Guppy With A Bent Spine (Causes+Treatment)

Bent spine problem is irreversible, and if your guppy has a bent spine, there can be some serious issue going on, which we will discuss in this article. So let us find out. 

The two most common reasons for bent spine in guppies are fish tuberculosis and scoliosis. Unfortunately, these diseases are not treatable. Euthanizing is the only option left with us in such a situation. Maintaining water conditions, avoiding overstocking can prevent guppy from such disease.

This article will read about the causes of such diseases and the prevention we should take to keep our guppies away from such conditions. So, let us get into it.

My guppy has a bent spine.

There can be two reasons behind your guppy bent spine, scoliosis and fish tuberculosis.

There are no treatments for diseases like scoliosis and fish tuberculosis.

But, we can prevent our guppies from such diseases.

Maintaining good water conditions, avoiding overstocking fishes in an aquarium, and providing our guppies appropriate diet will prevent our guppies from such diseases.

Making sure to quarantine all the new fishes for a couple of weeks before adding them to the home aquarium will also help prevent such diseases.

We will discuss the causes and prevention of scoliosis and fish tuberculosis down below.

What are the causes of the bent spine?

There are two main causes of the bent spine:

  1. Scoliosis
  2. Fish tuberculosis


Scoliosis is a disease in which the guppies spine develops a “C” or “S” shape curve.

Scoliosis is usually found when the guppies are in their larval and fry stages.

Female guppies can suffer from scoliosis after releasing fry because of excessive abdominal pressure.

There are two possibilities in this disease. This disease will be stable for a lifetime or progress with time.

Guppy suffering from fish scoliosis has a poor quality of life.

Other tankmates will try to attack your sick guppy fish as the sick guppy fish will be weak.

Fish scoliosis can be caused by:

  1. Poor diet
  2. Inadequate water condition
  3. Hereditary factors
  4. Inbreeding

Poor diet

Guppies are omnivore fish species and need meat and veggie matter in their food diet.

Providing a bad diet to your guppies can be the reason behind the development of scoliosis.

Inadequate water condition

Inadequate water conditions can make your guppy vulnerable to diseases like scoliosis.

With inadequate water conditions, unstable water parameters can also cause such diseases.

Also read: Guppy Fish Minimum Water Temperature?

Hereditary factors

If a guppy suffering from scoliosis reproduces, then the fry it will release will also be born with scoliosis disease.

Prevent your guppy suffering from scoliosis from breeding by placing them in another tank.

Pregnant guppy suffering from scoliosis will transfer the disease to almost all fry.

Let the sick fry remain in the home aquarium if the guppy releases the sick fry.

This will result in adult guppies feeding on them, and only a few will remain.


Inbreeding is the common cause in guppies for scoliosis disease.

Smaller the gene pool, the higher the chances of scoliosis with other deformities to transfer to guppy fry.

Preventing your guppies from inbreeding is essential to avoid diseases like scoliosis.

Fish tuberculosis

Fish tuberculosis is a disease that can affect your guppies and other freshwater fish species.

It is a dangerous disease as it is spreadable and can transfer to other fish, animals, and humans.

If your guppy is affected by fish tuberculosis, immediate action is required.

Fish tuberculosis can cause guppies in an aquarium with poor water conditions, overstocking issues, and oxygen deficiency like problems.

These problem allows such diseases to grow in your guppy aquarium and get out of control.

These kinds of diseases may affect your guppy even after keeping care of such problems and maintaining your tank regularly.

This will happen when you add new fish, plants, and other things affected by the disease to your tank without quarantining them in a separate tank for a couple of weeks.

We never know if the fish is suffering from a disease like fish tuberculosis while buying them from a pet store.

Keeping new fish in a separate tank for at least 3-4 weeks and examining them if they are going through such diseases is essential for the fishes’ well-being in your home aquarium.

The bent spine is one of the symptoms of fish tuberculosis, but it will be hard to detect if your guppy is suffering from fish tuberculosis or scoliosis with just detecting a bent spine.

Other symptoms of fish tuberculosis are:

  1. Your fish will start losing its color.
  2. Sick guppy will lose its appetite.
  3. You will detect folded fins.
  4. You will see lesions on the body of your sick guppy.
  5. Your guppy will have protruding eyes.
  6. Sick guppy will lose its scales.

If you find any or all of these symptoms with the curvature, this is the time for immediate action.

There are treatments present like antibiotics and traditional treatment, but these all treatments probably don’t work.

Avoid treatments like adding sugar into the aquarium or manipulating the water temperature by increasing it, as it will make your sick guppy suffer more.

The only option left in such a condition is to take your sick guppy out of the aquarium and humanely euthanize your sick guppy.

Also, make sure to dispose of the sick guppy fish humanely.

How to prevent our guppies from the bent spine?

These are the ways to prevent your guppies from bent spine syndrome:

  1. Quarantine new fishes for a couple of weeks before adding them to the home aquarium.
  2. Provide your guppy a good water condition to live.
  3. Feed your guppy adequately.
  4. Don’t overstock your guppies aquarium.

Quarantining new fish.

It is important to quarantine any new fish for 3-4 weeks before adding them to the home aquarium.

The reason for quarantining new fish is they may be infected with diseases like fish tuberculosis.

And because of fish tuberculosis, your guppy can have a bent spine.

There are various diseases a new fish can carry, like ich or white spot disease rather than fish tuberculosis.

Make sure to quarantine new fish in a separate tank for a couple of weeks before adding them to your guppies aquarium.

Also read: How To Cure Guppy Ich? (Signs+Causes Of Ich).

Providing adequate water condition.

Providing adequate water condition to your guppy is essential to keep them safe from infections, stress, and several diseases.

A regular water change will keep the aquarium water clean, and your guppy will live happily.

Guppies prefer to live in clean water and can come under stress if there is an inadequate water condition.

Owners should provide their guppies with a stable water parameter with good water conditions.

ParticularGuppy Fish
Water temperature72-82 °F
Water ph level6.8-7.8

Feed your guppy adequately.

Guppy is an omnivore fish species and requires meat and veggies matter food in their daily diet.

These are the food you can feed your guppies:

FoodServing QuantityNo of Times
Veggie pelletsOne pinch at a time 2-3 times a day
Brine shrimpsOne pinch at a time 1-2 times a week
BloodwormOne pinch at a time 1-2 times a week
Tubifex wormOne pinch at a time1 time a week
Mosquito larvae10-15 pieces2-3 times a week

Providing nutritious food to your guppy is essential to keep them strong and away from the vulnerability of several diseases.

Also read: Best Homemade Food For Guppies?

Don’t Overstock your guppies aquarium.

Overstocking can cause a deficiency of oxygen in your guppies aquarium.

Your guppies aquarium will be dirty quickly with an overcrowded tank.

Such a condition can result in your guppy suffering from several diseases, including fish tuberculosis.

Also read: How Many Guppies In A 20 Gallon Tank?

What should we do if the guppy has a bent spine?

If your guppy has a bent spine but has no problem in swimming and is not struggling for anything, then your guppy can live a normal life.

If your sick guppy is being attacked and is spreading disease and infection in the aquarium, then there is no option left then euthanize your sick guppy fish.

There is no treatment for fish scoliosis and fish tuberculosis.

If your guppy is suffering from fish scoliosis or fish tuberculosis, you have no option left other than euthanizing your guppy fish rather than leaving them to suffer.

There are various methods of euthanizing our sick guppy fish, which we will discuss further in this article.

How can we humanely euthanize our sick guppy?

Before knowing how to euthanize guppy fish humanely, we should know when and how not to euthanize our sick guppy.

If your guppy fish have a bent spine but are not having any problem swimming and are active all the time, then your guppy can live their normal life peacefully.

If your guppy is suffering from fish tuberculosis or scoliosis, then there is no treatment for such disease.

If your fish is less active, it is being attacked by other tankmates, including the risk of spreading disease and infection.

The only option left with us in such a case is euthanizing our sick guppy fish.

There are various ways of euthanizing sick guppy fish.

Some of the methods which we should completely avoid while euthanizing our sick guppy fish are:

  1. Flushing down the toilet.
  2. Freezing our sick guppy.
  3. Boiling our sich guppy fish.
  4. Placing them out of the tank and letting them suffocate and pass away.
  5. Using carbon dioxide to euthanize your sick guppy fish.

The best method of humanely euthanizing our sick guppy fish are:

  1. Clove Oil Method
  2. Stun and Stab method

Clove Oil Method

The clove oil method is the best and easy method of euthanizing your sick guppy fish.

All you need to perform the clove oil method is, Clove oil, a bucket containing water, a small bowl for making the mixture, and gloves for protection.

Steps of performing clove oil method:

  1. Fill the container with water (One gallon of water is ok).
  2. Place your sick guppy fish in the container.
  3. Now make a mixture of warm water and clove oil in the bowl.
  4. Add the mixture to the bucket.
  5. Increase the dose of clove oil mixture for inducing hypoxia. 

Adding four to five drops of clove oil to make the mixture will make your guppy fish lose its consciousness.

Increasing the dose by adding more 12-14 drops of clove oil will make your sick guppy pass away by inducing hypoxia.

Stun and Stab Method

The stun and stab method is the violent method and is not for the soft-hearted person.

But, this method is a quick method of euthanizing your sick guppy humanely.

All you need to perform this method is a sharp knife, a rolling pin, and an aluminum foil.

Steps of performing stun and stab method:

  1. Place your sick guppy on the aluminum foil.
  2. Aim at the head of guppy fish with the help of a rolling pin.
  3. Hit on the head of your sick guppy fish with some blunt object.
  4. Stab your guppy fish (Cut just above the eyes).

This method will make your sick guppy pass away instantly.

Hitting on the head damages the nervous system, by which the guppy fish doesn’t feel anything.

Also read: How To Humanely Euthanize Guppy Fish?


Fish tuberculosis or scoliosis can be the reason behind your guppy bent spine.

These diseases are not treatable, and the only option left with us is humanely euthanizing our sick guppy.

Maintaining our guppies tank regularly, avoiding overstocking, and feeding them appropriate food will help prevent our guppy from such diseases.

Ensure to quarantine the new fish, plants, and others for a couple of weeks before adding them to your guppies aquarium, as the new fish can also carry such diseases.

Reference: NCBI, ResearchGate, Sciencedirect, Semantic Scholar

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