Goldfish Popeye Disease

Goldfish Popeye DiseaseGoldfish 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.)

Related: Treatment Options for Sick Goldfish


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.


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.

Recommended Medication


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.

Reviewed By: Tim Winter

Tim Winter has a strong affection for pets and wildlife. His years of experience caring for various types of pets has led him to share his knowledge with others on the best practices in pet care. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.

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16 thoughts on “Goldfish Popeye Disease”

  1. Hello my pet fish got big eyes and is a goldfish I don’t know why its has big eyes please tell me a cure for my fish.

  2. I just noticed that my goldfish’s eye was bulging outwards after a power outage. She’s always been a healthy fish, I purchased some fish infection medication for her. But I think it was from trauma. Even though she has been through multiple power outages

  3. Hi there came back today one my fish eye look if drop off hope it not in pain any help would be good I worried it could be the tap water safe stuff not sure I been doing 20 percent water change every week going do full tank clean out thankyou I have 200lt tank

  4. My 2 gold fishesh lost their both eyes yesterday 26-03-2019.
    Now there is only a hole in the place of eyes.but they are active n eating food with rest of fishesh.what to do.anyone please help me

  5. My goldfish oldest one had Popeye and a cloudy eye and he swims allot slower than my younger two goldfish with his fins closed up and not spreading them out, I’m not sure if the fin issue is old age or another symptom due to Popeye or not

  6. I have a 14 year old comet goldfish that has pop eye and cloudy eye. I have been treating it with melafix for 2 weeks and it is still not cured. I live in a rural area not near any fish stores. I have ordered pimafix and have just bought API aquarium salt that I have not yet used. My tank is 20 U.S. gallon. Any suggestions? Should I also use nutrafin aqua plus?

  7. So first my oldest Goldie (3-4yrs) comes down with Ich, and now his eyes are starting to swell! Great! Is there any correlation with the two??

  8. I just woke up and my oranda looks like a telescope eye and he is a lone fish I’m scared and don’t know how to cure it someone help 🙁

  9. I hardly ever clean biggy smalls’ tank and now his eye has gone reeeeealy big and it looks as if it is bleeding!! I have cleaned his tank now but do you think the eye will go back to normal?

    • I have a koi pond but also have gold fish. One gold fish has pop eyes which occurred recently. Is this something that is contagious to the other fish?

  10. 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?

    • 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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