Betta Fish Popeye, also known as exophthalmia, is one of the many betta fish diseases that your betta could (but hopefully won’t) contract in its lifetime. Although many people believe that bettas are low-to-no maintenance, it is important to realize that they still need properly maintained water and tender loving care, just like other fish. The Popeye disease for example, consists of the swelling of a single eye, or sometimes both eyes. This disease is usually caused by poor aquarium husbandry, which often means that you are not taking care of your tank properly. This disease is sometimes hard to treat because the root cause could be parasitic, bacterial or viral. However, in most cases, it is treatable.
Symptoms of Betta Fish Popeye
As I mentioned above, if your betta’s eye, or eyes are extremely swollen, then chances are that it’s Popeye and it’s usually the result of fluid accumulation. This could occur either behind or inside the eye. Here are a few images that will show you what it looks like:
You may also notice that the swollen eye has a thin ‟skin″ layer surrounding it. This is usually a hard tissue that surrounds the eye and its main purpose is to make sure that the eye remains inside the socket whenever it swells. Another symptom is that your betta will most likely become less active and will stop eating. As the disease progresses, fungus infections could show up.
Treating Betta Fish Popeye
If at all possible, quarantine your betta into a backup tank and treat it there. You don’t want the other fish in the tank (if there are any of course) to go through the same treatment and you don’t want the infection to spread.
Often times, you can get rid of Popeye with an Epsom Salt treatment. The process that’s worked for me in the past is using 1 tablespoon for every 5 gallons of water for approximately 5-7 days. Times may vary if the “bulging” is excessive. I also do 100% water changes every day.
If that doesn’t work, then I would recommend the use of medication. The products that have worked well for me in the past have been API Tetracycline
and Mardel’s Maracyn
. Follow the instructions carefully and only use one at a time.
If you catch the disease early enough, the chances of you being able to treat it is very high. Just don’t assume that it’s going to go away by itself, because it won’t. Start the treatment early and it should do fine. Also, as a friendly reminder, don’t slack off on your aquarium maintenance duties. Keep the water clean, change it regularly and do frequent water tests to make sure everything is ok and your betta should never get Popeye.
Have you ever had to treat Betta Fish Popeye or any other betta fish diseases? Do you have any advice that you would like to share? Please post your experiences and comments below!
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