Aquarium Fish with Popeye Disease

Goldfish with Popeye

Popeye illness occurs when a fish's eye grows and bulges out of its socket. Cloudy eyes are another possibility. Popeye illness can cause a fish's eyesight to deteriorate or potentially result in the loss of one eye if left untreated. Infection, injury, and poor water quality are all potential causes of fish popeye. Popeye in fish can typically be treated, although the therapy varies on the reason.

What Is Popeye Disease?

Exophthalmia, often known as Popeye illness, is a condition in which a fish's eye swells and protrudes unnaturally from its socket. Protruding eyeballs are common in some aquarium fish, such as black moor goldfish and telescope-eye goldfish; this is not the same as popeye illness. Popeye in fish can damage one or both eyes. In certain situations, the fish's eyes may seem hazy.

Symptoms of Popeye Disease

Popeye illness is characterized by one or both aquarium fish eyes protruding from their sockets. The bulge might be slight, especially early on in the disease, or it can be fairly noticeable, with the entire eye and socket seeming inflated. The fish may display different indicators of disease depending on the origin and severity of the popeye.

Signs of Popeye Disease in Aquarium Fish

  • Protrusion of one or both eyeballs
  • Stretching of the eye socket
  • Discoloration or blood in the eyeball
  • Rupture of the eyeball
  • Cloudiness of the eyeball
  • Inactivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hiding or other behavioral changes
  • Swollen body
  • Clamped fins

Popeye begins with a slight bulging of one or both eyes in fish species that do not ordinarily have prominent eyes. The pressure of fluid flowing into the region behind the eyeball causes this. The bulge can become extremely obvious as the illness advances, leading to further symptoms. The eye may seem blurry, bleeding, or purple if the swelling ruptures the cornea. It is possible for afflicted eyes to burst entirely in extreme cases. If this happens, the fish may survive, but the afflicted eye will be blind.

Changes in behavior—a once energetic fish suddenly hides or remains towards the bottom of the tank, for example—or a decrease of appetite manifested by not aggressively chasing food are all signs of distress. You may also notice that your fish's fins are pressed against its body, that its scales are elevated or rough, or that its entire body is enlarged.

Causes of Popeye Disease

Popeye can be caused by a variety of factors, and the exact underlying disease is sometimes never identified. Fish popeye is most usually caused by an injury, an illness, or poor aquarium water conditions.

  • If only one eye is affected (unilateral), it is likely that the condition is caused by an injury rather than a problem with the water chemistry. This is particularly true if only one fish in a community tank is exhibiting popeye. A swollen eye can be the outcome of a fight with another fish, or your fish could have scraped its eye against an abrasive object in the tank. If this happens, look for damage to the eye—a dead giveaway that exophthalmia is the result of an injury. In most injuries, the protruding eye will eventually recede as it heals. However, the fish should be monitored closely, as infection can ensue, causing the fish to lose sight in the affected eye.
  • Another cause of popeye is an infection. This is most likely seen in both eyes. Infection may be caused by a variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, and parasites. If the fish suffers from both popeye and , the prognosis is bleak. Internal problems, such as kidney failure or a metabolic issue can result in fluid build-up, making it extremely hard to treat your fish.
  • Poor  can also contribute to popeye and fish that are sensitive will be affected first. If one or more fish in your tank presents with popeye, test your water to determine if something is amiss with its chemistry. Also consider supersaturation of gas in the water, which can be seen as tiny bubbles on the sides of the aquarium and even in the fish's skin. This can cause gas to accumulate in the eyes and make them swell.

Diagnosing Popeye Disease in Aquarium Fish

To determine fish popeye, no diagnostic tests or procedures are utilized. Instead, the typical symptom of bulging eyes on a fish not particularly developed for this feature can be used to identify it.

Treatment of Popeye Disease

The underlying cause of popeye will determine the treatment. If the eye is wounded, it will usually recover on its own if the fish does not get agitated or acquire a secondary illness. While the eye recovers, you can provide palliative care to the fish by applying (unless contraindicated). This aids in the reduction of edema. Any tank decorations that might cause more injury, including as rough or sharp pebbles, pointed plants, and ornamental items with rough or pointed edges, should be removed.

Regular water changes and water chemistry monitoring are also suggested throughout the recovery period, since poor water quality is a major cause of popeye and other fish illnesses. If reveal a problem, such as a fluctuating pH or high levels of ammonia or nitrite, address it immediately to minimize further stress.

To avoid infecting other fish, any fish that appears to have a bacterial illness should be transferred to a quarantine tank. To clear the illness, give this fish a broad-spectrum antibiotic indicated by your pet supplier or veterinarian. If more than one fish is ill, antibiotics may be required for the main tank as well. To ensure robust immune systems, all fish should be fed high-quality diet.

Prognosis for Fish With Popeye Disease

Fortunately, your fish is likely to make a full recovery if you take actions to repair or eliminate the source of the popeye illness, especially if the condition was caused by an accident. If an infection or water imbalance is the cause, your fish may lose the afflicted eye or succumb to stress or illness if not treated swiftly.

How to Prevent Popeye Disease

There is no magic bullet to avoid popeye because it is caused by such a wide range of conditions. Popeye's chances of striking are considerably reduced if the tank is well kept, partial water changes are made on a regular basis, and the fish are provided healthy food. To assist tilt the scales in your favor, keep an eye on the tank water chemistry and look for symptoms of disease in your fish on a daily basis. Popeye is unlikely to occur if basic care is diligently performed. And even if it occurs, it is unlikely to be lethal.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.