Guppy's Humpback: Causes And Concerns

why does my guppy have a hump back

Guppies are beautiful fish that are a popular choice for aquariums. However, they are susceptible to developing a hump back, also known as a bent spine, which can be distressing for owners to witness. A hump back in guppies is usually caused by either tuberculosis or scoliosis, both of which are untreatable and progressive conditions. Poor tank conditions and diet can also contribute to the development of hump back in guppies.

Characteristics Values
Cause Tuberculosis, Scoliosis, Swim Bladder Disease, Poor Tank Conditions, Poor Diet, Inbreeding, Pregnancy, Genetic Issues, Disease, Fish Rickets
Treatments Antibiotics (e.g. Kanamycin), Vitamin-rich diet, Quarantine, Clean Water, Euthanasia
Symptoms Curvature of the spine, Loss of Appetite, Weight Loss, Lethargy, Skin Problems, Protruding Eyes, Loss of Scales, Discolouration, Lesions, Blood Spots, Uncoordinated Swimming, Abdominal Swelling, Discolouration, Skin Ulceration, Clamped Fins, Nodule Formation
Prevention Diverse and vitamin-rich diet, Clean water, Quarantine new fish, Sterilise hands before and after touching tank, Good tank conditions (oxygen levels, lighting, waste levels)


Guppy tuberculosis

Guppies are more susceptible to fish tuberculosis than many other fish. It is caused by the bacterial genus Mycobacterium spp., specifically Mycobacterium marinum, which has a protective coating that makes it impossible to treat once inside a host. The disease is zoonotic, meaning it can be passed to humans through open wounds.

Mycobacterium spp. are common environmental contaminants and do not require a fish host. They can infect mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Some species cause localized infections, while others cause systemic disease. The disease is called "fish tuberculosis" because Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent for tuberculosis in humans.

The most common symptoms of fish tuberculosis are low, non-specific mortality, making it hard to detect. Infections may be present with no clinical signs for long periods. Early signs in fish include emaciation, especially wasting of flesh and muscle tissues in the top half of the body, leading to a knife-backed appearance. Other signs include abdominal distension, spinal deformities, missing scales, open wounds, and blisters on the skin, and bulging eyes.

In humans, the disease takes the form of a small nodule or granuloma near the site of entry, usually around 3cm in diameter and pinky-purple in colour. It is painful and can cause arthritis, tenosynovitis, and osteitis. Immune-compromised individuals are at a higher risk of developing these symptoms.

There is no effective treatment for fish tuberculosis, and infected fish should be euthanized. To prevent the spread of the disease, it is recommended to depopulate and disinfect the tank.

To prevent fish tuberculosis, maintain proper quarantine protocols for new fish and plants. Mycobacterium spp. thrive in low pH, low oxygen, high soluble zinc, and high fulvic and humic acid environments, so ensure your tank has optimal conditions and is kept clean and uncrowded.

Guppies with tuberculosis should be quarantined and provided with optimal conditions to reduce stress, as this can push the disease past the point of saving. Guppies with tuberculosis will have difficulty swimming and will be bullied by other fish.

Tuberculosis is caused by unmanaged aquariums with poor water quality. Regular water changes are necessary to prevent high waste products and low oxygen levels, which create an ideal environment for Mycobacterium marinum.

In summary, guppy tuberculosis is a serious and often deadly disease caused by Mycobacterium marinum. It affects both fish and humans and requires proper quarantine, prevention, and treatment measures to control its spread.

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Guppies can develop a hump back, which is usually caused by either tuberculosis or scoliosis. Scoliosis is a permanent condition that results in an 'S' or 'C'-shaped spine. It is untreatable and can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Genetic issues: Inbreeding is a common cause of scoliosis in guppies. When inbreeding occurs, it weakens the genetic integrity of the guppy offspring, making them more susceptible to mutations and deformities, including scoliosis.
  • Poor diet: A lack of proper nutrition can contribute to the development of scoliosis. Guppies should be fed a mix of vegetables and meat to ensure they receive adequate vitamins and minerals.
  • Poor water quality: Keeping guppies in an aquarium with low oxygen levels and high waste products can increase the risk of scoliosis.
  • Pregnancy: Scoliosis can also develop in female guppies after pregnancy due to the strain on their bodies.

To prevent scoliosis in guppies, it is important to maintain a diverse, vitamin-rich diet, keep the tank clean, and only breed from the strongest stock.

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Poor water quality

To prevent tuberculosis in guppies, it is essential to maintain good water quality and ideal water conditions. Regular water changes are crucial to reducing waste products and maintaining adequate oxygen levels. It is also recommended to quarantine any infected guppies to prevent the spread of the disease to other fish in the tank.

In addition to water quality, diet plays a significant role in the health of guppies. A poor diet, such as improper food or low-quality dry food, can contribute to the development of tuberculosis and scoliosis, which can lead to humpback. As guppies are omnivores, it is important to provide them with a balanced diet that includes high-quality veggie pellets, flakes, freeze-dried brine shrimp, spirulina tablets, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex.

Furthermore, humpback in guppies can be influenced by inbreeding. Inbreeding often results in fry with spinal deformities, which can make them more susceptible to developing humpback as they mature. To prevent this, it is recommended to diversify the gene pool and avoid inbreeding.

Overall, maintaining good water quality, providing a proper diet, and avoiding inbreeding are crucial for preventing humpback in guppies and promoting their overall health and well-being.


Poor diet

Low-quality dry food, improper food, or a lack of certain nutrients can contribute to the development of tuberculosis or scoliosis, which are the underlying causes of humpback in guppies. To prevent this, it is recommended to feed guppies high-quality veggie pellets and flakes, as well as freeze-dried brine shrimp and spirulina tablets. Freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex can also be good options for their diet.

It is also important to avoid overfeeding guppies, as this can lead to water fouling and digestive system issues. Additionally, ensuring that your guppies have a diverse gene pool can help prevent spinal deformities in their offspring.

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Guppies with humpback are often born with this condition, and it becomes more apparent as they mature. Inbreeding is a common cause of humpback in guppies. Breeders sometimes use a method called line breeding, where a male is bred with his daughter and then his granddaughter. This involves breeding closely related fish, which can lead to a high incidence of abnormalities in subsequent generations.

To prevent inbreeding, it is important to ensure that guppies have a large gene pool. This can be achieved by acquiring guppies from different sources or breeders and avoiding breeding closely related fish. Additionally, maintaining good water quality and providing a nutritious diet can help reduce the risk of diseases that contribute to humpback, such as tuberculosis and scoliosis.

Frequently asked questions

Guppies can develop a hump back due to several factors, including tuberculosis, scoliosis, and swim bladder disease.

The symptoms of tuberculosis in guppies include a hump back, weight loss, lethargy, skin problems such as loss of scales, open wounds, and protruding eyes.

To prevent tuberculosis in guppies, it is important to maintain good water quality, provide a proper diet, and quarantine any new fish before adding them to the tank.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hump back in guppies caused by tuberculosis or scoliosis. In such cases, euthanasia may be the kindest option to relieve the fish's suffering.

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