Sometimes cichlids might get sick when things go wrong. Even though they’re hardy fish, they’re still going to be susceptible to certain conditions.
One particularly nasty condition is known as popeye. This is a type of eye infection issue that will cause one or more of the eyes to bulge.
If you don’t take action, there could be severe consequences. It’s even possible that the fish might lose its eye.
Keep reading to learn how to treat popeye in cichlids. Once you understand what you need to do, it’ll be easier to protect your fish.
Cichlids Eyes Bulging
Popeye isn’t something that fish should have to deal with. Generally, this is only going to impact fish that are forced to live in poor water conditions.
There are a few situations that make it more likely for cichlids to develop popeye. It often happens when the tank becomes overcrowded.
Trying to cram too many fish into one fish tank is never a good idea. Not only does this stress the fish, but it makes it difficult to keep the fish tank clean.
More fish in the tank will mean a lot more fish poop. It makes the water dirty and it’s going to negatively impact the health of your fish.
Of course, you could also simply do a poor job cleaning the tank. Even if the tank isn’t overcrowded, it can still become very dirty.
You need to clean the fish tank on a regular basis. It’s also necessary to do weekly water changes to keep the water safe.
Ideally, you should be changing out 15% of the water each week. Failure to do so might make it more likely that the fish will become infected with popeye.
What Is Popeye?
Popeye is a type of swelling that occurs in the eyes of fish. It can happen in either one eye or both eyes.
The eyes will bulge and look like they’re popping right out of the cichlid’s head. When looking at the outer surface of the eye, you might notice that it has a cloudy appearance.
The swelling is caused by tissue fluid that leaks into the area behind the eyeball. Pressure will continue to build up until the swelling occurs.
It’s common for bacterial infections to play a role in this condition. Sadly, it’s very common for larger types of cichlids to get popeye.
How Can Popeye Be Treated?
Treating popeye in cichlids won’t be easy. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get good results, though.
There are many problems that your fish has to deal with when it has popeye. Swelling will cause damage to the cornea, but this can get better over time.
You must improve the water conditions and make sure that they’re optimal. Start monitoring the water conditions carefully and keep everything in the right range.
Ensure that the fish is eating a healthy and well-balanced diet. This should help it to improve over the course of several weeks.
Another issue to consider is the fluid behind the eyes. This issue can also get better over time, but it’s recommended to use Epsom salt in the tank.
This can speed up the healing process. Simply use the salt as instructed and be sure not to use more of it than you’re supposed to.
Using too much of the salt could be detrimental. It might be best to use Epsom salt in a quarantine tank rather than using it in the main fish tank.
Since the fish is likely going to get an infection when it has popeye, it’s recommended to treat it with antibiotics. Both antibiotics and antibacterial medications can be useful.
This can treat fin rot and other issues that might happen alongside popeye. It’s likely best to use antibiotics that can be administered via food.
Will Popeye Kill Cichlids?
It’s possible that popeye could cause cichlids to die. However, the popeye itself isn’t what usually kills the fish.
As noted earlier, bacterial infections are common when cichlids get popeye. These infections are what wind up killing the fish.
It’s also important to note that the eye might not ever fully heal. If you take the steps mentioned above, you’ll give the fish the best shot at getting better.
There’s still a chance that the eye won’t fully heal. Even with proper treatment, it can take weeks or potentially months for the swelling to go away.
Sometimes the damage is too much and the fish will wind up blind in one eye. The eye could also be lost depending on what happens.
This is why it’s important to start treating the fish as soon as you can. You will get better results if you treat the fish as soon as you notice the popeye issues.
Of course, you can also do your best to keep this from happening. Try to prevent popeye from being a problem by taking good care of the fish tank.
Remember not to let the fish tank become overcrowded. Do weekly water changes to keep the fish tank in good shape.
If you do what you need to do to protect the fish, it’ll be far less likely that popeye will ever become an issue in your tank. It’s simply about being disciplined and doing regular tank maintenance.
You’ve learned everything that you need to know about cichlids and popeye. This is a very serious problem that can harm your fish and even kill them.
When cichlids get popeye, it’s a sign that the water is dirty. You might be keeping the fish in an overcrowded tank or you might not be cleaning it enough.
It’ll be necessary to remedy those issues to help the fish get better. You’ll also need to treat the fish in various ways.
People use Epsom salts to try to reduce swelling when fish have popeye. It can make a difference, but you have to be careful only to use the right amount of salts.
It’s also likely that the fish will get infected by bacteria during this time. You’ll need to treat the fish with antibiotic or antibacterial medications.
Use medications that can be administered in food to get the best results. If you’re doing your best, it should be possible to get the cichlids back to being healthy again.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.