Arowana Drop Eye Syndrome {4 Causes & Treatments}

Arowana is a bony freshwater fish with a huge body structure and shape. Unfortunately, they are highly susceptible to developing the dreaded Arowana drop eye syndrome.

This fish has a bony head and an elongated body covered with large, heavy scales with a pattern of colors. What are the causes and remedies to treat droop eye or drop eye in Arowana?

This article is intended to explain it for all of us to benefit, most importantly, your Arowana’s droopy eye.

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Arowana Drop Eye Syndrome

Arowana droop eye syndrome is a disease that affects this fish species making its eyeballs tilt downwards in a way that makes the fish look down.

This disease usually affects only one eye, with the other eye looking normal. The severity of the illness is based on the degree of eye tilt. The more the tilt, the more severe it is.

Arowana Drop Eye Syndrome

What Is The Reason For Arowana Drop Eye?

Eye droop syndrome is one of the diseases that affect Arowana. It affects the eyes of the fish and can lead to the loss of the eye. Here are some causes of this disease:

  1. Impact with hard objects
  2. Environmental factors
  3. Genetics:
  4. Constant behavior

1. Impact with hard objects

Arowana are lively fish that can swim energetically and also jump out of the tank at intervals. They jump out of the tank when spooked or hyper.

In the course of jumping out of the tank, they hit their head against the lid of the tank when you cover it. If you do not cover the tank, they can also jump out, hitting hard against the ground.

The impact of the Arowana’s head and body against hard objects can affect their eyes, causing the droop eye syndrome.

2. Environmental factors

Various environmental factors can affect Arowana, but the most crucial one is light sources situated very close to the tank.

These light sources are capable of attracting the Arowana. If there is a window, television, table lamp, or other light sources about 2 meters from the tank, it can make the Arowana develop a drooping eye.

It can be worse if the tank is also too small for the fish.

3. Genetics

Genetics can also be a cause of this disease. The droop eye syndrome of the Arowana is sometimes common to some species, especially silver Arowana. The disease has become a genetic defect that the Arowana can pass down to offspring.

4. Consistent behavior

In the wild, Arowana tend to eat from the water level above them. They feed on prey on the water’s surface or jump out of the water to catch prey.

In captivity, their food sinks to the bottom of the tank making the Arowana develop a habit of looking down.

Correction of Droop Eye Syndrome

How Do You Treat Drop Eye in Arowana?

It is not easy to cure the droop eye syndrome that affects Arowana, but you can correct them.

Here are some ways of correcting the disease:

  1. Prevention
  2. Transfer the fish to a fiber tank or pond
  3. Cover the side of the tank
  4. Get a veterinarian

1. Prevention

We all know that prevention is better than cure. Prevention is the first means of correcting this disease, so you have to prevent your Arowana from experiencing the syndrome.

You can keep the Arowana in a community tank from its early stage as the tank’s activity will catch its attention. Switching their food from sinking ones to floating ones will prevent the fish from looking down, thus preventing the syndrome.

2. Transfer the fish to a fiber tank or pond

One way to correct the syndrome is by putting the fish in a fiber tank or a pond. Putting the fish in a fiber tank or pond will limit the fish’s visual focus to the surface. As long as the fish keeps looking up and not downwards, the eye droop gets corrected gradually.

3. Cover the side of the tank

Covering the tank’s side is a way of correcting the droop eye syndrome of Arowanas. You can cover the tank’s sides with cardboard or a dark material to reduce the amount of light source reaching the Arowanas. Keep only a quarter part of the top uncovered to ensure the Arowana focus upwards, thereby correcting the syndrome.

4. Get a veterinarian

Prolonged cases of this disease can be difficult to correct because there would have been growth and development of fats at the sagging part of the eye, which will require the expertise of a veterinarian to cure.

How to Prevent Arowana Drop Eye

Keep the Arowana in sufficient conditions:

  • free from very harsh lighting
  • use a matt substrate
  • no bare bottom tanks such as sand or river rocks.
  • Make sure the tank is mature and extremely thoroughly filtered.

It has been suggested that the reflection from a tank’s naked bottom may play a role in Arowana’s drop eye.


The Arowana are a beautiful species of fish to keep. Keeping the fish alive and healthy comes with a lot of responsibilities that you have to uphold.

The fish might be prone to some disease, but you can prevent it from contacting them if you follow specific procedures and provide adequate tank and water requirements.

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Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.