Betta with long-standing Pop-eye

metropolis93fan

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When I BOUGHT my betta it was mid-January. I have him in a 5 gallon Marineland tank combo (with filter). Heat is 79 degrees. (heater with thermostat) But I soon realized that he wasn't healthy. I couldn't see it in the store. His RIGHT eye was scaled over and he was completely blind in it. I thought his left eye looked a little funny, but I was more concerned about the right eye and the fact that he was so weak that he couldn't crunch the tiniest food I could find that had good nutrition. I wound up having to grind it up into almost a powder to get him to eat it. Slowly I could make the pieces bigger, and then he was eating whole pieces! He was DEFINITELY blind on the right, but we learned together how to work the feeding so I had the food on his other side and he could see it just fine. It wasn't until much later that I realized there was even a name for his other eye: Popeye. I ignored it for months... literally... but very slowly I noticed he was having a bit more difficulty finding food.

So I started researching and discovered Popeye. I did a major water change and got things cleaned up. Unfortunately, my health is poor and I'm on disability. I make frequent trips to my parents' 30 miles away for doctors' appointments, staying overnight several nights at a time, sometimes. I was bringing him there with me when it was more than 2 days away from home, keeping him in a 1 Star hotel... a 1 gallon. It had a Penn-Plax filter and the heater from home. But not the best situation. I was finally advised that he would do better going without food for a while and not going through a 30 minute car ride and poor water conditions in his "hotel." ((My last testing on the main tank at home was perfect except for nitrates. I have purchased Fritzyme turbo start 700 from a company that included cold packs. I'm not confident two were enough but I'm hoping by adding that to his tank on Tuesday when I go home again for a week will help. When I was home on Thursday I noticed his eyesight had SIGNIFICANTLY worsened in his remaining (pop) eye. Getting him to find his food was WAY more difficult than even a week before. Was I wrong to leave him there as advised by someone on a Discord betta group? I don't know.

Another piece of needed information is that my mom finally decided trying to keep her betta going in it's 1.5 gallon isn't worth it and he's not acting healthy. So I was bequeathed the fish. I used primarily Amazon and used my store card because on disability, this was over $100 to get a tank together properly. I had a 5 gallon from my college days. I cleaned it up really well, got a good HOB filter with strength control, new gravel, lightings, a hideaway, and got all silk plants (I didn't know until after I purchased the decor for the current tank that he needed silk. I'll eventually replace two of the three plants (the third IS silk). I'm going to put MY fish in this new aquarium set-up and put my mom's in the current Marineland set-up.

Yet another? I am having abdominal surgery on July7. Doing major water changes, even with my mom there lifting the buckets of water the first week before I'm on my own, isn't going to be possible for a little while. So whatever I choose to do with both of these fish, this difficult time is going to matter in the decision-making. Mom's is eating far less, and not as active as when she got it same time as I got mine. He used to have a hearty appetite, now will only eat 2-3 pieces at a time. I want him out of that tank, but need the Marineland available to him and need it for my treating MY fish before moving him to the new tank.

I have heard two suggestions for the same set of parameters.
1. Adding kanaplex https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CJ0VY8G/?tag=ff0d01-20 to the current tank first. The fact that Noah (my fish) was in a very dirty container of water from the pet store makes this person pretty sure it's bacterial, not injury.

2. Adding aquairum salt for 2 weeks (or longer if I can't perform the water change right away) first to test and see if it is injury.

I worry about #2. If it doesn't, I still have to spend 6 days with the kanaplex before I can stock it with concentrated bacteria and then introduce Mom's fish to it. I know the medicine MIGHT kill off all the good bacteria. Thus having the turbo start on hand and doing in-fish cycling because I want him out of that 1.5 gallon so badly. This was also suggested by the person who suggested kanaplex first... in-tank cycling.

None of this is ideal. I'm concerned if Noah goes blind he won't even be able to find his food. It was very difficult when I was there yesterday. I'd hoped to really feed him a lot to get him by until I get back Tuesday morning, but I couldn't. He was missing more than he was finding.

I'm even contemplating euthanasia if his sight gets any worse. I DID try an epsom salt bath once. It didn't seem to help. But I couldn't do it every day for a while, unfortuantely. It would help if I could drive but currently don't have a valid license (variety of reasons) and rely on my 72 yo mother with beginning dementia for rides, and she doesn't do well with frequent trips. Insurance would provide rides but my dog has separation anxiety. I'm working with her on it, but it's a slow crawl.

Okay. That's about everything. Basically, kanaplex, aquarium salt, or euthanasia. I have both the medicine and the aquarium salt is being delivered on Sunday. So I can do either when I get back.

I appreciate ALL suggestions. I'm confused as to what to do. I was set on doing the Kanaplex until someone suggested that jumping to antibiotics first wasn't good. I DO understand that first relying on antibiotics can cause you to not react to them when you need them. My pediatrician way-back-when would prescribe them for each head cold. The basic ones don't do anything at all for me anymore. But the situation isn't a simple one. And sadly, time is of the essence.
 
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metropolis93fan

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I figure out how to edit this in.... all it lets me edit is the title of the thread. But here is the best picture of the pop-eye I have been able to get.
Noah's eye.jpg
 

Colin_T

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Is the picture under blue light or white light?

The fish looks like it has the dragonscale gene and will get scales growing over one or both of its eyes. The dragonscale Bettas eventually end up blind and have to be fed by hand or euthanised if you can't feed them.
 

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I agree that it looks like diamond eye so I would stop treatments immediately since they are just further stressing the fish. There's nothing you can do about it and it doesn't make him unhealthy.. just differently abled. He should still be able to have a good quality of life as long as he's eating. If he has trouble finding food you could use tongs to feed him.
 

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I had a dragonscale betta a few years ago with eyes like that. One eye was completely covered, the other has a small gap in the centre. I just made sure I always put his food in the same spot, and if I moved anything during a water change it was moved back to the same position.
Dragonscale eyes.jpg
 
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metropolis93fan

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So that's not pop-eye? it's bulging and not covered with scales like the other eye is... I figured it had to be a different issue. I can still get him to eat but it's a pain. He's not used to one spot for food so how to teach him to go to one place? I know some people use rings... I always turn off the filter so the food doesn't move much. That was one issue I learned early on. Does this mean his tank is safe to transplant the other fish into then? Please advise!
 

Essjay

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You could try tapping lightly on the tank next to where you put the food in, and hopefully he'll associate the tapping with food. But I would keep him alone. Bettas are best kept on their own, and with limited sight the other fish would reach the food first. Fish have other senses, such as the lateral line, to navigate with but having other fish in the same tank might be just too stressful.

Fish' eyes are more dome shaped than ours, we just can't see the transparent part easily. But when the eye is covered with scales it makes it very easy to see the outline of the eye. With popeye, the flesh behind the eye is usually swollen pushing the entire eye socket out from the head; your photo shows the eye socket is normal and it's just the scaling outlining the edge of the eye. Have a look at the eyes of a different fish (one without scaling) through a magnifying glass and you'll see they bulge out like this, it's just transparent.
 

Valkyrie_Lips

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So that's not pop-eye? it's bulging and not covered with scales like the other eye is... I figured it had to be a different issue. I can still get him to eat but it's a pain. He's not used to one spot for food so how to teach him to go to one place? I know some people use rings... I always turn off the filter so the food doesn't move much. That was one issue I learned early on. Does this mean his tank is safe to transplant the other fish into then? Please advise!

100% not popeye, and all fish eyes bulge a bit. Google other photos of diamond eye and you'll see. Essjay provided a great example with their white betta.

For feeding you'll need to pick a spot and always feed there. As I mentioned using long feeding tongs can be helpful. If you tap them in the water twice lets say and do that every time before you feed then he will learn 2 taps = feeding time. I usually submerge them and lightly tap them together so my betta can really feel the vibration in the water. My betta isn't blind, he's just shy and doesn't like my hands. Plus I've noticed that I can get him to eat more when I use the tongs to feed him.

Yes, you can transfer the other fish to his old tank and move him to another. Since it is not popeye it is not contagious. Diamond eye is a genetic condition.
 

GaryE

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That is a case of really bad breeding. "Diamond eye"? That's a nice name for cruelty breeding.

If it had been popeye, there would have been no use dosing it after all this time. If it hadn't killed the fish, it would have been caused by a tb cyst or a tumour.

That poor guy is being well cared for, at least.
 

Valkyrie_Lips

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That is a case of really bad breeding. "Diamond eye"? That's a nice name for cruelty breeding.

That's just what the condition is colloquially called. The same can be said for rosetail bettas. OP probably got the betta from a big chain petstore so of course they don't care about their bettas' genetics as long as they get enough of them to restock their shelves.
 
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metropolis93fan

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need clear pictures under white light showing the fish from the front and both sides to be able to say if it is or isn't.
I will work on that as soon as I'm done eating. Missed your reply. But only could have done it a couple hours ago anyway. Been out of town. So good to be back!
 
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metropolis93fan

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need clear pictures under white light showing the fish from the front and both sides to be able to say if it is or isn't.
Noah Right eye resize.jpg


Noah left for site resize.jpg
Noah front 4 resize1.jpg
Noah front 3 resize1.jpg

I bought a new light for the new aquarium and it lets you turn off the blue lights completely. There was still 1 green and 1 red (unexpected) but it was as close to white light as I could get.
 

Colin_T

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The left eye is dragonscale and nothing you can do about it.

The right eye looks odd. Can you post more pictures of that and from above and front of the fish?
 

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