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How to Treat Popeye in Betta Fish

How to Treat Popeye in Betta Fish

Having betta fish with Popeye in your aquarium can be alarming and stressful, even for the elite aquarists. Fortunately, it’s easy to diagnose the condition, and with proper care and treatment, Popeye in betta fish is curable.

Treating Popeye in betta fish involves a series of steps that include using salt baths, water changes, and antibiotics if needed. This guide takes you through how to treat Popeye in betta fish to help you improve your pet’s health status.

How to Treat Popeye in Betta Fish

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White Betta fish

1. Betta Treatment for Popeye Caused by Physical Trauma (Unilateral Popeye)

A unilateral Popeye disease usually affects one of your betta fish eyes, and the infection is usually triggered by physical trauma or injury.

Your betta can become injured by scraping its eye against broken or sharp-edged decorations or get hurt during a fight with other tankmates. This damage can leave your betta vulnerable to developing Popeye.

Generally, Popeye caused by physical trauma tends to be less dangerous and is easier to treat than when the condition is caused by bacterial infection.

A salt bath is usually the most effective treatment for Popeye caused by physical injury.

Here is how to treat unilateral Popeye in betta fish using Epsom salt baths:

  • Remove some water (about 10%) from your tank and add it to a clean container.
  • Add Epsom salt into the water, following all the directions on the packaging. You should not add more than one tablespoon per gallon of water.
  • Stir the water until the salt dissolve, and then carefully move your betta fish into the container.
  • Leave your betta in that container with Epsom solution for around 10 minutes before transferring it back to the main tank. This Epsom salt help reduce inflammation and swelling and alleviate the condition. Remember that you will need to acclimate your betta before adding it back to the main tank.
  • During the betta’s bath, float the container in the aquarium to ensure the water in the bath stays at the right temperature.

Alternatively, you may add aquarium salt to your betta fish tank, which will help improve your pet’s immune system and help in quick recovery from physical injuries.

Read: Aquarium salt betta dosage

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2. Betta Treatment for Popeye Caused by Bacterial Infection (Bilateral Popeye)

Bilateral Popeye is often caused by an underlying condition that could be spreading unnoticed inside your betta fish tank.

Conditions such as bacterial infections, parasitic infections, fungal infections, or stress factors leave your fish pet vulnerable to diseases, and all can lead to bilateral Popeye infections.

Popeye caused by a bacterial infection can be treated using antibiotics or antifungal medications. Also, ensure you feed your betta fish high-quality food to support healthy immune systems.

Read: Giant Betta size in cm

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Red Betta fish

Here is how to treat bilateral Popeye in betta fish:

  • Set up a quarantine tank, a 5–10-gallons aquarium with a filter, ideal temperature, and something your betta can hide and interact with.  
  • Remove your infected betta fish from the community tank and add it to the hospital tank. Popeye does not spread, but the underlying condition could.
  • Perform a 100% water change inside the tank that you have just removed your infected betta from. This will help minimize the chances of infection spreading to other fish in the tank.
  • Premix aquarium salt and ampicillin with a small amount of aquarium water and add the mixture to the quarantine tank, following the instruction on the packaging (one tablespoon per gallon of water). Keep in mind that different medications will require different dosages, so make sure that you consult a professional if you are unsure about dosages.
  • Perform 100% water change every day for at least three days inside the quarantine tank, adding aquarium salts and ampicillin. Ensure you don’t use ampicillin for more than ten days or the recommended amount.
  • Once you are through with treating the water, monitor your betta fish and see whether their condition improves. Depending on the severity, it may take up to a few weeks and sometimes a month for your betta to fully recover from Popeye.

Read: Betta fish types and price

FAQs on How to Treat Popeye in Betta Fish

Can Betta Fish Die from Popeye Disease?

If your betta fish has Popeye, it’s quite difficult for the fish to die from the condition alone. In fact, your betta eyes may become so damaged and even start rotting off, but the fish still survive. However, it can be more difficult to feed your betta when this happens. Things that will make your betta fish die are the conditions that cause Popeye, poor water conditions, or just the general weakness of your fish’s immune system.

Is Popeye Contagious in Betta Fish?

Popeye itself is not contagious in betta fish. If you remove a betta with Popeye from the aquarium and move it to a tank with better water conditions, it’s very unlikely other fish will catch the disease. However, since infections that cause Popeye need bad water conditions to thrive, other fish are more likely to get the disease if the water conditions in your tank are poor.

Does Popeye in Betta Fish Heal on Its Own?

Popeye in your betta fish might heal on its own, but there is a high possibility that the infection may worsen over time. So, it’s important to take immediate action as soon as you spot the first symptoms of Popeye’s disease to help you combat the problem. Common symptoms of Popeye in betta fish include:

Bulging/protruding eyes
A white ring around the eye
Changes in eye color
Lethargy

Read: Can I add warm water to a fish tank?

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