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FAQs on Exophthalmia/Pop-Eye, From Traumas

Related Articles: Exophthalmia/Pop-eye, Environmental Disease,

Related FAQs: Pop-Eye 1, Pop-Eye 2, & FAQs on Popeye: Causes/Etiology: Parasitic Involvements Suspected & Real, Infectious Disease, Cures, Case Histories, & Environmental Disease, Aggressive Behavior, Sources of Bubbles,

Purple Tang eye problem      12/14/18
<Hello there>
I have recently found your site, I have a purple tang who looked in very good health when I bought him. On the second day in my aquarium I notice a singular eye did not look quite right. The issue is now 3 weeks old and his eye appears to be in the same condition. It looks as though air is trapped under the lens of his eye. The other eye looks normal but the fish I would say is more reclusive and stressed than if his eye were not suffering.
Please see my photo. Is there anything I can do for this
<This is a physical trauma caused by the fish hitting something (likely rocks/decorations); or by some tankmate nipping at it, please see/read the following link and the related ones: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/popeyetrauma.htm
Cheers. Wil. >
Re: Purple Tang eye problem      12/14/18

Thank you for the reply, I have studied the thread you linked and from my understanding the best course of action is likely to do nothing as it seems most like the physical trauma to the vascular network that Bob commented on 12/27/06 with regard to Holocentrid. Is this correct?
<Yes, as Bob stated.>
Should I dose Epsom salt and if so what is your recommended dose rate?
<Just maintain good water quality and be patient, as complete recovery may take several weeks.>
<Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Purple Tang eye problem       12/14/18

Thanks Wil,
<Glad to help >
I´ll maintain water quality and hope for a full recovery.
<Good. Please keep us posted>
Re: Purple Tang eye problem       1/10/19

Hello Wetweb team,
<Hey Lloyd>
I wanted to let you know that my purple tang has made a full recovery with hyposalinity and the use of Sea Chem Paraguard. I was very skeptical until about day 13-15 of treatment as his condition did not appear to be improving. Then one night lights out and the very next morning he was better. I have continued the treatment for the recommended length of time and will be bringing salinity back up in a weeks time but I wanted to thank you for the advice and notify you of the improvement.
<Glad to know everything is fine with your PT.>
Kind regards,
Lloyd Cook
<Greetings. Wil.>

Anthias with swollen eye   5/7/14
I am writing to ask for help with one of my new Lyretail Anthias. I bought three of these Anthias a week and a half ago and placed them in an established 20 gallon QT tank along with two clownfish. On last Friday I noticed the eye of the smallest Anthias was noticeably swollen. I read on your site about pop eye and since there is only one eye affected and all the other fish appear to be fine I figured it was just an injury.
<Yes; usually the case>

I proceed to continue with daily water changes which has kept ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate all at zero but the eye kept getting worse. At this point I am not sure what to do for the fish.
<It's possible that the addition of Epsom salt might be ameliorative>

It is still eating but not as actively as before and tends to hide most of the day. The other two Anthias seem to be picking on it but that has slowed as the days go by. Is there anything I can do to help this fish?
Can an eye this bad heal on its own?

How long might it take? I have plenty of medication and Epsom salt on hand that I can use but I thought I would ask a more knowledgeable person than
myself before proceeding. Attached are a few photos. Thank you for your help.
<It's possible this one fish suffered "barotrauma" from collection... a few days, a week before your acquiring it... There is only "experimental" actions otherwise (that I know of) that you can try... like inserting a fine needle in the outer eye... I am not encouraging you. Bob Fenner>

Salt water angel foggy eye       10/29/13
My 6year old Koran angel developed a foggy eye.
<Yeah... unilateral... mechanical injury...>

It started last Wednesday.
I started treating him with microbe lift actives both the Herbtana
<... of no use>
 and the artemiss but it does not seem to help.  He is still eating well but a little less active than usual. It seems his eye is getting worst for I was able to see his pupil before but now there is a redness to it as well and I can not see the pupil anymore. I have attached pictures. Please help
Carlo- Electric Eel
<....? Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
scroll down to eye issues. Bob Fenner>

Re: Salt water angel foggy eye       10/29/13
Hi Mr. Fenner
Should I be putting him in a hospital tank and treating him with Maracyn 
Carlo- Electric Eel
<You should be reading. BobF>
Re: Salt water angel foggy eye       10/29/13

I read up in the FAQ and what I gather is that with good nutrition and good water quality it should go away on its <own>
<Ah yes>

 but should I put something in the water to protect my angel against bacteria infection?
<If you're going the treatment per se route, better to get "whatever this is antimicrobial wise" into the fish... via feeding; best by injection (intraperitoneal- or intramuscular-ly. B>
Carlo- Electric Eel
Re: Salt water angel foggy eye       10/29/13

Do you have something to suggest I use ?
<Chloramphenicol Succinate... of course. B>
Carlo- Electric Eel
Re: Salt water angel foggy eye       10/29/13

Thank you. I will research to see where I can get it. Thank you for your help
Carlo- Electric Eel

Re: Bowers Parrotfish, unilateral Popeye  8/1/12
Greetings my fellow aquarists. Here is an update on my Bowers Parrotfish.
After placing it back in the Display Tank, the eye scratching on the Live Rock worsened and the size of the eye increased to where I don't know how it did not burst. The fish was listless, not interested in food, and appeared to be in very bad shape. I had to make a judgment call, and reluctantly, placed it back in the 40 Gallon Long Quarantine Tank. I purchased some Maracyn, and began the treatment. Within 2 days, the eye was half way down, after 4 days it was completely back to normal size, and I tested the vision by waving my hand against the Aquarium and the fish immediately reacted.! The 5 day course just completed today. The Parrotfish ate a bunch of Mysid Shrimp yesterday and is eating heartily today as well.! I did a 50% water change and placed fresh carbon in the filter, to remove the rest of the Maracyn. The Parrotfish is no longer laying in the shadows, but is swimming around in the front, in the natural sunlight.! My question now, is should I give this fish a couple days to recuperate after the Treatment, or introduce it back into the main display. I appreciate your help and advice as usual. Thank you.
George Link
<Likely time just going by, but thank you for this update and congratulations. BobF>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish  8/1/12

Thank you Mister Fenner for your quick response. In my update I asked if you recommend if I give the Parrotfish a couple of days to recuperate from the medication, or to place it back in the display Tank right away. Thank you as always for your advice and help.
George Link
<As usual, I'd shy on the side and be more conservative. Leave this fish where it is for a few days more. Cheers, B>
Re: Bowers Parrotfish  8/1/12

Thank you Mister Fenner as always.
George Link.
<Ah, welcome>

injury induced eye infection -- 11/08/11
<Oh, hello there Sara>
My Talbot damsel has a swollen eye. Since only the one eye is swollen and it's not cloudy, I'm diagnosing this as an injury-induced eye infection. I'm just looking for confirmation since care for fish disease isn't exactly my specialty. My water parameters all check out (1.025 salinity, 82 F, no ammonia, no nitrites; alkalinity, calcium and pH all in normal range). Nothing else in the system appears to be suffering, so I don't think it's a systemic problem.
<Me neither>
I plan to treat with Epson <Epsom, not the electronics maker> salt first, then antibiotic if that doesn't work.
Thank you,
Sara L
<Likely will resolve on its own. Cheers, BobF>
Re: injury induced eye infection -- 11/08/11

Oops, forgot to attach pics. I'm attaching now.
<No worries. B>

PopEye query 3/26/11
Hi Guys and girls of the WWM crew.
I know there are a lot of questions regarding PopEye on your site but I have a query I would just like your opinion on, as I'm stumped on what to do for the best.
I have a pair of clarkii clowns in my display tank that have been in there for a good 8 months now, I have just discovered the female has a raised scratch on her side and on the same side has obtained PopEye, so I'm assuming this is a mechanical injury, I'm unsure if it has been done on the rock or if it is the result of swimming into my urchin on lights out (certainly hope not),
<Mmm, it should never be completely dark in the room>
I have a huge black urchin (Spike) at over 1ft across that I've had for over 3 years.
I have a 96l Nano tank that I was using as quarantine but, recently put fish in and LR has I hadn't used it in so long, there are a pair of pyjama cardinals (small), a Talbot damsel (small) and a jeweled algae blenny in
there. The display has the pair of clowns, a blood spot squirrel, yellow tang, pair of Talbot damsels, Koran angel, Kole tang and the urchin. Would it be better to leave the female clarkii where she is in the display or
move her to the Nano, with the less aggressive fish but not as good water param.s,
<Leave here where she is>
she's not being bothered in the display tank and is still feeding well, so in my opinion its best leaving her be and let time do the healing. Just wanted an expert opinion.
Also will this injury heal in time or is it permanent damage,
<Likely the former>
also is there
any treatments or anything else I can do to help in the healing process.
Thanks for your time as always
All the best
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Galba's Chrysiptera - can I save his eye? 9/13/09
HI again!
After much good information from you regarding my flame angel situation and a "yellow fish" that would be compatible with my current fish - I am very excited to report that I was able to get my hands on a Galba's Chrysiptera! I received him about 4 days ago (online mail) - he is in a qt tank. Today I noticed that he wasn't eating - by later in the afternoon his head seemed discolored (darker). I thought it was my imagination. A few hours later I took a good look at him from above and noticed that his one eye is bulging
out of his head!
<I see this in your excellent photos>
I have read your website regarding PopEye - but I am sending a picture along to verify that this is what I am indeed dealing with. I can try to get a better picture if needed. The eye itself still looks clear, but everything around it looks bad. Its bulging, the top and side of his head is darkly discolored and behind his eye where it is bulging is red. If I didn't know better I would say he has a pretty good "shiner". Can you tell if it sounds/looks more bacterial or injury related (possibly from shipping??)
<Most likely the latter; else both eyes would be afflicted>
Could he lose his eye?
<Is a possibility; yes>
Would you start Maracyn and or Epsom salt, or just leave it for now. I would like to take quick, but proper action. As always I appreciate your help!
Thank you,
Chris K
<I would begin this course of treatment; with slightly lowered specific gravity... Do place a bit of cured live rock with this fish... for security, aiding stability. Bob Fenner>

Re: Update on Galba's Chrysiptera - can I save his eye? - and a shredded Firefish! 09/14/09
Hi BOB! I am so happy to hear from you! Thank you for your reply - I have some more information - and another question. I'm sorry to keep pestering. Over night I added Epsom salt to the QT tank because the
swelling was increasing and I figured it couldn't hurt. Obviously I am not seeing any major changes in less than 12 hours - I know your website said anything from 1 - 4 days, although the redness did spread from the back of his eye to the top. Regardless, while doing more research on your website, I notice that some people recommend Maracyn - and others prefer Furan - which do you prefer?
<Both can be effective. Maracyn/Erythromycin is less "dirty" to use>
I will put live rock in with him - but since the tank will be medicated, will I be able to return the rock to my FOWLR display tank when the fish is finally ready to add?
<Yes, I would>
Also do I remove the carbon from the QT filter while medicating?
<Mmm, if nothing is registering "out of whack" metabolism-wise, I would>>
I assume yes but online the Maracyn info said it was not necessary.
Speaking of live rock - I purchased some recently - after QT-ing it for several weeks (I do QT my live rock after I purchased a piece that must not have been cured properly and resulted in an isopod NIGHTMARE that destroyed half my stock) At the time, I had written to WetWebMedia but received no response -
<Unusual... we respond to all. Might have "gotten lost">
however faithful to your sight as I am - I was able to gather that you were having e-mail trouble at the time. I did the best I could - but ultimately ended up dumping all my sand - freezing my live rock for 24 hours, reseeding it and pretty much starting from scratch... sorry - I am digressing - I made a few changes to the design of my rocks when I added the new stuff - this resulted in one of my two Firefish gobies who have
lived together peacefully for months (even consistently sharing the same bolt hole) becoming aggressive and beating the crap out of his "friend" chasing him all over the tank. I removed the aggressive guy - and he is
now in yet another QT tank (timeout) until his friend - who now has no dorsal fin and a tail that looks like its been through a paper shredder - heals and defines his territory. Any suggestions on how to add the more
aggressive guy back in? Or would it be better to keep only the one?
<Float it in the system... in a plastic colander for a few days... This very commonly takes the "spit and vinegar" out of aggressors. BobF>

Re: Update on Galba's Chrysiptera - can I save his eye? - and a shredded Firefish! 09/14/09
Really? Floating him - amazing! I'll try it as soon as the other guy heals up a little more. Well - if I did not thank you for your help properly in my last e-mail, you have my sincerest gratitude! Oh yes - just
an FYI that I found interesting -maybe you do too. None of my LFS ever heard of a deep water canary damsel - and none were able to order one special for me when I inquired. One even laughed at me for being willing to spend $50 or more for a "damsel". I think he's gorgeous.
Chris K
<I do agree... the genus Chrysiptera has some real gems. I do see this species at the better wholesalers (Quality Marine, Tropic Marine Centre...) and in "rich folks tanks"... Is a hardy beauty. BobF>

Re: Update on Galba's Chrysiptera - something else must be going 09/14/09
on - I think its too late
Bob -
It has now been about an hour after adding the Maracyn to the QT - I looked to find my canary damsel lying on his side gasping for air at the bottom of the tank. I understand fish don't die from PopEye - maybe I missed something, it happened so fast, maybe I got to him too late, I'm racking my brain - this is agonizing to watch him suffer. I imagine if there was a secondary infection the Maracyn would be helping - but he is getting worse.
Is there anything I can do at this point?
<I'd move this fish back to the main/display tank, stat. B>
Would removing the medication help? Have you ever heard of a fish recovering once he reaches this point?
Chris K

Re: Too late for Galba's Chrysiptera? 09/14/09
I removed the canary damsel from the medicated tank and placed him in a tank with fresh saltwater. I didn't feel I had a choice - he was laying there dying - I couldn't let that happen without doing "something". So I took a chance. He lay on the bottom on his side for about 5 minutes then righted himself and is now hiding behind the rock I placed in there with
him. He is no longer laying on his side. Could this have been a reaction to the medication.
<Yes... or likely better put, a reaction to the secondary effects of adding it>
I double checked the dosing instruction - I did not make a measuring mistake. However I did use Maracyn plus - because it indicated it was for saltwater.
Thanks again,
Chris K
<Is indeed. BobF>

Re: Too late for Galba's Chrysiptera? 09/15/09
Bob -
In my haste (or maybe panic is a better choice) to update you, my last e-mail may not have made sense. The canary damsel is now in another tank (3 gallon acrylic) with only saltwater and Epsom salt - no medication.
<Mmm... one last time, I would have moved this fish back to the main display. Any other setting is going to be inferior, more stressful>
I am in the process of cleaning out the original QT to rid it of medication residue. The temporary tank his is in has filtration and a rock which he is still hiding behind. I hesitate to disturb him, and I don't think I should stress him out more by attempting to move him into the bigger QT at this point, but I did remove the rock for a few minutes to take a good look.
He stays only at the bottom of the tank, and made no attempt to move at all when I put in my hand and pulled out the rock. The top of his head, above his eye and behind his eye are now completely black.
<A bad sign... nervous damage, or...>
He is showing a red streak above his top "lip". The swelling of his injured left eye appears to have gone only slightly and the eye itself is still clear. The gill(?) area behind his injured left eye appears to be swollen now. And if you look at him straight on, you can see that he is leaning to the right. I have yet to see him eat in the past few days - yet I notice today he has a long white strand of feces (with some dark globs on it) hanging from him. Possibly a parasite on top of everything else?
<Can't tell>
He made it through the night - he's a fighter - I refuse to give up on him. I am attempting to get more pictures to send along later today. I find myself again in desperate need of your expertise. Is he too weak to
try to medicate again?
<Won't avail you anything>
How can I entice him to eat? Garlic? Would adding Selcon vitamins directly to the water do anything at all to get his strength up or would that even be too stressful?
<Only time now>
Thank you as always - the service that you provide is invaluable.
Chris K

re: More photos - Too late for Galba's Chrysiptera?
Mr. Fenner - I have attached more photos of my canary damsel as promised.
He seems to be swimming in circles on the bottom - at least while I was trying to photograph him.
<... very bad. B>

Too late for Galba's Chrysiptera 09/15/09
Mr. Fenner - my canary damsel unfortunately just died. I don't know what else I could have done - but I do appreciate everything you did to assist me. I am still interested in your thoughts regarding the last e-mail with photos. It never hurts to acquire knowledge for future reference...
Sincerest regards and gratitude,
Chris K
<I fully suspect this fish was damaged in being captured, held, shipped (quite common)... I would ask your supplier in turn to enquire of theirs for credit/replacement. Bob Fenner>

Queen Angel Eye Injury 4/15/09
Good Morning Bob and Crew,
I have a client that has a 500 gallon system which contains a XL Queen, L Volitans, 2 x L Yellow Tangs, M Porcupine Puffer and a 12" Epaulette Shark.
The system has been up and running for about a year with little problems.
However, when I showed up for servicing last night, the client informed me that he bought and placed an Imperator Angel into the system. The Imperator is approximately 6" long, which is about 3-4" smaller then the Queen. As you can see by the picture, the Queen has a severe eye injury.
It looks like the lens has been completely ripped off. You can also see his left pectoral fin has some damage, this is also true of his right pectoral fin as well as his caudal fin.
<I see this>
I informed my client that the damage was due to the introduction of the Imperator.
Of course he denied that and thought I could just add some miracle medicine to the tank to clear it up. My question is, do you think there is any chance this eye will heal, or will she be permanently blind in that eye?
<There is a chance... will take time... months>
When I fed them last night, she ate wonderfully, but only what she could see on her right side. I will be removing the Imperator, how Im not too sure yet, perhaps even with a small fishing pole, because I don't feel like removing the 500-600 lbs of live rock that's in there.
Scott C. Wirtz
Owner, Blue Marlin Aquatic Creations
<I'd leave the Imperator in... as this is your customers purchase, wish likely... And the new Angel may have had little to do with the apparent injuries of the Queen. I would suggest you sell your customer food
supplements (e.g. Selcon) to add to foods. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Clown fish with bulging eye 4/16/08 Dear Wet Web Media Crew, <Mark> You guys have become my favorite resource on the internet. I have done some reading on clown fish with a single bulging eye on the website and that it seems that it is probably due to an injury (bump in the night) but I guess like most aquarists I am just wanting to ensure that this is all it might be. I have a 75 gallon with 175w metal halides. The system has been setup for a little over a year with stable water parameters. Other inhabitants include a golden headed sleeper goby, coral beauty angel, 4 pajama cardinals, royal Gramma, 2 porcelain crabs, blue hermits, Astreas snails, Cerith snails, and a couple of turbo snails along with a toad stool leather, colt coral, RBTA, pulsing xenia, some Zoas, and various mushrooms. The clowns chose to host in the colt coral as you'll be able to see by the attached picture.. They have been hosting in this coral for more than 6 months. Thanks in advance for any advice. Mark <I do concur, agree with you that this eye complaint is highly likely due to a mechanical injury... and will solve itself over time. Bob Fenner>

Re: clown fish with bulging eye 4/28/08 Bob, <Mark> I just wanted to let you know that my clowns eye has healed and she is still boss of the tank. Thank You so much for your help in validating my research on your most excellent website/resource. <Ahh~! Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Clown Trigger with Cloudy Eye: 4-6-08 Good Morning Crew! <Good Morning! Yunachin here!> I noticed my clown trigger's left eye has turned white and cloudy today (picture attached) . I also see a tiny little rip or something in the eye. Is this a disease or due to aggression from the other smaller Humu that is in the tank? They have been getting along fine. <As it was just one eye, it was more than likely due to some physical trauma, maybe from another fish, or even scratching it on a rock. I also received your forwarded email about it doing better and I am glad. Keep pristine water condition and feed food with vitamins to help keep his immune system up and watch that eye incase anymore problems should occur.> As always, thank you for your help! <Not a problem! --Yunachin>

Coral Beauty eye problem 12/19/07 Hi, We got this Coral Beauty 2 weeks ago. It has developed a bulging eye on 1 side. Sorry it's difficult to get it out of the rocks for a picture. Should I try the Epsom salts treatment and remove him to a QT? <Mmm, I would not... Your pic shows that this eye condition is highly likely due to a physical trauma... there's even a residual "white dot" about and forward of the eye, where the animal bumped into something> He is in a 90 gallon right now. I have a well established 10 gallon nano with live rock and no fish in right now. If I put it in there will Epsom salts harm the live rock in the tank or should I put the fish in a tub? Also here is an exotic vet close to our house that treats fish. Should I bring him there? Thanks, Barb <I would leave this Centropyge where it is... perhaps adding some liquid vitamin prep. to the foods, water will aid in recovery here. Selcon, Micro-Vit... Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral Beauty eye problem 12/23/07 Thanks so much he/she is looking much better. <Ah, good. Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Eye Problem... in a Holocentrid 12/27/06 Hello, I have a red striped squirrel fish that is about 5 inches in length. Over the last three days air bubbles have shown up inside the left eye and appear to be growing larger. The fish is eating fine and acting normal. What causes this and is this a concern. Jeff Fiorita <Such one-sided "bulging eye" conditions are generally due to a physical trauma... a "bump in the night" with consequent damage to the vascular network (the eyes of fishes, as the those of humans, are supplied with a good deal of blood flow/drainage)... As opposed to most "bilateral exopthalmic conditions" which are environmental (e.g. Emphysematosis) or pathogenic in nature. Cure involves maintaining optimized and stable conditions... and patience... Will typically resolve itself in weeks to months. Bob Fenner>

Poor Picasso Trigger with Popeye - 4/7/07 I have had a Picasso trigger for almost the last year and he has been a great little guy. His only tankmate is a clown trigger (who is rapidly growing) <Yikes... not compatible> that was purchased around the same time. Several months ago I moved them from a 46 gallon into the current 75 gallon. I have about 45 lbs of live rock and use a Fluval 404 filter with a Coralife 125 gallon super skimmer. I do weekly water changes of about 10 gallons and continually have nitrates around 15ppm. Around the time that I moved them the Picasso began to have bulgy eyes. Not just one but both so I looked up what I could find figured that it might just be poor water quality. I was doing very large weekly water changes of about 20 gallons which seemed to help. The Popeye was sporadic, some days it was there and would stay for a several and then he would be just fine for week only to have it appear again. He eats and swims just fine now. The Clown trigger has never shown any signs of Popeye, so I also don't think that it could be a water quality issue anymore. Occasionally the Picasso's colors lighten up substantially but he is usually quite dark in color and very colorful. I feed them a large assortment of foods including Clams, shrimp, squid, krill, mysis, brine, mussels, and trigger formula. I believe their diet to be fine and am glad that the Picasso eats normally. Last week I moved the Picasso into a ten gallon quarantine tank and decided to treat him with Maracyn as I believed this to be the best course of action to take. It began to look as though it was working the next day and appeared so until the last day of treatment. I woke up and his eyes were just as bulgy as before. I did further reading and decided that maybe I should be treating with Maracyn-2 as I had read that rarely do fish have gram positive bacterial infections which is what the Maracyn is supposed to treat. I have begun treating with Maracyn-2 and have noticed no results. I am almost at a loss for what to do now as this is my favorite fish and is a joy to watch everyday. Thank you for all your help. Sincerely, John C. <Mmm... well, the etiologies of such bulging can be complex... there might be an internal parasite at play here... As you relate that the Clown is not affected, I too discount the possibility of fine air-bubbles, some other physical or chemical cause here... I do encourage you to try switching (almost exclusively) to Spectrum fish food... for three reasons... One, it is nutritionally complete... two, the problem may be related to some part of the food you're currently offering, and lastly, as am hopeful this may reduce some part, extend the time till the Clown becomes overtly aggressive/territorial toward the Picasso. Bob Fenner> Popeye Could this be spread to my other fish? Should he be taken out of the main take? <Not likely if unilateral... read over the sources sent to you... www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

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