Goldfish Eye Diseases

There are many issues that can be problematic for your fish. Many of these can involve the eyes. The following conditions are caused by multiple things including: bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites, viruses and of course trauma. Depending on the cause, there are different types of medications and bath treatments that can help. Some issues might lead to a loss of the injured eye but don’t be overly concerned because goldfish are hardy and can live quality lives with limited or even no vision.


Goldfish Eye Problems

  • White cotton like growth that covers the entire eye of the goldfish is due to a saprolegnia fungus. (Treatment: Forma Green -or- copper sulfate
  • Cloudy iris is caused by a bacterial infection. (Treatment: Amoxicillin -or- Gentamycin.)
  • Entire eye of goldfish becomes cloudy could be caused by flukes; a parasite. -or- a bacterial infection. (Treatment: Melaleuca)
  • Translucent film over the eye could be caused by a bacterial infection. (Treatment: Gentamycin Sulfate -or- Kanamycin Sulfate -or- TMP Sulfa. )
  • Translucent film over the goldfish’s eye and parts of the body could be a protozoan infestation. (Treatment: Metronidazole -or- Quinine Sulfate -or- Nitrofuracin Green.)
  • An eye that falls out can be caused by injury from a fight or accident; -or- from goldfish tuberculosis. (Treatment: injury: Nitrofuracin green or Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Stress Coat. Tuberculosis: Kanamycin and Vitamin B-6.)
  • Swelling and redness could be an injury from a fight or accident; -or- a bacterial infection. (Treatment: For bacterial infection: Gentamycin. Injury: Nitrofuracin green or stress coat solution.)
  • Goldfish eye popping out “pop-eye”, occurs when a fish has a kidney infection. (Treatment: For kidney infection: Erythromycin. Injury: Nitrofuracin green. stress coat solution)
  • When both eyes pop out and the goldfish has body sores, ulcerations and raised scales, the goldfish might be suffering from abdominal dropsy -or- ‘hole in the side’ disease infection. (Treatment: AntiBacteria Therapy Oxolinic Acid and Oxytetracycline and forma-green.)


In addition to a quarantine period for any new goldfish before adding it into your tank and routine water changes to keep optimal water parameters, you can try a precautionary treatment that helps keep bacteria, fungus and parasites from becoming established in your goldfish tank or pond.

Blind Goldfish

Many serious goldfish eye injuries can heal, even if it causes them to go blind. A goldfish with a missing eye can live out its life without any issues. Even if it is completely blind, it can still sense its surroundings by using its lateral lines, sense of hearing and sense of smell. To feed a blind goldfish, try using sinking pellets so the blind goldfish can feel around on the substrate to find its food. Make it a habit to feed the goldfish in the same location in the tank or pond to maximize the chances of the blind goldfish finding food.

11 comments on “10 Goldfish Eye Diseases: Symptoms and Treatments
  1. Silverluk says:

    I am totally freaked out, one of my goldfish suddenly had a missing eye and the empty eye socket scared me, but soon, his other eye started turning red as if it was bleeding in the inside of its head, and that eye also disappeared. I thought that it was due to this eye-eating aggressive fish, but it wasn’t and this other fish also got an empty eye socket, so I decided to separate them from the other fish, and I realized that it was because of pop eye, since another fish in the tank had a bulging eye that looked like it was about to fall out any minute, so I separated it from the others, and it seems like I really need to clean the tank….I feel so bad that my fish suffered a permanent injury because of my laziness…can anyone tell me if pop eye disease will still infect the tank even after cleaning it?

    • admin says:

      Popeye is caused by a bacterial infection and it’s not that another goldfish can get the other sick as much as the poor water quality they all live in. You should perform a water change to clean the water. See goldfish popeye for more information

  2. casey says:

    one of my goldfish as one of his eye sticking out, swollon is he is eating his food and swimming around but am still worried is there any advice you can give me thanks

    • admin says:

      Some goldfish have protruding eyes to begin with, the telescope or globe eye types do. If it is a eye problem though, you can try to use some aquarium salt to help relieve some of the swelling. Read about some of the eye diseases here and figure out if your fish has any of the symptoms for the given issue. You most likely would be able to use a broad spectrum medication for a bacterial infection.

  3. Mom of 2 yr old says:

    Last night my 2-yr old was given a goldfish for his birthday. He is in a small tank with a filter. There was a little water added after travel, which was treated with anti-chlorinator. This morning, he wouldn’t eat, had a slight film over the eyes, and they seem slightly bulging (though this could just be my imgaination). What should we do? I’ve never known a fish not to eat, and the cloudly looking eye has me worried.

    • admin says:

      When a goldfish first gets introduced into a new tank it takes it awhile to get comfortable. They often won’t eat until they settle in. Some goldfish have bulging eyes to begin with and in that case it’s probably nothing. There are eye problems that can occur. Monitor the goldfish for a few days and see if it gets worse but you can also just go out ad purchase one medication that will cure a lot of illness. I’d make a trip to the pet store and pick up an anti bacterial fish medicine for a few bucks.

  4. Lisa Manning says:

    Thank you for the help. I have been using Stress Coat to aid in healing. I will take your advice and bring photos to a local expert. Thank you again.

  5. Lisa Manning says:

    Have a lg oranda 7-8in, newly rescued, with eye problems, completely blind at this point. He appeared to have telescope eyes, though one eye is gone and the other has a big white bubble over it. He was in a tank with a more aggressive goldfish who messed him up. He has healed nicely in other places like fins, but his eye seems to get worse. Have been using salt to treat the water. He’s otherwise happy and active, eating well etc.

    • admin says:

      That’s sad your new oranda lost its eye and the other eye is not doing well. Many aquarium goldfish that have become blind can continue to live a long and happy life. Aquarium salt helps reduce swelling behind the eye if your goldfish is suffering from pop eye but you might also want to try other medications. It’s hard to say exactly what your goldfish has, if it’s any of the eye diseases described above or if it’s a result of an injury. I recommend taking a photo of the eye and taking it into the fish store to find out what the fish experts think it might be. There are medications that will treat a range of problems at once; medications for fungi, parasites or bacterial infections. I would also recommend getting a slime coat protector which helps in the healing process due to injury.

  6. admin says:

    Take a look at this post goldfish popeye I hope this information helps and you are able to save your goldfish.

  7. Tammy says:

    My goldfish has popeye in both eyes .. I have had him for 5 yrs and want desperately to fix this .. Can anyone help me?

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