Fish of the Week: Goldfish with Eye Tumor

Hello fish folks! We have a fun case for your Monday today! Business is starting to heat up now that spring is on its way. We have 4 surgeries scheduled for the next two weeks, and this case got us started. This is a 5 year old goldfish that presented with a tumor protruding from its right eye.

Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders
Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders

It obviously looks uncomfortable for our little fish buddy, so we elected to remove the tumor and the eye attached. Fish can survive very well with only one or no eyes! This little guy had his own private penthouse, so can receive the best in personal care. I took an eye out of a koi living in a small pond a couple of months ago that had probably been unable to see for some time, but the owners were not aware! Fish can sniff out their food in the water, and sometimes they find a buddy or “seeing-eye fish” to help them navigate. Dogs that have gone blind can remember the layout of an entire house! Some owners never notice the vision deficiency until they take the dog somewhere new! So this little fish will be doing just fine with only one eye.

Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders
Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders

Since he lived in a small tank, we set him up in our new fish sling to keep him from falling to the bottom of the anesthetic tub. We have a new fish surgery table in production right now. Be sure to look for a post about that in the near future! It will mainly be for our larger koi abdominal surgeries, but I had it designed to fit the smaller guys too. The surgery went very well and the tumor/eye was removed easily. After a quick shot of pain meds, he went back in his home tank to recover.

Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders
Courtesy of Dr. J Sanders

Here he is post surgery! He recovered very well and was went back to swimming around his tank, happy to have the giant weight off his eye! The spot where his eye was will slowly start to grow skin over. Yay! Happy fish! Enjoy your Monday!


  1. Hello,
    good day,
    one of my customer koi jump in the pond and injure its eye and then a tumor begin to grow, is this cause by bacteria? can I just removed it too?


    1. Hello Gio,

      Sometimes with koi, the pigment around the eye can start to grow over their cornea. From above, it may look like their vision is impaired, but from the side, they are still able to maintain a large field of vision. I do not recommend removing the eye unless you get a professional opinion about whether the eye is still viable or not.

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