By Jim E. Quarles
Popeye also known as exophthalmial. This condition is caused by a wide
range of factors including, bacterial infections, parasite infestations,
poor water quality, and internal metabolic system disorders.
One or both eyes protrude form the head in an unusual shape. I refer to
fish other than gold fish some of which have been bred for this
appearance. The eye lens can be cloudy white looking as well. In some
cases the eye will look normal it just protrudes too much, also a white
ring is sometimes noticed that circles the eye where it meets the head but
the eye other wise looks ok.
OCCURRENCE OF THE SYMPTOMS
The disease usually only affects one or two fish in an aquarium, and is
rarely markedly infectious however, that being said, prevention is the
best part of treatment. I would move any affected fish to its own
treatment tank. ( why take chances ).
Sometimes the condition will persist for a short time and then may
disappear without treatment other than good clean water. It is very rare
that a fish will die as a direct result of this disease. If uniform
numbers of fish in a tank become infected then you can suspect water quality
has been poor and or an infectious agent is present. Below is an Oscar
with popeye showing the white ring around the eye juncture with the head.
Also you will note the eye is clear other than the pin point of light in
the center, which is just a reflection of the flash taking the photo.
||Popeye can be caused by a Build up of fluid in or
behind the eyes or by the presence of bacteria and parasitic eye
flukes. The Oscar has a T.B. infection behind its eye caused by
eating gold fish infected with it.
Photographs by Tetra Publications. To which I extend my thanks.
Treatment with a broad spectrum antibiotic injection is the preferred
method, if the problem is of a bacterial nature. There is not much other
than this treatment that offers much hope for improvement. I suggest the
fish be isolated and given extra clean water and a varied diet. Should the
fish show no improvement and the fish shows any sign of distress, destroy
them painlessly and consider it a kindness.
Medicated food could be tried, but no studies have been done to show
the effectiveness of any of the methods listed. My personal feeling is
that due to the possible spread to other fish I destroy the fish as soon
as the condition is noted.