Understanding Guppy Bent Backbone: Causes and Options


Sharing is caring!

It’s turning into more and more frequent as of late to listen to about guppies affected by congenital well being issues, and one of many frequent complaints is of guppies with bent spines.

Many years of ill-advised breeding have produced guppies that could be lovely to take a look at however are sometimes far much less strong than their wild ancestors. The genetic issues are compounded when guppies are saved in poor water high quality or given a food regimen that’s missing in important nutritional vitamins and minerals.

Since prevention is far more efficient than remedy within the case of a bent backbone, let’s have a look collectively on the main causes of bent spines in fish and the right way to decrease its prevalence.

Bent Backbone in Pregnant Guppies

Guppies are livebearers, which means that slightly than laying eggs, they offer beginning to stay younger. When a feminine guppy is closely pregnant, the pressure on her physique may cause her backbone to deform and bend. That is particularly noticeable simply earlier than and through labor.

Sometimes, a feminine guppy’s backbone can stay completely bent after giving beginning, too. A completely bent backbone in fish and different vertebrates is called scoliosis.

However whereas scoliosis is sometimes attributable to an particularly troublesome being pregnant, it seems extra typically at a younger age attributable to genetic points.

Scoliosis in Guppies

Scoliosis usually develops within the fry or larval phases of a guppy’s life, however can sometimes seem later, particularly throughout being pregnant in feminine guppies. It ends in a backbone with an ‘S’ or ‘C’ formed backbone.

Everlasting scoliosis negatively impacts the standard of life in aquarium fish. Guppies with pronounced scoliosis battle to swim and might simply grow to be the victims of bullying from their tank mates. Signs both stay steady or grow to be worse through the fish’s life, however sadly, scientists nonetheless haven’t discovered a treatment for scoliosis.

Causes of Scoliosis in Guppies


One of many principal causes of scoliosis in guppies is inbreeding. If you happen to’ve ever saved female and male guppies collectively, you’ll understand how a lot these livebearers love breeding collectively! A lot in order that guppies are usually unfussy about who they mate with, and inbreeding throughout the similar guppy household will not be unusual.

When inbreeding happens, it weakens the genetic integrity of the guppy offspring. Mutations and deformities occur extra incessantly, and one of many many illnesses that inbred guppies can endure from is scoliosis.

Permitting Fish With Scoliosis to Reproduce

As soon as scoliosis has proven up in a guppy inhabitants, it may simply be handed on to the following technology if fish with the situation are allowed to breed.

Since it’s a largely hereditary situation, the offspring of guppies affected by scoliosis are extremely susceptible to creating scoliosis, too.

Poor Weight-reduction plan and Tank Situations

In addition to genetic elements, scoliosis could also be introduced on or made worse by environmental elements.

Though guppies are remarkably tolerant fish which can be typically really useful for newcomers, they nonetheless require a diverse diet and proper tank maintenance to stay wholesome.

If child guppies develop up in a tank that has excessive ranges of fish waste, low dissolved oxygen ranges, and a excessive stage of dangerous microorganisms, they might be extra more likely to develop or expertise a extra acute model of debilitating circumstances like scoliosis.

Treating Fish with Scoliosis

As talked about beforehand, there isn’t a treatment for fish with scoliosis. If signs are gentle, it might nonetheless be attainable on your guppies to stay a comparatively joyful life.

If, nonetheless, your guppy is struggling to swim or is turning into bullied by different fish, it might be kinder to euthanize your guppy. Clearly, this isn’t a straightforward choice, and to not be taken frivolously. The reality is that in some conditions, it might be kinder to the fish to place a swift finish to its distress slightly than letting it endure for years with out hope of restoration.

Whether or not signs are gentle or extreme, it’s vital to forestall affected guppies from reproducing. As I’ve identified, scoliosis can simply be genetically inherited by the following technology, which might solely trigger them to repeat the unnecessary struggling because the father or mother fish.

Guppy Rickets

One other reason for a curved backbone in guppies is fish rickets. Rickets is a possible well being situation in vertebrates together with people the place bones (together with the backbone) don’t develop the required hardness and energy due to a dietary deficiency.

Since a scarcity of vitamin A, vitamin D or calcium is often guilty for rickets in fish, one of the simplest ways to unravel the issue is to make it possible for younger fish get a very good provide of each. Making certain your fish proceed to obtain a various and balanced food regimen all through their grownup lives will assist forestall bone issues akin to bending backbone syndrome later in life, too.

Whereas high-quality industrial fish meals, akin to flake meals, often comprise ample vitamin contents to maintain your fish, the vitamin contents are among the many first of the vitamins to degrade and grow to be depleted in fish meals as soon as the pack has been opened (see my article on fish food expiry).

Good sources of vitamin A are stated to be leafy greens and crustaceans, whereas vitamin D is ample in snails, shrimps, and a few forms of worms.

Feeding your fish stay and frozen meals, in addition to dried meals, is one of the simplest ways to make sure an entire dietary profile that can assist your fish turn into and stay wholesome, resilient specimens.

Guppy Fish Tuberculosis

guppy bent spine

One other reason for guppies and different fish with a bent backbone is ‘fish tuberculosis’, also called ‘wasting disease’.

What’s Fish Tuberculosis?

Fish tuberculosis is a critical bacterial illness in fish attributable to Mycobacterium genus micro organism – most notably Mycobacterium marinum. It’s known as ‘fish tuberculosis’ as a result of it’s carefully associated to human tuberculosis attributable to Mycobacterium tuberculosis micro organism.

Widespread Signs of Fish Tuberculosis

Various kinds of fish tuberculosis may cause completely different signs. Whereas some types are localized, others will infect the entire system. In addition to a bent backbone, there are another traditional signs of fish tuberculosis to be careful for:

  • Uncoordinated swimming – fish affected by fish TB might battle to manage their motion or keep a horizontal place within the water.
  • Belly swelling – inside bacterial infections like fish TB can typically trigger abdomen bloating or dropsy. Protruding eyes and lack of scales might comply with.
  • Lack of urge for food – fish refusing to eat is a traditional signal of many ailments, resulting in a lack of weight.
  • Discoloration – simply as with people, in case your fish flip pale and lose their colour It might point out a well being downside.
  • Pores and skin ulceration – Pores and skin lesions and ulcerations are typical symptoms of fish tuberculosis.
  • Folded/clamped fins – Fish clamping their pectoral fins is a typical signal of ailing well being.
  • Inside white nodule formation – essentially the most dependable prognosis of fish with tuberculosis is an post-mortem carried out by a certified veterinarian. Fish affected by fish TB can reveal white nodules rising on the liver, kidney, and spleen in freshwater and saltwater fish.

Causes of Fish Tuberculosis

There are a number of ways in which fish tuberculosis can enter an aquarium, however it’s vital to notice that the illness thrives greatest in poor water high quality, when the fish tank hasn’t been cleaned commonly, and your fish’s immune system is already weakened and vulnerable to an infection.

Introducing an Contaminated Fish

The obvious method for fish tuberculosis to enter a brand new aquarium is with the introduction of a fish that’s already contaminated with the illness. Since fish tuberculosis is very contagious, a fish affected by the illness will seemingly go it on to all different members of the aquarium, together with guppies.

Carried by Aquatic Vegetation or Aquarium Decor

Secondly, fish tuberculosis can contaminate a tank when stay vegetation or aquarium décor are moved from one contaminated tank to a different. Since Mycobacterium spp. micro organism can survive for lengthy durations and not using a host, it may lie dormant on the surfaces of vegetation, rocks, or substrates and await a vulnerable fish to strike.

Launched by Soiled Palms

The third method that fish tuberculosis could be transferred to an aquarium is by the soiled arms of the fish keeper.

As Mycobacterium micro organism could be carried on human pores and skin, they’ll get transferred for those who put unclean arms in aquarium water. That is particularly seemingly for those who’ve just lately had your arms in one other tank contaminated with fish tuberculosis after which put them in a distinct tank.

The best way to Stop Fish Tuberculosis

To stop fish tuberculosis, we have to handle every of the above causes.

Quarantine New Fish

Since ailments like fish tuberculosis can simply be launched by fish from the pet retailer, many aquarists desire to quarantine new fish for 4-6 weeks in a specifically devoted quarantine tank. Throughout this time, you possibly can carefully observe your new fish to see if any illness signs present up (verify the signs record above).

If no signs are revealed, it’s usually secure so as to add new fish to the tank. It should be famous, nonetheless, that some types of fish tuberculosis don’t all the time reveal overt signs, which means there’s no strategy to assure the absence of the illness.

Take Care When Including Rocks and Vegetation

As a result of aquatic vegetation may also transmit sure pests and ailments like fish tuberculosis, anchor worms, and trumpet snails, some aquarists additionally desire to quarantine their vegetation earlier than introducing them to their principal fish tank. You probably have fish residing in your quarantine tank with new vegetation, they’ll most likely present signs of the illness if the vegetation are contaminated.

Basically, watch out to purchase your vegetation and aquarium décor from respected sources that deal with their tanks and supplies.

Sterilize Your Palms Earlier than and After Placing Them in The Aquarium

Since fish TB could be transmitted by soiled arms, it’s vital to verify your arms are clear earlier than placing them within the water. Since fish TB and another fish diseases may also infect people, some hobbyists desire to clean their arms after placing them within the tank, too.

Completely clear your arms with cleaning soap or use a disinfectant agent to assist get rid of pathogens akin to Mycobacterium micro organism which may hurt your fish.

Therapy of Fish Tuberculosis

The principle Mycobacterium marinum micro organism that causes fish TB is troublesome to deal with due to the distinctive protecting coating that makes it very proof against medicines. Though some folks have efficiently cured their fish from some forms of Mycobacterium micro organism with antibiotics, remedy is never profitable.

By the point signs grow to be obvious, the an infection is often already widespread and troublesome to eradicate.

Sadly, aquarists which have found TB of their fish often solely have two possible choices: both isolate their fish and allow them to stay out the remainder of their lives with the an infection, or euthanize them.

Since fish tuberculosis could be transmitted to people, many fish keepers regard euthanizing the fish after which totally sterilizing the tank as the one smart possibility earlier than the tank can be utilized once more.

Earlier than contemplating such drastic motion, please seek the advice of your native exotics vets to get a optimistic prognosis.


A bent backbone in guppy fish could be attributable to a number of elements together with being pregnant, genetic points, insufficient diet, poor water high quality, and illness. Sadly, as soon as the backbone has been severely bent, it’s often unimaginable to straighten it once more, and euthanasia will be the kindest possibility.

In terms of fish scoliosis, prevention is far more efficient than remedy. Retaining your guppies and guppy fry ate up a various, vitamin-rich food regimen, keeping your tank clean, and solely breeding out of your strongest inventory is your greatest protection towards this debilitating illness.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *