Treating Popeye

  • #1

I have an adult molly suffering from popeye. I quarantined, added salt, all levels in tank are good.

I read to treat with broad spectrum antibiotic. Is this a good course of action?

I just added a tablet of Tetra All-In-One Lifeguard to the tank but I just read that it's broad spectrum NON-Antibiotic. I just added it 5 minutes ago (6:15 Eastern Time). Can I just take it out if that won't work and put in something else?

What meds would you recommend for popeye?



The fish died. Amazing.... 15 minutes after transport it is laying on the bottom not breathing. Why would a fish die that fast? I knew it was sick... perhaps just the stress of moving from one tank to the other? Crazy...

  • #2
Popeye is a secondary infection caused by poor water quality, antibiotics don’t do anything.

If you want we can try to figure out what happened.

  • Thread Starter
  • #3
That would be good. Yeah I'm not sure what happened exactly. All my fish have been good for months now since I've begun adding prime. Just all of the sudden that fish started acting weird, developed popeye, and then died about 10 minutes after I sent it to quarantine.

My guess is the death happened due to stress of the transfer. But not sure why the popeye developed in the first place. Perhaps there is not an answer. My nitrates have been slightly high (40 ish)... but for only maybe a week or two. Last water change was two weeks ago. That shouldn't have caused it, correct?
  • #4
40 nitrates for only 2 weeks, probably not. That’d be pretty rare. What about ammonia and nitrite?

What’s the size of tank and stocking?
  • #5
So it looks like my daughters Betta (get him in October) is starting to show signs of popeye. Over hte past few days he's had trouble eating. He spots his food floating at the top but when he lunges for it he completely misses it. For the first few days I didn't undestand why this was happening but now I can tell both eyes are starting to bulge. I just purchased the medication and have read the proper way to treat it by doing a 100% water change first then adding the medication to the clear water. I believe I'm supposed to do a 100% changes every three days until cured. Do I only add the medicine after water changes or treat every day? Wasn't 100% after what I read. He's kept in a cycled 5-gallon. I'm wondering if I should move him to a 1 gallon just while I treat him. Will be easier with the water changes but it would not be heated and there isn't a filter. Not sure if that change in environment would cause more stress. For most of the day he just sits under a plant or inside his cave. One other thing to note, his 5 gallon tank is overrun with brown algae. I can't seem to get rid of it. Not sure if that is contributing.

Two questions I have concerning the 100% changes.

1. Do I remove the filter media while treating and when I replace should still keep some of the old media?
2. Will 100% water changes ruin my cycle?

Also, because of the algae I was thinking about tossing the plants (silk) and decorations and adding new, clean decor once I take care of this. Just going to thoroughly vacuum the substrate. Would this effect the cycle at all either? Think no since I'm leaving the existing substrate and I have a sponge on the filter intake which should have good bacteria on it.

thanks all!
  • #6
Does your filter media have charcoal in it? If it does, It will take the medication out of the water. Popeye is caused by fluid buildup behind the eye. I could be bacterial, so salt treatment may help.


  • #7
thanks for the info. yes, they are charcoal filters. do I have to worry about my cycle being effected?I

Can I use any Epsom salts or do I have to buy the kind they have in the pet stores? Have some at home you would use in a bath. It's just the salt, no fragrances or anything added.
  • #8
It depends. Are the filter cartridges charcoal and white floss combined? Or are they seperate? If you can, only take out the charcoal. If you can't, you'll just have to do lots of water changes so your parameters stay clean. And you mentioned a sponge on the intake, that should help your parameters. Epsom salts would work, and so would regular aquarium salt, but it's your choice. You can find the salt measurements online easily. Another note, you said your tank is overrun with algae. That could be a sign of high nitrates. Do you have a water test kit? If so, could I get your parameters?
  • #9
I'd have to tear open the filter to remove the charcoal. So do I need to do 100% water changes every day? the meds I have say to add every day for three days. Would moving the fish to a temporary tank make sense or would that be too stressful of a change? It would not be heated or filtered.

I test the water a few days ago using the API test kit. 0 ammonia and nitrites. Minimal nitrates 5ppm.
  • #10
So, I did three days of betta revive with the directed water changes and did not see a change in condition. I then tried Melafix for 7 days, again no change. Parameters have been fine throughout. I'm now trying Maracyn two. I just completed the third day of the medication. I'm now wondering if it's not pop eye or another problem. Both eyes appear to be protruding much more than normal but they are not glassy or cloudy. He's definitely having vision problems because I'll drop food in (pellet, flakes, blood worms) and he looks in the direction of it but doesn't go for it. At times he will lunge for the food and completely miss. I'm afraid he's barely eaten for weeks. He does nothing but sit on his leaf close to the surface or hang close to the heater. Over the past few days I've noticed his fins have become frayed. I've been using stress coat + and that seems to be helping to heal his fins but I'm at a loss about what to do for his eyes.


  • #12
I'd recommend Kanaplex. You should keep trying to feed him, as we don't want him starving. Worst case scenario, you might want lather some stress coat on your hands and hand feed him.
  • #13
Would the Kanaplex make a difference at this point? I’ve already tried three different medications.

I keep trying to feed him but he just doesn’t eat anything. How exactly do you feed a Betta by hand? I’ve tried using a tweezer to feed bloodworms but he hasn’t gone for it.
  • #14
If he is lethargic, hand feeding shouldn't be too difficult. You lather some stress coat onto your hands, and then grab him (Gently) and kind of lightly hold him and put some food in front of his mouth until he eats it. Kana plea should help, as it is powerful.


  • #15
Hi there,

My dark night ram very recently developed pop eye. I moved her to aquarantine tank and put 2 tsp of epsom salt in. I have artemiss...should I put that in as well? What do I do?


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  • #16
I treated my fish’s popeye with an Imaginarium product called Bacterial Infection Remedy. It works really well and my fish got better within a week


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  • #17
Can you use medication at the same time as epsom salt?
  • #18
Sorry for the delayed answer! But yes, you can use both.

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