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.



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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.)

Prevention

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.

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

  1. So my regular goldfish -Sushi :)- has blue rings around his eyes. I haven’t found anything about it so I was wondering if that was a bad thing or not. I have been cleaning the tank and taking care of everything but I just have no idea what it is and it seems scary. He is healthy,fat,and gigantic, and the blue rings are around both eyes.

    • Did you have blue, painted gravel at the bottom of your tank? I have a comet goldfish that was loosing his color and developed a blue circle around each eye–otherwise healthy and happy. I am hoping that removing my blue gravel will fix his eyes.

  2. all of my goldfish have the cloudy eye and i have done everything that i can i dont want my fish to go blind or die. will they?

  3. My fish has change patterns from black to gold a little patch of gold and his eye has a red blood around it not coming out just in his eye and his eye has a cotton like substance around his eyes too.

  4. Hi my goldfish is seriously sick. Or something else. It lost weight tremendously in 2 days and his tankmates kept him moving by pushing him around till today. He’s been rejecting food for 3 days now and I’m helpless on making him survive this. His fins are torn apart and they’re close together. I can see something red behind his gills And there are red spots underneath his eyes. I don’t know what to do at all. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP me it’s been like this for 2 days now

  5. Last night to my horror my oranda got stucked up into the syphon as a result his eye is popping out. Hes eating well and acting quite normal all thing considering!

    Do i pop his eye back in or leave his eye. And how the heck do you pop his eye back in as i really don’t fancy doing that but if its his best bet i will.

    Thankyou

  6. We have an Oranda that we thought was blind; however, he’s now grown to a point that we discovered he has eyes, but they’re 98% covered. He reacts to light, but has a hard time getting food as there are a few other fancy goldfish in the tank with him and he cannot locate food fast enough. We were wondering if there’s a way for a vet to cut out a larger opening for his eyes or if we should let him be? We had him in his own tank, but thought he’d be happier being with the other fish. Now that he’s still having issue getting food, we’re going to put him back into his own tank. Alone, he eats and is growing well and he’s cute as can be. We’re ok if we can’t do anything for him, but would love for him to see his world a lot better. Thanks for any advice you can provide!

  7. My Oranda goldfish has slighlty a bigger eye and in the back it look black almost like a black fluid. Woulf this be pop eye it looks like something is barely starting and shes been under the filter for two days now when i did a water change, idk whats wrong the other oranda i doing perfect.:(

  8. My black moor just developed a milky white film on one eye. He alsmot looks like its kind of plastic coated now I don’t know how he could see through that or what it is? Any help.

    • sounds like a bacterial infection. it could also be a water quality issue too. Get a broad spectrum antibacterial medication and do a water change. Your local pet store will have this medication and it shouldn’t cost you a lot. You can also ask the pet store’s fish expert what they might suggest. You can even snap a photo of your fish’s eye to show them.

  9. Hello my daughter’s goldfish has lost its eye. I cleaned out the tank yesterday and noticed that his eye was missing. It was cloudy a couple of days ago. What should I do now. I don’t want him in pain x

    • It could have been a bacterial infection or a fungal one depending on the type of cloudiness. If the eye was fluffy like, that’s likely a fungus. If the fins or scales are also showing whiteness or blackening on the tips, it could be a water quality issue like ammonia poisoning. It’s hard to tell. I recommend doing a water change to get the water right, then use a broad spectrum anti bacterial medication to treat the fish. Also add a slime coat protector to help with the healing of the eye. Goldfish, even if completely blind, can live a long life in captivity. Head to the pet store and tell the fish expert. He or she will point you in the right direction.

  10. Please can anyone help me? I had a terrible accident in which my favourite goldfish (who i have had for 9 years) swam past the syphon at the exact wrong moment resulting in her eye being ripped from its socket. It was still attatched at the optic nerve and i managed to net her and pop her in a small jug of tank water. She went into shock (as did i) and stayed very still and calm as i gently pushed her eye back into the socket. (I used a photo later to check i had the eye the correct way around) I gave her a little salt dip and left her to rest in the jug for about an hour. All seemed ok but she was obviously unhappy about being in a jug so i put her back in the tank with her pals and she was fine for about 3 hours. However with her being a fantail and obsessed with food she must have knocked her eye and it fell out again. I was checking on her literally every few minutes so it can’t have been out long. She was sat on the bottom of the tank gasping! I whisked her out and put her back in a fresh jug of tank water. Quickly popped the eye back in. She is now in a 21 litre (6 gal) hospital tank with a filter and im doing 50% to 80% water changes daily to keep the tank water extra clean. I have only used “tap safe” as most of my meds are either out of date or not specific for this kind of injury. She is too big for this tank but its better for her as she can only swim gently in here and shes eating fine. It’s been 48 hours since it happened and the eye looks slightly cloudy. The black pupil looks like it has a hint of grey in it. I’m guessing that she will probably be blind in this eye but im wondering if the eye itself can be saved. Can anyone recommend any foods that will help her regenerate eye tissue around the socket to help hold the eye in. (Since she has been isolated the eye has stayed in). Also which medicines should i use to prevent an infection behind the eye? Or would medicines make it worse? I have been adding about 1 tablespoon of aquarium salts with the water changes. Any advice is welcome. I acted on my instincts but i dont know what to do from here. I cant find anything on the internet where someone has put their fishes eye back in??

    • It sounds like you did everything that I would have. buy I personally don’t have experience with this exact issue. I would consider going to a fish store for an expert opinion or consulting a vet. If the eye needs to be removed, a vet is one that could do that safely.

      • Thankyou for your reply. My goldfish is still in the hospital tank and she seems really well. She’s swimming around quite happy and eating as normal. The eye must have been too badly damaged as after 3 days it became cloudy and disintigrated away. Now its just an empty socket but it looks clean. I’ve just let nature do its thing. I’m going to keep her in the hospital tank for a little longer because it is much easier to keep the water super clean and also so my other fish don’t bother her whilst she heals. She still has vision in the other eye (she responds by begging for food when she sees me) Hopefully though she will be ok.

        • It’s good to hear she is healing. Getting a slime coat protector is a cheap solution to help and encourage the healing process.

  11. My goldfish has one eye with a small pupil and one with a large pupil and looks psychotic. Is this a sign of being blind in one eye? It responds to my presence more when the big pupil eye is facing me.

    • If it is the only fish in the tank, it should be okay, assuming the eyes are not infected. How did she lose both her eyes? Goldfish have a good sense of smell so a blind goldfish should be able to find its food.

  12. Okay, so I don’t have a gold mosh, but you seem to give really good advise. I have a guppy, and I also had two sunset wags, but I got new fish and one of them are the guppys fin like off, there’s nothing in the socket, (and one of the other fish gave all my fish except the guppy (because I removed him and the aggressor) a strange musus layer and something that came out of one of their eyes, but all of them (every single one) died the next day. Within 24 hours, I went from seven fish to one) but he isn’t eating, and hasn’t for a few days. I’m very worried, and I don’t know how to make him eat

    • You might have had an overstocked fish tank resulting in poor water quality. I recommend getting a water test kit to see what your levels are at. It’s important to have clean water so water changes are also an important part of keeping your fish healthy. Lastly, next time, don’t buy too many fish at the same time because the good bacteria in the fish tank might not be able to handle it. Fish tanks need time to cycle in order for them to process the extra ammonia created by the new fish. — So, limit the number of fish in your tank, keep the water clean and give your tank time to adjust. That should be a good start.

    • It’s hard to tell just from that. Are there any other symptoms of an illness that your goldfish is displaying. Also, when is the last time you changed the water?

  13. 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.

    • No need to worry. It is likely that your fish got water into the eye socket and has grown a water pocket. It won’t cause any harm. Just water in it. It should eventually go away and deflate.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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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