Tips for aquarium vacation care: Feeding and maintaining your fish tank while you’re away

Aquarium enthusiasts know how relaxing and fulfilling it is to maintain a beautiful fish tank. However, leaving your fish tank for a vacation or holiday can be daunting.

aquarium fish showing sad eyes (probably for being left alone during your vacation).=
Photo by Jan Fidler

This blog post will explore the best practices for feeding aquarium fish and maintaining your tank while on vacation. These tips will let you enjoy your well-deserved break without worrying about your aquatic friends.

How to Feed Aquarium Fish While on Vacation

Feeding your fish while you’re away is a common concern for aquarium owners. The tank may run for weeks without cleaning and maintenance, but you must feed your fish almost daily. Here are some solutions:

  • Automatic fish feeders are a convenient option to ensure your fish receive their meals on time. They cost around 20 dollars, and you can leave your fish feeding for up to weeks. Two products that I can recommend are by PetBank and Noodoky. They can be programmed to dispense a specific amount of food at certain intervals, are charged via micro-USB, and one charge lasts longer than a month. Be sure to get the feeder in advance so you have enough time to test it before leaving and ensure it’s working correctly. You can buy automatic fish feeders in most pet-supply stores or online here.
  • Vacation feeders, also known as slow-release feeders, are blocks of food that dissolve slowly in the aquarium, providing a continuous source of nutrition for your fish. These are suitable for short trips but may not provide a balanced diet for extended periods. They are usually intended for a vacation of up to seven days, though I would recommend them for trips lasting 3-4 days tops.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your aquarium and feed your fish. Provide clear instructions on the amount and type of food to avoid overfeeding. For extended vacations, having someone check on the tank occasionally is also advisable, even if you have an automatic feeder. Instruct them about the fish tank if you have someone to water plants or collect mail.

Preparing Your Aquarium for Vacation

Before going on vacation, preparing your fish tank for your absence is essential. A few days before your departure:

  • clean the tank and filter
  • perform a partial water change
  • check the water parameters
  • ensure heaters, filters, and other equipment are functioning correctly
  • unplug any unnecessary equipment if you’re leaving for a short period
  • set the lighting on a timer (if you don’t have it already)

This will ensure a worry-free vacation. Importantly, avoid doing this right before leaving; instead, do it a few days before. This way, any issues (such as cloudy water) can be resolved before departure.

Remember that filters must run continuously, while lights must be on a schedule for 8 – 12 hours per day. If possible, put the aerator on a schedule, too, but not all aquariums need it, so it might be safe to leave it off, especially if you have live plants.

Additionally, if your area is prone to frequent power outages, consider investing in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to keep essential equipment like filters, lights, and aerators functioning during temporary power disruptions, ensuring the well-being of your aquarium inhabitants.

Proper preparation and a solid feeding plan allow you to enjoy your vacation without worrying about your aquarium. Use these tips to ensure your fish tank remains healthy.





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