I noticed a swelling around the eyes of my fish, and I started to get concerned. Then I saw a change in the color of their eyes and decided I needed to do some research. After a while, I figured they might be suffering from “pop eye” disease. But then I had more questions, starting with what is pop eye disease? Here I’ll explain everything I learned.
First, it is worth mentioning that certain species of fish may have “telescopic” eyes. Telescopic eyes may appear swollen or bloated, but that is normal. As with all advice about your pet, do your best to understand the situation before doing anything. If your fish are exhibiting an usual swelling of the eyes, they might be suffering from “pop eye” disease.
Popeye disease is the bloating or swelling of one or both eyes of a fish, the affected eyes may also become cloudy. Popeye is not a specific disease, but a symptom that may occur from one of several different causes. The cause of the swelling may be physical damage to the eye, or an underlying infection.
Pop eye disease is not usually fatal, and is more of a sign that something is wrong with your fish or its environment. But the swelling should go down once you treat the cause. If left untreated, your fish could suffer vision loss, or even lose an eye. But most fish have a much better ability to recover from eye injuries than people do. If you can not determine what is causing pop eye, you may want to visit a qualified veterinarian.
What causes pop eye disease?
Several issues can cause pop eye disease. If you notice that the eyes of your fish are beginning to bulge, you should immediately inspect your fish. Check for obvious signs of injury or general color changes. If nothing obvious stands out, first check for any psychical damage. The eyes may have scratches, from a fight with another fish or bumping into something sharp. Even if the fish seems fine, a blood red discoloration of the eyes is a good indicator of physical damage.
If there is no damage, you should then check for any signs of infection or parasites. Cloudy eyes, or a white discoloration can be an indicator of fluid building up behind the eye. First inspect the eyes, and then the rest of the fish for any signs of discoloration. The cause of pop eye could be a parasitic, fungal, or bacterial infection. If you find signs of infection, you may only need to apply a basic antibacterial treatment. But if the infection is severe, you should contact a veterinarian.
If you haven’t located any signs of damage or infection, the next step is to check the sides of their tank. Small bubbles collecting along the inside of the tank is a sign of the supersaturation of gas. Gas from the water may be collecting inside the eyes of the fish.
If you haven’t been able to identify a problem with your fish, you may need to replace the water in their tank. Poor PH levels, or excessive nitrite could have a negative effect on the health of your fish.
How Do You Treat Pop Eye?
The treatment of pop eye depends on the cause. If your fish is showing signs of physical damage, and is sharing a tank, you may want to separate it. Fish don’t always get along, and sometimes they fight over food or space. If you’re concerned about fighting, the safest choice is just to separate the fish. If the fish is alone, you may want to remove any particularly sharp or abrasive decorations from its tank. Once you have removed the fish or the decorations, check on your fish daily to make sure it is recovering.
Sometimes the cause of pop eye is an infection. First identify the infection. For bacterial infections, separate the infected fish into a new tank and apply an antibacterial treatment. If there are more than one infected fish, you may want to treat their entire tank.
Infections can also be fungal or parasitic. Medicine is available for fungal infections. in which case you will want to see if salt treatments are an option for your fish. Not all freshwater fish have the same tolerance for salt treatments. Please check on the details of your species before applying any.
In either case, make sure to feed your fish a nutritional food that promotes a healthy immune system.
In other cases the water in your tank can have an improper PH level, or an excess of nitrite. the safest measure for this is to replace the water in the tank completely. Make sure to be careful when you transport the fish. Allow them to adjust to the stress, and clean the tank when swapping the water.
What are salt treatments?
Salt treatments are the safe addition of salt into a freshwater tank. These treatments can aid your fish with the removal of parasites. Freshwater fish usually have a small resistance to the level of salt in their water. This tends to be higher than the resistance of any parasites that may be bothering them.
Common non-iodized salt is safe for freshwater fish in small doses. Less than a teaspoon per gallon should do. Do not add the salt directly to the tank. To be safe, make sure to dissolve the salt in a small cup of the tank’s normal water before adding the mixture to the tank. This is to avoid pockets of water that are too salty and might irritate or harm your pet.
If your tank contains plants, or fish without scales, it is not recommended to add salt to their tanks. Plants and scaleless fish can be very sensitive to even small doses of salt.
If your tank also has live plants or sensitive fish, you cans till use salt to help remove parasites. In a separate container, you can mix up to 3 teaspoons of salt with a gallon of the fish’s tank water. Make sure to mix the water and dissolve the salt fully before separating your fish from the tank. Be careful, and place the fish in the salt bath. Only leave the fish in the salt bath for a few minutes, and keep watch of the fish to make sure the salt levels are right. If the fish seems agitated or panicked, take them out immediately.
What causes supersaturation and how do you get rid of it?
Supersaturation refers to gas that has built up inside the water of your aquarium. It’s normal for water to dissolve a certain amount of gas. Gas becomes supersaturated when it has built up so much that it collects as bubbles in the water. Normally this gas is either oxygen or nitrogen, and can have a number of sources. Damaged pumps and filter systems can cause gas to build up, as can too much blooming algae.
If you find signs of supersaturated gasses, you should check to see if any pumps, or valve parts are leaking . Damaged parts will give off visible bubbles or will start to collect bubbles. If any parts are leaking excess gas, repairing or replacing these parts should be a priority.
The cause of the gas may also be an excess of algae. Plants release oxygen into the water, and too many plants in a sealed tank can trap gas in the water. If this is the case, cleaning the tank will be necessary. After cleaning, allow the tank to air out by removing any covers or seals.
In either case, once you identify the source of the problem, you will also need to degas the aquarium. You can do this by removing any seals and allowing the gas to diffuse into the air. You can even buy special degassing machines. Normally exposure to supersaturated gas doesn’t have long term effects. But if left untreated it can cause harm to your fish over time.
Will my fish be okay?
While the answer depends on the underlying cause, your fishy friend will probably be fine. It is important that you treat the cause as soon as possible. Once treated, pay extra attention to make sure your pet is recovering well. The causes may sound scary, and salt treatments may sound risky odd. But it’s important to remember that fish have a profound ability to heal themselves.
Fish are very resilient and recover from damage very well. Unlike people, they are also very good at recovering from damage to their eyes. So long as you are feeding your fish well, and attending to the base cause of their pop eye, the fish should recover fully. In bad cases, fish can lose vision, or completely lose an eye. But this is only if the situation goes untreated for a long period of time. Take your pet to a qualified veterinarian immediately if you notice any other conditions besides pop eye. Conditions to look out for include white spots, unusual stress, or a general loss of color.
No matter what the cause is, it’s important to properly feed your fish, and clean their tank regularly. Make sure the fish have plenty of space, decorations they enjoy, and neighbors they get along with. Sometimes the issue is as simple to fix as getting a new tank to separate a pair of aggressive fish. But sometimes you may need to invest in antibacterial food or special treatments. But in all cases, the key is to identify the issue and treat it as fast as possible.
Pop eye disease can be startling, and there are so many possible causes. But now you should know enough to identify the real problem and how best to treat it. it is important that you contact a professional if any other issues pop up or the bulging refuses to go down.