Bone And Muscle Disorders in Fish

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 2, 2008

Pleistophora Hyphessobryconis & Broken Back

Much like other animals, fishes can have bone and muscle disorders.

Symptoms and Types 

One such bone and muscle disorder is Broken Back Disease, which is typically due to a vitamin C deficiency. This disease will literally bend the fish's backbone. However, injuries are sometimes the cause of an abnormal backbone.

Another typical bone and muscle disorder is caused by the parasite Pleistophora hyphessobryconis. This parasite attacks the skeletal muscle – responsible for movement – of freshwater aquarium fishes, like neon tetra and angelfish. The fishes infected with the parasite, which has caused muscle damage, will then have abnormal muscle movements.

To identify the parasite infection, the veterinarian will perform a microscopic examination. However, there is no treatment for this particular bone and muscle disorder. The only way to prevent the disease from spreading is to remove all infected fishes from the tank, aquarium or fishpond.


Bone and muscle disorders in fishes are due to various reasons, including infections, parasites, injuries and nutritional imbalance. The disorders caused by a nutritional imbalance, are because of a deficiency in vitamins (i.e, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E and selenium).


It is important you quarantine all fishes that may be infected; this will prevent a possible spread of infection. Also, fishes with bone and muscle disorders due to infection, should be kept in a medicated tank or aquarium – following the treatment prescribed by your veterinarian.

Keep your fishes on a nutritionally balanced diet. Fishes with dietary imbalances should be given vitamins. If caught at an early stage, it will help the fishes suffering from bone and muscle disorders.

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