You may or may not be an aquarium owner who travels for the holidays, but sooner or later, all hobbyists will have to leave their aquariums to fend for themselves or have friends look after the tanks. If you plan ahead, you can make this as painless as possible and ensure the continued good health for your fish.
If you are planning on going away for a weekend or just a few days, there are a few simple steps you can take. Check and perform any maintenance needed on the filtration system, and make sure all water pumps are operating at full capacity. Double check the heater thermostat and make sure the heater is functioning. You could use one of the 3 Day Feeding Blocks to supplement the fish’s diet, but most fish could easily go 2 to 4 days without any food, especially if the lights are turned off while you are gone.
If you are going to be gone for a longer time, follow the above steps with some modifications. If possible, place the lighting system on a timer to keep your aquarium inhabitants on their regular schedule. If you are not already using one, purchase one of the automatic feeders and run it for several days before the vacation to calibrate the amount of food it feeds. Most automatic feeders will work with either flake foods or small pellet foods. It is better to underfeed than to overfeed and risk polluting the water. Plus, it may be a bit hard to believe, but there is a chance your fish will pout without you feeding them and just be more lethargic! If you have to have a friend come by and feed the fish, even if they are an experience hobbyist, premeasure the dry foods you wish them to feed, maybe place it in an extra ice cube tray with one feeding per “cube”. If they are also going to feed frozen foods, try to chop it up into feeding sizes and let them watch how you feed the food. Maintaining a mini-reef may require more “training” to show which supplements to add and when, also do not forget to have some new water ready to top off the aquarium if your trip is longer than one week. If possible try to show how to perform emergency cleaning of the filter system or see if you can get one of your local store employees to be on “emergency call” for a crisis.
This is also a good time to make sure you have a spare power head or air pump system to at least keep the water moving and oxygenated, even if you have to shut off the filter system. You can always perform an extra water change to make up for the lack of the filter running, but the fish need oxygen all the time.
If you plan ahead and get everything lined up before hand, you will be able to enjoy your time away and not have to worry that your aquatic buddies are in peril.