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kinky SAE's

Cavan wrote:

Here's a weird one.  I started out with three SAEs in
my thirty gallon tank.  After awhile, one started to
look really skinny with a kinked spine.  I assumed it
was a genetic goof until it happened to another one
that was always a bit skinny.  The third remains full
bodied and growing.  Algae is VERY scarce, but they do
eat flake food and mosquito larvae.  I have never seen
anything like this before.  Thoughts?  Thanks, Cavan.

Carmen responds:

Paraphrased from A Complete Introduction to Fish Diseases by Dr. Gottfried
Schubert, published by T.F.H. (1987):

Kinked spines can be a symptom of fish/piscine turberculosis caused by a
mycobacterium as in man.  Apparently it is rather common in aquarium
fishes.  Symptoms vary but may include decreased appetite, emaciation,
spinal curvature, and bulging eye/s.  Fish can carry the disease without
showing signs of it or dying.  Fish that do show obvious signs are
supposedly unsaveable.  And fish may die of it without showing symptoms.
Poor water quality may trigger the fatal phase of infection.

Because of fish TB, one is cautioned to avoid oral contact and open wound
contact with the aquarium water of infected fish.

Carmen C. Robinett      Berkeley, CA   (510) 642-5971