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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11513
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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My fantail fish has a bend in its tail and its fin is a bit

Customer Question

My fantail fish has a bend in its tail and its fin is a bit curled is this normal? It still swims fine and eats well the water is all fine and they are in a large tank with a filter and two live plants. The other fish don't pick on it. I read it could have been born that way it doesn't seen to be in any pain. Also how often should you gravel vac the tank I did it about 3 weeks ago I do weekly water changes of 25% thanks for your help I was just a bit worried about the fish. The other fish are fine.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear your fish is having a problem. A bend in the tail is not normal. If it's been that way since you got the fish, it is indeed possible the fish was born with a genetic defect. If it happened since you brought the fish home, it may be due to an injury. In that case, the fish may get better with time, it may stay the same, or it may get worse. There is nothing you can do about it in any case.

There are also two nasty diseases that can cause fish to bend, but they do both usually have other symptoms. I'm going to tell you about them anyway in case more symptoms do develop, so you'll know what's going on. One is fish tuberculosis. The main symptoms are spinal deformity (which includes the tail), weight loss, and skin problems including scale loss, color changes, and skin lesions. Not all fish will develop all the symptoms. There is no treatment. This fish illness can cause skin infections in humans, so use care.

The other disease that can cause the spine to bend into a u-shape is Myxosoma cerebralis. It causes the bent spine and often, but not always, the fish will start whirling in a circle, so it is sometimes referred to as whirling disease. Again, there is no treatment. I hope your fish has neither of these diseases, but wanted you to be aware of them.

Ideally, you should vacuum the gravel once per week, when you do the water change.

If you need anything else, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your fish will thrive with the good care you're giving them.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you i think it has always had a slight bend. It's not changing colur and doesn't have any lesions and its not swimming in circles. But I will keep an eye on him. I hope he doesn't start getting those things that doesn't sound good. i didn't know you had to gravel vac every week I thought when you did a water change you shouldn't gravel vac to as it take all the good bateria away thanks for that I will start doing that thanks for you help

Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome. That's a good sign that the fish has always had the bend. You probably don't need to worry, but do keep an eye on him.

Most of the good bacteria actually live in the under-the-gravel filter, so don't vacuum down that far. you mainly want to get the debris that accumulate in the top layer.


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