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What can I do to help an injured fish that a heron attacked?
Ask Our Pond Experts
Ask Our Pond Experts

What can I do to help an injured fish that a heron attacked?

Asked By: Lori of Glen Forney, PA

A: A heron attack can be severe and potentially deadly to your fish. Unfortunately, you can't call 9-1-1 or an emergency fish veterinarian for an injured koi, but you can try some supportive care that could save your pet's life.

How to Treat an Injured Koi Fish

  1. Assess the Severity: The first thing to do is examine the victim and do some triage. Capture the injured fish in a pond net and look closely at its wounds without removing it from the water. How severe is the injury? Are there just a few scrapes, or does the fish have an open wound?

  2. Support Healing: If your fish's injuries are superficial and it is acting normally, leave it in the pond and add some Stress Reducer Plus to the water. The liquid formula will help to calm the fish and rebuild its slime coat, which defends it against infection. You might also want to add some soothing Pond Salt to the water.

  3. Remove and Isolate: If your fish is severely injured, set up a quarantine tank with pond water and an aerator. Add Stress Reducer Plus, put it in a shaded and protected area, and gently move the fish from the pond to the tank.

  4. Prevent Infection: Keep an eye on your fish while it's in the quarantine tank. Damaged tissue is a breeding ground for bacterial and fungal pathogens, so watch for signs of infection. If you see split or ragged fins, slimy patches or red ulcers on its body, or any other unusual symptoms, use CrystalClear WipeOut or API MelaFix to heal the wounds and restore damaged tissue.

How to Keep Herons Away From Koi Ponds

While your finned friend is recovering, plan how to protect koi from future heron attacks. Predator control, like a Blue Heron Decoy, Heron Stop Spinner, Reflectors, and Flags, dissuade herons from hunting in your pond.

Pond netting prevents birds from reaching the water, directly blocking attacks. Floating, submerged, and marginal aquatic plants give your fish somewhere to hide, as do fish shelters like the Koi Kastle. Set your fish up for safety – especially since that heron will be back again.

More Advice on How to Treat an Injured Fish

Koi are our beloved pets, and it is difficult to see them suffer due to injuries or illnesses. If you need help deciding how to best support your fish when they are not well, contact us either online or by phone for compassionate advice.

Read the following articles for more information about caring for your finned friends:

How to Deter Herons
Keep Raccoons Away
Common Fish Diseases
Preventing Sick Fish

Last Updated: May 1, 2024