Popeye in Coral Beauty

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Hi everyone.
I recently got a juvenile coral beauty (about 1 1/2"). His color is great, and he has been (and still is) eating well in the QT tank (Mysis, bloodworms, and veg mix). I have been supplementing the food with Zoe & garlic, but I recently switched to using Seachem's vitality + garlic. PH is 8.2. The calibrated refractometer reads 1.023. There is no detectable ammonia, nitrates, or nitrites in the tank. Temp is at 80.

A couple of days ago, I noticed that one of his eyes is bulging and cloudy. Sorry, he wont stand still long enough for me to get a clear picture, but it is pretty clear that it is popeye. Since there doesn't seem to be a problem with the water quality, the only thing I can think of is that he bumped the eye on something. I had only PVC pipes in the bare tank for a long time, but I recently put in a fake barnacle that had several small holes that he liked to swim through. I think he must have hit it on a trip through there.

Anyway, I did a 30% water change (on a 29 gal QT). On the advice of my LFS, I bumped the temp up a couple of degrees and started treating with Seachem's stress guard. It is supposed to be an antiseptic in addition to a stress reliever. It looks like the swelling might have gone down a fraction, but it is hard to tell. The eye is still cloudy.

Is there anything else I should be doing?
And a good healthy diet helps.
The LFS told me that the mysis mix I am using is formulated for angels. I also supplement that with bloodworms, the herbivore mix I feed the tangs, a frozen seaweed mix, Seachem Vitality with added fresh garlic, and Omega One marine flakes.

Should I be feeding something else, or is this good?


Staff member
A variety of frozen foods. I’d avoid blood worms and stick to marine fish foods. I like emerald entre and other similar omnivor foods. I mix it up with different foods on different days. I do offer pellets maybe once a week just so they’ll eat them if I have to leave their care in somebody else’s hands.
Dwarf angels, like coral beauties, have different diet requirements from large angels. Angel foods are formulated for large angels. Dwarfs eat a lot of vedgitable matter. My flame eats just as much of the seaweed sheets as my tang.
Ok. That's good to know. I'll increase the veg supplementation and cut out the bloodworms. The mix I feed the tangs is an omnivore mix, it just includes a bit extra veg matter. So that, with the mysis, should be good. I forget the name of the frozen veg food I use. I also supplement the tang tanks with Formula 2, so that might be a good snack for the CB from time to time. I'll also throw a different, high quality omnivore mix into the menu, along with some dried seaweed sheets, for variety.



Well-Known Member
If they're eating good I'd ditch the garlic. Garlic is meant to help encourage eating. Long term use will result in internal medical issues down the road.
If they're eating good I'd ditch the garlic. Garlic is meant to help encourage eating. Long term use will result in internal medical issues down the road.
Also good to know. It seems like everyone pushes garlic, but I haven't seen much in the way of actual research on it. I know the fad developed out of a study that found it useful in treating internal parasites. It kind of spread to more general use from there. I have been using it as a general 'boost the immune system" supplement because I figured it wouldn't hurt, but if it could be harmful, I don't want to use it all the time.
I use fresh garlic. I crush it on a garlic press and put it in a small container of Zoe in the fridge. Then I soak the food in that mix for 20 minutes or so before feeding. Unfortunately, the coral beauty didn’t make it. I was doing small daily water changes and treating with Seachem stress guard, but the water changes seemed to make things worse. The tank got very cloudy every time I did a change. I’m thinking it was some kind of bacteria. The tank was fully cycled—it has been running for seve months.

The eye didn’t improve, and that whole side of his head and half his body was pale. He also developed some significant fin rot a couple of days before he died. I don’t think it was velvet because he hung on for almost two weeks. I’m thinking it was some kind of fungus or bacteria, but I could be wrong about that.

I discontinued the Seachem stressguard, did a water change, and fished him with KanaPlex, but I think it was too late.

Any thoughts from the group would be welcome and helpful.

When the fish died, I tore the tank down and scrubbed everything with vinegar. I’m going to set it back up and try again.


Staff member
The water changes are likely too big all at once. That is stressful and, as you observed, is causing more problems. You can do 1 gal water change daily. Also fresh garlic has a natural antibiotic, allicin; to be effective, you should crush the garlic in a little glass or ceramic dish, not a presser. You want to preserve those juices. Add meaty food to garlic and immediately feed it to your fish using a syringe for direct target feeding. Do this a couple of times a day. Allicin will not remain viable long once the garlic is crushed so it is important to get it to your fish immediately. No supplement. Just garlic and meaty food. These details are in the link I provided. You can do the supplement with a small 3rd feeding, but 2 meals with garlic daily.

You can try this for the next few days as long as the fish seems otherwise stable. If there is improvement say over 5 days, then keep going until the fish heals up. But, since your fish is in QT, you can also go to antibiotic treatment. Is the QT well cycled? See if you can get Mardel Maracyn Two. https://fritzaquatics.com/product/maracyn-two/

Just prior to each daily dose of the antibiotic, do a small water change (2 gal) maybe over an hour so as to minimize fish stress. No carbon filters should be in use. Also, turn off tank lights and UV filters during treatment with antibiotics since UV renders antibiotics less effective. Room lights are good. Lights can go on for a short time during feedings.

Also these eye infections are common with new fish because fish stores and hobbyists net their fish, exposing the fish's eyes to bacteria and injury from the net. You can't do anything about what the fish store does, but, if you are netting your fish, it would be best to avoid that in the future.