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    What causes my fish to get a crooked spine?

    okay here's a question you don't see much. But here lately I have had a problem with my fish. What causes a perfectly formed and healthy fish to all of a sudden appear as if it's been broken in half then put back together all crooked.. In other words... it looks like it has a crooked spine. Will anyone be able to answer my question?

  • Curt could probably help you out more. I have had platys that never reached full size and looked really weird because they were stunted. They were very healthy and active though. I think from your question though you are saying this developed in your tank? Is your fish eating properly and healthy except for the way it looks? Also what kind of fish is it? How big is the tank and what are the water parameters?

  • Joyce asked what kind of fish are we talking about?...Spinal curvature can be caused by a number of reasons(scoliosis:horizontal curve)(lordosis:vertical curve)...old age...genetic abnormalities,injury,disease(like parasite pleistrophre in neon tetra disease)...or nutrient deficiencies...mycrobacteriosis can lead to distortion the you see type and history of the fish can help diagnosis this...and hearing from curt will help too...

  • two fish affected so far... one female black molly... one female green sword... 30gallon tank...these appear to be the only fish that have the crookedness. The molly looks the worst. She isn't eating much and swims only when chased, otherwise she just Hovers around the top. Green sword eats like a pig and swims all over. Not quite sure about my levels. I do know that this particular molly seems to have a problem with the ich disease. Could ich be the cause of the crooked spines? Did ich treatments and they seemed to of cleared up. It's a community tank, would this also be a reason for it?

  • p.s. Variety of fish is as follows:
    • 8 cory catfish
    • 3 black molly's
    • 3 orange swords
    • 3 green swords
    • 2 platy's
    • 1 pleco
    • 15 guppy's (5 males, 10 females)
    • 8 baby guppy's
    • 4-5 live plants (small but somewhat new)
    • 1 huge rock
    could it be that I have too many fish?

  • You have WAY too many fish. If I count only 2 inches for each excluding your baby guppy's I come out over 30. Also I have had swords and 2 inches is really stretching it they are more like 3 inches. I think the same may be true for the size of Mollies. Sounds a little like dropsy. I had a sword with that once and looked a little bent. It also would not eat. If more than one fish has I would certainly lean towards disease or a bacterial infection rather than injury. Do frequent water changes, cut down on your feeding, add another hang on filter and try to get another tank soon. Jeff may have a better opinion on what he thinks it is and how to treat it. You really need a test kit ! I am sure your levels have to be way up there. This may be a pretty nasty situation with that many fish. When you transfer some you will also have to worry about cycling.

  • If you just treated for ich this may be a secondary bacterial infection that sometimes follows an ich outbreak. Ich doesn't cause bent spines, but can weaken the fish's system and leave it prone to illness. I would definitely do two small water changes per week until you remedy the fish load. Swords get to be 4-5 inches per my book (it's been a long time since I had them) and they will eat baby fish.

  • hmm..well I agree with alot of Joyce points..way too many fish..quite possibly a poor water problem and weakened fish now getting secondary disease..the bent spine thing still is unsettling and and could very well be caused by microbacterium this is a real bad thing I hope it isn't because it can be a can present differently in many species..try kanacyn...get the fish out.. dying in the tank will spread it...I hope I am wrong on this..also be sure you wash up clean after as well..

  • Sounds like good suggestions to me from both Jeff and Joyce. Many times fish, especially those that breed very freely in peoples small undiverse tanks (such as livebearers), have many problems with genetic malformations. This is simply due to the lack of genetic diversity, and can appear at any time the fish is still growing. A more common problem, often caused by a mycobacterium, is piscine tuberculosis. Very often this a disease that will localized in bone, especially in the spine (but also in other organs) is not effectively treatable as far as I know, and is generally caused by poor water quality. This would be my guess....

  • I have no suggestion to offer to this, but I did have a Dalmatian molly that gradually grew into a 45 degree angle and finally died after about 1 month. It is very odd! Mandi


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