caring for aquarium fish while you're away
Don't forget about your fish while you're away


There’s always a lot to do when preparing for a vacation. The packing, planning, tickets, reservations, arranging for a pet sitter — depending on how long you’re going to be gone, you might even need to find someone to care for your plants, water or mow your lawn and pick up your mail and newspapers, if you don’t halt delivery. By the time you’re done, you need a vacation. Now, what about your fish? Have you made plans for them as well?

Fish Tank Preparation

Before leaving town, it’s a good idea to prepare your fish tank by doing a partial water change a few days before taking off. While you’re at it, install a new filter cartridge and consider a digital thermostat. Depending on the length of time you’ll be gone and the time of year, you may want to enlist the help of a friend or a house sitter to stop in and check the water temperature periodically.

If you’re really pressed for time, you should at least top off your aquarium’s water before leaving. For trips longer than a week, it’s a good idea to get someone to drop in to inspect your tank for leaks, water temps and levels and overall quality. Don’t forget to leave them a number where you can be reached.


Preparing your fish for a vacation
Lighting timers are an excellent idea for fish tanks

Lighting for Aquariums

Lighting is another thing to think about. If you don’t already have one, get an automatic timer setup, especially if you have plants and saltwater corals with high lighting requirements. If you don’t have a timer and don’t intend to invest in one or have a sitter tend to it daily, then just leave the lights off, for safety’s sake.

Vacation Feeders for Fish

Food is obviously important. Yes, technically fish can go weeks without eating, but they don’t have to just because you’re on vacation. You’ve actually got a couple of options. The first is purchasing a vacation feeding block for your fish. As it slowly dissolves your fish are fed. The second is a battery powered automatic fish feeder. These are great because you can program the intervals for feeding.

The third option is having a sitter do it for you, but you always run the risk of them overfeeding your fish and mucking up the water. There is a way to ensure they don’t mess it up, though. Get some of those pill dispenser boxes with the days of the week imprinted on the lids and fill each well with the amount of food you deem appropriate. This takes the pressure off the sitter and virtually guarantees proper feeding levels for your fish while you’re away.

Fish Care Tips

By undertaking these minor preparations you should be able to enjoy a relatively stress-free vacation — at least as far as your fish are concerned.

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