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FAQs on Freshwater Popeye, aka Exophthalmia, Other Eye Issues: Causes, Etiologies

Related Articles: Environmental Disease, FW Disease Troubleshooting, Freshwater Diseases, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks,

FAQs on Eye Troubles: Causes/Etiologies: Trauma/Mechanical Injuries, Parasitic Involvements Suspected & Real, Infectious Disease, & Treatments/Cures, Case Histories, Related FAQs: Environmental Disease 1, Environmental Disease 2, Popeye/Exophthalmia, Nutritional Disease, Aquarium Maintenance, Establishing Nutrient Cycling, African Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease,

Causes and cures vary

Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11
I bought an Angelfish a week or two ago. It seemed fine when I bought it.
The last few days I have noticed it's eyes both look cloudy. They are not bulging or anything. I had my water tested at my local fish shop and they said everything looked good. I am treating my tank with Melafix as I have a Lyretail Swordtail with tail rot. It got it after a bout with Ich.
All of my other fish look fine. The Angelfish does not swim around much and doesn't really seem to be eating much either. The past couple of days he seems to hide more than anything. I have searched the net and not really found any helpful results. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, Ray
<Hello Ray. Cloudy eyes that appear overnight usually imply physical damage (especially if just one eye is cloudy) or poor environmental conditions (the usual explanation if both eyes are cloudy). It's absolutely crucial you review the situation here. While it's possible the fish was damaged in transit, be open minded to the idea your tank isn't perfect. Just to recap, a single Angelfish needs at least 75 litres/20 gallons of water, excellent water quality (0 ammonia and 0 nitrite), middling to high water temperature (24-28 C/75-82 C), and very peaceful tankmates. Things like loaches, Otocinclus catfish, and some of the barbs like Tiger Barbs will frighten and/or damage Angelfish and thus make poor tankmates. Because you've got Swordtails, which need cool, hard water (22-24 C/72-75 F; hardness 10+ degrees dH; pH 7.5) it's unlikely you have good conditions for both Swordtails and Angels, so one or other species will likely be stressed.
Review, and act accordingly. Cloudy eyes in cichlids very quickly turns into Pop-eye, and that's difficult to treat. Melafix is a poor medication for situations like this, and I doubt it'll help with Finrot anyway, so not sure I'd bother. Instead, find an antibacterial or antibiotic medication that's safe and reliable. Here in the UK, I usually recommend eSHa 2000, but in other countries you'll have other options. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11
Hey Neale,
Thanks for the quick response. I wish I had found this site and talked to you all before I bought this some what expensive medication.
<Glad to help.>
The gentlemen at my LFS sold this as some sort of miracle drug that will cure about anything from fin rot to tooth decay.
<Uh'¦ no.>
I spoke with him just this morning about the cloudy eyes and he informed me to keep treating with the Melafix.
<I bet.>
He said it would treat the cloudy eyes and prevent Pop-eye.
<Pop-eye is treatable, but accordingly to Bob just requires simply good conditions'¦ see here:
Must admit, that's never been my experience, and you may prefer to get out the Roto-Rooter grade antibiotics.>
Seems I need to find a more reputable fish shop which is kind of hard to do in the area in which I live.
<May well be the case.>
Aside from a couple of small pet shops, about all we have is Wal-Mart and Meijer. I am new to keeping an aquarium so I am still in my learning curve.
I have a 29 gallon tank. In this tank I have Mollies, Platys, Swordtails, Angelfish, a Gold Mystery Snail, an upside down cat and a Striped Raphael in which my LFS said would all do fine in this tank together. So are these not good tank mates for each other?
<Well, kinda-sort. Apple Snails rarely last long in tropical fish tanks period, so accept that chap's disposable and remove at the first sign of death. Both catfish are social species that would be happier in groups, and I'd be very surprised if you see either of them swimming about during the day. But yeah, they're both pretty good species, even if the Raphael gets pretty big and potentially predatory on Neon-sized fish. Synodontis are not beyond nibbling on Angelfish fins. The three livebearers need hard water, which the Angel and the two catfish don't particularly enjoy, and of these fish, the Platies and Swords do prefer cooler water, 22-24 C/72-75 F. So no, they're not an ideal mix, but in moderately hard, slightly basic (10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5) water kept at, say, 25 C/77 F, I'd expect them to get along okay.>
They all seem to be doing pretty good aside from the cloudy eyes in my Angelfish that I just noticed over the last couple of days. I bought some of those test strips (which I was recently informed were un-reliable)
<Perhaps, but better than nothing. They're the ones I use, for what it's worth.>
and according to the strips the nitrates and nitrites are 0, the hardness (GH) is around 150 ppm,
<Medium general hardness.>
the alkalinity (KH) is 180 ppm
<Medium carbonate hardness.>
and the ph is about 7.8.
<Moderately basic.>
I keep the water temp around 79 F.
<Bit warm for the Platies and Swords.>
Any suggestions you could offer as to What fish would do good with these water parameters would be greatly appreciated.
<You're pretty well stocked already, my friend! If this were me, I'd prefer to keep 2-3 species really well (in terms of population size and water chemistry/temperature) rather than a mish-mash of six, seven or more species.>
It is nice to know that there are people out there who care enough to take the time to put up a site that is filled with so much valuable information. Thanks for all the help and keep up the good work.
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes 4/8/11

Thanks for the advise.
<Glad to help.>
I will look into getting some of those books. I wasn't planning on adding anymore fish but rather returning some of the ones that were not suitable for my tank.
<I see.>
I hate that I have to do that because I really like all my fish.
<Well, if their fate is likely to be sold to a poor fishkeeper, then by all means hang onto them. Angels and the Cats should be fine in your water.
It's just not perfect for them.>
Especially my two Marble Veiled Angelfish. I have to do what's best for the fish though. It's a lot like raising kids. LOL! You are right about the two Catfish. I don't see them much during the day. I rarely see my Raphael even at night. He stays hidden inside a log. He found him a hole in there so I can't see him at all.
<Typical of the species, genus, family.>
I have had him for a couple of weeks and I have only seen him once at night. I check on him once in a while to make sure he is still alive. I have done a lot of reading online and it seems a lot of people experience the same with this Catfish.
<Yes, but they're often keeping them singly. But even in groups, virtually all of the Doradidae are very nocturnal. The Synodontis species are rather better aquarium fish. I have three Synodontis nigriventris, the Dwarf Upside-Down Catfish, and they swim about during the day quite a bit. Kept singly, you almost never see this species during the day.>
Really nice looking fish though. Thanks again for the advise.
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes (RMF, can Melafix cause cloudy eyes?)<<In a word, yes. RMF>> 4/8/11
Just one more question. Since I have already started the treatment with the Melafix, should I continue the treatment for the duration it recommended or should I stop it now and return my carbon filter to the tank.
<A good rule for most situations is to finish the course of medications as instructed on the packaging. Bob may have an alternative opinion though.>
I started the treatment two days ago and the water seems to be getting cloudy. It says to treat for seven days. I don't know if it has anything to do with it or not but I just noticed that when I started the Melafix treatment is about the same time I noticed the cloudy eyes in the one Angelfish. I read the cap wrong on the first dose and put more than I was supposed to.
<Ah, I see.>
Could this have anything to do with the cloudy eyes?
<I'd imagine *any* irritant in the water could cause damage to the outside of the eyes.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish with cloudy eyes (RMF, can Melafix cause cloudy eyes?) 4/8/11
Thanks again for the advise. You been a great help. Take care and thanks again for the site.
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

3YR old Red Devil with eye bump 7/3/10
Hi I have a eye problem with my red devil named Redd that is 3 years old.
First we noticed that there was a white Flem on his left eye, then it turned into small bubble we went and had our water checked everything checked out fine but the pet store suggested we get something for stress.
We did get the stress relief but the bubble seemed to get worst and bigger after a week on his eye. Please help me with this problem I don't wont to lose my Red Devils eye or have him go blind. Please tell me what I need to do to help him. He eats his pellets good and he still has all of his spunk he's very active in the fish tank.
<Hello Tony. Pop-eye like this is down to one of two things, water quality or physical damage. When just one eye becomes swollen, the odds nudge towards physical damage: fighting, running into rocks if the tank is too small, clumsy netting when the fish was moved about, etc. There's no "treatment" as such; all you can do is [a] optimise water quality and diet; and [b] use an antibiotic to minimise any infections (a combination of Metronidazole and Nitrofuranace alongside Epsom salt is recommended, but if in doubt, ask a vet).
In all likelihood this chap will lose his eye, but as you've noticed, this doesn't affect most fish at all seriously. Since freshwater fish especially live in waters where visibility is often minimal, they are very good at using their lateral line and other senses to compensate for partial blindness. Cheers, Neale.>

Balloon Ram and Popeye? 5/23/10
Hi Guys,
Great site!
I'm having some problems with one of my balloon rams - he appears to have developed Popeye.
<Need to know the conditions. Mass produced Mikrogeophagus ramirezi are weak fish at the best of times, and this is made worse because many aquarists are mislead (or don't research) about their requirements. To wit, they need very warm (28-30 C) water that is very soft (1-3 degrees dH) and very acidic (pH 5.5-6.5). Try to keep them in hard water and you're essentially taking a gamble. Balloon Rams are inbred and deformed, so they're obviously even weaker than the standard sort, and like farmed Rams, they're exposed to bacterial infections and "juiced" with antibiotics and hormones. I routinely recommend people don't buy them, and I know lots of pet store managers who dislike stocking them, but the market for Ram cichlids is huge.>
As I'm from the UK then I'm kind of limited to the treatments I can apply. To date I've been treating him with Interpet 9,
<Yet to see/hear this cure anything.>
but his condition hasn't improved!
This includes dosing as advised and also a 3 day 'intensive' daily dosing in case of a 'hardened' bug!
No change! I'm currently trying a treatment of Epsom salt in an attempt to 'draw' the infection.
<Doesn't do anything of the sort. "Drawing" infections is a mediaeval concept, so let's put it to one side. Epsom salt changes the water chemistry, and draws out fluid from the body of the fish while relaxing muscles. This can help reduce swelling, though in and of itself, it isn't a cure or a medicine. It's like taking a hot bath with Radox salts: makes you feel better if you have 'flu, but isn't actually curing you any.>
I'm getting a little concerned that he may have fish TB!!
<Fish TB is very rare in freshwater fish, but unfortunately more generic Mycobacterium infections are far from uncommon among specimens of Mikrogeophagus ramirezi. If the careless fishkeeper exposes Ram cichlids to
water that is too cold, too hard, and not sufficiently acidic, they often become subject to these types of infections. These is very well known in the hobby, and much discussed in the cichlid literature; for example, I have a copy of Baensch's Aquarium Atlas dating from 1989 that mentions this. It eludes me why people still buy this species.>
I am keeping him in a small hospital tank in a darkened quiet room.
<Make sure you're not moving him from bad to worse conditions. like all cichlids, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is extremely sensitive to ammonia and nitrite, so you must keep tabs on water quality. And also like all cichlids, Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is very sensitive to nitrate, and nitrate levels above 20 mg/l can be virtually guaranteed to cause dropsy and pop-eye, which together can be easily mistaken for Mycobacterium infections.>
He seems quite perky when I check on him 3/4 times a day, although he doesn't seem to be eating much (I just put in 1 or 2 single flakes daily)
<OK. But do be careful that the hospital tank stays healthy. If the filter is not cycled, he'll be perky while ammonia and nitrite levels are low, but then health deteriorate quickly once conditions worse.>
I have read that a treatment containing copper sulphate my help - however I am a little concerned about treating the little guy with a barrage of medicines (Melafix next perhaps)!
<Copper isn't the thing here. Almost certainly going to need Metronidazole,
which in the UK is something you buy from a vet. Not expensive, but it's an extra hoop to jump through.>
The other thing that I'm thinking is that as 'balloon' fish are man-made (so to speak) then perhaps this is his genetic appearance - however his tankmate doesn't sport the same look.
Else perhaps the Popeye has been treated OK and he shall just be left like this??
<In dwarf cichlids, poor environmental conditions, especially non-zero nitrate levels, are strongly associated with type of thing. Do be sure to read Paul Loiselle's 'The Cichlid Aquarium' for more on dwarf cichlids.>
I don't want to keep returning/removing him from my main community tank and stress him further.
I can send a pic if it would help (don't want to load your inbox!)
<As we state, keep images to 500 KB.>
Grateful for any comments.
Best Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

discovery...? Popeye, FW... 3/21/10
Hi there folks,
<Hi! Melinda with you here tonight!>
I made a new discovery on my fish that has Popeye and one that has cloudy eye in different tank, they are flashing and sometimes dart, like they itch, no white spots but maybe flukes?
<Hmm... can you provide Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate readings for these tanks?
Have them tested separately, though, in case only one is having issues with water quality. You should find Ammonia and Nitrite at 0, and Nitrate under 20. If you don't, then that's likely the problem.... if you have any
questions about the results you do get, I'd be happy to answer them.>
I will get new med but worry about the darting, will this hurt them until I can get them treated?
<If this is a symptoms of Ammonia burn or other issues with water quality, it's constantly hurting them. Please, before you treat, test water quality. The Popeye and cloudy eye are also symptoms of the same problem,
and that problem begins with their water. I'd like to help, but you've given no really useful information here -- if you'd like to write back, please do so with tank sizes, filtration specifications, stocking (types and numbers of fish), and water parameters (mentioned above). Thanks!

Cichlids With Cloudy Eyes -- 1/27/10
I have 2 cichlids in a 29 gal tank. We've had them 5 or so years. (They ate all the other fish that were in there within a week and anything else we would try.) One of them developed a cloudy film over its eye. I thought it looked as though his eye had rotted out. Pretty gross! My husband is the primary care taker of the tank. I let him know and he put some salt in the tank. I just kept watching the fish. Then I realized the eye was still there. It was just a film over the eye. The film had come loose on one side and it looked like it was getting better until it spread to the other eye.
The first infected eye now has a cotton ball looking stuff on it. The fish is pitiful. It stays in one spot usually, doesn't act interested when fed (or doesn't know there is food) and today it just runs into the walls/plastic plants like its blind (which I'm sure it is). Now the other fish has the film over its eyes. I dont' know what to do or where to start.
I have read everything I can get my hands on, but nothing I've read fits exactly. Is it fungus, pop-eye, TB, bacteria, or what? What do I do about it? .... and I hate to ask this, but when is it too late to do anything?
And if it's too late, just exactly what do I do? These poor fish are just getting worse and I can't wait for someone else (who is supposed to be taking care of the tank) to do something about it. Please help me to help them. Thanks!
< First thing is check the water quality. The ammonia and nitrites should be zero and the nitrates should be under 20 ppm. It is probably bad so do a fifty percent water change and clean the filters. Next week do a twenty -five percent water change and vacuum the gravel.. If no improvement is seen then treat with Nitrofurazone. It treats both bacteria and fungus. When the cloudy eyes clear up you will be able to determine if your fish is blind or not.-Chuck>

Miracle Cure or Snake Oil? Mira/Mela-fix... Eye maladies f' as well, FW 8/13/2009
Good day, I am a 2 month fish owner and I have a specific problem but also a more general question.
<Fire away.>
I have a 2 inch black moor and 2 inch fantail in a 20 gallon tank, and the black moor has pop-eye I can't seem to get rid of (good nitrate, nitrite, ammonia levels, Ph 7.5, 65 degree tank), and a day after adding a golden apple snail one of its popped eyes got cloudy (not sure if related to snail intro).
<Unlikely to be related to the snail. Pop-eye is typically associated with either water quality issues or physical damage, e.g., careless handling of the fish, or the use of coarse rather than soft netting. Do see here:
In terms of water quality, if you don't have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, then that's likely the problem right there. Your tank should be big enough for juvenile Goldfish, but I will make the observation that adult Goldfish need 30 gallons upwards.>
Being relatively new to this, I consulted several pet stores and online forums and some recommended salt, and some Mirafix.
<Do you mean Melafix?>
I have tried both, and this has not seemed to do much other than upset the snail who is now doing poorly, but has not helped the eye on the moor. I am wondering if the snail is more of an added stress on the tank than the helper I was led to believe he would be in cleaning the tank.
<Melafix shouldn't harm invertebrates, but then, there's little testing either way. Apple snails do poorly with Goldfish for a variety of reasons, and the most common is that the Goldfish peck at them, thinking their
tentacles are edible. Eventually, the Apple snail is so stressed and unable to feed normally it dies.>
I am concerned I am not doing the right treatment however, because it seems that for so many problems the answer I get is to do a salt bath and or use Mirafix, no matter what the problem is. It is like if I went to my doctor and he gave me the same pill to treat the 10 different things I had wrong with me. Are these really good products (especially for fresh water goldfish), or are these the equivalent of the pet store placebo that earns them a little money but does no harm (or help).
<We get a lot of messages from people who have used Melafix, but without any improvements. It is, at best, a mild antiseptic that may well help prevent secondary infections. But as a cure for established disease, it's so unreliable as to be worthless compared to the other products on the market.>
I am also confused, because some prefer sea salt and some prefer Epsom salt, but can not tell me why or what the difference is, and in any case it seems like a LOT of salt by dosage for a fresh water fish.
<Now, salt (sodium chloride) and Epsom salt (Magnesium sulphate) are different things and used for different diseases. Salt is used to combat certain external parasites, particularly whitespot; at the low doses
recommended for treatment, it is sufficient saline in the aquarium that the free-living stages of the parasite cannot survive. Salt can also be used to treat velvet, flukes and lice. Epsom salt is used sometimes as a laxative, a muscle relaxant, and to reduce swelling. It's usually used when fish are bloated or have pop-eye. So, you pick one or the other depending on the situation.>
Also, I see that the Mirafix is listed by the State of CA as a carcinogen.
Is this just the case if ingested, or if it comes in contact with skin? I am always bare handing it when it comes to the tank after washing my hands first, and my young daughter helps, so I don't want to take chances.
<Do you drive? You're more likely to die in a motor accident than to get cancer from a bottle of Melafix. It's tea-tree oil, and on the scale of things, pretty harmless. I mention the driving thing because humans are
just hopeless at measuring risk. People worry about trivial risks while happily eating meat rather than vegetables, skipping exercise, smoking, drinking liquor, and any number of things that clearly and obviously reduce health. We're a funny species.>
In short, are salt and/or Mirafix helpful for cloudy eye,
<Likely not.>
and in general how do you think they are most beneficial (as opposed to the pet stores who claim the salt will cure my baldness and the Mirafix will help my liver).
<As ever, for medical advice, consult your doctor. The best I can offer here is advice about your fish.>
Thank you, Tessy
<Cheers, Neale.>

Black clown knife with pop eyes? 2/25/09 Hi! Hopefully you can help me with a problem..within the last week. my black clown knife's eyes have been bulging and they are getting worse. I have done a 50% water change. but the BCK is now swimming by the top and I want to help him. but don't know what meds to give him. Can you help? Thanks! Karen <Hello Karen. With Popeye, there are usually two causes. If there's just one eye popped, it's likely physical damage or aggression, so you need to look at things from that angle, checking the tank is big enough for the fish, doesn't contain aggressive tankmates, and so on. If both eyes show a similar degree of swelling, it's usually an environmental issue, in which case you need to review water quality and water chemistry stability. Clowns are big, messy fish and need extremely generous filtration to stay in good health. For an adult specimen (at least 60 cm/24 inches in length) you'd be looking at a tank around 750+ litres (200+ gallons) in size and equipped with a filter rated at 8-10 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. 50% weekly water changes would surely be essential. I'm mentioning all this because unless the environment is fixed, the eyes won't heal. So far as treatment goes, an antibiotic like Maracyn coupled with Epsom salt in the water at 1-3 teaspoons per gallon should do the trick. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm Cheers, Neale.> Thank you for your help! :0) I do appreciate it! :0) -Karen <Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

3 spot Gourami w/ pop-eye; not enough useful information, poor grammar, etc... 7/28/07 Hi crew <Hello there, Jorie here today.> i <I> ...was looking at my fish today and i <I> saw my 3 spot Gourami as <with?> ...pop eye with blood at the bottom of the eye. is <Is> ...there anything i <I> ...can do? What is happening none of my other fish are all fine <I assume you mean none of your other fish are affected or ill, right?> <OK, first off, when you write us, please take a few additional moments to use proper grammar, capitalization, sentence case, etc. Since your query was so short, I fixed it to make it readable (we do publish our responses to queries on the Daily FAQs site - see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm and in order to make the Q&As understandable to all, we do request that our writers comply with these requests: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/faqstips.htm More to the point, now: I need a lot more information to be able to help you here. Facts like how large your tank is, how long it has been setup, what type of filtration is used, what livestock you have, water temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings, water change schedule, etc. are all necessary information. Generally speaking, what I can tell you is that pop eye is caused by poor water quality, so do check your water parameters with a quality liquid reagent test kit. I suggest isolating the sick fish into its own hospital tank (filtered and cycled; as to the latter, use water from the main tank so as not to shock the ill fish's system) and treating with Epsom salt (1 tsp. per 5 gallons of H20) and pristine water conditions. I'm betting your tank has a harmful, if not lethal buildup of toxins which are causing your problems. The Gourami may just be the first fish to exhibit symptoms, but if the water quality's poor, the others will soon follow suit... I can give you better/more specific suggestions if you give me the information I've requested above... Best regards, Jorie> thank you <Thank you!>

Re: 3-spot Gourami w/ pop-eye; still not much useful info...recommend reading, increasing water changes - 08/05/07 Hi Jorie <Hi again; sorry for the delay in responding, I've been traveling around a bit and haven't had much time to check in here...> Ok, my tank is 5ft by 4ft <In order to calculate the volume, I need the depth measurement as well; it does sound like this is a good sized aquarium, though.> ...and it has been set up for 4yrs now. <Great.> I have never had this problem before. <Sometimes issues are cumulative...> I have one catfish, 4 barbs and the others are all types of tetras. <It would be helpful to know the species of each here.> And I have fresh weeds in the tank <Again, species?> The water gets changed every 3 months <Ideally, once a tank has established its nitrogen cycle, you should be performing a 10-20% water change every week or two (this depends on how heavily stocked the tank is, how good the filtration is, how messy the species of fish you have are, etc.; without more information, it's impossible for me to make a more specific recommendation.)> ...and the temperature is 82 <A bit high, but so long as it is stable, should be OK.> ...the pH and ammonia are good <Useless info. I can't tell you what's an ideal pH for your tank, as I don't know really what you are keeping. As for ammonia, it should be at zero, as should nitrite levels.> ...nitrate is a bit low; could this be the problem and if so how do I change it? <I think you are confused. As far as nitrates go, the lower the better; as high as 20 ppm is acceptable, but more towards zero is ideal. Do read here for info. on cycling a tank: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Also, I recommend getting a copy of David E. Boruchowitz's "Simple Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium" - it's a very comprehensive, clear book geared towards beginners. I know you have had your tank for several years now, but you don't seem to have a good grasp on Fishkeeping 101, which you and your fish could very much benefit from. Also browse here for many helpful articles on freshwater fishkeeping: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm > Thanks <I don't know how much I've helped. Again, Popeye is generally caused by poor environmental conditions. As recommend before, I would isolate this fish into a cycled, heated, filtered aquarium and treat with clean water and Epsom salt. Aside from that, the best thing you can do for your critters is read and learn... Best wishes, Jorie>

Popeye, Goldfish - 07/26/06 Hi. <<Hello, Angie. Tom here.>> We have a ten gallon tank with a filtration box and an oxygen pump fitted with two tubes. In this tank we have three goldfish. Will give you their approx. sizes of their bodies, not including tails: a potbellied Ryukin 3.2"; black moor 3.2"; and telescope eyed probably Yosakin 2". <<First, the part you don't want to hear...your tank is far too small for these fish. The part you won't believe - or, at least, want to believe - is that they need to be in a tank in the 45+ gallon range. I'll, hopefully, clarify this as we continue.>> After initial parasitic treatment for a white cyst on the black moor; the smaller Yosakin fish named Dean started to lay at the bottom. Tried aqua salt...nothing...then his eye began to swell. After calling every major fish store in town, and trying all recommended products and their subsequent protocols i.e.; Maracyn; t.c. Tetracycline; Melafix - then Melafix/PimaFix cocktail (currently on day 2 of this treatment). Dean's eye is bigger than ever. <<Did anyone discuss water conditions with you? Unless the eye has swollen due to trauma (injury), the very first culprits I'd suspect are poor water conditions and/or overcrowding. A 10-gallon tank isn't large enough to support even one of these fish from either a qualitative or, quantitative, standpoint. Goldfish produce relatively large amounts of ammonia either through waste products or breathing. (Yep, breathing!) They excrete ammonia through their gills in order to rid their bodies of this toxin. A double whammy, if you will. Tie this in with the fact that they are particularly sloppy eaters or, at least lousy scavengers, and you've got a "triple play" on your hands. Might sound like I'm being glib but I'm deadly serious. So, what to do? Large living quarters and heavier filtration. Come as close to, if not right on, the same level of dilution of toxins in their home as they would enjoy in nature.>> Poor little guy, he eats well and grabs food like mad during feeding times. I keep promising him we're going to do whatever we have to get him well. Nothing is working. His eye has now even sprouted more blood vessels to keep up with the rapid growth. It also appears the black moor still has parasitic feces. I really don't want to add anything else to the tank until Dean is better. Is there any hope of him recovering...how would I know if he's had enough and whether I should have him euthanized. <<No way do I give up hope on a fish with a healthy appetite! Unfortunately, I can only supply you with my best advice which is to get your pets into an appropriate-sized aquarium with an equally appropriate filtering system. I won't blow smoke at you and tell you this will save Dean. I wish I could. I will tell you, however, that you will have done as much for them (and more) than medicating the bejeebers out of them has done thus far.>> This has been real traumatic for us all as we suspect his suffering must be great; has been going on for almost two months. <<I appreciate the efforts that you've made here, Angie. Many, sadly, wouldn't have given a fraction of the care that you've provided.>> Thank you so much for your time and compassion. Angie S. <<If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to know how things turn out. My best to you all. Tom>>

Re: Popeye - 07/26/06 Tom, <<Hi, again, Angie.>> Thanks so much for your considerate and well thought out reply. No, nobody seemed concerned with tank size when I mentioned it. But was starting to suspect it by now. We change the water at least once a week, due to the murky nature. Finally took the substrate out for hoping that might help. <<Then you've seen, firsthand, what I've described. For what it's worth, I'm glad. No doubt there are many who think we're concocting some type of hoax where this topic is concerned. I assure you, as you are now aware, we're in earnest.>> A 45 gallon tank, though???... Oh boy. I never wanted fish in the first place; however bought this tank after my daughter bought the orange Ryukin and a little bowl to take to college! Oh...the fish never stepped foot in the dorm, daughter said it was too noisy. <<The dorm or, the fish? :)>> Holy Mackerel! What if I buy this big ole' tank and it breaks?? <<Not trying to help you spend your money, Angie, but you might research acrylic aquariums if breakage is truly a concern. Acrylic is not without disadvantages, cost being one of them, but it does have distinct advantages over glass that may interest you.>> Seriously, though - I guess I'll get it. It'll be worth it to see Dean happy. <<If you have any further questions, we'll be here, Angie.>> Angie <<Tom>>

Kribs And Exophthalmia - 11/25/2005 One week ago, I noticed my female Kribensis eyes were popped out of her head. She lived for about 2 weeks and then died. Two days ago, I noticed that my male Kribensis had the same problem. I need to understand what is happening. Thank you, -Sherry <Thanks for correcting and re-sending your question, Sherry. Exophthalmia, or "pop-eye", is usually caused by poor water conditions. First, you need to test your water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate; ammonia and nitrite should be ZERO, nitrate less than 20ppm. If any of these are higher, you'll need to do water changes to get them back to normal. Also, please read here for more information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwpopeyefaqs.htm . One to two tablespoons of Epsom salt per ten gallons of water may help a great deal, once the water quality is back to good. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Flowerhorn, Exophthalmus - 09/10/2005 Hi, <Hello.> I have a Flower Horn called Y6 ( Breed : Red - monkey), about 1.5 years old. It's a beautiful fish and it likes to play with us. However, I found one of its eye has been expanded. But it is still red in colour and play with us as usual. What's wrong is it? <Something has caused a fluid buildup behind the eye; perhaps physical trauma (very likely) or an infection. This is called Exophthalmus, or "pop-eye". I bought a medicine called : Waterlife - OCTOZIN because I asked some people that in the fish store of Flower Horn. <I would likely not use medicine for this condition. Instead, add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the tank at a rate of one tablespoon per five gallons. In a few days, you can do a water change and add Epsom again. This will help relieve the fluid buildup.> I want to ask : 1) Will Y6 die easily? <I doubt the fish will die. He looks to be in excellent condition aside from this problem. It is possible that he will lose the eye, and if he does, you might want to use an antibiotic like Nitrofurazone or Kanamycin to prevent infection - but even then, if he's in otherwise good shape, he'll probably pull through okay.> 2) What's the name of the disease? <As above, this condition is called Exophthalmus. Any major swelling of the eye can be called this.> 3) How can I save him? <Keep caring for him very well; keep his water quality perfect. Add the Epsom, and watch to see if it helps.> P.S : I took 4 photos of Y6, hope you can reply me as soon as possible cause I love him very much, THANKS A LOT!! <Thank you for the images, they are VERY well done and show his condition very well.> Vienne from Hong Kong. <Wishing Y6 a swift recovery, -Sabrina, from California, USA>

Popeye--differentiating injury from bacteria Hi Bob, <Hello Angela> You've given people lots of great advice and I think it's fantastic stuff. I've read through your FAQ's but am having a problem identifying the cause of my fish's pop-eye. <Ahh!> I have two fish (unidentified... my dad bought it) in a new 29 gallon tank. It has only been cycling for 8 days now. Ammonia is at 0, Nitrite at 0.25 ppm, and Nitrate at 5 ppm. pH is at 7.8 - 8.0 and temperature at 79 Fahrenheit. <Okay... would have been better to not have the fish in a cycling system...> One of the fish developed pop-eye slowly. The pop-eye is only on one eye, not both. I read in the FAQs that it's most likely injury related then. <Yes> However, the fish is not eating. Furthermore, it's developed cottonmouth. My sister says a black spot developed in her abdomen. I am worrying it is bacteria related, although it is only one eye that developed pop-eye. Furthermore, her buddy is doing well. He eats all the time and loves to swim around...so I am hoping it's an isolated injury. <Me too> I am not medicating right now, but have added some bio-support to boost the filter's bacteria to improve water quality. I also added some Aquarium Pharmaceutical's Melafix to the tank as well. The next day, she was doing much better. But by nightfall, she resorted to hiding behind a rock again. <I would discontinue, not use the "Fix"... it may forestall or eliminate your nitrifying bacteria... perhaps the root cause, but definitely a contributing factor here (the lack of biological filtration)... and perhaps add a bit of salt...> Can you please help me identify if the pop-eye is injury or bacteria related? And what steps should I take to curing it? <Can't tell the cause here... very likely environmental primarily, bacterial perhaps secondarily... to cure? A bit of Epsom is all I would try> I've read that pop-eye is not contagious, <Depending on its cause/s> but if it is caused by bacteria infection, then what can I do to improve the water quality to prevent other fish from becoming sick? Please help as she hasn't eaten for days! Thanks so much, Angela <You can do what you can to "speed up" the establishment of nitrification. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and NOT do things that will cause more trouble... like adding "medicines", "herbal remedies"... DO feed sparingly, and NOT add more livestock... Do please learn what types of fish/es you have... as they have different needs, tolerances... Bob Fenner>

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