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Exopthalmia, is a disease also known pop-eye, is when the eye of a fish bulges abnormally from it's socket. It can be caused by parasitic nematodes, bacterial infection, and bad water conditions.


Pop-eye is frequently not a disease in itself but more a symptom of an underlying condition.

The bulge of the eye is typically due to the build up of fluid behind the eye, or within the eye itself.

A bulge in a single eye is frequently due to an injury, possibly due to fighting or an encounter with tank ornamentation. A bulge in both eyes can be indicative of a bacterial infection.

Poor water conditions are a frequent cause of pop-eye, because of this large and frequent water changes are typically called for.


The first noticeable symptom is a slight bulge in the eye. This bulge can escalate to a very prominent protrusion.

Fish lethargy is also a common symptom in later stages of pop-eye, along with the development of further infection.


If left untreated the affected fish can lose its sight as well as its eyes.

  1. The affected fish should be immediately moved to a quarantine tank for treatment.
  2. Start a regiment of large daily water changes, at least 30%
  3. Light use of Epsom salt can be used to help drain the fluid. Approximately 1 tablespoon per 19 Litres (5 US G.) of water should be used. This regiment should be continued for at least 3 days.

Other recommendations are to check and recent additions to the tank. New tank decorations can leach chemicals into the water, this could be the cause of the poor water conditions that lad to the initial infection.