Fish care on vacation must be guaranteed. During the holiday season, we swap the stressful everyday life for sun and sea. But the fish stay at home. Therefore, find out here how you should prepare your aquarium if you cannot take care of it for a while.
Good Preparation is a Must
Vacation time is the best time of the year. Finally, we leave the stress of work and everyday life behind us and treat ourselves to relaxing trips to the sunny south. But fish care on vacation shouldn’t be neglected either. In order for your aquarium to run flawlessly and without complications even when you are away, you need a little preparation time before your vacation. For example, if you are on a two-week vacation, you have to intensively check all water values four weeks beforehand. But why is it like that? The question is quickly answered: some parameters change insidiously. According to Murphy’s Law, the collapse happens when the vacation hotel room is already occupied.
Check Measurable Values
Typical accident: Due to the increased temperatures in late spring and early summer, the stabilizing water hardness is used up faster than usual due to faster metabolic processes. The fish eat more at the same time and beg for food more often (the internal clock dictates this), and accordingly, there is significantly more nitrate and excrement. This exposure can have dire consequences if the preventive measures are not observed. As a rule of thumb: if all water values have remained stable for at least four weeks and no significant deviations can be seen, everything seems to be good. At best, you enter the measurement results in a table – this way you will notice deviations more quickly.
It All Depends on the Dose
However, since substances also accumulate in the water that is not so easy to measure, a weekly water change should also be carried out four weeks in advance. About 20-30 percent of the total content is a good guideline. So you can be sure that metabolic end products are sufficiently diluted and that used minerals are adequately replenished. Since waterworks have had very strict regulations regarding water purity for some time, they are pre-filtered very intensively. Unfortunately, so much so those extremely important trace elements are also removed. The aquarium inhabitants, therefore, lack these later – the resulting deficiency symptoms can be recognized by pale fish, emaciation despite sufficient feeding, stunted growth of the plants despite (CO2) fertilization, and an overall lack of water brilliance – everything seems to stagnate. That is why every aquarist needs trace elements for replenishing, ideally four weeks in advance.
Pit Stop on the Ground
In the course of the water change, the substrate should also be cleaned with the sludge cleaner and checked for possible rot spots. If a noticeable number of air bubbles rise when moving the gravel, you should be careful. True to the motto “safe is safe”, it pays to swap the gravel for a new substrate before you go on holiday. The filter should also be checked. However, do not proceed too thoroughly! The best thing to do here is to simply remove the coarse dirt that is present. Don’t forget to dose fresh cleansing bacteria.
In the saltwater aquarium, the protein skimmer should be done shortly before the start of the vacation. If the feed ration is reduced, it may be sufficient to reduce the skimmer output by 20 percent to prevent the skimmer from overflowing. Current pumps can also fail spontaneously, which is why it is helpful to install another one for the holiday season. The water temperature can be reduced by around 1 ° C. The dirt production of the animals thus decreases somewhat.
Automatic Feeders Ensure Sufficient Food
Ideally, fish care can be taken over by a friend, family member, or neighbor while on vacation. Your vacation replacement not only ensures happy, full, and satisfied fish but can also check that everything is going well and check whether your aquarium is running properly. If it is not possible for you to hire a known person, automatic feeders can also be a good alternative. The trade offers automatic feeders that can be adjusted to the required amount and frequency of feed. However, the amount should be set to about half the normal feed portion. Otherwise unnoticed overfeeding could end in disastrous circumstances. If the vacation lasts only a few days up to a maximum of a week, special vacation food is sufficient (only in the freshwater aquarium), which lingers in the water and can be consumed by the fish if necessary without unnecessarily polluting the water.
Important: It is imperative that you talk to the holiday supervisor about the feed dosage and explain the possibly fatal consequences of overfeeding the fish. Too well-intentioned feed dosing is the most common reason for complications in the aquarium while on vacation. You play it safe with a feeder.
Monitoring Systems for More Security
If you have a particularly valuable stock, it can be worthwhile to have a monitoring system that continuously checks the most important water parameters and, if necessary, sends you an emergency SMS so that a friend can be informed about the check. Some systems offer the option of calling up the values online in real-time. A timer switches the lighting on and off. Digital monitoring systems are particularly recommended as they retain the programming in the event of a brief power failure.