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Common Eye Disorders In Fish: Types, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Eyes are so precious indeed. It lets you see the beautiful world. Not to forget that it is also one of the most sensitive areas of all the living creatures; with eyes that is (O:

A small scratch in the eye can make you scream in pain. Sadly, fish cannot raise their voice and it becomes difficult for us to understand how much the poor little fish are suffering.

It is the duty of the fish-keeper to take proper care of the adorable creatures and offer them a clean environment.

Eye diseases are very common in fish kept in tanks with “cleanliness” issues.

A friend of mine just discovered that her goldfish is having red eyes. She was wondering if it could be conjunctivitis!

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an inflammation or infection of the transparent membrane (conjunctiva) that lines eyelid and covers the white part of the eyeball.  

To some extent, I think she is right because conjunctivitis; it is an outcome of an infection!

Eye disorders in fish mainly occur due to infections. But the reasons leading to the infection can be anything. It can be dirty water, shipping and handling issues, parasitic infection, etc.

If you have not been regular in changing the aquarium water and have not removed the organic debris from the tank, you are hugely risking  your fish’s life. Well, I am not trying to scare you, but it is the truth.

Fish should be handled with extreme care and people who fail to do so often end up with a dead fish.

Types of diseases that can attack the eyes of the fish and the symptoms

There are mainly three types of diseases that can attack the fish eye. The first one is gas bubble disease, the second is eye flukes and the third is the cataract.

Gas Bubble Disease In The Eye Of A Fish.

Symptoms can vary but are mainly as follows:

  • Some of the disease that targets the fish eye makes the eye larger. You would literally be able to see the enlarged eyes. If you see enlarged eye, take immediate action – consult a piscine specialist.
  • There may be parasites lurking in the eyes of the fish. Now you may wonder how you are going to look into their eyes. Yes, fish eyes are small and you may have difficulty in finding out if something is wrong with their eyes. You may have to use a flashlight which is not too harsh along with a microscope to see exactly if a disease or infection has taken place. Maybe you need to take your fish to a vet; to a piscine specialist (fish doctor)
  • You may also see blood in their eyes. This occurs due to infection or injury in the eyes.

How to treat the eye infection?

  • Let’s talk about treating the gas bubble disease. As the name suggests, bubbles start forming near the eyes, gills and the fins of the fish. Gas bubble disease occurs when there is excess amount of unwanted gas in the water. This usually occurs when sudden heating of the water gives rise to excess gas.

The best way to remove gas from the water is by forceful aeration. If you are not sure about this method, do not try it as it can lead to complications if not done right. My suggestion is to seek the help of a professional to do this. Go to a vet (piscine specialist) and seek help.

  • Eye fluke on the other hand is a parasitic infection, where the symptoms can be easily diagnosed. The eyes seem to have a cloudy formation and often get enlarged. This may be due to the worms invading the eyes of the fish, causing serious infection.

Well, this infection has no treatment just like the cataract. The fish will gradually go blind and there is nothing you can do. Another reason why you should always know the first rule of all fish care – prevention is always better than cure !

  • Cataract in fish is similar to what we humans have. The eye lens usually becomes opaque and the fish suffers from impaired vision.

The reason for cataract can be anything. It can be because of a parasitic infection, nutritional imbalance or something genetic.


It is best not to provoke such conditions/diseases to occur; Prevention is always better than cure. Obeying these simple rules can take you a long way in extending your fish’s life:

  • Cleanliness is the only way to eradicate most of the bacteria or diseases. Don’t be lazy at this as you will be risking the life of your fish. Also ensure that the pH level is always maintained.
  • Quarantine the fish that are already ill; keep them separate.
  • Do not leave any organic debris in the aquarium. They give rise to innumerable infections and diseases that are fatal for your fish.

Do you like this article? Do you have anything to share? Feel free to comment below.

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How To Identify Common Fish Eye Diseases #fish #aquariumfish

1 thought on “Common Eye Disorders In Fish: Types, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

  1. Yes. This article is informative. One of my giant danios showed up dead this morning. I had 9. His eyes were missing. This is the only malformation of his/her anatomy I could locate.

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