What To Do With Your Aquarium When You Go On Vacation

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante
Credit: Shutterstock / hedgehog94

Going on vacation is a blast, but it can be stressful to be away from your fish for a few days or more. It’s hard to stop thinking about your fish and enjoy your vacation, especially if you're going to be away for a long time. That’s why you may struggle with what to do with your aquarium when you go on vacation.

Replace 30%-50% of the water in your tank before you go on vacation to ensure your aquarium has a healthy environment. Next, set up an automatic fish feeder to maintain a healthy feeding schedule while you’re gone. It also helps to set a timer for your aquarium lights and hire a sitter to check on your fish a few times. 

This will provide peace of mind to let you relax on your vacation without worrying about your fish. Keep in mind that your fish will be fine without help if you only go away for a few days. Follow along as we explore what to do with your aquarium when you go on vacation. 

What Should I Do With My Fish Tank When I Go On Vacation?

1. Clean Your Tank

Clean your aquarium before you go on vacation, even if it’s just for a few days. Change the water 2-3 days before you leave town. Ideally, you should change at least 30% of the water in the tank, but you can replace up to 50% of the water. 

Check the filter and heater in your fish tank to make sure that they are clean and work well. You may even want to clean the substrate if it’s dirty. It’s also a good idea to remove dead growth from the plants in your aquarium before you leave. 

2. Set Up An Automatic Feeder

Automatic fish feeders make it easy to go on vacation without worrying about your aquarium. They are simple to use, you can program the feeding schedule. Keep in mind that you don’t need to overload your automatic feeder with food.

Overfeeding your fish may affect their health and even make the water dirty. That’s because any food that goes uneaten will eventually rot. This can quickly increase the ammonia in the aquarium, and you won’t be able to fix the problem if you’re on vacation. 

Set up the automatic feeder before you leave and make sure it works well. Pay attention to how much food it dispenses at once and adjust how much you need to fill it as needed. 

3. Set A Timer for Your Lights

Aquarium lighting doesn’t just look great, but it also affects the health of your fish. That’s why you should never simply leave the lights on in your tank when you go on vacation. This can confuse your fish and increase the chances of an algae outbreak in your aquarium.

Luckily, it’s easy to find lighting setups for fish tanks that run on timers. Set the timer to run the lights for 6-12 hours per day. Many people only keep the lights on in their tanks for 8 hours per day. However, anything is fine as long as it’s at least 6 hours.

The lights will keep your fish and plants healthy while you’re gone. Lights also help keep fish active and maintain a healthy sleep cycle. 

4. Get A Fish Sitter

Automatic fish feeders make it easy to take care of your fish while you’re gone. However, you may still have concerns about your fishes' behavior and health during your vacation. In that case, it’s a great idea to hire a fish sitter or ask friends and family to help. 

Make sure to demonstrate how to feed your fish, especially if the sitter has no experience with aquariums. You can either take a video of yourself feeding the fish or simply invite them over to watch you feed them. They don’t even necessarily need to come over every day that you’re gone unless you have fish that need daily feedings. 

Create a list of notes about how to care for your fish and what to look out for in the tank. Luckily, it’s easier to watch fish in a tank than it is to dog-sit, so your helper shouldn’t have a hard time. 

Can You Leave Fish Alone For A Week?

You can leave fish alone for a week, as many fish can go a week or two without eating. However, other problems, such as pH imbalances and dirty water can arise. That’s why it’s worth it to have a friend or family member visit your house at least once during your vacation. 

However, you can reasonably leave fish alone for a week if you prepare the tank. For example, it helps to change the water and clean the tank before you leave. This ensures that the water is healthy for the fish.

That said, you must enlist a fish sitter if your vacation is longer than a week. Otherwise, your fish may become sick, and the water can easily become overly dirty. 

Should You Overfeed Fish Before Going On Vacation?

Don’t overfeed your fish before you go on vacation. Not only can it negatively affect your fish, but it can also make the water dirty. Uneaten food leads to more ammonia in the water and fish that overeat also create waste.

The combination of waste and uneaten food will make the water dirty, especially with a small tank. You won’t be able to change the water or clean the tank while you’re away on a trip. This can lead to algae blooms, and the nitrate levels in your aquarium will likely rise. 

Not only that, but the fish in your tank may become uncomfortable and stressed if you overfeed them. Fish should be able to finish the food you give them in under 3 minutes, in most cases. Anything more than that means that you likely fed your fish too much. 

Summing It Up

Carefully clean your tank and change up to 50% of the water in your aquarium before you go on vacation. Install an automatic fish feeder before you leave and try it out to make sure it dispenses enough food. It’s a great idea to have someone watch your fish, especially if you will be gone for a week or longer. 

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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