Goldfish popeye is a generic term used for an internal bacterial infection that causes fluid to build up behind the eye of a sick goldfish, making the eye bulge or “pop out”. Goldfish popeye is often the result of goldfish dropsy, an internal bacterial infection or goldfish tuberculosis. Both dropsy and tuberculosis are difficult to treat. Trauma might also cause a goldfish’s eye to bulge or even fall out due to swelling of the blood vessels. (see goldfish eye diseases for more goldfish eye problems.)

Symptoms

At first the eye or eyes of a sick goldfish will bulge slightly. As the goldfish popeye infection worsens, the eyes will appear popped out on top of fleshy bags of fluid. (looking much like a telescope goldfish.) These severely protruding eyes can be pick off by aggressive tank mates.

Treatment

Most water treatments will fail to reach the internal bacterial infection and many water treatments are also hazardous to the biological filter; although an aquarium salt bath can help lower the osmotic pressure of the sick goldfish and help ease the swelling behind the eye. An injection of Baytril is an effective cure but injecting a goldfish with antibiotics should be left to the experts. More available treatments include Maracyn Plus Biospheres AntiBacteria Therapy from Mardel or Kanamycin (Kanaplex 5gm). Kanamycin is less harmful to the goldfish than Maracyn.

Related: Treatment Options for Sick Goldfish

black moor goldfish
Avoid goldfish popeye by preforming regular water changes and keeping the goldfish tank water parameters optimal. Adding a stress coat solution will help maintain the immune system of the goldfish and encourage the healing of any wounds.

2 comments on “Goldfish Popeye Disease
  1. drum says:

    Hi, my goldfish developed pop eyes and are both cloudy as well. He also keeps tipping over with head up and tail down. I believe it lost most of its vision since he isn’t swimming properly. What can I do to treat my fish? Will Melafix help?

    • admin says:

      In addition to the Melafix treatment medicine, try using some aquarium salt to ease the pressure. Additionally,test the water for ammonia, ph, nitrates, etc…and do a water change.

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