A few simple steps to ease the stress...
Going Away on Holiday? How to Look After Your Aquarium.
For many people leaving the house to go on holiday can be a hurried affair. Packing, passports, cancelling the milk etc etc so it's perhaps understandable that sometimes Fish don't get the proper attention they deserve before we leave on our holidays. But with a few well-timed actions you can limit any stress your fish might otherwise be put under.
Before you go away
Avoid adding any new fishes for at least a few weeks before you leave, and avoid any major changes to feeding regimes. If your aquarium lights are not yet set on timers, do this a few weeks before you leave so that your fish and plants can get used to a regular day/night cycle. Some modern tanks such as biOrb have designs can have a lower surface area than traditional so it's important that your aquarium is in a stable condition before you go, it will have a better chance of remaining that way whilst you are away.
Pay Attention to Feeding
Whilst you can give your fish a little extra food before you go, be careful not to overfeed them. How much food your fish need while you are away depends on the number and size of your fish, what types of fish you have, the tank size and the filtration. Assuming that you are away for a fortnight, small fish (up to 4cm) will need regular, daily feeds whilst medium sized fish (4-10cm) can be fed every other day, and larger fish once every three days, particularly if you have some live plants in the tank for them to nibble on. If you are only away for a long weekend, virtually all healthy fish will survive without feeding quite happily. In nature many fish can go for days without a good meal and providing your aquarium has some plant material for your fish to eat if they get really hungry, they will be fine for a few days. For longer breaks you will need to look at automatic feeding or getting someone else to feed your fish. If in doubt err on the side of under rather than overfeeding.
Tank Filter maintenance
Whilst your aquarium needs regular water changes and the filter needs regular cleaning, these are both items that can on occasion be left for several weeks without any ill effect in most tanks, but we do suggest doing some maintenance at least a week before you go.. In terms of cleaning algae from your tank, remember that this is mostly for your benefit and the fish are not at all bothered about dirty glass - allowing some algae growth means that your fish can have a nibble if they get hungry. Just in case anything does go horribly wrong while you are away, it is always best to leave anyone in charge either your contact details or the telephone number of your local petshop or We Are Pets of course as we can advise.
On Your Return
When you get back it might be worth checking key levels for any spikes in ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate using a test kit. Particularly if you have tropical or marine setup. Also, remove any uneaten food or remaining feeding blocks immediately, allow the tank to settle and then return to your normal feeding regime. We also advise a partial water change and if you have time a gravel/substrate filter, just to keep things in balance. Remember to use some dechlorinater when adding new tap water (Fluval Aqua Plus is a good one) and some beneficial bacteria as well (Fluval Cycle). We us both these products in our show stores and they are very good when combined with regular maintenance.
Enjoy your holiday and hopefully return to healthy stress-free fish!
Need more advice? Contact the We Are Pets team on 01753 886166 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org