Pop Eye
Pop Eye

Pop Eye

Pop eye is a condition, not a specific disease, and it can be the result of a number of different causes. Possible causes include internal bacterial infections by Exophthalmus and Corneybacteriosis, trauma to the eye, and a suboptimal environment. It is common for a fish suffering from bacterial pop eye to become infected by fungi due to its weakened state.

Environmental factors can include factors such as high levels of ammonia, ammoniac, nitrite, or nitrate, or otherwise poor water quality. It can also be caused by a carbon dioxide level in the water that is too high as a result of carbon dioxide enrichment of the water. If the carbon dioxide is released as bubbles the fish can swallow them, and this can cause pop eye.

Almost any trauma to the eye can cause pop eye. Common causes of trauma are other aggressive fish and sharp aquarium decorations.

Pop eye is easy to identify since it causes they eye to swell up and protrude from its eye socket. The eye will also often become clouded. It is possible to guess the cause of the pop eye based on the symptoms.

  1. If only one eye is infected, it is usually caused by an injury.
  2. Pop eye caused by bacterial infection or environmental issues usually affects both eyes.
  3. If pop eye on both eyes is followed by a fungal infection, it is usually bacterial pop eye.
  4. If pop eye on both eyes is not followed by a fungal infection, the pop eye is usually caused by environmental issues.

You can never be 100% sure and what is written above should only be seen as a way to increase the likelihood of determining the cause of the pop eye, not as a sure-fire way of determining it.

Never wait for a fungal infection before starting treatment. If your fish displays pop eye on both eyes, you should immediately take the steps recommend below against both bacterial and environmental pop eye.

Treating pop eye

Different types of pop eye require different treatments. Pop eye caused by trauma can often heal by itself if given optimal conditions. Move the fish with pop eye to a tank where it can be alone and won't get stressed by other fish.  Make sure to keep perfect water quality in the tank.  Adding a tablespoon of Epson salt for every 5 gallon of water in your tank may help the recovery.

Pop eye caused by environmental factors can often be dealt with in a similar fashion. It is very important to improve water quality and other environmental issues to avoid more fish getting sick. Fish will never get well if you don't improve the environment.

Bacterial pop eye can be hard to treat as it is an internal infection and internal infections are always harder to treat than external since it is harder to get the meds to the place where they are needed. Treat bacterial pop eye with a broad spectrum antibiotic. That is usually effective if the infection hasn't progressed too far already. A fish given antibiotics can recover even from severe cases, but the more severe the case is the harder it will be to successfully treat it.