Cloudy eye in betta fish is common. Luckily, it is easily prevented and treatable. Even though the cloudy eye is easily treated, it’s a serious condition that requires immediate attention. Otherwise, your betta fish will lose an eye and possibly die.
What is Betta Fish Cloudy Eye?
Cloudy eye causes your Betta’s eye lens to become opaque or cloudy. Correctly diagnosing this disease is important to ensure the best possible treatment. Several different conditions can cause cloudy eye, which we will cover in this article.
The Symptoms Of Cloudy Eye In Bettas
The most notable symptom of the betta fish’s cloudy eye is the one that has given it its name – an opaque greyish film that covers your Betta’s eye. There is a possibility you may see a buildup of mucus as your Betta fish’s body begins to fight off an infection, also what looks like a fungus stuck on his eye. Sometimes, you may notice that it appears an orange-ish or yellow-is color on the eye(s). Cloudy eye impairs your Betta’s vision, making it hard for it to swim and find food.
Other symptoms you need to be aware of could indicate a completely different disease, such as cataracts, or popeye, which are both treated differently.
Why Is My Betta Fish’s Eye Cloudy?
There are many possible causes of the cloudy eye in bettas, so it’s important to diagnose them correctly for the best treatment.
Poor Water Conditions
The cloudy eye is almost always a result of poor water conditions. Keeping your tank clean and monitoring the parameters are the best thing you can do. You should also consider what sort of filter you have and how often do you clean it, and how do you clean it. How can you have clean water if the substrate and filter are dirty?
So far, the best treatment for bettas cloudy eyes I have used is to do a daily 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate for two weeks. The water changes and gravel cleaning help reduce the number of disease organisms in the water, which helps heal your bettas back to their full strength.
In some cases, it is possible your betta fish could be cataracts. It causes the lens of the eye to become cloudy and opaque, which is more commonly seen in older bettas with many factors, including genetic and diet. Cataracts are caused by some sort of disease or infection usually found in a community tank. Not to mention there’s no treatment for cataracts in betta fish.
Considering the cloudy eye could possibly have stemmed from internal parasites. Fish naturally come into contact with harmful parasitic organisms on an ongoing basis. These usually do not cause any harm because fishes’ immune systems take care of them before they can get out of control;
When a betta fish is stressed out from capture, transport and introduction into a new aquarium, their immune systems will weaken which means that parasites can replicate easily, eventually leading your bettas down the path of the cloudy eye or worse death.
Infection can also contribute to the cloudy eye. An infection may be caused by a variety of organisms, including bacteria, fungi and parasites. This happened to my Betta a couple of years ago. After double checked the water conditions, I went through a bacterial invasion of my sorority tank and found that she was infected by the live bloodworms. A sad story, I still lost my queen to dropsy during that bacterial invasion.
How to Treat Betta Cloudy Eye?
The cloudy eye in battas is definitely treatable. Early detection and fast action will have your Betta healthy in no time! If you spot any symptoms of cloudy eye, follow the steps below to ensure a quick recovery.
- Remove your Betta fish from the community tank and place it in a quarantine tank set up with the appropriate water conditions, heating, filtration, lighting, and a structure or vegetation for your Betta to hide within.
- Your quarantine tank should be set up as normal, then add conditioned water and let it sit for 24 hours before placing your Betta in the tank.
- After the 24 hours have passed, you will want to introduce your Betta slowly to the quarantine tank. A good way to do this is by floating it in a bag on the surface for 20 minutes before putting it in the water.
- Add antibiotic meds like Maracyn-2 or Kanaplex to the hospital tank. Read the medicine directions to add the right dose.
- Treat every other day with Kanaplex and do a 40-50% water changes before you add the next dose of medicine.
- Dose every day with Maracyn-2 and do a slightly smaller water change before each dose.
- You should see improvements in 3-4 days, but the usual length of treatment is 5-8 days.
- As well as using meds you can also add some API stress coat. This will help reduce your bettas’ stress and build up his slime coat.
- Meanwhile, you should be maintaining your water condition to ensure the water quality remains good. The ammonia level for your tank should be at 0ppm. Nitrites should be the same, 0ppm, and Nitrates should be no more than 20ppm. You will need to continue the water changes until the tank’s water quality reaches these levels.
- If antibiotics don’t fix it within one week, try something more powerful like Furran-2 to fight bacterial infections.
Pro tips: 1. You should try doing water changes first before trying any medication. 2. I would not recommend using aquarium salt unless there is a specific illness you are trying to cure with it. 3. Don't use MelaFix or BettaFix. It will leave an oily film on the surface, and you could lose some of the good cycling bacteria.
How to Prevent Cloudy Eye in Betta Fish?
One of the main ways to prevent cloudy eye is maintaining the water quality and ensuring it remains healthy and stable. When the water quality is kept at the proper levels, 0ppm for nitrite and ammonia, and 20ppm for nitrates, your Betta will be safe from the cloudy eye. To ensure this happens, follow the steps below.
A Regular Water Change
Regularly changing your tank’s water will keep the water quality at healthy levels. For smaller tanks, the water changes need to be larger and more frequent. Whereas, for larger tanks, you will only need to perform a 25% water change each week.
Clean It Up
Maintain a clean tank. If you have a substrate, you should vacuum it regularly to remove feces and leftover food. Routinely clean the tank’s ornaments, including any silk plants.
Betta Fish Filter
A proper filtration system is a must to ensure your tank is cleaned adequately. A good filter needs to be biological to remove waste, chemical to remove unnecessary chemicals from the water, and mechanical to remove any debris. Change out the filter cartridges as needed.
Healthy Water Condition
Test the water quality on a regular basis to ensure the pH and ammonia levels remain stable.
Do not overstock your tank.
A general rule of thumb is only to have a max of one inch of fish per gallon of water. However, bigger fish need more room to swim.
Tanks smaller than five gallons will compromise your Betta’s health. They can survive in the smaller tanks, but they will not remain healthy.
Is Betta Fish Cloudy Eye Contagious?
The cloudy eye is not contagious. However, if the betta fish tank’s water conditions have caused one fish to catch a cloudy eye, you can be assured your other fish will catch it as well until the water conditions return to a healthy level. Rapid actions are necessary if more than one fish in your tank develops a cloudy eye.
A cloudy eye can also develop from malnutrition or a more dangerous illness. Test your water’s quality levels to rule out any other possibilities.
Is Cloudy Eye Fatal to Bettas?
Any illness that goes untreated in your betta fish can potentially prove to be fatal, although the cloudy eye is least likely to cause death. Your Betta will quickly recover as long as you adjust the water’s quality levels and treat your Betta fish.
However, if the symptoms worsen or additional symptoms occur, there may not be a cloudy eye, and you will need to start investigating further. You can get a diagnosis if necessary from your local aquatic center if this is the case.
With rapid detection and action, a cloudy eye is easily treated and should not prove fatal. Regular tank maintenance is a must for keeping the water quality at a healthy and safe level. Frequent water changes and a good filtration system will help you maintain the tank properly. A healthy diet full of protein will lessen the amount of waste put out by your Betta, helping to keep your tank cleaner.
Keep in mind that cloudy eye is very treatable, and it is not a death sentence for your fish as long as you catch it in time and treat it appropriately.