Before leaving for vacation the following care tips can help assure the aquarium stays healthy during times away from home.
Preparations will depend on the setup. A fish-only aquarium can go with little to no care for up to one week. With a little preperation the fish-only tank does not stand in the way of an extended stay, while planted aquariums and reefs require a bit more planning regardless of the length of vacation. The latter also require dependable timers to meet their daily lighting requirements.
Well maintained, established tanks run well on “automatic” for a few weeks. New setups and aquariums with recent changes or current issues will require a looking in on by someone trusted while you're away.
Avoid adding to or changing the setup weeks in advance of your vacation. Plant and fish additions, and/or equipment changes should wait until your return. One Week prior to any vacation, perform routine maintenance on the aquarium, change water (not more then 20%) and filter inserts, check on tubing, connections, and water parameters. If leaving for just a few days, this would be all you need to do. Fish will be fine without any food for a few days.
For a longer absence, prepare a simple check list and show your recruited helper what to look out for. If the helper is inexperienced, include emergency phone numbers such as your favorite pet store, or aquarium maintenance company in case of unforeseen problems.
Label small plastic bags and prepare the daily amount of fish food. Also advise your helper not to make up a feeding if a day is skipped. Prepare ready to use top off water, demonstrate the doses of supplements (calcium/ fertilizer etc. if used), and point out how to reset circuit breakers. Also inform to remove dead fish immediately, just in case.
Keep things simple, it will not harm the fish if they are fed every other day.
If room temperatures are expected to reach unhealthy levels for your fish it might be worth investing in a chiller.
A sample check list can be as follows:
- check temperature
- check water levels (aquarium/sump)
- check that filters are running properly
- empty skimmer cup (if applicable)
- feed fish
- add supplements (if applicable)
Following these basic steps will ensure your tank's health during a trip, as well as your peace of mind while gone. With all taken care of, the only remaining risk during summer is power outages due to severe weather.
In the even the power goes out for more then just a few hours the following steps are recommended:
- stop feeding completely
- disconnect all filters from power
- submerge bio wheels and filter media in a bucket with conditioned water
- provide oxygen twice a day by using a cup to sccop out water and pouring it back in for 5 minutes
Once power is back:
- add filter media and thoroughly rinse out the filters
- restart system and make sure all is working properly
- resume feeding
Summer is not only vacation time, but also filled with many outdoor activities. Do not neglect your wet pets. If times and schedules get busy, perform a routine maintenance, reduce lighting time, feed every other day (only as much as the fish can eat within one minute), do not make changes to the setup, replace Algone weekly to reduce accumulating toxins & pollutants, and top off water when needed.