Unfortunately, Betta Fish Tuberculosis is the deadliest of fish diseases that could potentially affect your betta. Most newbie aquarists have never heard of it or if they have, know little about it. Betta Fish Tuberculosis is a disease caused by the bacteria called Mycobacterium marinum. The tricky thing about this disease is that if it is not treated early enough, it can mimic a variety of other diseases (e.g.: popeye, inflammed gills, fin rot, etc.) making it hard to diagnose. The good news is that it it is a fairly rare disease so hopefully you will never have to deal with it.
Betta Fish Tuberculosis attacks internal organs such as the kidneys and the liver, causing organ failure which may result in the death of your beloved betta fish. It is also the only fish disease known to be contagious, and yes, even to us humanoids. In most cases, if a human does get it, it normally results in minor skin infections which generally heal over a short period of time. Don’t worry, it rarely happens and the best way to avoid it in the first place is to make sure you don’t have any open wounds on your hands when you handle your sick betta and the infected water. To be on the safe side, you can always wear surgical gloves if you aren’t sure.
Symptoms of Betta Fish Tuberculosis
As I mentioned, sometimes it can be tricky to identify however here are a few things you can look out for:
- Emaciation (seems like its wasting away)
- Loss of scales and/or color
- Lesions on the body
- Skeletal deformities
- Curved spine
I had a hard time finding pictures of betta fish with tuberculosis, however I did manage to find some images of other fish with it: Fish Tuberculosis Images
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Dealing With Betta Fish Tuberculosis
Unfortunately, there are no available treatments for TB in fish. Once they have it, it’s really too late to take any action other than to euthanize your betta fish. The only thing you can do to try and prevent it from happening in the first place is to:
- Make sure you buy from reputable places. Check the state of other aquariums in the shop, or the reputation of the company if you are buying them online.
- Only feed quality food to your betta, and again, get the food from a reputable place. Also look for reviews on the type of food and the place where you are getting it from.
- Proper aquarium maintenance. (See our Betta Fish Care Sheet post).
Visit our Blog for more detailed information on some of the tips provided above.
If you have any experience or additional information on betta fish tuberculosis, I would love to hear from you and get your feedback. Until next time!