Fortunately, fish are relatively easier to care for while on vacation than many other types of pets. You don’t have to look for a decent hatchery or kennel and you don’t have to worry about hiring an expensive «pet sitter,» but with just a little preparation, you can ensure the health and well-being of your fish during the holidays.
For many people, the number one concern is whether their pets have enough to eat during their absence. For fish, the biggest threat to their health is actually overfeeding, especially if your aquarium care is left to a well-meaning friend or family member who isn’t familiar with what’s best for their fish.
Your two options, then, are to make the “arrangements” for a human keeper to do the work, or to use some sort of automatic feeder for fish or holiday food.
If you’re working to get a human caregiver, it’s usually best to have them come in early so you can teach them and familiarize them with the proper amount of food and the normal condition of filters and other equipment.
In addition to physically showing them how much food they should use, you can make things even easier and measure out the proper dosage in a simple weekly pill dispenser that is available at your local pharmacy.
You could hide the main food containers so they aren’t tempted to use more than they should, or use tablets to simplify the amounts offered, or in the case of frozen foods, use an ice cube tray with frozen block portions of water from your aquarium.
If you’re opting for an automatic fish feeder, the good news is that they’re inexpensive and easy to use, but it’s worth using them several days before your departure so you can adjust the settings and amounts of food it dispenses.
You can easily fill them with whatever type of flakes, granules, bars or tablets you need and it takes several weeks before you need to refill the food container. Most are fully adjustable, run reliably on batteries, and easily attach to the top of the tank. And again, when in doubt, underfeeding is much healthier than overfeeding.
holiday food block
Alternatively, if the idea of messing with timers and adjusting amounts doesn’t appeal to you, there are great «holiday block» type foods that you simply place in your aquarium and slowly release all the nutrients your fish need over the course of a day. weekend up to a week.
aquarium and equipment
While you may be tempted to do a partial water change or routine filter maintenance right before you leave, it’s best to do it a week before you go on vacation. This gives time to resolve problems that sometimes appear in aquariums right after standard maintenance.
Filters can become unpredictable after the impeller has been removed and water changes or media cleaning can sometimes cause fluctuations in water quality.
So it’s best to carry out your water change and aquarium maintenance early enough so that you can check the tank for changes before you leave. Not only will your fish get some clean, fresh water which should reduce their stress levels and help them stay healthy, but their water level will also be topped up properly so you don’t have to worry about problems due to evaporation.
Your aquarium lighting can be easily turned on and off automatically using an aquarium light timer. If your lights aren’t already on a timer, do so a few weeks before you leave so your fish and plants can get used to a regular day and night cycle.
Needless to say, now is not the best time to add new fish or start new treatments if your fish are doing poorly. The key is to try to make sure your fish are healthy and your tank is a stable environment before you leave, so it has a better chance of remaining stable while you’re gone.
As always in the wonderful world of aquarium hobby, there is always some innovative aquatic technology around the corner to take on various jobs for you and help make your life a little easier.
For the ultimate “techie” aquarist , for example, a fully affordable monitoring system like Apex from Neptune Systems might be just the ticket. Functioning as a fully internet-connected “command center” for your aquarium, it gives you full control of everything from lighting to feeding and dosing, no matter where you are in the world.
Likewise, an underwater aquarium camera will allow you to watch your fish from halfway around the world if you experience withdrawal symptoms while you’re away from home.
So while there are a few things to keep in mind, it’s clear that with just a little forethought and preparation, you can rest easy knowing your fish will be healthy and happy while you enjoy your vacation.