Can Popeye Kill Fish? Can It Be Fully Healed?

Have you noticed that your fish’s eye has become swollen? Does it look like your fish’s eye might pop out of its head? These symptoms are alarming, but you shouldn’t be too worried. Your fish has popeye which is a very treatable condition.

Can popeye kill fish? It’s possible, but it’s not likely as long as you take steps to treat your fish. Popeye is usually an easy condition to treat, so it rarely results in the death of a fish. For an in-depth review of popeye, we cover that in our Betta Fish Popeye article. If you’re worried about your fish dying, read on here.

How Do I Stop My Fish From Developing Popeye?

So, how do you keep your fish from developing popeye? Simply keep their home safe. Remove dangerous and sharp objects. Remove tankmates that are bullying other fish. Most importantly, keep your tank clean, warm, and oxygenated.

If your fish has popeye, you should move them to a hospital tank. Then, you can treat them with aquarium salt or Epsom salt. This treatment is usually good enough for fish that developed popeye due to an injury.

For infection, you’ll need to treat your fish with medications. Good medications include Seachem ParaGuard, Seachem SulfaPlex, or Maracyn Oxy.

Can Popeye Be Fully Healed?

Your fish is unlikely to die because of popeye. Just don’t give up on them because it can take several weeks or months for your fish to get completely better. Swelling takes weeks to go down, and the damage to the cornea can take even longer to heal.

Keep in mind that while your fish won’t die, their eye might not heal completely. The swelling will disappear, but an injury to the eye might be too severe to fix. Your fish might become blind in the injured eye, and in severe cases, the eye might fall out.

Don’t give up, though! Fish with a blind eye or a missing eye can live completely fulfilling lives. It’s even possible to care for a fish that has gone completely blind. You might just need to hand feed it.


It’s possible for popeye to kill a fish if the condition goes untreated. But, as long as fishkeepers take steps to treat it, the fish’s chances are very good. Whether you use salt alone or add medications, your fish is likely to make a full recovery.

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