Fish Tuberculosis

General Information (?)
Scientific Name Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Common Name Tuberculosis
Disease Type Bacterial
Ease Of Treatment Unknown
Treatment Method Unknown

Fish Tuberculosis is a free-living bacteria that not only can affect fish species but also can be transmitted to humans. Therefore, we highly recommend care when dealing with this disease and avoiding placing your hands inside of any of the water, touching the fish directly, or dealing with any of the fish's equipment without wearing gloves or other means of protection.


There are various ways in which tuberculosis can be detected and seen within infected fish and humans. A majority of the symptoms that the fish has, a human will have if they come into contact with this disease and do not use the correct protection to prevent themselves from getting it.

The first symptoms that the fish will display include becoming lethargic, having a hollow stomach area, coloration on the body starting to fade away, fins starting to fray or rot, and scales might start to appear to be falling off and lastly signs of ulcers underneath the scales. Once the disease starts to fully spread inside of the fish includes yellow or dark red bumps appear under the body or eyes with the fish starting to develop a bent spine.


A majority of fish species already carry this bacterium either within their bodies or through the food that they naturally eat. When the fish has no other weaknesses in their immune system due to good conditions and a proper diet, the bacteria will stay dormant. However, once the fish's immune system becomes weak the bacteria will reactivate and can start to infect not only the fish but any other fish that comes in contact with the infected fish. In a majority of environments, this bacterium is spread by fish bullying the weaker fish or attempting to eat its body once the infected fish dies, thereby now infecting the healthy fish and turning them into a carrier of this bacteria.

Sadly, due to the way that this bacterium can stay alive in hosts that do not have a weak immune system, make sure to keep water conditions perfect, make sure to not overstock the setup with too many fish, and also have the correct water temperature set is very important. Many have noted that the most common carriers of this disease are labyrinth fish due to the nature of how they are commonly bred in poor conditions while sharing water with all of their neighboring fish.

Treatment and Medication

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this disease although many have stated that using a bacterial and fungus medication does slow down and can prevent death if given at the very early stages. A common treatment that many aquarists use once they see the starting symptoms of this disease is to make sure that the water conditions are kept near perfect and to also treat them with Kanamycin. The early stages include where the fish may be showing very little swelling, stop eating for days, have symptoms of other diseases, and even will be alone and not near or with any other inhabitants. There is no known documented proof such medicines do truly work once the second symptoms start showing.