How to Prevent and Treat Popeye in Betta Fish

How to Prevent and Treat Popeye in Betta Fish: 10 Steps

It happens suddenly: last week you had a seemingly healthy betta fish, but now its eyes are buggy, foggy, and sticking out of its head. Unfortunately, your betta splendens is experiencing a symptom known as pop eye, in which fluid builds up behind the fish’s eye. Though never fun, a fresh environment, isolation, and medication will get your betta back to normal and prevent further outbreaks.

How to cure pop eye in betta fish

  1. Change the water regularly. The most common cause of popeye is dirty water, and the best form of prevention is frequently replacing the dirty tank water with fresh water. Always have clean water in the betta’s fish tank or bowl to ensure that it won’t get popeye.
  • If your betta is kept in a bowl or tank that holds two gallons of water or less, do a 50% water change every week.
  • If your betta is kept in a larger aquarium, change 10-25% of the total water every 2–4 weeks.
clean betta fish tank

2. Clean your fish tank every 1–2 weeks. Clean the tank every week if you don’t have a filter and every two weeks if you do.

  • Gently remove your betta fish with a net and place it into a separate clean bowl of water.
  • Dump out all of the water in the fish tank, remove all rocks and decorations, and rinse them with clean water.
  • Using a paper towel, scrub the inside walls of the tank.
  • Put the rocks and decorations back in the tank and fill the tank most of the way with bottled drinking water or pretreated tap water before putting your betta fish back in
Clean betta fish tank step2

3. Keep the tank water warm. The natural habitat for betta fish is warm, stagnant water. Make sure the water is kept between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24.4-27.7 degrees Celsius) in order to provide a healthy environment for your fish.

Clean betta fish tank step3

4. Keep the tank water slightly acidic. Use paper pH test strips to test how basic or acidic your betta’s water is. The pH should be kept at 6.5 or 7.

  •  If the pH is too high, filter water through peat moss before putting it in the tank.
  • If the pH is too low, add baking soda or shells to the tank.
Clean betta fish tank step4

5. Purchase a dH kit to determine water hardness. Bettas prefer soft water, so keep the dH at 25 or lower.[6] Go to a pet store to get specialized products that can extract the magnesium and calcium from your water if it is too hard.

Clean betta fish tank step5

6. Carefully introduce new fish to the fish tank. Different fish require different environments, so make sure that you don’t add any fish to your tank that have conflicting environmental needs. Popeye often occurs when the tank water is not kept at the proper levels, and adding a new fish that thrives in a different kind of ecosystem might throw off those levels.

Treating Popeye

Treating Popeye

1.Isolate the betta fish. You should remove any hazardous decorations or aggressive fish from your betta’s environment. Your fish’s vision is most likely impaired, which means that the likelihood of running into sharp objects inside the aquarium or getting even more injured by other fish is higher. Avoid this easily by putting your fish in its own separate tank temporarily.

Treating Popeye step2

2. Put epsom salts in the fish tank. Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, does a good job of removing the fluid that’s built up behind your betta fish’s eye. Every three days, add one tablespoon for every 5 gallons (18.9 L) of water that your fish is in.

Treating Popeye step3

3. Add an antibiotic to the betta fish’s water. There are several different antibiotics that when added to the betta fish’s water, will make the popeye subside. Typically, you can purchase these antibiotics at pet stores.

  • Put ampicillin in the fish tank and switch out the water every third day. Administer the medicine until a week after your fish’s popeye has gone away.
  • If you catch the popeye early enough, you can use erythromycin, minocycline, trimethoprim, or sulfadimidine, which are all antibiotics typically used to treat fin rot.
Treating Popeye step4

4. Return your betta fish to its original tank after the swelling subsides. It can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months for the swelling to go down, and even longer for cornea damage to improve. Reintroduce your betta to its original environment a couple of weeks after its eyes look their normal size.

  • In more severe cases, one of the betta’s eyes might decay and fall off during the healing process. If this happens, keep your betta isolated permanently.

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