Goldfish Popeye: Causes, Signs & Treatment

Goldfish are a popular pet, but sometimes they develop a abnormal eye condition called Popeye.

Some common symptoms of Goldfish Popeye include the eyes protruding from the head, cloudiness or discoloration of the eye, and increased pressure within the eye.

The article will guide you how you can keep your goldfish healthy and prevent this disease from occurring.

What is Goldfish Popeye Disease

Exophthalmia or Popeye in fish is a condition where one or both eyes of a fish protrude or bulge outwards from their sockets.

This can occur in various species of fish and is often a symptom of an underlying health issue such as bacterial or viral infection, parasitic infestation, or poor water quality

Goldfish Popeye is a disease that affects goldfish. It is caused by an infection with the bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila, which attacks the fish’s eye..

What Causes Goldfish Popeye

Multiple factors can be responsible for Popeye in goldish. These factors are given below;

Physical Injury

When goldfish scrape themselves on the abrasive object in the aquarium tank it results in physical injury.

Sometimes, male goldfish fight with others for tank space and females. When fishes become injured, secondary infection happens gradually.

Parasitic Infections

Parasitic infestation results in GoldFish popeye disease. It is quite difficult to notice the occurrence of parasitic infections.

But after a couple of days fish gets worse gently. Healthy fishes also become infected if they are not separated from diseased fish as they share the same water.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infection is another common cause of Popeye in goldfish and this gently affects both eyes.

If the quarantine of fish is not maintained properly, healthy fish are also infected gradually.

If proper steps are not taken immediately, severe conditions may be created as all the fish share the same tank.

Internal Problems

Kidney failure and other metabolic issues are also associated with Popeye disease in Goldfish.

Sometimes fish shows abnormal behavior when internal organs are seriously damaged by infections.

Dirty Water

Fish are very sensitive to changes in water quality. Poor water conditions suppress fish’s immune systems and the environment becomes favorable for the microorganisms to spread over.

Susceptible fish are affected by fungal or bacterial infections. However, long exposure to dirty water often causes severe infection on fish’s eyes due to unhygienic conditions.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Goldfish Popeye

Slight Bulging or protruding on one or both eyes. Eyes become swelling due to the accumulation of excess fluid in the eye socket. Fluid build-up in fish’s eye and normal size of the eye becomes abnormally changed.

Eyes Appear Cloudy or Discolored. The fish eyes become dull and faded and the fish shows signs of illness frequently.

-Eyes Appear Bloodstained. It occurs when the eye starts rupturing blood capillaries.

-At the final stage, Goldfish’s eye becomes rupturing and popping out of the socket. Fish is turning into blind and the chance of surviving becomes lower.

How to Diagnose Popeye Goldfish

There are many possible causes of popeye, including bacterial or viral infection, parasites, poor water quality, or even dietary problems.

The best way to determine the cause of popeye is to perform a thorough physical examination of your fish.

Look for any abnormalities such as swelling around the eyes, redness or inflammation around the gills, lesions or sores on the body, or changes in coloration.

If you notice any of these signs, take your fish to a qualified vet for diagnosis and treatment.

How to Prevent Popeye Goldfish

Quarantine the Goldfish

Infected sick fish need to be separated from the healthy fishes to control the spreading of infection.

Monitoring Tank Water Chemistry

To ensure a healthy environment, monitoring the water quality is a vital step. Periodic checking of the water quality parameters ( pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) may be helpful to overcome the outbreaks of the disease.

Perform Regular Partial Water Changes

Frequent and regular water exchange may be helpful for the proper management of water quality. Dirty water should be replaced by clean water.

Don’t Keep Too Many Fish

Reduce stocking density and ensure proper tank space to eliminate physical injury.

How to Treat Popeye in Goldfish

Aquarium Salt Bath

Aquarium salt is used for the treatment of Goldfish’s Popeye disease. One tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water is usually recommended.

Antibiotics Medication

Feeding broad-spectrum antibiotic food along with high-quality food, nutritious balanced diet may be effective to treat the infected fish.


Is Popeye Contagious?

Normally, the disease is not contagious. But if the bacterial infection causes this disease, the pathogenic bacteria can spread out quickly among other fish.

Is Popeye Fatal?

If the disease is identified and treated early, Popeye will usually make a full recovery. however, if eye blood capillaries become ruptured, fish get blind permanently.

Can a Goldfish Die from Popeye?

Goldfish can die from Popeye, a condition that causes the fish’s eyes to bulge out.

The cause of Popeye is a lack of thiamin (vitamin B1), which can be caused by poor nutrition, bad water quality, or parasites.

Final Words

In conclusion, it is evident that Goldfish Popeye is a serious problem and needs to be addressed.

The fact that it is affecting such a large number of fish is alarming, and something must be done to prevent it from spreading.

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