Learn the best betta fish popeye treatment you can do to keep your pet in check. Understand what popeye is and how to deal with it safely.

Betta Fish Popeye Treatment: How to Cure Your Fish from this Disease?

Betta Fish Popeye Treatment

Betta fish Popeye is a sign of infection around a betta fish’s eye. It can be an infection of the eye alone or a sign of a more serious internal disease.

As with other fish illness and disease, early detection can increase the survival of your betta fish. Knowing how to spot the signs early on can make a vast difference. Let us discuss this condition so you can provide better care to your betta fish.

Please note that veterinarians specializing in fish care will always be the best source of diagnosis and treatment for your betta fish’s health problems.

Here are the things you must know about betta fish popeye treatment. Let’s begin!

What is popeye in betta fish?

Popeye

The infection of a betta fish’s eye is called Popeye. It is usually caused by dirty water in your betta fish tank. Poor water conditions in a small tank with water volume less than a gallon will have a higher amount of substances harmful to your betta fish.

What are the signs and symptoms of betta fish popeye?

You will notice that your betta fish’s eye will be bulging and swollen. This condition is called exophthalmia. There is a buildup of pressure fluid behind the betta fish’s eye which causes it to bulge out. This is a hallmark sign of infection. Popeye can affect only one eye (unilateral) or both eyes (bilateral) of your betta fish.

A white ring is also an early sign of Popeye even before the bulging out takes place. Other symptoms will include lethargy and lack of appetite.

What causes betta fish popeye?

This condition is actually easier to prevent than cure. Keeping your water parameters good and suitable for your betta fish by regular water change and clean up schedule will prevent the making your betta fish prone to disease. Poor water conditions will stress out your betta and make it susceptible to illness and disease.

Treating betta fish Popeye requires knowing the causes and dealing with them. A unilateral Popeye will most likely come from trauma such as getting injured by bumping into decoration in your fish tank. It is important to choose plants and decoration with no sharp edges which can damage your betta fish. Remove decorations with sharp edges.

Another cause if your betta lives with tank mates is because of aggression and fights with other fish. You can prevent it by choosing compatible tank mates. Betta fish, especially males, will fight over their territory. In the wild the losing betta can swim away but the confines of a fish tank will prevent this. Their constant presence with one another will trigger fights.

Avoid using fishnets with rough textures. Choose smoother nets. Catching a betta fish with a rough net with too much force can injure the fish. Be gentle when handling bettas. They have delicate fins and tails and the membranes protecting their eyes can be injured too.

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Bilateral Popeye is a sign of infection. Bacteria, fungus, or parasites may cause this. If your betta is suffering from another condition then the Popeye may be a sign of secondary infection. You need to handle this in such a way that you are not only just focusing on the Popeye but also on the primary cause of disease.

Related: How To Deal With Betta Bacterial Infection?

Do I need a separate tank when treating popeye?

Having a 5 gallon fish tank as a backup tank is always a good idea. This small tank will serve as a hospital tank or quarantine tank where you will place your betta as they undergo treatment.

This allows easier monitoring because you will get to see your betta right away without needing to find it in a bigger tank.This will avoid the trouble of finding your betta in a well-decorated tank with lots of hiding places. Observing your betta closely is essential during the days it undergoes treatment.

It is big enough to have an aquarium heater and air stone. It is best to use a slight amount of smooth gravel as a substrate for a glass tank just to avoid letting your betta see its reflection on the bottom. A food-safe plastic container can also be an ideal option because you need not put any gravel on the bottom.

The heater is essential because you must provide the optimal temperature when treating your pet fish. The betta is a tropical fish which will benefit mostly within a temperature range of 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 to 27 degrees Celsius. Have an aquarium thermometer ready so you can make sure the temperature is constant. Fluctuations in temperature will cause temperature shock and add more stress to the betta fish.

The air stone is essential because it will allow water movement in the quarantine tank. This can be beneficial if your betta doesn’t have too much energy to always swim up to the surface. It can partially get its oxygen from the water through its gills. This tank with a volume of water will also be shallow enough for the betta to not exert too much energy when swimming to the surface. Remember that your fish isn’t in top shape.

Another advantage of using this tank volume is for economic reasons. You will spend a less amount of medication in dosing for a smaller tank compared to a bigger tank.

If your betta is part of a community tank, then this practice of putting it in a separate quarantine tank will lessen the stress it receives as it recuperates peacefully on its own.

How do we begin treating unilateral betta fish popeye?

Unilateral Popeye because of trauma can be treated by supporting the betta fish’s natural healing capabilities by providing a clean environment through clean water and frequent water change.

1. Prepare your 5 gallon hospital tank by filling it up adequately with water treated with a water conditioner. This will remove any harmful substances such as chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals.

2. Put the air stone in and turn the heater on. Let it reach the optimal temperature range. Check with your aquarium thermometer.

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3. Add aquarium salt by following the manufacturer’s recommended dose. It is usually 1/2 round teaspoon for every gallon. A popular brand is API Aquarium Salt.

4. Carefully take out your betta fish from its main tank using a fish net. Using a clean plastic cup, take some original water from the main tank. Place the betta fish the cup and let it float on top of the quarantine tank for 10 to 15 minutes to acclimate it.

5. Release the betta into the quarantine tank. You can remove 1 gallon of water daily to keep ammonia levels low and remove fish waste. Replace the water removed with 1 gallon water treated with a water conditioner.

6. You can add 1/2 round teaspoonful of the aquarium salt whenever you replace 1 gallon of water. This will keep the amount of salt constant. Take note that salt does not evaporate and will remain dissolved in the water. So replenish with every water change. Using aquarium salt has a lot of benefits. It makes the water less suitable for a lot of parasites. The salt also reduces nitrates and nitrites. It improves your betta fish’s slime coat which protects it from injury and organisms that may harm it. Finally, it improves kidney and gill function.

7. Observe your betta for the next 7 days. If the Popeye is not subsiding, then it could be time to use medication. If you are not comfortable medicating fish on your own, then it is best to seek the help of a veterinarian specialized in fish care.

Betta Fish Popeye Treatment

What medication is used to treat betta fish popeye?

A veterinarian specialized in fish care will give the best advice, diagnosis, treatment, and care for a betta fish afflicted with Popeye. However, if you can not find a qualified fish veterinarian in your area, you can try heading to your local fish store and ask if they have medication for such a condition. You may need to administer the medication yourself.

Ampicillin is a popular choice in treating Popeye. Ampicillin is an antibiotic medication. Always follow the dosage administration recommended by the manufacturer. 

How do we begin treating betta fish popeye with medication?

1. Prepare your 5 gallon hospital tank by filling it up adequately with water treated with a water conditioner. This will remove any harmful substances such as chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals.

2. Put the air stone in and turn the heater on. Let it reach the optimal temperature range. Check with your aquarium thermometer.

3. Ampicillin dosage is usually 1 capsule for every 10 gallons. So for a 5 gallon tank use only half a capsule. This is where the economical advantage of using a smaller hospital tank comes in.

4. Premix the 1/2 capsule with some water to dissolve it and add it in the quarantine’s water tank. 

5. Carefully take out your betta fish from its main tank using a fish net. Using a clean plastic cup, take some original water from the main tank. Place the betta fish the cup and let it float on top of the quarantine tank for 10 to 15 minutes to acclimate it.

6. Perform 100% water change every 3 days. Replenish the ampicillin dose.

7. Observe your betta for the next 7 days. You betta should start becoming more active with some appetite. It should swim more and not just stay still on the bottom all the time. The Popeye itself may take more than a few weeks to recover and go back to normal. Do not use Ampicillin for over 10 days. If you are not sure if your betta is recovering then it might be best to consult a veterinarian specialized in fish care for advice.

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Should I feed my betta fish during treatment?

It is an effect of being sick that the betta fish has no appetite. Try to feed a small amount and see if it will accept the food. If not, remove the food. Uneaten food will pollute the hospital tank.

Betta fish can survive for 7 days without food so don’t panic if a day goes by that it doesn’t eat. Try again the next day. If it eats then that is a good sign. Feed with high protein food to help its immune system fight off disease.

Remember to not overfeed your fish. Once a day with a small amount is enough during treatment. Too much food may burden its system and add more problems. Remove uneaten food to avoid ammonia spikes in the hospital tank.

How to prevent popeye from happening?

The best advice is that prevention is often better than cure. Make sure your pet betta is living in an environment suitable for it to thrive. Give it proper care such as a good diet, optimal temperature range, and water parameters suited for bettas. Keeping its home clean through good husbandry practices is of utmost importance.

Related: Best Betta Dropsy Treatment and Prevention

How to prevent infection that leads to popeye?

  1. If your betta is part of a community tank, then make sure it is not overstocked. Overstocked aquariums have a higher possibility of having stressed fish. Stressed fish are more prone to disease. The higher bioload will be a burden to your filtration system making the environment very unstable. It will be easy for harmful substances such as ammonia to spike. This is lethal to fish. 
  2. Water change routine should be followed to make sure nitrates are kept low.
  3. If you notice your betta or its tank mate is sick then do prompt quarantining.

How to prevent injury which may lead to popeye?

  1. Avoid decoration with sharp edges. Imitation plants made of silk are a better choice compared to plastic ones.
  2. Use a net with a smooth texture to avoid any damage to your fish.
  3. If you notice aggression in your community tank, then do immediate action to separate the offender. It is a good idea to always have a backup tank when setting up a community tank. We may do our best to research fish compatibility but it always comes down to the unique characteristic of each fish. Temperaments vary and you may need to remove bullies from the group.
  4. Do not suddenly tap the glass of your fish tank. This scares fish and may cause them to swim away so fast and bump into something. When turning on the lights it is better to switch on the light of the room first. Then allow a few minutes before turning on the fish tank lights.

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