"Why am I losing my fish?" or "where have my fish gone?"
You may have been asking yourself these questions recently if you have noticed changes in your pond. You probably have already been to your local aquatic centre to test the water and all the results are coming back as perfect.
''They were fine yesterday when I fed them and there were no fatalities floating around when I checked last night, what can be going on?'
Unfortunately, the most likely reason is that a heron is coming to help himself to dinner at your expense. Herons are smooth operators and will visit ponds at first light or just before sunset, so rarely do we get the chance to catch them in the act.
"So, how do I protect my ponds from herons?"
A question we get asked by customers on a regular basis, and sadly one that is usually asked after the dirty deed has been done. So, whether you are looking to protect the fish you already have, or want to stop the problem arising again before re stocking, you are in luck as our experts have listed the best ways to safeguard your pond from these pesky birds.
1) Pond cover nets. These are a great deterrent and are available in a number of sizes and will, more often than not, come complete with fixing pegs. Pond cover nets will not only stop a heron from entering your pond but also stop fallen leaves from entering and causing water quality issues. ("How do I stop leaves from falling into our pond?'' is the most popular question around September time and a pond cover net is the best answer.
2) Pond plants. Tall marginal plants that will grow out along the top of the water are a great help. Quite simply, if the fish have somewhere to hide then they can't be easily seen. Also, a heron isn't going to want to traipse though a load of plants to get into the water.
For pond plants that are going to creep over the pond, you could introduce a Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), Water Forget Me Not (Myosotis scorpioides) and The Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum), which is also a really good pond oxygenating plant. And don't forget lilies. Not only are they quite stunning when flowering but the large leaves are great for giving the fish some shelter from those flying predators.
3) An electrical unit. Not quite as intrusive as it first sounds, but a discrete and simple way of protecting your prized koi or favourite goldfish. There are a few different models on the market but they all work in much the same way. You simply need to put a few stakes around the pond and surround it with a wire cable, hook it up to the power supply and hey presto. Anything that touches it, such as herons, foxes or cats, will get a low harmless electric shock that will make them think twice about going anywhere near your pond again.
4) Fake herons. They are most affective when you strategically move them every now and again, otherwise the heron will wise up. Artifical herons are pretty realistic and can actually make a nice decorative focal point for your pond.
For best results, we recommend you try more than one method to heron-proof your pond and protect your aquatic life.