Can fish lose their eyesight?

OneMom

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HI Everyone:

I haven't posted here in ages...hope it's okay to drop in with a weird question.

Our 2 1/2 year old betta, Angel, seems to be losing her eyesight. About a month ago we started to notice that she wasn't able to see her pellet of food as quickly as she used to. Previous to that, as soon as we dropped the pellet in her tank she would chase it and gobble it up immediately. Recently, we've noticed that keeps missing her food. As soon as she sees us, she swims up & begs for food - as she always has. We drop it in the water, right in front of her, and she often doesn't seem to see it. She starts to jump out of the water, towards our fingers, completely missing the pellet RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER!!. Eventually, between her jumping & the filter action, the pellet sinks into oblivion on the bottom. Yesterday I went through SIX pellets before she was able to get one into her mouth....she literally seems unable to see them. We're using the same food that we always have & this definitely is not a case of her not being hungry. If she had her way, we'd feed her 10 times a day!

We've started to wonder, maybe 2 1/2 years is really old for a betta. What is their average life span? Has anyone ever had their fish lose it's eyesight? I have to say, we've started to joke in our family, if any family is ever going to have a blind betta - it would be us. We have a history of having pets with severe medical problems...we're just lucky that way.

Thanks for any information you all might have on these two subjects!

PS: My husband fed Angel last week and she swam right into the pellet. It STUCK TO HER NOSE. He said she swam around for a while, with it stuck to her nose, looking ridiculous. He was eventually able to brush it off of her, but he really couldn't help but laugh at the situation.
 

captain_bilbo

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That would be a rather odd situation, but I'm sure like all animals with eyes that they too can cgo blind or lose their eyesight. According to the betta page the average lifespan is about 2-3 years soo... She's probably an old betta lady.
 

Phloxface

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Yes fish can loose their eyesight but it may not be what's wrong with her. My fish do exactly the same thing sometimes when I feed them if I stick a pellet to my finger they jump up and bite my thumb repeatedly totally missing the finger with pellet. They can just be goofy that way. Also remember, a fish has eyes on either side of it's head, unlike mammals who's eyes are both facing forwards. When they get close to an object and it's right in front of them they can't see it. They just aI'm and jump and hope they hit it.  Mine often swim around with pellets stuck to their foreheads or on their backs.   I also find if I try to feed them too soon after they have just woken up they are so dopey they can never find the pellet.  
Two and a half years is fairly old for a Betta and she would be considered a senior so her reflexes are probably not what they used to be. Just be patient with her. I don't think she's totally blind but maybe she's not just what she used to be.

P.S. Angel seems to be a common name for female Bettas...  ;D I have one and so does at least one other member here.
 

captain_bilbo

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Speaking of betta problems my betta is acting funny.. I'm not sure if it's currents and convection in the tank or some sort of internal problem with him, but he keeps swimming around like he's sick and goes to the top for a little breath every now and then and then he swims directly down like some strange force is pulling him down there. Man, am I ever worried... blahh...
 

LZ Floyd

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It's not uncommon with our Betta, either, OneMom, and I got to wondering about his eyesight, too.  In our case, it seems that it's most difficult for GB to land a pellet or FD bloodworm when the aeration is too high, the filter is running, and/or the lighting is such that he can't see food on the water's surface.  Sometimes he's fine and can be fed through the small feeding door affixed to the light hood  Other times I have to pull the light hood and light protector to feed him.  Sometimes, shutting down the air pump and filter stills the water enough for him to see and zero-in on the food.

Mike
 

COBettaCouple

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Phloxface said:
Yes fish can loose their eyesight but it may not be what's wrong with her. My fish do exactly the same thing sometimes when I feed them if I stick a pellet to my finger they jump up and bite my thumb repeatedly totally missing the finger with pellet. They can just be goofy that way. Also remember, a fish has eyes on either side of it's head, unlike mammals who's eyes are both facing forwards. When they get close to an object and it's right in front of them they can't see it. They just aI'm and jump and hope they hit it. Mine often swim around with pellets stuck to their foreheads or on their backs. I also find if I try to feed them too soon after they have just woken up they are so dopey they can never find the pellet.
Two and a half years is fairly old for a Betta and she would be considered a senior so her reflexes are probably not what they used to be. Just be patient with her. I don't think she's totally blind but maybe she's not just what she used to be.

P.S. Angel seems to be a common name for female Bettas... ;D I have one and so does at least one other member here.
Yep, we're another "angel" owner. Is there usually more than 1 person near the tank when your Angel is being fed?
 
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OneMom

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Thanks for all of your replies!

LZFloyd:

99% of the time there is only one person at the tank feeding her. She has enough sight left that she is able to see us approach the tank. We do try to place her food to either the right or left side of her, if it's directly in front of her she is completely unable to see it these days. We know she's pretty old, it just makes me sad to think that her days may be numbered.

She's been amazingly resilient. We had her living in a 1.5 gallon fish bowl for the first year of her life. We didn't even have a heater for her - and it gets cold here in Wisconsin at night. Our thermostat is set to drop to 62 degrees from 10pm until 6am in the winter. We only used to change the water in her bowl every 7-10 days. Last fall she finally got finrot. With all of the information we learned here on the board we got her a 10 gallon tank with heater. She needed warmer water desperately & we put her straight into the uncycled tank with Biospira. Even with the finrot she bounced back quickly, the uncycled tank didn't faze her. We never even gave her any medication for the finrot that time. That episode definitely weakened her somewhat though...we've had to treat her for finrot three more times. Now she lives in her 82 degree "mansion" with plants & decorations and clean water. It's amazing that she survived our ignorance as long as she did. She's a trooper!

So the moral of the story is: a whole lot of benign neglect apparently extends your Betta's life. Just kidding.
 

cherryrose

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It sounds like your Angel is a very spoiled girl, which is the way it should be. Bettas have a way of making us worry about them, but as long as she is eating she should be okay. Enjoy her and she may live a few months, or even a year or so, longer for you. Take care.

CherryRose
 

Jimold

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I don't know about going blind, but my first Oscar died of what I can only describe as a stroke. He went into some sort of seizure, which lasted about 2 minutes. Afterwards, his personality was totally gone, and he floated around sort of half there... but like his mind was just gone. He did nothing, didn't eat, didn't react to anyone outside the tank...nothing. About 2 days later he died.

Anyway, my point is, I would imagine fish are susceptible to most anything other animals are, and I know other animals can go blind.
 

COBettaCouple

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OneMom said:
We know she's pretty old, it just makes me sad to think that her days may be numbered.
Hopefully she'll be one of the Bettas that makes it to 5 or 6. She's a strong girl and I wonder if something Rose posted might help.. she was saying that Bettas love the smell of garlic and I think you could try soaking Angel's pellets in some garlic juice from one of those little jars of wet minced garlic. it might help Angel locate her food easier.
 

chickadee

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My Black Female Jasmyn did lose her eyesight totally and she swam in a circle constantly in the center of the tank at the surface and I could put the pellets right in front of her and she would actually run into them and would just push them out of the way with her nose. She eventually died of starvation. We do not know what caused her to lose her eyesight other than she had a really bad case of ich and it got onto her face and I always wondered if some of it got into her eyes and since it is a parasite, it could have blinded her before it was taken care of with the temperature raising. The behavior was obvious and totally unchanging and nothing we could do would change it and I seriously considered euthanising her but could not find the things I needed to do it humanely and I would not use any other method.

I am very sorry about your fish, it is a painful thing to watch them be disabled this way.

Rose
 

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