Going away for the holidays? Thankfully, there are products available to help care for your fish while you’re away. They won’t replace a pet sitter, but they could keep your fish fed and warm while you’re traveling.
Overall, it’s best to have a friend or neighbor drop by to check your tank. But even with a pet sitter, follow these tips to prepare for your fish for your absence.
Fish can survive a few weeks without food, but you don’t have to put them on a diet while you’re away. Consider using a food block or automatic fish feeder instead.
A food block (also called a vacation feeder) is a block of Plaster of Paris mixed with fish food. Place it in your tank and the plaster will slowly dissolve, exposing bits of food for your fish. An automatic fish feeder on the other hand, is powered by a battery and will dispense food at timed intervals. You can program it to feed your fish daily and can adjust it to prevent overfeeding as well.
When a caretaker or pet sitter is involved, a major concern is overfeeding, which can erode water quality in your tank. One way to prevent this is to get a pill container with compartments for each day of the week. Fill each compartment with the amount you would normally feed your fish and ask your pet sitter to only feed that amount each day.
Is your aquarium lighting on an automatic timer? If not, you may want to buy one for your trip. For plants or saltwater corals, it’s a good idea to use one full time to make sure they get adequate light. If you don’t have a timer, it’s safer to keep your lights off while you’re away. Just make sure your home will keep warm in the winter or cool in the summer.
Since you won’t be around to check water quality, you should prepare your tank with a partial water change. Do this a couple of days before you leave and put in a clean filter cartridge. This will give your fish a cleaner, healthier environment and will allow you to top off the water level. Don’t have time? Then at least top off the water before you leave. While you’re away, your pet sitter can check the water temperature and call you if it rises above a certain level.
Going away for more than a week? Ask someone to check your tank at least once. They should look for leaks, check the water temperature and water level, and look over your fish. Even if they don’t know how to care for an aquarium, they can call you if they see something unusual.
Get ready to enjoy a stress-free trip. First prepare your tank with fish feeders, lighting and filter media from Pet Supermarket.