Skip to Content

Oscar Fish Popeye Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Oscar Fish Popeye Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addtion, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

It can be troubling when your Oscars aren’t doing well in your tank. You know that they’re hardy fish, but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible. In fact, they are susceptible to several diseases.

Have you noticed that your Oscar’s eye looks funny as of late? If the eye appears to be protruding from its head, it’s possible that the Oscar fish has a condition known as popeye.

This is a truly problematic eye infection that can cause vision loss. The eye of the fish might even be lost entirely depending on how things go.

When you notice issues such as this, you’ll want to take action right away. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about popeye in Oscar fish so that you can take the appropriate steps to help.

Understanding Popeye Disease

Popeye disease is typically caused by some type of bacterial infection. It could also occur due to injury or exposure to poor water conditions.

When a fish gets this disease, it’s going to cause significant eye swelling. This disease can impact just one eye, but it might also impact both eyes.

You’ll see that one or both of the eyes will be protruding from the Oscar’s head. Sometimes the fish might also have cloudy eyes when they have this disease.

The swelling is what causes the eyes to bulge. If you don’t help the fish, it might wind up losing eyesight completely.

This is a treatable condition, but you want to catch it before it gets too bad. Otherwise, it might be too late to save the Oscar’s eyesight.

What Are the Symptoms?

Goldfish with Popeye
A goldfish with popeye disease

As mentioned above, fish that experience popeye disease will have one or both eyes bulge out from their eye sockets. Protruding eyes might be extremely noticeable, but it could also be subtle in early stages.

Swelling is what causes the eyes to protrude from the eye sockets. This situation can also cause the eye socket itself to become stretched.

You might notice that the eyeball has become discolored in some way. This could be due to the presence of blood.

It’s common for the eyeball to rupture when a fish has popeye disease. It could also just cause the eye to become rather cloudy.

Fish will experience symptoms that aren’t related to the eyes when they have this disease, too. It’s normal for fish to become lethargic and stop eating.

They might go through extreme behavioral changes. Oscars might start hiding a lot when they’re sick.

The body of the fish could become somewhat swollen as well. You’ll likely see that the Oscars have clamped fins when they’re experiencing popeye disease.

What Causes Popeye Disease?

Dirty Fish Tank

Popeye disease is normally caused by some type of infection. This infection can occur as a result of poor conditions in the water or due to some type of injury.

A fish might get injured during a fight and this will make it more likely to get infected. Forcing fish to live in dirty or improper water conditions will contribute to the likelihood of contracting popeye disease.

To mitigate such issues, it’s important to keep the water quality high. Remember to test the water so you can keep the water parameters in the right range.

You should test the water every week and make adjustments as necessary. It’s also important to clean the tank regularly and to do regular water changes.

Failure to do tank maintenance will lead to the water in the tank getting dirty. This will stress the fish and make them more likely to experience issues such as popeye disease.

Do a good job of maintaining the tank and it’s unlikely that your fish will deal with this issue. If your fish does get popeye disease, it’s possible to treat it.

Treating Popeye Disease

Treating popeye disease isn’t too difficult, but you want to start treating the Oscar fish fast. Waiting too long can cause permanent damage to the eye and it might even lead to blindness.

When popeye occurs due to an injury, it’s likely that it’ll heal on its own. If the eye has become infected, you’ll want to give the fish some type of antibiotic treatment.

Bacterial infections can be treated using antibiotics. Fungal infections will require some type of antifungal medication.

It’s common for people to treat popeye with aquarium salt as well. Aquarium salt can help the fish to heal faster and it’s a good idea to use it.

Monitor the water conditions carefully and try to keep feeding the fish high-quality meals. This will help to give the fish the strength to get better.

If multiple fish in the tank have been infected, you might need to treat the whole tank with antibiotics. The fish should get better after going through the treatment process.

Your Fish Can Get Better

Oscar Swimming in Tank With Plants and Rocks

It’s possible for your fish to get better when it has popeye disease. If you treat the condition as soon as you notice it, it’ll be likely for the fish to make a full recovery.

In some cases, the fish won’t fully recover due to the treatment process starting too late. Some fish that get this disease will wind up going blind.

It’s not too unusual for fish to lose an eye due to popeye disease. This should make it clear that you need to take action fast to prevent such terrible problems.

Your fish most likely will not die from this disease. However, it can happen if the problem goes untreated.

Fish might die due to stress or complications from being infected. Do your best to treat the fish before things get too bad.

Final Thoughts

Knowing more about this situation should make it easier to proceed. It can be scary when your fish are dealing with such a troublesome condition.

Catching things early will allow you to treat the fish. You can give the fish medicine or treat it by using aquarium salt.

You should try to prevent popeye disease by maintaining good water quality. Monitor the conditions in the tank and make sure that your fish are being kept in an optimal environment.

Now that you know what to expect, it should be easier to treat this problem and to prevent it from happening in the future. Do your best and your Oscars will remain healthy in your tank for a long time.