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, Copper Sulfate or Tetra Medica Fungistop)
  • Cloudy iris is caused by a bacterial infection. (Treatment: Amoxicillin, Gentamycin or API Melafix Antibacterial)
  • Entire eye of goldfish becomes cloudy could be caused by flukes; a parasite. -or- a bacterial infection. (Treatment: Melaleuca or Prazipro)
  • Translucent film over the eye could be caused by a bacterial infection. (Treatment: Gentamycin Sulfate, Kanamycin Sulfate, TMP Sulfa or Furan)
  • Translucent film over the goldfish’s eye and parts of the body could be a protozoan infestation. (Treatment: Metronidazole, Quinine Sulfat, 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 Water Conditioner (w/ Slime Coat Care). 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.

15 comments on “10 Goldfish Eye Diseases: Symptoms and Treatments

  1. One of my goldfish appears to have something strange growing from his eye. I have been looking stuff up online but can’t find anything similar. It almost looks like a snail is growing out of his eye socket. Any idea what this could be or what I could do?

    • It’s hard to tell. It could be a parasite or even an result of a bacterial infection. I would try a broad based spectrum antibiotic. You may also want to quarantine the fish as well just in case.

  2. I’ve got a complicated issue with my goldfish. I have 2 that live in the same tank – they’re both about 10years old. One is perfectly fine, large, happy, eats well – he’s great. But the other one has developed several issues that I can’t figure out. They’ve never been separated and I would expect if it was an infection of some sort both fish would be affected, but like I said one has never exhibited any symptoms whatsoever. My other little guy has developed two bulging eyes, one of which now appears to be sunken in, as well as a kink in his back end. To make matters worse, he almost always floats upside down at the bottom of the tank. The other fish helps him out and he’s able to still eat. But I hate to think he’s in any sort of pain and am at a loss as to what the cause could be or what I can do to help him.

    • The difficulty swimming upright is more than likely related to the pop-eye which could be the result of a bacterial infection behind the eye or perhaps a kidney infection. When you say a kinked tail, do you mean clamping or an actual bend in the tail as if looks broken? Clamping is a common sign of any sick goldfish. You might try to treat the goldfish for pop-eye (follow the link above). The treatment for it usually consist of using a broad spectrum anti-biotic. So even if it isn’t pop-eye, the treatment can also treat a whole other host of bacterial infections. Aquarium salt is also recommended to help pull out any fluid buildup inside the goldfish.

  3. 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?

    • 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

  4. 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

    • 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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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