A: Ouch. A heron attack isn't pretty – and it's potentially deadly to your fish. Unfortunately, you can't call 9-1-1 or an emergency fish veterinarian for a pond call, but you can try some things that could save your pet's life.
- Examine, Triage: The first thing to do is examine the victim and do some triage. Capture the injured fish in a pond net and take a closer look 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?
- Minimal Injuries: If your fish's injuries aren't too severe and it appears to be normal except for a few scrapes, 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.
- Remove and Isolate: If your fish is severely injured, set up a quarantine tank with pond water and an aerator, add some Stress Reducer Plus, put it in a shaded and protected area, and gently move the fish from the pond to the tank.
- Watch for Infection: Keep an eye on your fish while it's in the quarantine tank. Because damaged tissue becomes a breeding ground for bacterial and fungal pathogens, 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.
While your finned friend is recovering, makes some plans for how you'll guard your pond against future attacks. Predator control, like a Blue Heron Decoy, Heron Stop Spinner, Reflector and Flags will dissuade the real things from stopping by for a snack. Pond netting will prevent birds from reaching the water. 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 for seconds!