Fish are exposed to different heavy metals that may induce numerous physiological changes. In the present study, we examined the redox state in response to a severe stress resulting from two heavy metals (Zinc and Lead) contamination in carp Cirrhinus cirrhosus. Fish were exposed to 1/10th of LC50 of the respective metals [zinc chloride (2.72 mg/L) and lead acetate (2.53 mg/L)] for 30 days and allowed to recover for another 30 days without any metal exposure. Concentration of metals, different enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant agents and expression levels of heat shock protein (HSP) 70 and 90 were measured in the liver and the kidney of fish. The lipid peroxide levels in fish tissues gradually increased with duration of treatment for both metals. After 15 days of treatment, glutathione (GSH) levels had increased, but decreased as the treatment continued for 30 days and returned to basal levels after a 30-day recovery period. Activities of all the anti-oxidant enzymes, except glutathione peroxidase, in stressed fish were significantly increased compared to those in the control at 15 days and continued till the 30th day of treatment, showing a tendency to return to basal levels after the recovery period. Expression levels of HSP70 and HSP90 gradually increased after zinc and lead treatment, respectively. The expression of HSP was higher in the liver. The results suggest that different heavy metals may have differential effects on the redox state and induction of oxidative stress in carp, in vivo. © 2017, Japanese Society of Toxicology. All rights reserved.