Injured fish following heron attack


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Hi All,
I came home to find a heron in the garden and then sadly found it had taken the biggest fish in the pond out and caused it some injury around the head and facial area mainly. I thought the fish was dead but then saw it moving and have put some pond water in a basin after seeing a post about isolating it. It's been swimmming a bit but sometimes listless and seems to be missing part of one eye and some injuries around it's head as well as some blood and scales off. I don't know much about fish but wondering if it's cruel of me to try see if it will recover or if there is anything else I can do to help it recover? The picture shows the side that's injured.. this seems to be the side that's staying up. The other side doesn't seem to be as badly injured. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance
 

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Welcome Edwina! So sorry to hear about your fish. You have done well taking the fish and placing it into a hospital tank. Most important at this point is to keep the water very clean. I would do partial water changes often and use your pond water to replace the water taken out. Some might suggest medication or mild salt treatments which is okay but I prefer to just keep the water really clean and see how the fish does for a couple of days. How large is your hospital basin?
 
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Hi Stephen, thanks very much and thanks so much for getting back so quickly. The water is just the water from the pond, I thought the water it was familiar with might be best, how often should that be changed and also should I put tap water in also? The hospital basin is just a household plastic basin, maybe about 12" x 18" with about 3" of water and another 1.5" without water? I wanted to get it back into water asap and only other option was back into the pond. I've since found the heron got one of the other fish and swallowed it straight away. Must have tried the same with this one but it was too big. I read something about some fish calming substance and something else to prevent infection which I was going to try get also. I put the basin in a corner outside and have put a large cardbox over it for shade and cut out lots of holes in the top for air to protect it from the heron if it comes back and also from our dogs. Thought if I brought it inside it might be a big change in temperature. Many thanms
 

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Agree with Stephen maintaining water quality in a hospital tank is key. You need some type of filter( ideally can pull some filter material from the pond)in that tank because the fish will create a lot of waste being stressed and you need the Bacteria to process said waste. Also ,it will create water movement adding oxygen to the water.

Fish can recover from injuries that look severe. Have had fish with large open wounds, lost an eye and messed up mouth from heron attacks. Personally, I left them in the pond and they usually recover. Even the one with the messed up mouth that had a hardtime feeding initially, recovered completely and is back to normal except for it’s missing eye. Call it lucky one eye orfe with a horseshoe up its a$$.
 
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Honestly for injured fish unless your water is dirty I’d keep the fish in the pond because it is way more stressful for the fish to live in a small tank while healing. Sure antiseptics help wounds but unlike humans fish dies fast from stress.
 

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Hello and welcome!

So sorry! That looks pretty bad. Personally, I would euthanize the fish. It might well survive the external injuries (with impeccable care), but might also have sustained internal injuries, crush injuries that are not going to be compatible with a good life.
 
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j.w

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@Edwina
Sorry this happened and hope you can now provide a net over your pond so this can't happen again. I had to do this to mine as the heron will never stop till all your fish are gone or injured. I am one who believes as long as there is a chance of hope something can survive it gets to try.
 
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Hi Stephen, thanks very much and thanks so much for getting back so quickly. The water is just the water from the pond, I thought the water it was familiar with might be best, how often should that be changed and also should I put tap water in also? The hospital basin is just a household plastic basin, maybe about 12" x 18" with about 3" of water and another 1.5" without water? I wanted to get it back into water asap and only other option was back into the pond. I've since found the heron got one of the other fish and swallowed it straight away. Must have tried the same with this one but it was too big. I read something about some fish calming substance and something else to prevent infection which I was going to try get also. I put the basin in a corner outside and have put a large cardbox over it for shade and cut out lots of holes in the top for air to protect it from the heron if it comes back and also from our dogs. Thought if I brought it inside it might be a big change in temperature. Many thanms
Well Edwina, that is about 2.5 gallons of water. You will need to change the water every few hours. Use pond water. Can you obtain a larger container? Perhaps you can obtain an aquarium to keep the fish indoors.
 
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Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for all the information and for getting back.

Greatly appreciated. Unfortunately he/she didn't survive the night. I probably would have been better to put in the pond but I thought the heron would come back or the dogs would get it. Seemed to have received a deep wound near the gills which I hadn't seen as didn't want to handle the fish too much so as not to cause it further stress. The pond has had fish for the last 20+ years and never previously had any problems with herons but this one seems to have moved in.

Really appreciate all the responses. Very kind of you to get back.

Thank you
 
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Agree with Stephen maintaining water quality in a hospital tank is key. You need some type of filter( ideally can pull some filter material from the pond)in that tank because the fish will create a lot of waste being stressed and you need the Bacteria to process said waste. Also ,it will create water movement adding oxygen to the water.

Fish can recover from injuries that look severe. Have had fish with large open wounds, lost an eye and messed up mouth from heron attacks. Personally, I left them in the pond and they usually recover. Even the one with the messed up mouth that had a hardtime feeding initially, recovered completely and is back to normal except for it’s missing eye. Call it lucky one eye orfe with a horseshoe up its a$$.
Hi Jhn,

Thank you so much for getting back. Greatly appreciated the help and advice.

Was very optimistic about ours surviving but unfortunately he/she didn't make the night.

Thanks so much again.
 
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Honestly for injured fish unless your water is dirty I’d keep the fish in the pond because it is way more stressful for the fish to live in a small tank while healing. Sure antiseptics help wounds but unlike humans fish dies fast from stress.
Hi Faebinder,

Thank you so much for getting back and for your help and advice.

Greatly appreciated. I think may have been better in the pond but I was afraid the heron would get it before got to put net over the pond.

Unfortunately he/she didn't survive the night but thanks so much.
 
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Hello and welcome!

So sorry! That looks pretty bad. Personally, I would euthanize the fish. It might well survive the external injuries (with impeccable care), but might also have sustained internal injuries, crush injuries that are not going to be compatible with a good life.
Hi Mmathis,

Thanks so much for getting back.

Unfortunately he/she didn't survive the night.

Thanks very much for your advice and help. Greatly appreciated.
 
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View attachment 142477@Edwina
Sorry this happened and hope you can now provide a net over your pond so this can't happen again. I had to do this to mine as the heron will never stop till all your fish are gone or injured. I am one who believes as long as there is a chance of hope something can survive it gets to try.
Hi j.w,

Thanks so much for your message.

Unfortunately he/she didn't survive the night.

We will indeed put a net over the pond if we ever get more fish again. There have been fish in the pond over the past 20+ years and never previously had any issues with herons.

When I came back to find the heron, I thought how lovely until I realised what had happened.

Thank you very much for your help and advice.
 
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j.w

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Hi j.w,

Thanks so much for your message.

Unfortunately he/she didn't survive the night.

We will indeed put a net over the pond if we ever get more fish again. There have been fish in the pond over the past 20+ years and never previously had any issues with herons.

When I came back to find the heron, I thought how lovely until I realised what had happened.

Thank you very much for your help and advice.
So sad it didn't make it but you are smart to get a net if you decide on fish again. I love the peace of mind it gives me now.
 

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