Holidays and your fishtank

Steven Chester of Premier Aquatics

here has been a spate of fish keepers coming into Premier Aquatics lately and their story is very similar. My neighbour/family member, was left in charge of my tank and they overfed, lots of lost fish, upset and a big bill to replace often unreplaceable fish.


Holliday time!

Holliday time!

I think it is prudent to share some information and advise that may prevent fish deaths and wipe outs during the busy holiday season.

The typical scenario is that the family go on holiday and entrust the running of their tank to a family member or neighbour. They come in, go crazy with the food and over feed the tank, they usually lack the experience or observation skills to notice this and continue to feed in the same vein daily until the tank owner gets a call that the fish are dying, and 'I dont know whats wrong!'. Nine times out of ten the issue is related to poor water quality due to excess food. I have seen and heard of some really bad cases this summer.

1. If going away for a week or less, maintain the tank before leaving, feed well but not excessively before you depart and simply leave the fish alone with no external help except maybe a family member to check everything is working (heaters, filters ect). The fish will be fine going up to 7 days with no feeding as long as they are not too small (tiny fry) or are already suffering from health issues. Most tropical fish are fed very well in captivity and build up significant fat reserves. During a short controlled starvation period they will use their own body fat reserves and will be in no worst state for this on your return, and the water quality should have improved and your tank usually looks better than it did before your trip.

2. If you insist on having someone feed your fish whilst away then please consider the following option. Prepare your fish food into snack sized portions and aim for one feed every second day, and place the amount of food that you select into a small plastic zip lock bag and write the date of feeding on it. The important tip here is to hide the fish food canister well away from the aquarium so that there is no temptation to just 'give them a little more' because they look hungry. Overfeeding is never due to anything sinister, it is best to remove temptation completely so that your helper can give a predetermined amount of feed that YOU selected in advance.

3. If you are away and do not have a friend, neighbour or family to come in and look after your aquarium the other option is a holiday block. These modern blocks are a little better than the old 'Plaster of Paris' food blocks of my youth, and they contained little nourishment and were not a moreish treat for your fish. The modern blocks are often a gel diet (strong gelatin solution) holding a wide array of tasty treats, they are marketed as being safe for water quality and rarely pollute your tank whilst offering your fish a tasty selection of foods over a long period of time. They are a great option for those without help going away for periods of time longer than seven days.

There you go, three quick tips that allow you to prepare your tank in advance of your holiday and not lose sleep over the health of your pets whilst away.

I hope that helps someone. Enjoy your holiday.

All the best,


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