Maintaining a koi pond is a rewarding and fulfilling hobby, and many of us grow more attached to our koi than we’d like to admit. We work hard to beautify our backyards with their ponds, maintain the appropriate water temperatures and provide the proper feeding regimen.
Don’t let your work go to waste by letting a predator gobble up one of your precious koi. Raccoons and herons are the most prevalent koi fish predators, so here’s how you can protect your koi from predators like these.
Don’t Make it Easy for Raccoons
Raccoons are smart and tricky critters that are more common that you may think even in the most populated areas of Atlanta. Along with their propensity for raiding garbage cans, raccoons are also notorious for helping themselves to a tasty seafood snack right out of a koi pond.
Raccoons don’t mind getting their hands wet, especially if it means they get a meal out of it. Rock and plant shelves are beautiful features that add an extra dimension to your koi pond. Unfortunately, they also give raccoons the perfect platform they need to go fishing.
Shallow shelves allow raccoons to wade into your pond and snatch up and unsuspecting koi basking on the shelves. Protect your koi from predators like raccoons by keeping your koi pond deeper than a predator would be able to walk in.
Herons: The Expert Fishermen
Herons are intelligent, migratory birds that are practically constantly on the lookout for their next meal. Your beautifully colored koi fish stick out like beacons to herons that are flying through the sky.
Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to protect your koi from predators with tall legs and long beaks. Thankfully, garden and pond hobbyists everywhere have thought up some pretty inventive solutions to keep these predators at bay.
Herons are mostly solitary creatures, so if they think that another heron is already inhabiting your koi pond, they’ll likely move along to the next nearest body of water. What would make them think this, you wonder? Yep, that’s right–a decoy heron. Shifting a decoy heron around your koi pond every few days to weeks helps keep live herons at bay, and it can also serve as a nice decorative element to your pond.
Another amusing trick is to place an alligator decoy in your koi pond. Herons are wary of alligators for obvious reasons, so it’s also unlikely that they’ll approach a pond if they think an alligator is lurking nearby. Like the heron decoy, move your alligator around every so often to make it appear more realistic.
More Ways to Protect Your Koi From Predators
Your first line of defense is the design of your koi pond. Make sure that you provide your koi with plenty of places they can hide if a predator is nearby. Underwater caves don’t add much to your pond in the way of aesthetics, but they make a big difference in the safety of your fish.
In terms of attractive additions to your pond, think bridges and plants. Bridges and aquatic plants like lily pads provide additional cover for your fish to swim under and hide from lurking predators. They also make your fish more difficult to spot in the first place.
If you want to be extra cautious, consider installing a motion-activated sprinkler near your pond. These sprinklers detect when someone or something is within range, and they fire a quick shot of water at the suspect. These are particularly useful for predators that startle easily like herons and cats.
Don’t forget about Atlanta, GA’s best koi pond servicing company, Universal Aquatics. Whether you need pond maintenance, repairs or a first-time installation, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today for more information about our services.