Also known as exophthalmia, it’s caused by a hemorrhage produced by gas in the capillaries of the eye socket, affecting one or both eyes.
Your fish’s eye(s) will start to protrude from its head, and if left long enough without treatment, can fall out.
Not often fatal, however, if you don’t treat Popeye, it could spread and cause death.
- One or both eyes protruding
- Cloudy eye
- Bloodstained eye
- Ruptured eye
- Loss of vision
- General signs of lethargy
There are two types of Popeye: Unilateral and Bilateral. The root cause of a bilateral infection tends to be due to chronically poor water conditions for extended periods of time.
It’s generally found in aquariums that aren’t taken care of properly or have not fully established the nitrogen cycle.
While Unilateral Popeye may be caused by physical damage to the fish. This can include rough handling, collisions or fights between fish, and scraping the eye against hard objects.
Popeye can be difficult to treat because it consists of three different problems: damage to the cornea, accumulation of fluid behind the eye, and bacterial infection.
Assuming the fish is subjected to optimal water conditions and a balanced, vitamin-rich diet, minor corneal damage can improve over time.
And if your fish is healthy (in other regards), the swelling can diminish with time.
Epsom salt can be used to reduce swelling and should be used at a dose of 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons. It can be used to treat both salt and freshwater fish, however, it’s best to do so in a separate hospital tank.
Antibiotics and antibacterials similar to those used to treat fin rot can be useful for preventing damage to the cornea turning into full-blown Popeye.
However, once Popeye develops, different medications will be needed.