Talbot's Demoiselle, Chrysiptera talboti
Are you planning to go on vacation or out of town for work? Do you find yourself wondering what to do with your aquariums and how your fish will fair while you are gone?
Before you leave there are a few simple things that you can do to make it easier for the fish and anyone who comes in to check up on things:
If you are only going away for a weekend, then your tank and fish will be able to survive without you. If you tank is running smoothly before you leave and your fish are healthy, then they can easily go for a few days without food or special care. The first couple times you leave them alone will be nerve racking but in all probability everything will be the same when you return.
If it’ll give you piece of mind, ask a friend to stop in and make sure that the power is on in the tanks and that there aren't any dead fish. Don't let them feed the fish, they will be alright for a few days without food and it's too much of a risk of polluting the tank if someone isn't careful.
It is possible to leave an aquarium alone for 10 to 14 day periods of time without having any problems in the tank; provided that the fish are healthy and well fed before you leave then most fish will be able to survive fine without food. The exception to this is if you have young fry or very delicate fish that require a steady diet. However a lot of people don't feel comfortable about this and prefer to have someone come in and check on the aquarium while they are away.
If you are getting someone to come in and check on your fish, you should create a checklist. Preferably the person coming in while you are gone will be an experienced fish keeper and will be able to take action in an emergency situation.
If you have more then one tank, it is best that you leave a separate list beside each tank and clear instructions for every tank.
If you are going away for an extended period of time you may wish to consider hiring someone to service your tank instead of relying on a friend or family member to check in on everything.
In larger metropolitan areas there should be some aquarium maintenance services available. These businesses are generally run by people who started off as a hobbyist who decided to earn a bit of money setting up and maintaining tanks for other people. When looking for someone to service your tank, it’s best that you interview them to see how knowledgeable they are, what services they are willing to perform, how much they cost per visit, if there are any public tanks that they have serviced so you can check out their work or ask if they have a portfolio of other tanks. Find out if they will sign a service contract and what kind of insurance they have in case something goes wrong.
When interviewing someone to come in and take care of your animals, there are a few things that you should watch for. A good service professional should take notes during the interview; never hire one who claims to be able to work off memory. This shows that they are going to maintain your tank they way they want to not the way you want.
Establish some rules during the interview regarding procedures to take should something go wrong while you are away, such as
These are good for fish that accept flake or freeze dried food. Depending on how much you are willing to spend on a feeder will determine what These feeders should be established long before you leave the tank alone in order for you to set the feeding schedule properly. The last thing you want to do is introduce something new to the tank just before leaving it alone for any length of time.
I highly recommend that you have all your lights on timers before you leave. If fish are in continuous darkness or daylight they will become stressed out fairly easily.
There are feeding blocks available but most fish wont know what to do with them, especially if they are used to eating at the surface. If the fish don’t eat the food as it dissolves out of the block, then it’ll be left in the tank to foul the water. They will also alter your water chemistry to some degree. This is last thing you want to have happen in your tank while you aren’t around the keep an eye on things. If you do wish to use these, it's advisable that you feed them to the fish while you are still there so you can observe if the fish will actually eat the food from the blocks.