate of the fish.

Causes of Scoliosis in Guppy Fish

  • Inbreeding
  • Poor diet
  • Poor tank conditions
  • Hereditary

Fish Tuberculosis

Fish tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium Marinum. It’s highly contagious and can quickly spread to other fish in the tank. Aquariums that are not properly cleaned and maintained are more susceptible to a tuberculosis outbreak.

However, a single fish that has already been infected, introduced into a clean and well-kept tank can spread the disease to healthy fish.

Bent spine syndrome is one of the symptoms of fish TB. You can tell that a curved or crooked spine is caused by TB and not scoliosis because the following symptoms also accompany TB:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Discoloration.
  • Lesions on the body.
  • Folded fins.
  • Protruding eyes.
  • Loss of scales.
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The main way to prevent fish tuberculosis is to keep a clean tank and to quarantine any new fish for a few weeks before adding them to the main tank.

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