FAQs on Exophthalmia/Pop-Eye,
Related Articles: Exophthalmia/Pop-eye, Environmental Disease,
Related FAQs: Pop-Eye 1, Pop-Eye
2, & FAQs on Popeye: Causes/Etiology: Parasitic Involvements Suspected &
Real, Infectious Disease,
Cures, Case Histories, & Environmental Disease,
Behavior, Sources of Bubbles,
Anthias with swollen eye
I am writing to ask for help with one of my new Lyretail Anthias. I
bought three of these Anthias a week and a half ago and placed them in
an established 20 gallon QT tank along with two clownfish. On
last Friday I noticed the eye of the smallest Anthias was noticeably
swollen. I read on your site about pop eye and since there is only one
eye affected and all the other fish appear to be fine I figured
it was just an injury.
<Yes; usually the case>
I proceed to continue with daily water changes which has kept ammonia,
nitrite, and nitrate all at zero but the eye kept getting worse.
At this point I am not sure what to do for the fish.
<It's possible that the addition of Epsom salt might be ameliorative>
It is still eating but not as actively as before and tends to hide most
of the day. The other two Anthias seem to be picking on it but that has
slowed as the days go by. Is there anything I can do to help this fish?
Can an eye this bad heal on its own?
How long might it take? I have plenty of medication and Epsom salt on
hand that I can use but I thought I would ask
a more knowledgeable person than
myself before proceeding. Attached are a few photos. Thank you for your
<It's possible this one fish suffered "barotrauma" from collection... a
few days, a week before your acquiring it... There is only
"experimental" actions otherwise (that I know of) that you can try...
like inserting a fine needle in the outer eye... I am not encouraging
you. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish, unilateral Popeye 8/1/12
Greetings my fellow aquarists. Here is an update on my Bowers
After placing it back in the Display Tank, the eye scratching on the
Live Rock worsened and the size of the eye increased to where I don't
know how it did not burst. The fish was listless, not interested in
food, and appeared to be in very bad shape. I had to make a judgment
call, and reluctantly, placed it back in the 40 Gallon Long Quarantine
Tank. I purchased some Maracyn, and began the treatment. Within
2 days, the eye was half way down, after 4 days it was completely back
to normal size, and I tested the vision by waving my hand
against the Aquarium and the fish immediately reacted.! The 5 day course
just completed today. The Parrotfish ate a bunch of Mysid Shrimp
yesterday and is eating heartily today as well.! I did a 50% water
change and placed fresh carbon in the filter, to remove the rest of the
Maracyn. The Parrotfish is no longer laying in the shadows, but is
swimming around in the front, in the natural sunlight.! My question now,
is should I give this fish a couple days to recuperate after the
Treatment, or introduce it back into the main display. I appreciate your
help and advice as usual. Thank you.
<Likely time just going by, but thank you for this update and
Re: Bowers Parrotfish 8/1/12
Thank you Mister Fenner for your quick response. In my update I asked if
you recommend if I give the Parrotfish a couple of days to recuperate
from the medication, or to place it back in the display Tank right away.
Thank you as always for your advice and help.
<As usual, I'd shy on the side and be more conservative. Leave this fish
where it is for a few days more. Cheers, B>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish 8/1/12
Thank you Mister Fenner as always.
injury induced eye infection -- 11/08/11
<Oh, hello there Sara>
My Talbot damsel has a swollen eye. Since only the one eye is
swollen and it's not cloudy, I'm diagnosing this as an
injury-induced eye infection. I'm just looking for
confirmation since care for fish disease isn't exactly my
specialty. My water parameters all check out (1.025 salinity, 82
F, no ammonia, no nitrites; alkalinity, calcium and pH all in
normal range). Nothing else in the system appears to be
suffering, so I don't think it's a systemic problem.
I plan to treat with Epson <Epsom, not the electronics
maker> salt first, then antibiotic if that doesn't
<Likely will resolve on its own. Cheers, BobF>
Re: injury induced eye infection -- 11/08/11
Oops, forgot to attach pics. I'm attaching now.
<No worries. B>
PopEye query 3/26/11
Hi Guys and girls of the WWM crew.
I know there are a lot of questions regarding PopEye on your site but I
have a query I would just like your opinion on, as I'm stumped on
what to do for the best.
I have a pair of clarkii clowns in my display tank that have been in
there for a good 8 months now, I have just discovered the female has a
raised scratch on her side and on the same side has obtained PopEye, so
I'm assuming this is a mechanical injury, I'm unsure if it has
been done on the rock or if it is the result of swimming into my urchin
on lights out (certainly hope not),
<Mmm, it should never be completely dark in the room>
I have a huge black urchin (Spike) at over 1ft across that I've had
for over 3 years.
I have a 96l Nano tank that I was using as quarantine but, recently put
fish in and LR has I hadn't used it in so long, there are a pair of
pyjama cardinals (small), a Talbot damsel (small) and a jeweled algae
there. The display has the pair of clowns, a blood spot squirrel,
yellow tang, pair of Talbot damsels, Koran angel, Kole tang and the
urchin. Would it be better to leave the female clarkii where she is in
the display or
move her to the Nano, with the less aggressive fish but not as good
<Leave here where she is>
she's not being bothered in the display tank and is still feeding
well, so in my opinion its best leaving her be and let time do the
healing. Just wanted an expert opinion.
Also will this injury heal in time or is it permanent damage,
<Likely the former>
also is there
any treatments or anything else I can do to help in the healing
Thanks for your time as always
All the best
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Galba's Chrysiptera - can I save his eye?
After much good information from you regarding my flame angel
situation and a "yellow fish" that would be compatible
with my current fish - I am very excited to report that I was
able to get my hands on a Galba's Chrysiptera! I received him
about 4 days ago (online mail) - he is in a qt tank. Today I
noticed that he wasn't eating - by later in the afternoon his
head seemed discolored (darker). I thought it was my imagination.
A few hours later I took a good look at him from above and
noticed that his one eye is bulging
out of his head!
<I see this in your excellent photos>
I have read your website regarding popeye - but I am sending a
picture along to verify that this is what I am indeed dealing
with. I can try to get a better picture if needed. The eye itself
still looks clear, but everything around it looks bad. Its
bulging, the top and side of his head is darkly discolored and
behind his eye where it is bulging is red. If I didn't know
better I would say he has a pretty good "shiner". Can
you tell if it sounds/looks more bacterial or injury related
(possibly from shipping??)
<Most likely the latter; else both eyes would be
Could he lose his eye?
<Is a possibility; yes>
Would you start Maracyn and or Epsom salt, or just leave it for
now. I would like to take quick, but proper action. As always I
appreciate your help!
<I would begin this course of treatment; with slightly lowered
specific gravity... Do place a bit of cured live rock with this
fish... for security, aiding stability. Bob Fenner>
Re: Update on Galba's Chrysiptera - can I save his
eye? - and a shredded Firefish! 09/14/09
Hi BOB! I am so happy to hear from you! Thank you for your reply
- I have some more information - and another question. I'm
sorry to keep pestering. Over night I added Epsom salt to the QT
tank because the
swelling was increasing and I figured it couldn't hurt.
Obviously I am not seeing any major changes in less than 12 hours
- I know your website said anything from 1 - 4 days, although the
redness did spread from the back of his eye to the top.
Regardless, while doing more research on your website, I notice
that some people recommend Maracyn - and others prefer Furan -
which do you prefer?
<Both can be effective. Maracyn/Erythromycin is less
"dirty" to use>
I will put live rock in with him - but since the tank will be
medicated, will I be able to return the rock to my FOWLR display
tank when the fish is finally ready to add?
<Yes, I would>
Also do I remove the carbon from the QT filter while
<Mmm, if nothing is registering "out of whack"
metabolism-wise, I would>>
I assume yes but online the Maracyn info said it was not
Speaking of live rock - I purchased some recently - after QT-ing
it for several weeks (I do QT my live rock after I purchased a
piece that must not have been cured properly and resulted in an
isopod NIGHTMARE that destroyed half my stock) At the time, I had
written to WetWebMedia but received no response -
<Unusual... we respond to all. Might have "gotten
however faithful to your sight as I am - I was able to gather
that you were having e-mail trouble at the time. I did the best I
could - but ultimately ended up dumping all my sand - freezing my
live rock for 24 hours, reseeding it and pretty much starting
from scratch... sorry - I am digressing - I made a few changes to
the design of my rocks when I added the new stuff - this resulted
in one of my two Firefish gobies who have
lived together peacefully for months (even consistently sharing
the same bolt hole) becoming aggressive and beating the crap out
of his "friend" chasing him all over the tank. I
removed the aggressive guy - and he is
now in yet another QT tank (timeout) until his friend - who now
has no dorsal fin and a tail that looks like its been through a
paper shredder - heals and defines his territory. Any suggestions
on how to add the more
aggressive guy back in? Or would it be better to keep only the
<Float it in the system... in a plastic colander for a few
days... This very commonly takes the "spit and vinegar"
out of aggressors. BobF>
Re: Update on Galba's Chrysiptera - can I save his
eye? - and a shredded Firefish! 09/14/09
Really? Floating him - amazing! I'll try it as soon as the
other guy heals up a little more. Well - if I did not thank you
for your help properly in my last e-mail, you have my sincerest
gratitude! Oh yes - just
an FYI that I found interesting -maybe you do too. None of my LFS
ever heard of a deep water canary damsel - and none were able to
order one special for me when I inquired. One even laughed at me
for being willing to spend $50 or more for a "damsel".
I think he's gorgeous.
<I do agree... the genus Chrysiptera has some real gems. I do
see this species at the better wholesalers (Quality Marine,
Tropic Marine Centre...) and in "rich folks tanks"...
Is a hardy beauty. BobF>
Re: Update on Galba's Chrysiptera - something else
must be going 09/14/09
on - I think its too late
It has now been about an hour after adding the Maracyn to the QT
- I looked to find my canary damsel lying on his side gasping for
air at the bottom of the tank. I understand fish don't die
from popeye - maybe I missed something, it happened so fast,
maybe I got to him too late, I'm racking my brain - this is
agonizing to watch him suffer. I imagine if there was a secondary
infection the Maracyn would be helping - but he is getting
Is there anything I can do at this point?
<I'd move this fish back to the main/display tank, stat.
Would removing the medication help? Have you ever heard of a fish
recovering once he reaches this point?
Re: Too late for Galba's Chrysiptera?
I removed the canary damsel from the medicated tank and placed
him in a tank with fresh saltwater. I didn't feel I had a
choice - he was laying there dying - I couldn't let that
happen without doing "something". So I took a chance.
He lay on the bottom on his side for about 5 minutes then righted
himself and is now hiding behind the rock I placed in there
him. He is no longer laying on his side. Could this have been a
reaction to the medication.
<Yes... or likely better put, a reaction to the secondary
effects of adding it>
I double checked the dosing instruction - I did not make a
measuring mistake. However I did use Maracyn plus - because it
indicated it was for saltwater.
<Is indeed. BobF>
Re: Too late for Galba's Chrysiptera?
In my haste (or maybe panic is a better choice) to update
you, my last e-mail may not have made sense. The canary
damsel is now in another tank (3 gallon acrylic) with only
saltwater and Epsom salt - no medication.
<Mmm... one last time, I would have moved this fish back
to the main display. Any other setting is going to be
inferior, more stressful>
I am in the process of cleaning out the original QT to rid
it of medication residue. The temporary tank his is in has
filtration and a rock which he is still hiding behind. I
hesitate to disturb him, and I don't think I should
stress him out more by attempting to move him into the
bigger QT at this point, but I did remove the rock for a
few minutes to take a good look.
He stays only at the bottom of the tank, and made no
attempt to move at all when I put in my hand and pulled out
the rock. The top of his head, above his eye and behind his
eye are now completely black.
<A bad sign... nervous damage, or...>
He is showing a red streak above his top "lip".
The swelling of his injured left eye appears to have gone
only slightly and the eye itself is still clear. The
gill(?) area behind his injured left eye appears to be
swollen now. And if you look at him straight on, you can
see that he is leaning to the right. I have yet to see him
eat in the past few days - yet I notice today he has a long
white strand of feces (with some dark globs on it) hanging
from him. Possibly a parasite on top of everything
He made it through the night - he's a fighter - I
refuse to give up on him. I am attempting to get more
pictures to send along later today. I find myself again in
desperate need of your expertise. Is he too weak to
try to medicate again?
<Won't avail you anything>
How can I entice him to eat? Garlic? Would adding Selcon
vitamins directly to the water do anything at all to get
his strength up or would that even be too stressful?
<Only time now>
Thank you as always - the service that you provide is
re: More photos - Too late for Galba's
Mr. Fenner - I have attached more photos of my canary
damsel as promised.
He seems to be swimming in circles on the bottom - at least
while I was trying to photograph him.
<... very bad. B>
Too late for Galba's Chrysiptera
Mr. Fenner - my canary damsel unfortunately just died. I
don't know what else I could have done - but I do
appreciate everything you did to assist me. I am still
interested in your thoughts regarding the last e-mail with
photos. It never hurts to acquire knowledge for future
Sincerest regards and gratitude,
<I fully suspect this fish was damaged in being
captured, held, shipped (quite common)... I would ask your
supplier in turn to enquire of theirs for
credit/replacement. Bob Fenner>
Queen Angel Eye Injury 4/15/09
Good Morning Bob and Crew,
I have a client that has a 500 gallon system which contains a XL
Queen, L Volitans, 2 x L Yellow Tangs, M Porcupine Puffer and a
12" Epaulette Shark.
The system has been up and running for about a year with little
However, when I showed up for servicing last night, the client
informed me that he bought and placed an Imperator Angel into the
system. The Imperator is approximately 6" long, which is
about 3-4" smaller then the Queen. As you can see by the
picture, the Queen has a severe eye injury.
It looks like the lens has been completely ripped off. You can
also see his left pectoral fin has some damage, this is also true
of his right pectoral fin as well as his caudal fin.
<I see this>
I informed my client that the damage was due to the introduction
of the Imperator.
Of course he denied that and thought I could just add some
miracle medicine to the tank to clear it up. My question is, do
you think there is any chance this eye will heal, or will she be
permanently blind in that eye?
<There is a chance... will take time... months>
When I fed them last night, she ate wonderfully, but only what
she could see on her right side. I will be removing the
Imperator, how Im not too sure yet, perhaps even with a small
fishing pole, because I don't feel like removing the 500-600
lbs of live rock that's in there.
Scott C. Wirtz
Owner, Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations
<I'd leave the Imperator in... as this is your customers
purchase, wish likely... And the new Angel may have had little to
do with the apparent injuries of the Queen. I would suggest you
sell your customer food
supplements (e.g. Selcon) to add to foods. Cheers, Bob
Clown fish with bulging eye 4/16/08 Dear Wet Web Media
Crew, <Mark> You guys have become my favorite resource on
the internet. I have done some reading on clown fish with a
single bulging eye on the website and that it seems that it is
probably due to an injury (bump in the night) but I guess like
most aquarists I am just wanting to ensure that this is all it
might be. I have a 75 gallon with 175w metal halides. The system
has been setup for a little over a year with stable water
parameters. Other inhabitants include a golden headed sleeper
goby, coral beauty angel, 4 pajama cardinals, royal Gramma, 2
porcelain crabs, blue hermits, Astreas snails, Cerith snails, and
a couple of turbo snails along with a toad stool leather, colt
coral, RBTA, pulsing xenia, some Zoa's, and various
mushrooms. The clowns chose to host in the colt coral as
you'll be able to see by the attached picture.. They have
been hosting in this coral for more than 6 months. Thanks in
advance for any advice. Mark <I do concur, agree with you that
this eye complaint is highly likely due to a mechanical injury...
and will solve itself over time. Bob Fenner>
Re: clown fish with bulging eye 4/28/08 Bob,
<Mark> I just wanted to let you know that my clowns eye has
healed and she is still boss of the tank. Thank You so much for
your help in validating my research on your most excellent
website/resource. <Ahh~! Thank you for this follow-up.
|Clown Trigger with Cloudy Eye: 4-6-08 Good
Morning Crew! <Good Morning! Yunachin here!> I noticed my
clown trigger's left eye has turned white and cloudy today
(picture attached) . I also see a tiny little rip or something in
the eye. Is this a disease or due to aggression from the other
smaller Humu that is in the tank? They have been getting along
fine. <As it was just one eye, it was more than likely due to
some physical trauma, maybe from another fish, or even scratching
it on a rock. I also received your forwarded email about it doing
better and I am glad. Keep pristine water condition and feed food
with vitamins to help keep his immune system up and watch that eye
incase anymore problems should occur.> As always, thank you for
your help! <Not a problem! --Yunachin>
Coral Beauty eye problem 12/19/07 Hi, We got this Coral
Beauty 2 weeks ago. It has developed a bulging eye on 1 side.
Sorry it's difficult to get it out of the rocks for a
picture. Should I try the Epsom salts treatment and remove him to
a QT? <Mmm, I would not... Your pic shows that this eye
condition is highly likely due to a physical trauma...
there's even a residual "white dot" about and
forward of the eye, where the animal bumped into something> He
is in a 90 gallon right now. I have a well established 10 gallon
nano with live rock and no fish in right now. If I put it in
there will Epsom salts harm the live rock in the tank or should I
put the fish in a tub? Also here is an exotic vet close to our
house that treats fish. Should I bring him there? Thanks, Barb
<I would leave this Centropyge where it is... perhaps adding
some liquid vitamin prep. to the foods, water will aid in
recovery here. Selcon, Micro-Vit... Bob Fenner>
Re: Coral Beauty eye problem 12/23/07 Thanks so much
he/she is looking much better. <Ah, good. Thank you for this
Eye Problem... in a Holocentrid 12/27/06
Hello, I have a red striped squirrel fish that is about 5 inches in
length. Over the last three days air bubbles have shown up inside the
left eye and appear to be growing larger. The fish is eating fine and
acting normal. What causes this and is this a concern. Jeff Fiorita
<Such one-sided "bulging eye" conditions are generally due
to a physical trauma... a "bump in the night" with consequent
damage to the vascular network (the eyes of fishes, as the those of
humans, are supplied with a good deal of blood flow/drainage)... As
opposed to most "bilateral exopthalmic conditions" which are
environmental (e.g. emphysematosis) or pathogenic in nature. Cure
involves maintaining optimized and stable conditions... and patience...
Will typically resolve itself in weeks to months. Bob Fenner>
Poor Picasso Trigger with Popeye - 4/7/07 I have had a Picasso
trigger for almost the last year and he has been a great little guy.
His only tankmate is a clown trigger (who is rapidly growing)
<Yikes... not compatible> that was purchased around the same
time. Several months ago I moved them from a 46 gallon into the current
75 gallon. I have about 45 lbs of live rock and use a Fluval 404 filter
with a Coralife 125 gallon super skimmer. I do weekly water changes of
about 10 gallons and continually have nitrates around 15ppm. Around the
time that I moved them the Picasso began to have bulgy eyes. Not just
one but both so I looked up what I could find figured that it might
just be poor water quality. I was doing very large weekly water changes
of about 20 gallons which seemed to help. The Popeye was sporadic, some
days it was there and would stay for a several and then he would be
just fine for week only to have it appear again. He eats and swims just
fine now. The Clown trigger has never shown any signs of Popeye, so I
also don't think that it could be a water quality issue anymore.
Occasionally the Picasso's colors lighten up substantially but he
is usually quite dark in color and very colorful. I feed them a large
assortment of foods including Clams, shrimp, squid, krill, mysis,
brine, mussels, and trigger formula. I believe their diet to be fine
and am glad that the Picasso eats normally. Last week I moved the
Picasso into a ten gallon quarantine tank and decided to treat him with
Maracyn as I believed this to be the best course of action to take. It
began to look as though it was working the next day and appeared so
until the last day of treatment. I woke up and his eyes were just as
bulgy as before. I did further reading and decided that maybe I should
be treating with Maracyn-2 as I had read that rarely do fish have gram
positive bacterial infections which is what the Maracyn is supposed to
treat. I have begun treating with Maracyn-2 and have noticed no
results. I am almost at a loss for what to do now as this is my
favorite fish and is a joy to watch everyday. Thank you for all your
help. Sincerely, John C. <Mmm... well, the etiologies of such
bulging can be complex... there might be an internal parasite at play
here... As you relate that the Clown is not affected, I too discount
the possibility of fine air-bubbles, some other physical or chemical
cause here... I do encourage you to try switching (almost exclusively)
to Spectrum fish food... for three reasons... One, it is nutritionally
complete... two, the problem may be related to some part of the food
you're currently offering, and lastly, as am hopeful this may
reduce some part, extend the time till the Clown becomes overtly
aggressive/territorial toward the Picasso. Bob Fenner>
Popeye Could this be spread to my other fish? Should he be taken
out of the main take? <Not likely if unilateral... read over the
sources sent to you... www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>