It’s that time of year when we have to travel and visit relatives, sometimes for several days, and we go through withdrawals from not being able to tend to our aquariums. But it’s not just us that is suffering, our aquariums suffer too. Fish go unfed, water doesn’t get changed, and the glass will get dirty. But there are several things you can do to help you get through the holiday season.
If you plan on being away from your aquarium a week or more, it would be wise to find someone to babysit your aquarium while you’re gone. I would suggest you find someone who already owns a saltwater aquarium, but with proper instructions it’s not necessary. The “tank sitter” doesn’t have to be as in depth with the maintenance as you would be, but at the very least someone should stop in every 2-3 days to feed the fish, top off the water, and make sure no major problems have arisen. Additionally, and this will depend on how much you trust your “tank sitter”, it might be wise to have an extra supply of freshly mixed saltwater on standby, in the event something does go wrong. The “tank sitter” can perform a water change in your absence, and to further help the babysitter in performing his or her tasks, make a step-by-step list of what needs to be done. If the person is to clean your skimmer cup, tell them how to unplug the skimmer, how to disassemble and clean it, and how to get it functioning again. If you need additive dosing while you’re gone, indicate which products and exactly how much of each is to be dosed.
If using a “tank sitter” is not an option, there are a few things you can do to allow you to stay away longer, without negatively affecting your aquarium so much. For starters, feed your fish more than normal in the days leading up to your departure. Be sure to add garlic and other additives to build up their immune system and provide them enough nutrition to last for several days before needing to be fed again. Additionally, it would be wise to clean the aquarium equipment, such as the protein skimmer, powerheads, and any other necessary devices. This will help prevent them from failing to perform their tasks while you are gone. Lastly, a big water change prior to your departure should be top priority. This will remove any already present harmful organics, especially from any overfeeding, and will prevent excess nutrient accumulation from occurring.
I hope these general tips help those traveling this year. But while out on the road or in the air, be safe. Your safety is top priority, because not only do you and your family depend on your health and safety, so does your aquarium.