Arowana Drop Eye Syndrome : Cause & Treatments

Arowana is a bony freshwater fish with a huge body structure and shape. This fish has a bony head and an elongated body covered with large, heavy scales with a pattern of colors. The fish grows into large sizes making several aquarists want to have it in their tank.

The 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

Causes of Droop Eye Syndrome in Arowanas

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

Impact with hard objects:  Arowanas 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.

Environmental factors:  Various environmental factors can affect Arowanas, but the most crucial one is light sources situated very close to the tank. These light sources are capable of attracting the Arowanas. 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.

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 Arowanas. The disease has become a genetic defect that the Arowanas can pass down to offspring.

Constant behavior: In the wild, Arowanas 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. But 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

It is not easy to cure the droop eye syndrome that affects Arowanas, but you can correct them. There are different means of correcting this disease, which include procedures. Here are some ways of correcting the disease

Correction of Droop Eye Syndrome

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.

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.

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.

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.

Water Conditions for Arowanas

Droop eye syndrome is not the only disease that affects Arowanas. Several other diseases affect this fish species, and most of them occur due to inadequate water and tank conditions. You have to provide appropriate water conditions to ensure the good health of your Arowanas. Here are some water conditions for your Arowanas;

  • Temperature: This factor is a very crucial water requirement that you should meet. Arowanas are tropical fish, so you should ensure you provide them with a tropical environmental temperature. The temperature of the water should be around 30°C, which is equivalent to 86°F. Ensure to monitor and keep track of the temperature to assure your fish of good health. You can monitor the temperature of the water with the use of a thermometer.
  • pH: The pH denotes the acidity or alkalinity of water. You must consider the pH of the water before adding your Arowana. Incompatible pH value can harm the health of your Arowana. The water’s pH value for your fish should range from 6.0 to 7.0, which denotes that Arowanas prefer slightly acidic and neutral water. Ensure you keep the pH around this range to keep your fish away from harm. You can make use of a litmus paper to detect the acidity of the water.
  • Hardness:  The hardness level of the water is also very essential for your Arowanas. Arowanas prefer slightly hard water to tough ones. Ensure to keep the hardness of the water low and stable. It is best to keep the ammonia and nitrites level at 0ppm and the nitrates level below 40ppm.


The Arowanas are 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 these diseases if you follow specific procedures and provide adequate tank and water requirements.