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Is Betta Tuberculosis Curable Or Not?

betta tuberculosis

Betta fish is well-known for its brightly colored body and fins. However, there is always a con corresponding to a pro. Betta fish are extremely delicate fish and highly susceptible to diseases like infections and tuberculosis. So, exactly how serious is betta tuberculosis? Let us find out.

Betta tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium Marinum that is generally present in aquariums. However, it rarely infects a betta fish, but it has been seen to happen. Unfortunately, betta tuberculosis is a severe condition that has no definite modes of treatment and prevention. It is also quite challenging to notice in its early stages as the bacteria attacks the internal organs over time without causing any visible symptoms.

Betta Tuberculosis: Symptoms

As mentioned earlier, if your betta fish is suffering from tuberculosis, then it is highly likely that you will not be able to notice it as there are hardly any visible symptoms. As the bacteria mainly affects the internal organs, the symptoms generally start to appear after 6 months.

Here are some of the symptoms you should look for if you suspect betta tuberculosis.

Loss Of Appetite

If you suspect that your betta fish is suffering from tuberculosis, then losing appetite is one of the first symptoms you will observe. As the bacteria affects the internal organs of the betta fish, it really influences the fish’s eating habits. Moreover, you may also notice a loss of muscle and thinness in your betta fish.


Another common symptom of betta tuberculosis is lethargy. Loss of appetite means that your betta fish is not getting the required number of nutrients. This makes the betta fish weak and lethargic. You might see your betta fish swimming lazily or just lying at the bottom of the tank.

Curved Spine

Perhaps the most prominent symptom of betta tuberculosis is a vertically curved spine of your betta fish. The spine might get curved due to multiple organ failures resulting in swelling, or the bacteria might have affected the spine as well.

Skin Abnormalities

Betta Tuberculosis Symptoms

Betta tuberculosis may also cause specific skin abnormalities like scales, blood spots, and loss of color. The only thing to remember while looking for these symptoms is that they coincide with other betta ailments, so it might not necessarily be tuberculosis.

Betta Tuberculosis: Causes

Betta Tuberculosis Causes

We have already stated that betas tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria called the Mycobacterium Marinum. These bacteria are usually already present in most aquariums, but the chances of it affecting your betta fish are pretty slim. However, some factors may increase the odds.

Here are some of the most common causes of betta tuberculosis.

Inadequate Water Parameters

The most common cause for any betta disease is inadequate water conditions. Water parameters like water temperature, water pH level, water hardness, level of various elements like ammonia, chlorine, and chloramine all contribute to the well-being of the betta fish. Therefore, these parameters should be within the required limit.

Lack Of Nutrition

As betta tuberculosis leads to a loss of appetite in betta fish, they do not get the required amount of essential nutrition. Lack of nutrition is a contributing factor in decreasing the immunity of the betta fish, thereby making it more susceptible to being affected by the bacteria.

Stressful Conditions

Besides the water conditions, there might be other factors that stress out a betta fish. The tank might be too small for your betta fish, presence of an incompatible tank mate, betta fish seeing its reflection, and other nuances like this go a long way in stressing your fish out, in turn, making the betta fish more prone to disease.

Betta Tuberculosis: Treatment & Prevention

Betta Tuberculosis Treatment & Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no definite mode of treatment for betta tuberculosis as the symptoms start to appear too late, and it generally affects the internal organs of the fish. Thus, your betta’s days are numbered if you feel like your betta fish suffers from tuberculosis.

However, the chances of your betta fish suffering from tuberculosis are pretty slim. Moreover, there are ways to lower the chances of tuberculosis in your betta fish. Here are some ways you can prevent betta tuberculosis.

Quality Conditioned Water

You always recommend that you use only properly conditioned water in your betta tank. Water quality corresponds directly to the health of your betta. Thus, the use of adequately betta-conditioned water is recommended.

The water should be free of unwanted elements like ammonia, chlorine, chloramine, and nitrates. The water temperature (76-82 degrees F) and pH level (6-8) must be within the required limit. Regular water changes are also advisable (25% water change every week).

Proper Nutrional Diet

Lack of immunity is one of the significant causes of betta tuberculosis. To counter that, you should ensure that the betta fish is getting all the required nutrients. Betta fish generally follows a carnivorous diet rich in proteins. An ideal betta diet consists of betta flakes, betta pellets, daphnia, brine shrimps, and bloodworms.

Qurantine Tank

The betta fish should be quarantined right after being purchased for at least two weeks. As the symptoms of tuberculosis appear in bettas quite late, it is generally safe to isolate the betta fish at first. This is standard practice and should be done for the safety of your tank environment.

FAQs on Betta Tuberculosis

Can humans catch betta tuberculosis?

YES. Humans can catch tuberculosis from bettas, but it is generally not that serious. It would help if you always used gloves while making contact with a betta to prevent catching the disease.

How do you treat betta fish with TB?

There are currently no definite modes of treatment for betta fish affected by tuberculosis.

How many years can a betta live?

A captive betta fish, under ideal conditions, can live up to 2 to 5 years, perhaps even more, if proper care is provided to them.

Final Thoughts

Thus, tuberculosis is not exactly a fan of bettas, and betta tuberculosis generally proves to be fatal. There are no known modes of treatment for it, and it is challenging to identify the symptoms early. However, the silver lining is that the bacteria that causes betta tuberculosis rarely affects the betta.