With summer in full swing, people are taking advantage of planes, trains and automobiles for family vacations. Unfortunately, none of these modes of transportation are practical for your fish! Before leaving, make sure to cover all your bases to ensure that your fish are still happily swimming when you return!

Cleaning your tank:

We recommend giving the tank a thorough cleaning around a week before your vacation starts. The day before you leave, you should rinse out the filter and do a partial water change.

Two days before you leave:

  • Partially change the water (25 to 50%) and test the temperature, pH, nitrite, nitrate, hardness and alkalinity of the water in the aquarium. Adjust any levels if necessary.
  • Clean the filter and add new activated carbon. Feed your fish at least once for the next two days.

The day before you leave:

  • Re-check the temperature and other water-quality parameters. Be sure that all pumps, filters and heaters are working correctly.
  • Top off your aquarium with water.
  • Connect your light to an automatic timer so that your fish can get at least 8 hours of light.
  • Make sure all of your fish are healthy. Never add new fish right before a vacation.

 

Feeding your fish:

Believe it or not, your fish can go a few days without eating. If your getaway lasts a little bit longer, you may want to look into getting a sitter or using feeding blocks.

Using a fish sitter

If you decide to ask a friend or neighbor to feed your fish, instruct them with the following:

  • Do not overfeed the fish. If fish are given too much food, to the result could be a cloudy tank and/or a few dead fish.
  • Many fish can survive without eating for several days without any long term effects on their health. If the tank contains aggressive fish that are likely to consume other fish in the tank, however, then regular feeding is important.
  • Measure out small food portions in small plastic bags to prevent overfeeding.
  • Store the food in the refrigerator and only feed the fish once every 2-3 days.

 

Using feeding blocks

Feeding blocks are designed for feeding a community tank and come in various shapes and sizes. Keep the following in mind if you use feeding blocks while vacationing:

  • There are two types of feeders—a weekend feeder, which lasts for approximately 3 to 4 days, or a vacation feeder, which lasts a longer 10 to 14 days.
  • These feeders slowly release pellets or other foods for continuous feeding for all different types of fish.
  • Specific water temperature, pH levels and placement are important for optimal performance.
  • The number of feeders required depends on the volume of your aquarium –use too many and the water will become fouled, creating a stressful situation for your fish.

 

Returning Home:

When you return from vacation, make sure to re-test the tank water, remove any bits of uneaten food particles and do another partial water change. If you make sure your tank is in good condition, you should find happy and healthy fish in a clean aquarium!

When you are back from your vacation, check for the following:

  • Re-test the tank water.
  • Remove any bits of the feeder and uneaten food particles left behind.
  • Change the water by 50% to refresh the tank.
  • The second day after you return, resume your normal feeding routine.
  • If you make sure that your tank is in good condition, you can leave your fish on their own safely for a day or two. For longer trips, use a fish sitter or feeding blocks for feeding. Following these guidelines, on returning home, you should find a healthy, clean aquarium.


 

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