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Popeye Disease in Fish: Symptoms and Treatment 2023 Fish Species

Popeye Disease, commonly seen in goldfish among other species, can lead to blindness or even death if left untreated. However, it is generally treatable. Causes of this disease can range from water pollution to physical injury.

What is Popeye Disease?

Popeye, medically known as exophthalmia, is a disease where the fish’s eyes bulge out noticeably. The disease can affect one or both eyes. Some rare fish, like the Telescope goldfish, naturally have bulging eyes; this is not a disease. It is essential not to mistake these species as diseased and treat them unnecessarily.

Symptoms of Popeye Disease:

The symptoms of Popeye are easily recognizable. The most obvious sign is the bulging or swelling of one or both eyes. This swelling can vary in severity. There are also other accompanying symptoms:

  • Bulging eyes due to fluid accumulation behind the eye.
  • Stretching of the eye socket.
  • Refusal to move.
  • Refusal to eat.
  • Constant hiding.
  • Some swelling in the body.
  • Appearance of blood in the eye.
  • Detachment or tearing of the eye globe.

Causes of Popeye Disease:

There can be multiple causes for Popeye disease:

  1. Injury: If only one eye is affected, the probable cause is physical trauma. The fish might have been hit by another fish or scratched against a sharp object. Monitoring the injured eye and ensuring it doesn’t get infected is essential.
  2. Poor water quality: It’s crucial to check the quality of the water in your aquarium. Delicate species or weak fish will be the first to show signs if there’s an issue. Gas accumulation due to CO2 in planted tanks can also cause eye swelling.
  3. Infection: Although not definite, if both eyes show symptoms, it’s likely due to an infection. Parasites or bacteria can cause infections. An already present disease leading to fluid accumulation can make the treatment more complicated.
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Treatment for Popeye Disease:

Treating Popeye can be relatively straightforward. If it’s not due to an infection, merely keeping the fish stress-free might allow it to heal on its own. Additionally, using aquarium salt can expedite recovery. Removing any sharp objects that might injure the fish is also crucial.

Fantail Goldfish

For a guaranteed recovery process, it’s advisable to quarantine the fish. Ensure the water quality in the quarantine tank is monitored and change about 30% of the water every 2-3 days. Simple water testing kits can help you monitor essential parameters like pH, ammonia, oxygen, and nitrites.

If the Popeye is due to an infection, a quarantine tank is essential. However, if multiple fish are affected, you might need to treat the main aquarium. In cases of infection, medication is crucial. Flagyl syrup is recommended. You can soak their food with a bit of this medication before feeding.

Instead of hoping that your fish won’t get Popeye disease, it’s better to take preventive measures. Regularly changing the aquarium water, avoiding harmful objects, choosing quality feed, and daily observation can help in early detection and prevention of diseases.

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