Blind Clownfish? Not eating anymore.

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Aquarium Advice Activist
Aug 24, 2009
New Jersey
My ocellaris clownfish seems to have gone blind recently, because he bumps into the rocks more often than he used to and just generally looks like he can't see anything. I have been target feeding with a baster this week but he has been eating poorly and today wouldn't eat at all and only swims on his side/upside down near the surface of the water. I feed frozen mysis.

Background: tank is over a year old, has this clownfish and a chromis and Banggai cardinal. I haven't tested the water in a while but when I went to my LFS 2 weeks ago ammonia/nitrite tested 0 and nitrate was low, around 20 ppm.

It doesn't look like popeye but his eyes do look slightly different. They are not very cloudy though. The other 2 fish are acting completely normal. What should I do? I think he might be on his way out soon.

YouTube - Sick Clownfish?
Any suggestions? He's looking worse today, and his stomach looks pinched.
I`m thinking there is not much hope. The pinched stomach thing is a telling sign. What have you been feeding? Never mind I see mysis. Wish I could tell you more but he looks pretty bad. Keep trying to feed him. Maybe some food soaked in garlic or selcon.
I got him into another container to try and feed him by himself. He wouldn't touch the mysis or flakes but I managed to feed him a few flakes by holding them to his mouth with a tweezer. He perked up and seemed hungry but wouldn't eat generally. The LFS thought it might be something with his swim bladder since he is swimming erratically but is otherwise fine. They said to try feeding flakes balled up with castor oil and feed Formula1 pellets after. I hope he pulls through!
Well, he's still alive. I have him in a gallon container cut in half with holes in each of the sides that's floating in the tank. He still can't really see anything but I can't tell if he's doing any better other than that. He won't eat anything suspended in the water column, only picks at stuff on the bottom of the container. I managed to feed him 2-3 flakes and 2-3 pieces of shrimp today with a tweezer. He seems hungry and will open and close his mouth trying to eat but even shoving it in his face is hit-and-miss. I'll try to get a good picture or video tomorrow.
Wow, it's great that you are hanging in trying to save this fish. But, if it's blind, there's not much long term hope.
Wow, it's great that you are hanging in trying to save this fish. But, if it's blind, there's not much long term hope.

I figured that would be the case :(. Well I'll wait until the weekend but what then? Should I put him down, and if so what's the best method? I've read a lot of different things about clove oil, freezing, etc. Should I try anything like a fw dip before giving up?
i would wait and not kill him. let him die on his own. i would also not leave him in a gallon jug. this is probably just bringing on more stress at this point. poor little guy.

btw, i don't know if you turned the flow off to take the video, or you just don't have much flow in the tank, but the water surface isn't breaking enough. i would add another powerhead, or point one towards the surface for more surface agitation. have you checked your ph?
My powerheads were off during the video, because with them on the clown ends up swimming on his side in one of the corners of the tank. That's one of the reasons I put him in the gallon. It has holes in it so there's flow and everything. Also he eats off the bottom of the container. I don't know how to feed him if he's free in the tank with the others.

If you're referring to him being stressed from being stuck in a small area, I can understand that. I'll remove the container then. I don't have a ph test at home but I'll take some water to the LFS to get tested tomorrow.
I don't know if he's sick at all. I have a feeling he might have just been starving from not having eaten for a while after turning blind. Who knows why he can't see in the first place. Here's two pictures I took yesterday:



I can't see anything that looks wrong. Should I remove the container and let him swim freely in the tank? I guess he'd die from starvation naturally then.
So it's been eating off the bottom of the container you put in the tank?

Have you noticed a weight gain since it started eating again?

The fish looks fine, including the one eye in the photo. No bruises or cuts, or discoloration.

You may want to try keeping it confined and eating for another week and then release it back into the tank to see if it can survive.
Just an update, he's been in the tank for around a week now. Hasn't been eating much but he's still alive, though he's developed HLLE probably due to stress and lack of nutrition. I will just let him be I guess, and let him go on his own.
are u still feed him manually..??? if he can be feed inside that container, maybe u should put it under it when feed time...
btw, +1 for u....
i am very salute about your effort try to save him so much....
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