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Is It Normal For An Angelfish To Have Red Eyes?

When you keep fish, understanding everything that you can about their health and growth is crucial, because it means you can quickly detect when something is wrong and take action to deal with the issue.

That means you need to know what to expect as your fish grows, and to recognize what developments are concerning. If you are oblivious to the warning signs to look out for, your fish are more likely to get sick and die.

An angelfish with red eyes might be something to worry about, or it might be a totally normal part of your fish’s growth and development.

Being able to tell the difference is important, because it will help you treat the fish correctly if something is wrong, and will prevent you from worrying if nothing is wrong. However, it isn’t always easy to tell, especially for an inexperienced fish owner.

Angelfish are popular fish because of their extraordinary, drifting, delicate fins, but they aren’t the easiest to care for, and since red eye is something that can develop as the fish grows, it often alarms owners.

They can also be aggressive and they need a surprising amount of space, so they are best for experienced fish owners, rather than those just starting out on this hobby.

Why Are My Fish’s Eyes Turning Red?

Your fish’s eyes could be turning red for two different reasons; the first is that angelfish do sometimes naturally develop red eyes (indeed, this is considered a positive feature), and the second is that angelfish can suffer from a bacterial infection that may turn the skin around the eye red.

If you notice a change in the color of your fish’s eyes, you should inspect the water quality and the fish’s behavior, as well as the other fish in the tank, to determine whether there is an issue or not.

In some situations, red eyes could be caused by an injury bursting the blood vessels beneath the skin.

Red eyes are often considered a positive feature among angelfish, and some kinds will simply develop red eyes as they pass their juvenile stage, or as a result of certain changes in their environment.

However, if your fish is sick, it might also develop redness and swelling around its eyes. An infection known as popeye can lead to swelling, and might cause the blood vessels to appear more prominent or damage them, creating a red ring around the eyes.

If you have a young fish and its eyes are turning red, it’s quite likely that you have got a species that develops red eyes as it grows older.

It will be the iris that changes color, developing red pigment in an even circle around the pupil, and this color may fade away again if the fish is kept in poor conditions.

Is It Normal For An Angelfish To Have Red Eyes?

It is normal for some kinds of angelfish to have red eyes, and they may develop these as they grow older, or as a result of an environment being particularly well suited to them.

The red eyes may also disappear if the fish becomes unhappy with the environment, and other markings on the body may behave in the same way (e.g. black stripes). A sick angelfish may lose its red eyes, so be watchful if any of your adult fish’s eyes revert to silver suddenly.

Some of the common angelfish that have red eyes include the zebra angelfish, wild (silver) angelfish, black (or double dark) angelfish, marble angelfish, and cobra angelfish.

It is possible for other angelfish to develop the red eyes, and it is also possible to have healthy, happy adults in these species that never develop red eyes.

However, they often will have red irises, and this is said to be a sign of good health and happiness; the color may fade if your fish gets stressed.

You shouldn’t be concerned if your angelfish does not have red eyes and you were expecting it to, or vice versa. As long as the fish is healthy, there is nothing to worry about, so watch its behavior as well as the eye color.

Are My Angelfish’s Eyes Turning Red Naturally Or Does It Have An Infection?

It may be difficult to tell whether the red color is appearing as a result of natural changes within the fish’s body or as a result of infection.

The best way to tell is to inspect the rest of your fish’s body, as infections will often show up in other places, and may create white films on the skin, cloudy eyes, and tattered fins.

If none of these are present and your fish seems to be swimming around and eating normally, it probably does not have an infection.

However, if your fish seems lethargic and spends a lot of time near the surface of the tank or lying on the bottom, it is likely to be sick, especially if it isn’t eating well.

You may be able to treat it by adding antibiotics to the water, and it might also be a good idea to quarantine it to prevent the infection from spreading to the other fish.

An infection may cause red coloring, but this will probably not appear in such a neat ring around the eye, and will often result in other signs too, so assess the whole situation.

A healthy, happy angelfish’s eyes may turn red naturally, simply because of the age it has reached or because you are providing an optimum environment for it.


Having an angelfish with red eyes might be a worrying situation, and if you are dealing with this, you should check for other signs that your fish might have a bacterial infection or an injury, such as swelling, white patches, and lethargic behavior. If your fish seems healthy and you have tested that the water quality in your tank is good and no other fish in the tank are being infected, your fish’s eyes are probably changing color naturally.