Female Guppy with curved spine? TB? Dropsy? Other?

Cyn Dominguez
  • #1
I've had three female guppies with one male guppy, 4 neon tetras and 1 female betta in a ten gallon tank.
One of my female guppies developed a curved spine during her pregnancy and later died a few days later after giving birth about three months ago.

My second female guppy has also developed a curved spine during her second pregnancy. She was already an adult when I her so it's
possible she had more pregnancies. Now she looks really bloated but not sure if she is pregnant again. She already had her second batch of fry a few weeks ago. She doesn't have any sores or odd looking scales from what I can see. My male guppy only has an interest in her and completely ignores my other female.

My third female guppy and the rest of the fish are normal looking. But I've noticed one of the babies from the first batch also has a curved spine. I'm guessing it was passed down genetically. I'm not sure if the other babies in this batch had curved spines since they all accidentally died in a filter accident and only two survived. The other survivor looks normal with a perfectly normal spine.

I took photos of her from all sides and angles with close up macro settings. My photo files were to large to upload here so I linked them from flickr. Hopefully someone can ease my mind and diagnose her.

  • #2
Welcome to the forum!
First things first, what are your water parameters? This will help us to rule out any water quality issues.

It is possible that your fish has TB (which can be passed to humans so I would take caution) however it doesn't really look like it IMO. I've never dealt with TB myself, but the cases I've heard of had more of an arched upward spine and almost always involved loss of scales or open sores, and "wasting" - your guppy is the opposite.

As for Dropsy, it could be, but Dropsy is more of a symptom than an actual disease itself so that still wouldn't tell you what the underlying illness is.

I know certain vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin D, can cause crooked spines in guppies. It also seems to be a common problem in guppies that have been subject to too much inbreeding.

Are there any other symptoms?
  • #3
That is not mycobacteriosis IMO. If she had "fish tb" (mycobacteriosis) she'd look emaciated, likely unable to become pregnant, and possibly have turned very dark. That honestly just looks like scoliosis to me. See the bump and curve near her tail? Big scoliosis indicator.
Cyn Dominguez
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
First things first, what are your water parameters? This will help us to rule out any water quality issues. Are there any other symptoms?

Water parameteres:
Nitrate: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Hardness: Hard
Alkalinity: 120
pH: 7.2

She has no other symptoms other than the curved spine. Though I'm not sure if she is pregnant again or if she is just really bloated. Though I know guppies are almost always pregnant.
  • #5
I have this happen in some of my older female guppies. I think it's just bad genetics mixed with being constantly pregnant most of their lives. If your babies are born with curved spines, it is most likely genectic, usually from inbreeding. Some people cull these fry, but since I usually don't see the fry until they are too big to be eaten I just leave them be, they got this far with a bent spine. Also, strangely, all of my deformed fry have been female, I have had 4 live to adulthood and they have all been female. If you want to stop the problem from happening to the fry, introduce new guppies into the tank regularly.
For adults there is not much you can do, but I would recommend not breeding ones who develop curved spines.

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