Summer holiday season has arrived again, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog article relating to keeping your fish happy whilst you’re away. We’ve created a number of easy steps to follow.
We recommend that you start preparing your fish tank atleast 2 – 3 weeks before you’re due to leave. This will provide you with plenty of time to acquire any new equipment that may be necessary and to prepare your aquarium.
Step 1: Holiday Minus 3 Weeks
It’s time to stop buying new livestock. Ideally your fish tank’s inhabitants need to be fully settled in before you go away – you don’t want any acclimatisation issues to break out whilst you’re not there to respond e.g. an outbreak of whitespot, live rock introducing a pesky critter that is going to eat your prized coral whilst you’re not there to stop it, or that friendly looking cichlid you’ve just added turning in to a nightmare and bullying its tank mates in your absence.
Step 2: Holiday Minus 2 Weeks
Now it’s time to start the feeding regime. We really recommend automatic fish feeders – they’re fantastic (and I keep mine running every day of the year!). If you haven’t already got one, we’ve a great range in stock so you’ve plenty of time to get it ordered and delivered.
Set up the automatic feeder two weeks in advance to ensure you’re feeding an appropriate amount of flake and pellet foods two to three times per day. Most automatic feeders have sufficient capacity for a 2 week holiday, so your fish should be well fed.
Alternatively, or if your fish need frozen foods – arrange for a trusted neighbour or friend to feed your fish. Do make sure you show them exactly how much to feed your fish though! People with no experience looking after fish have a tendency to over feed which can be disastrous – especially if you’re away!
A final approach is a block feeder. These are really popular and can support your fish for up to several weeks.
Step 3: Holiday Minus 1 Week
Prepare the Filter:
Clean your filter as you usually do, making sure you’re careful not to damage your beneficial bacteria (so rinse any biological media in used aquarium water). Replace any activated carbon filter and fine filter foams. If you have a heavily planted aquarium, it might be worth removing any really fine filter medias as these may become clogged whilst you’re away. You know your filtration system best – so take into consideration you’re not going to be there to unclog filters.
Make sure your filter is securely connected and then leave it alone – you’ve only a week to watch it to make sure there aren’t any leaks!
Prepare the Lights:
If you manually switch on your aquarium lights everyday, it’s time to invest in a timer to control this. You don’t want your fish in the dark for a few weeks, and even worse you don’t want them exposed to light for such a prolonged period of time.
Personally, I recommend using timers on lights all the year round as this ensures your livestock lives in a nicely consistent world.
Prepare the Water:
A larger partial water change should help to ensure your fish tank’s water is as fresh as possible before you leave. I’d recommend changing up to 20%, helping you to reduce nitrates that may be present and to replenish any trace elements that may be required.
If your fish tank has a lot of evaporation, you’ll need to either arrange for a neighbour or relative to top it up in your absence. Make sure they know the water level the fish tank needs to be filled to, and where to get the water from e.g. if you’ve a reservoir of RO water in the garage. Alternatively, we do stock automatic top up systems – these are also great all year round and are highly recommended.
Step 4: Time To Go on Holiday
Pack your suitcase, don’t forget the sun tan lotion – and have a great holiday wherever you’re going.
Step 5: Returning Home
When you return home, have a good look at your livestock to make sure they’re all doing well, clean out the filter and then it’s back to your usual regime.