There are a variety of common diseases that seems to infect betta fish, the main one being a condition called Popeye. This disease can affect your bettas quality of life and treatment should be started promptly when you notice any symptoms. Popeye can heal; however, the eye will not look how it did before the infection.
Many medications on the market are tailored towards treating the bacterial pathogens that cause Popeye, and some can help aid in the prevention or effective treatment of such disease.
This is a complete article that will inform you on the main causes, symptoms, treatment, and even tips to avoid this disease from arising in the first place!
Table of contents
- Popeye in Bettas Explained
- Symptoms of Popeye in Bettas
- 5 Main Causes of Popeye in Bettas
- How to Effectively Treat Popeye
- Prevention Methods
Popeye in Bettas Explained
Popeye (scientifically known as exophthalmia) is described as a condition that causes a fish’s eye to swell and bulge out. When compared to the healthy eye, the infected one can appear double the size. The name is an explanatory term for when the eye looks like it has popped out of the socket. Although this is not generally fatal, and your betta can recover quickly with the right treatment. Some forms are fatal and those are cases where the deadly fish tuberculosis disease has caused swelling and infection or one or both eyes. Popeye is generally caused by a build-up of pressure behind the eye that causes the socket to become infected and swell.
Symptoms of Popeye in Bettas
There may also be additional symptoms linked to specific diseases that can cause Popeye as a symptom. Popeye can appear quite suddenly and often without outward symptoms, in which case the betta may have physically damaged the eye, or the condition is caused by an internal bacterial infection.
5 Main Causes of Popeye in Bettas
1. Bacterial infections
Bettas may develop a bacterial infection introduced by new fish or invertebrates that have been added to the tank. This causes a nasty bacterium to accumulate and cause damage to the eye.
2. Fungal infections
The transmission is the same as bacterial infections, but a fungal infection is usually more worrisome. This can be accompanied by white fluffy growths along the betta’s body.
3. Physical damage
Your betta can damage their eye if they swim into a hard object, get stuck in the filter or if another fish attacks them (hence why you should never house two male bettas together!). The eye will swell as a result.
4. Dirty conditions
Dirty tank conditions are a breeding ground for all sorts of pathogens. If you do not keep up with tank maintenance and water changes, your betta can easily develop an infection of the eye.
5. Fish tuberculosis & other fatal diseases
Fish TB is a serious and often fatal disease that not many fish can recover from. In the late stages of fish TB, the eye may bulge, and redness can occur by the site. Late stages of fish TB are incurable, and euthanasia is, therefore, the kindest option.
In rare cases, Popeye can be caused by a tumor or growth near the eye, which is will push the eye further out the socket as the tumor or growth becomes larger.
How to Effectively Treat Popeye
Treatment should only be done once you have discovered the root cause as to why your betta has developed Popeye. If it is a sudden occurrence with no previous symptoms, it is most likely related to poor water quality which resulted in a bacterial infection. Once you have discovered the main cause of the condition, treatment should be administered promptly.
Treatment should be done as soon as you notice symptoms of Popeye. There are many effective medications for the successful treatment of this condition and these medications include:
Stick to doing weekly water changes to keep the water clean and fresh. Never place dirty hands inside of the water column and make sure you quarantine all new fish before you put them into the main tank.
Removal of damaging items
If the Popeye was caused by bumping into a decoration, consider removing it from the aquarium and any other hard or potentially hazardous items from the tank. Bettas should only have live plants or silicone items in the tank.
Prevention is always better than treatment. There are many ways to prevent Popeye infections from occurring, and here are a few:
Popeye does not have to be a daunting condition and if you determine that your betta may have Popeye, do not panic! Calmly assess the current tank conditions and notice any other symptoms your betta may have. Then you can set up a hospital/treatment tank and begin dosing medication for the next few weeks. There is a high cure rate for Popeye and if your betta is otherwise healthy, they should fight right through the issue.
Featured Image Credit: BankZa, Shutterstock