Home / Diseases / Popeye Disease In Bettas and How to Treat
API Tropical Fish Care Products

Popeye Disease In Bettas and How to Treat

Popeye Disease In bettas and How to Treat

Popeye in fish is also called exophthalmus, proptosis, exorbitism, exophthalmia, or exophthalmos and is really not a specific betta disease by itself but rather describes a total condition and can be a symptom of an illness or infection in fish. Pope-eye disease/condition is bulging and swelling of one or both eyes of the aquarium fish. You can tell your betta has this as the balloon effect takes over and the eye starts to look like a balloon. Although it is not very difficult to treat the betta popeye, early diagnosis is very crucial for any successful treatment of the disease and saving the sight in the affected eyes. Popeye in betta’s is sometimes taken mistakenly as cloudy eye condition which is similar to pop-eye especially in its early stages but more due to PH burn than a true infection.


Is Popeye a Contagious Disease in bettas?

Betta pop eye is generally not very contagious and can easily be treated with most wide spectrum antibiotics available in your local pet shop, most of which are very effective against most eye infections.


Can My betta Fish Die from Popeye?

The short answer true answer is a 100% Yes! The Popeye condition can be fatal if it is left untreated and is extremely painful for the fish as there are a lot of nerves in the eye and surrounding area.


Diagnosis and Identification of Popeye in betta Fish

One or both eyes of the betta fish can be infected and bulge outwards. Like cloudy eye (PH Burn), the first real symptoms is the outer surface of the fish’s eye which may be white or cloudy. If only one eye is protruding then it is known as unilateral Popeye that is much easier to treat, but when both betta eyes are protruding and look like balloons this is called bilateral Popeye that usually implies serious bacterial infection which indicates that the condition is harder to cure. At this point you should also be checking you water conditions as 90% of the time it is a water related condition. Swelling of the betta’s eye occurs when the fluid produced inside the eye doesn’t drain properly, causing a buildup of very painful pressure within the eye, forcing the betta’s eyeball outward. If this fluid buildup and pressure is left untreated even for a short time, it will cause severe bacterial infection in the eyes, and the eventual result will be blindness and death.


Pop-Eye Disease Treatments and Cures

As we mentioned a little earlier, If this problem is not detected soon after it is caught, the betta can lose the eyesight in one or both of its eyes rather quickly. So, once you realize that your betta is having the Popeye condition, follow the instructions below ASAP because time is not on your side in this type of infection:

First of all, you need to do a heavy water change with the same PH and temperature. Sometimes, the pope-eye condition is nothing but a sign of poor water quality on your part, especially in cases which only one eye is swollen, or there is more than one betta fish affected by it.

Adding salt into the water will not provide the numerous benefits people say including reducing stress and prevention of some secondary infections during the treatment period. Medication is the only treatment at this point

Using broad spectrum antibiotics especially those that are effective on eye infections is the best cure for this condition. Neomycin, Kanamycin, and Erythromycin are just some of the best examples.


Fish Medicines

There are also some very effective commercial aquarium products for curing just fish Popeye disease that can be purchased at almost all local aquarium and pet stores in the USA and internationally. Here is our list of some of the most popular fish medicines effective against pop-eye condition in betta fish with little or no side effects.



API® E.M. Erythromycin: A very good and effective broad-spectrum antibiotic from API that cure most of the Pop-eye problems that are caused by bacterial infections. It will start to work in just a few hours.



API FURAN-2™: You can use API FURAN-2™ to cure the most sever forms of the disease. Don’t use this if medication to cure popeye disease in betta’s if there is not sign of open wounds and sores on or around affected eye.



Seachem KanaPlex™: With the active ingredient of Kanamycin, the KanaPlex™ is a reliable antibiotic to treat most bacterial eye infections including Popeye in fish.



New for 2018


The fastest cure we have found to date is a combo of Kanaplex (kanamycin sulfate (32%)) and Metroplex (metronidozole (70%)) used at the same time. It’s not fully understood why this is but Metroplex and Kanaplex form a symbiotic bond making the medications much more effective. There is research going on this now.








Please follow and like WorldBettas:

One comment

  1. If you need more help or have questions please use the forum.

Leave a Reply