Everyone needs a break once in a while, but what are you going to do with your fish? There are no kennels or boarding houses where you can leave your fish for a few days while you are out of town and you may not have a neighbor willing to look in on them. Luckily, there are a few easy options you can employ to keep your fish fed while you are out of town.
Tips and Precautions
If you are making plans to go on vacation, it might be tempting to ask a friend or neighbor to take care of your fish while you are away. Having a friend look in on your fish will not only give you peace of mind that they are being cared for, but it will also ensure that if there is a power outage, your tank will not go without power for any lengthy period of time. There are a few things to be wary of, however, when trusting a friend with your fish – especially if they do not have an aquarium experience. People who are not familiar with the hobby may not understand how much to feed the fish or what to do in case of an emergency.
Overfeeding is a very real danger when trusting your fish to a friend – you could return home from vacation to find your tank overrun with algae from an excess of nutrients. It is important to realize that fish are cold-blooded animals and thus have fairly slow metabolic rates. This being the case, they are likely to be perfectly fine for a few days (even as long as a week) without food. In fact, it may be better for them than having someone dump excess food into the tank, thus interfering with tank water quality. There is also the possibility that your friend could “play” with the tank, altering the settings on your equipment or making other changes that could potentially harm your fish.
Safer Options and Alternatives
Unless you can find a friend who is experienced with aquariums, you may be better off just leaving your fish alone while you are on vacation – as long as it is not more than 7 or 8 days. Before you leave, be sure to perform a large water change so the water quality in the tank is as high as possible. You should also clean your filter and check all of your equipment to be sure it is running properly before you go. If you do plan to have a friend come over just to make sure everything is still working while you are gone, hide the fish food and other accessories so the friend is not tempted to feed the fish or mess with the tank during your absence.
Another option you have heard of is the automatic feeder – these devices are popularly marketed as a solution for short-term absences. While these devices are great in theory, they are often not as reliable as they are advertised to be. Those units which do work well can be quite expensive and may not be worth the cost if you are only going to be gone for a few days. If you do purchase an automatic feeder, make sure it plugs into the wall rather than being run by batteries. In the event that there is a power failure and your filter stops working, you don’t want a battery-powered feeder dumping fish food into the tank while you are gone.
There are also wafers or vacation feeders for 1 or 2 weeks, and some new gel blocks (which some fish don’t seem to like), but these are not recommended as much because they can badly impact your water quality, unless you put your tank on auto clean with the EcoBio-Stone.
As it has been mentioned, the key to keeping your fish healthy while you are gone is to ensure high water quality in the tank before you leave. A great way to ensure high water quality in your home aquarium is to install an EcoBio-Stone. These products are made with natural lava stone and infused with beneficial bacteria. Once introduced into your tank, these bacteria multiply and immediately begin working to maintain the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle is the process through which harmful chemicals like ammonia (the result of waste breakdown) are converted into less harmful substances. With an EcoBio-Stone in your tank, your water will remain clear and healthy while you are on vacation, leaving you nothing to worry about.