Betta Fish Popeye Disease | Causes, Treatment, Prevention

The betta fish popeye disease is a disease that affects the fish causing the eyes to bulge and appear swollen. The eyes become cloudy and look irritated with splotches or a ring around it. You can use the aquarium or Epsom salt to treat the disease and avoid dirty aquarium water, to overfeed, and maintain a clean tank to prevent the disease.

Betta Fish Popeye Disease

If your fish id suffering with popeye disease it is recommended to apply aquarium salt to your tank (available to buy on amazon) which will help them to recover.

You can also use a product called Melafix (Available on Amazon) which can be applied to the tanks water.  I will go through both solutions below.

What is Betta Fish Popeye Disease?

Betta fish popeye disease is one of the common infections that affect betta fish due to several reasons. The condition causes betta’s eyes to bulge and become swollen. The eye will seem to have splotches or ring around it. It is a familiar disease that affects several fish species, but it is often associated with bettas.

There are different causes of popeye, so when you notice the disease in your betta, you have to observe and figure out the cause of the illness and treat it. Here are some causes of betta popeye disease;

  • Injuries : Injury is one of the causes of popeye disease in bettas. When your popeye becomes injured, there is a high chance of contracting the infection. It is a common cause of the infection when the popeye affects only one of the eyes.
  • Bacteria or Fungi : Bacteria and fungi are among the most common causes of the betta popeye disease. The disease can affect one of the eyes or both eyes. Your betta can contract the disease when it is in a community tank, and other fish show the disease’s symptoms.
  • Overfeeding : Overfeeding is also one of the causes of the popeye disease in bettas. It is not a common or frequent cause of the disease, but your betta can get infected through overfeeding. You have to be careful you do not overfeed your betta to prevent the disease.
  • Dirty Water : Dirty water can house several infections, which is why it is safe for you to keep the water in your betta’s aquarium clean all the time. Dirty aquarium water is also a common source of the popeye disease in bettas. Please make sure the water is clean, and you change it frequently to avoid this infection.

There are two types of popeye disease in bettas; the unilateral popeye and the bilateral popeye disease. The unilateral popeye affects only one of the fish’s eyes, while bilateral popeye disease affects both eyes. Whatever the type of popeye, it is quite difficult to mistake the condition for another infection.

You have to cure the popeye disease in your betta as soon as you notice it as it can lead to different health issues. If you do not treat this disease, it can lead to eye rupture, blindness, or even the death of your fish. Ensure you eliminate this disease as soon as you notice it to prevent further complications.

Does My Betta Have Popeye?

To know whether your betta has popeye or not, you will have to check out some symptoms. Several symptoms indicate the popeye disease in betta; when you notice these signs, you should know your fish has the disease. The infection is quite apparent, making it almost impossible to mistake it for other diseases.

The popeye disease affects the fish’s eyes, which means other parts of the body do not have anything to do with the disease, although they might constitute the cause. The disease causes the eye of the fish to swell and bulge. You will also notice a ring-like patch or splotches of white around the eye of the affected betta.

You can also notice the eyes of the fish becoming cloudy or red. The betta starts to develop an irritating eye when it becomes affected. When you see these signs in your betta, you should know that your fish has popeye disease.

What Does Popeye Look Like in Betta?

Like every other fish, betas have similar signs and symptoms that indicate they have popeye. They will start to develop bulged eyes as you will notice that the eyes become swollen. The fish’s eye appears to have a ring or white splotches around it. The betta’s eye will look irritated, red, and cloudy.

When you notice these symptoms in betta, you should know that your fish has popeye. It would be best if you treated it as soon as possible to prevent further complications like blindness, eye rupture, or even the death of your fish.

Causes of Unilateral Popeye

The unilateral popeye is a type of popeye that affects only one eye while the other eye remains unaffected. This type of unilateral disease is common among fish and can also be as deadly as any other popeye type. There are various causes of unilateral disease, but the primary cause is physical damage to the fish.

Your fish can have unilateral popeye when it has physical damage resulting from fighting with other fish, rubbing the body against rough, or sharp objects, etc. You can optimize the quality of water in the aquarium to help your fish recover. You might also need further consideration to treat your fish for the disease.

Causes of Bilateral Popeye

The bilateral popeye is the second type of popeye disease. Unlike the unilateral popeye, the bilateral popeye affects both the fish’s eyes rendering the fish almost blind. The cause of this type of popeye is mainly poor water conditions.

You can treat this type of popeye by maintaining and optimizing the water quality in the aquarium. You might also need to take further actions, depending on the intensity or how severe the infection appears.

How do you Cure Popeye Disease?

The treatment of the popeye disease will depend on its underlying cause. If physical damage or injury is the cause of the disease, you can cure it using aquarium salt (available to buy on amazon) and watch the eye heal. You can also watch the water quality and changes while you administer the treatment.

If low water quality is the cause of the disease, you should optimize the water quality and maintain it while the fish recovers. Ensure you feed the fish with high-quality food to enhance its immunity. You can also reduce the stress the fish will undergo to ensure perfect metabolism for healing.

In case the fish is suffering from bacterial infection, causing the popeye, you should move the fish to a quarantine tank to prevent infecting other fish. You can treat the fish of this disease using a broad-spectrum antibiotic food. It is also vital you treat the whole tank with antibiotics also.

You can also visit an aquatic veterinarian to diagnose parasitic infestations and determine their adequate treatment.

Will Melafix Cure Popeye?

Melafix is a fish remedy that cures bacterial infections like eye cloud, fin and tail rot, mouth fungus, popeye, etc. You can use Melafix in conjunction with other medications to fix your fish’s wide range of infections. This fish remedy will cure your fish of popeye and ensure a healthy life.

Is Popeye Painful for Betta Fish?

Popeye manifests when the pressure behind the eye causes it to bulge. It is painful to fish, including bettas, which make it vital for you to cure it as soon as you can. Failure to cure the disease can result to further intense and severe complications for your betta.

Can Betta Fish Die From Popeye Disease?

Popeye can be a deadly disease if you do not take the necessary actions to treat your fish. If you do not treat your disease’s betta, it can result to further complications like blindness, eye rupturing, or death. So yes, your betta fish can die from popeye disease, especially if you do not treat it.

Why Does My Betta Have White Eyes?

There are several causes of white eyes in your betta. White-eyes can be a result of low water quality or nutritional deficiency. It can also be a result of old age when your betta is already old. If you notice other signs like bulging eyes, it might be an indication of other illnesses.

How to Prevent Popeye in Betta Fish?

Infections that cause popeye in bettas occur as a result of dirty water. Perform frequent change of the water maintaining clean aquarium water for your fish. You can also avoid overfeeding and install an excellent filtration system to ensure a clean tank.

You can also remove sharp, or rough objects from the tank to prevent physical damage. You cannot avoid fighting among fish in the tank, but you can reduce a bit to prevent bodily injury, leading to popeye disease.


Betta also referred to as the siamese fighting fish, is a popular known freshwater fish in the Gourami family. The genus betta includes over 73 recognized species, but most people know the Betta Splendens or Siamese fighting fish. Bettas are very hardy and would survive in poor conditions, but they can also be prone to specific diseases like popeye.

The popeye disease is a common disease among betta fish, including bettas. The condition causes the eyes to bulge and appear swollen, causing pain to the fish. Improper or inadequate care and treatment of this disease can result to further complications, which you wouldn’t want.

So, you need to take adequate care of your betta and treat it as soon as you notice the symptoms of popeye or any disease or infection at large.