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Your Vacation and Your Fish

How to Care for Your Fish Tank While You Are on Holiday

(The First Tank Guide)

So, you're going somewhere for a vacation, and (obviously) you can't take your fish with you. Really, your fish should be in a fish tank large enough that taking them with you on vacation would be impossible (or at least very, very impractical).

What can you do for your poor little fish? Well, there are several options:

  1. Nothing
  2. Call on a friend
  3. Automatic feeder
  4. Feeder blocks

Do Nothing for Your Fish Tank While You're Away

One very viable option is to just let the fish go.

If the fish are in good health and are well cared for, and you are only going to be gone for a couple days, most fish can go two or three days without food without any problems.

Many fish, most notably some larger predatory fish, like Oscars, regularly go several days without eating if they are well fed. Some less active fish, particularly less active scavengers, like goldfish, should regularly be given days of fasting to keep their digestive track working well.

However, it is important to be aware of the specific needs of the fish you have in your tank. Some fish need to be fed more than once a day to remain healthy. Also, fry that are off their yolk sacs and fish that are in poor health for some reason usually cannot go without food for an entire day.

Call on a Friend or Neighbor to Feed Your Fish

Really the best option for caring for your fish tank when vacationing is to have a friend or neighbor come over and feed the fish. This will greatly reduce problems.

You can either teach the person how to feed working with them several times before leaving, or set out individual feeding portions for each meal before leaving so the friend only needs to add one to the tank each at each time.

This also has the advantage of providing someone who can water any house plants and/or gardens or flower beds, and who can just keep their eyes on your home to see if anything out of the ordinary happens while you are away.

Get an Automatic Fish Feeder

The second best option for feeding your fish while you are away on holiday is to get an automatic feeder for the fish tank. An automatic feeder is a device that is supposed to release a prescribed amount of food into the tank at set times.

These will usually work reliably, but can sometimes fail to feed or can overfeed, so they should not be relied on when a human can be there to feed the fish and observe them eating.

Use a Vacation Feeder Block for Your Fish Tank

The third option is to get a food block. These are sold in many pet shops, and even some grocery stores, as vacation feeders or holiday feeders. While the two methods above for feeding your pet fish while you are gone may pollute your tank, using a vacation food block will pollute your tank.

If you choose to use vacation feeder blocks to feed your fish while you are on holiday, you will need a number of feeder blocks based on the number of fish you have, and vacation feeder blocks sized for the duration of your absence from the fish tank.

What to Do When You Return to Your Aquarium

The first thing to do when you return home from your vacation is to remove any excess food or any remainder of any vacation food blocks from the fish tank so that it stops contributing to poor water quality.

At your earliest convenience, do a water change of at least 10-15% of the tank volume to address any hidden issues that may have come up due to your absence. If you were gone for more than a week, your fish tank may need an extra water change to make up for those that you missed and to get everything back on the right track.

"Firstly - great website. Really good information. best I've found out there - refer to it a lot, thank you. "
February 19, 2016
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"Thank you very much for emailing me back. The information you gave me was very helpful. Thank you for setting me straight about the water changes. I haven't ever had a problem in two years with the water becoming toxic. However, now that I know it could be at this point or will become toxic I will be more careful. Thank you also for the information about the platies. Especially thank you for your time!!"
February 15, 2002
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