Feeding fish while on vacation

  • #1
Well I planned a last minute trip to visit my parents. Then I realized I had no clue what to do with my fish for 7 days and its a 800 mile trip one way. I have 3 fish tanks that will need to get fed. I do not have anyone that can come in and feed them.

Should I buy automatic feeders for each or will one of those vacation tabs work. Those are usually in the shape of a fish and look like chalk and I think you just drop it in the tank. I have never tried them.

I will do w/c for all 3 on xmas. And I will feed regular the morning of the 26th.
Any advice????
  • #2
Feed normally before you go.
Do a water change as close to your leaving time as possible.
Do a water change when you get back.
Feed normally on your return.

If your fish are healthy and are not fry, they should be fine for that length of time without feeding.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks you are awsome Dino. Now I don't have to worry while having fun.
  • #4
I agree with Dino, the fish DO have things to eat in the tank, most will pick at algae, and such. The real problem can be created when the "automatic" feeder goes haywire, or a fish overeats and gets constipated. When you cut the food, the water quality stays good without changes. Have Fun! :;rudolph
  • #5
It's crazy how often those automatic feeders malfunction. I don't like the chalk-like feeder blocks but tetra makes a food disc that's pretty good. But like Dino said, they can go the time without food.
  • #6
I've left all my fish for a week without feeding 2 or 3 times, and never had any problems.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanks everyone..I will do as Dino says. I coudlnt handle finding them dead because they were over fed. I do plan on bring them back lots of new decorations so hopefully they won't be too mad at me .
  • #8
I think they'll be VERY happy to see you - and the food container.
  • #9
I usually give the fish some HakirI micro-pellets or micro-wafers before I go away. I feed a little more than usual, since the HakirI food doesn't decay as fast as flakes, and drift down to land on plants, decorations and the substrate. The fish are usually finding them for a day or two afterwards.
  • #10
What about fry?

I'm going away for about 10 days. I have 2 guppies in one tank and 2 platys in another (just starting out, can you tell?) and about 15 platy fry that are roughly 2 weeks old. I didn't plan on having the fry, they came unannounced and unexpected. Would 10 days be too long for the fish if there's no food? I was going to put one of those weekend feeder in each of the adult tank and then toss the fry into the platy tank, hoping they'd survive in finding enough food and dodging their mother from eating them. I bought an automatic feeder but it seems most people don't have good experience with them so I'll be returning it.

At one point I planned on taking the fish with me. However, I had a 2 week period of dying guppies that I don't want to put them through undue stress. Suggestions on what to do with a total of 4 adult fish and 15 fry?
  • #11
How big are the fry?

One thing that might help is to jack up the lighting. Leave it on for 12-14 hrs a day. This will cause algae to grow, and the fish will eat the algae while you're gone. Just make sure there isn't too much light or algae will get out of control...you just want a coating on surfaces. At least that's what I'd do, not sure how much you care to have algae all over your tanks.
  • #12
2 Week old fry? That may be a problem....

IF you have java moss in their tank, and algae they could go a couple of days, but I am just not sure about 10 days without feed. Fry are growing at such speed, that they require lots of small feedings.....

Hope you work this all out and enjoy your vacation.
  • #13
The bigger fry are about 1 cm and the smaller ones are about 6 mm. I've been having them in the breeder box so I how much food gets eaten and be sure that the food isn't just going to sink to the bottom before the fry get to it. I also don't want to give them too much food so I'm thinking a weekend feeder might be too much for them. That's why I'm thinking of letting them out of the feeder box and share the feeder with 2 adult platys.

I've been feeding my fry 3-4 times a day. I don't have java moss, instead, 5 stalks of bamboo, 2 ornaments and some floating fake plants. They seem so easily startled in the breeder box. I'm hoping once I let them out, they'd feel better.

Yep, I hope things work out with my plan.
  • #14
I think you'll have to let them out because there won't be enough food for them in the breeder box. In the tank they can scavenge for bits of stuff in the gravel and on the decor. It's hard to know how they'll do, I hope they all make it but don't be too devastated if there are some losses.
  • #15
yea, unfortunately the fry do need more food and I'd give them a big water change before going and with this case, I'd probably get a tetra vacation feeder (walmart usually has them). Although the other suggestions are good too. I think it would be whatever made you feel the best about leaving them.
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Well I just got home from a wonderful time at my parents house and everyone has survied. My holding yellow lab looked to me to be still holding so I feed them and did a w/c. While vacuming in one of the caves I noticed a baby away from the mom, while I was trying to point it out to my husband it disapeared and there was an adult fish there. I could almost swear he ate it but not sure. It was about as big as my pinky finger nail. I was so happy to see it then so sad that it might have been eaten because I scared it out of hiding.. I knew not having them separate that that could happen but I didnt have anywhere to put them and then the trip.

But I did get some very nice mid to large rocks and even natural gravel to put in there once I boil them. I even got a nice peice of redwood that looks like it will be a sweet cave. Omg the gravel from Pebble Beach is so pretty and naturally tumbled and polished. I will try to get around to cleaning everything this weekend but I will probally wait now that I don't want to disturb any other babies. I believe she does still have some in her mouth.

Oh well Happy New Year.
  • #17
welcome back. Glad they all made it and I hope you find the little fry.
  • #18
I ended up bringing the fry with me on an 8-hour trip. All of them survived the journey and were happy to make it to my mom's aquarium. I decided to gift the fry to my mom to replenish her aquarium. I hope they will be happy there.

I left the 3 adult (2 platys and 1 guppy, a guppy died the day we left so only 1 guppy left) at home with a vacation feeder. Happy to report that all of them survived when I got home after being away for 9 days. Incidentally, the female platy looked thinner, i.e. less pregnant, when I returned. I wonder if she dropped fry or aborted them. I sure didn't see any fry in the tank when I returned. Honestly, what are the chances of fry surviving with 3 really hungry adults preying on them?
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
I was looking at my tank very closely last night and spotted a fry hidding in the crack of one of the caves. Also the mom still looks like she is holding some. But there is still hope that some will survive so I'm happy. Now I'm making sure to crush up the food more in that spot so the fry has a bettter chance to get some. I watched it trying to come out for food and would go back in when other fish came close. He never went far from the cave so it knows that it would be a snack for the others lol.
  • #20
So in about two months I'm going out of town for about a week, I'm running a 20 gallon tank (tetra kit from Wal-Mart that my parents got for themselves that I'm maintaining) it currently has
2 female guppys
1 male
3 long finned gold zebra danios
A fiddler crab (will be moved out)
And a pleco (also will be moved out when I can)
1-4 rcs (can't find them
2 ghost shrimp
And about 10 guppy fry (in a breeder net for about 1 more week)

What should I get to feed them while we are out of town (I have a few plants from a lfs in the tank)
  • #21

Are you not able to have someone to feed them for you while you are gone? I usually ask a friend to stop by and feed them so I don't have to worry about the poor quality of the vacation feeders. I know some people fast there fish for a day but since you are gone for a week I am not sure. I'll try doing some research but hopefully a more experienced member can chime in
  • #22
I have personally gone a week, and not have fed my fish, without any problems at all. I personally don't want anyone touching my tanks, for no reason at all.
If you must have someone feed your fish, make sure that you show them the proper way of doing it. Also make sure they recognize when the fish are done eating. I would go further and recommend that whoever feeds your fish, have them feed the fish every two days, cuts down on the chances of overfeeding.
  • #23
Normally, leaving a tank for a week is no problem whatsoever (however, check with someone about your shrimp as I have very little experience with them).
You must remember that these are cold blooded creatures (exothermic) and devote little energy to maintaining correct body temperature.
I normally give a good feed prior to vacation, and then a last minute (within reason) thorough clean and water change. The W/C that I do is usually about 50-60%, for all except Lake Tanganyika cichlids, who do not react well to large W/Cs as a rule.
If you wish to slow your fishes' metabolism, you can safely drop the tank temperature by a couple of degrees, or to the lowest acceptable temperature of the fish in you tank that needs the highest minimum temperature,
If you really insist on having someone feed them in your absence, measure out daily amounts of food staying on the lean side, and place daily rations in sealable containers (small baggies work well).
Having someone look in on your tank without feeding is a good idea just to insure that all support items are working well; this means that if an H.O.B. filter loses prime for example, you must show them how to fix the problem.
Given a choice, I strongly prefer going a week with no food rather than have anyone else feed my tanks.
Best of luck and enjoy your vacation, rick
  • #24
Thanks all, I'll just go for the week and hope everything works out, most of my friends aren't pet people so it would be best if I didn't get them involved lol thanks again
  • #25
The longest I have gone away was 9 days. I had a 20 gal with platies, guppies, ghost shrimp and nerite snails and they didn't get fed. When I came back, the tank was sparkling clean and everyone seemed OK. But sadly all my ghost shrimp turned opaque and died one after another in the next couple of days. Good luck!
  • #26
I'll be gone about 7-9 days, I'm not worried about the shrimp I just don't want to lose my guppys, I got a really nice blue male
Aquarium Newb
  • #27
I have one of those pill containers that has 7 section for each day of the week, and I put how much I feed my fish in it so my friends can just open it and dump it in.
  • #28
That's a good idea, I might try that
  • #29
So I might be going for a month or 3 weeks of vacation in July. I do not want to leave my fish for that long and ask someone else to feed them because they are a bit tricky to feed (some eat all the food if you add it at once etc). I can tell them about water changes but feeding might be a bit hard. Any ideas? Have no access to auto feeders.
  • #30
What I would do is get several of those 7 day pill boxes, add the amount of food for the day, and then explain to your friend to feed in thirds. Like only add a third of the food, wait 30 seconds, add another third, wait another 30 seconds, add the rest. This works well when it's flakes, sticks, or pellet foods.

If it's frozen foods, double up the boxes. Have one set of boxes as first feeding, and another set for second. Cut your cubes into feeding sizes, and put them in the boxes. Then explain to your friend how to feed them using that.

Live food....no idea there. Sorry.
  • #31
Hmmm...seems like it would be risky to let someone else care for your fish while on vacation, but I'm here to offer my assistance. I would be more than happy to take your place on this vacation in order for you to stay at home to care for your fish. It's what any responsible fish keeper would do...right?
  • #32
I thought you were planning to rehome your fish since they're incompatible for that tank size? Is your tank cycled now? If not, they'll need to be doing very frequent, large changes, which is likely inconvenient for them. I'd rehome the fish, go on vacation, cycle the tank when you return, and stock with new, appropriate fish
  • #33
No it seems to be cycled (its been a month but I don't have water parameters) and I did return all of the older ones. I have 2 comet golds and 2 white butterfly koi now. I do gravel vacuums every 3 days alomg with 50or 30% water change. And its fine for them to change the water as they help me with it sometimes. The only problem is the food.
I still have time before I go but I wanted to make sure I have solution before that. (going mid july)
Maybe buy flake food? I use those tiny pellet type food that float. Which is why most are eaten by one or two. Flake might be easier for them to feed right? And I can ask them to change water every 3 days so it won't get cloudy. Sounds good or am I missing something?
  • #34
No it seems to be cycled (its been a month but I don't have water parameters) and I did return all of the older ones. I have 2 comet golds and 2 white butterfly koi now. I do gravel vacuums every 3 days alomg with 50or 30% water change. And its fine for them to change the water as they help me with it sometimes. The only problem is the food.
I still have time before I go but I wanted to make sure I have solution before that. (going mid july)
Maybe buy flake food? I use those tiny pellet type food that float. Which is why most are eaten by one or two. Flake might be easier for them to feed right? And I can ask them to change water every 3 days so it won't get cloudy. Sounds good or am I missing something?
Comet goldfish and koi are definitely not appropriate for your tank size - they will get much larger than the tank itself. Return those too. If you need ideas for appropriate fish, let us know, but I would stop taking advice from your LFS.

You don't know it's cycled unless you test the water parameters. With the bioload of the fish in the tank and the length of time the tank has been running, I'd guess it's not cycled.

I would rehome the fish before you leave, leave your tank running with a piece of shrimp, and stock appropriately when you return.

We're just looking out for the fish.
  • #35
Thank you. I will look into it. Still have exams so ill be visiting the shop once before I leave. Might give back the two koi and get something smaller. Or a 75 gallon tank.
  • #36
Thank you. I will look into it. Still have exams so ill be visiting the shop once before I leave. Might give back the two koi and get something smaller. Or a 75 gallon tank.
75 gal still isn't big enough for comet goldfish or koi, so definitely give back all of the fish, not just the koi.
  • #37
HI everyone, I am going to Indiana for 5 days and as wondering if I should get those vacation feeding blocks, or just feed them before and hope they live? I was at my cousins for 4 days and when I came back one of my platys had fin rot. It acts fine, but it's fins have tears in them. I don't know if the other platy did this or what. At first the one with fin rot(or whatever it is) was dominate, but now the other platy is bossing the other around. So now the platy with torn fins is in a 1/2 gallon bowl with a little pot floating in the 20 gallon. My mom thinks the fish will be okay, but I'm not sure. I've heard pretty bad things about those feeding blocks, so that's probably out. An automatic feeder is too expensive for me and I would have to buy at least 3 for my 20 gal, 5 gal, 1.5 gal and 1/2 gal(I have feeder guppies in the two smallest tanks). Thanks for any help or suggestions!!
  • #38
I wouldn't feed them. Fish can easily go 5 days without eating. I've left mine for 8 days without feeding and they were all fine when I got back. Just do a large water change (at least 50%) right before you leave.

What are the other tank mates in the 20g? How often and how large are your water changes? What are your parameters and can you post a pic?
  • #39
If you're gone only 5 days, I'd feed them and do a large water change before you leave and when you return. Feeding blocks and auto feeders can cause ammonia spikes.

I'd put the platy that's in the bowl back into a filtered tank while you're gone. Being in a small, unfiltered bowl for 5 days can kill it.
  • #40
@el337, thanks! I have 2 platys, 3 cories(I have 2 peppered and 1 Julii. I keep trying to get more, but they always die, and they seem very happy with each other), 2 otos, and 11 harlequin rasboras. I do 25% water changes every week, and my latest parameters are:

GH: 0-30
KH: 180-240
pH: 7.5-8.0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 20
Temp: 77 degrees Fahrenheit

I think it was just nipping.
@TexasDomer, thanks, I thought feeding blocks were bad..I put the platy back into the tank and he's fine. I'll just keep an eye on him. I don't leave for a month, but I wanted to plan ahead and make sure they'd be ok. I need to clean my tank today anyways, so Ill do another before I leave after this one. In my 5 gal I have 5 neons and a betta. I know it's too small for them, but my friend had a leak in her 10 gallon. I didn't want to put them in the 20 gallon, because it would be overstocked. She gave me two, and I got 3 more for them. My male betta is fine with them, and is happy all the time. I have fake plants, an Anubias Nana, and an Aqueon QuietFlow 10 . I reduced the flow using a water bottle and some foam. I also need to clean it because of the brown algae. I also can't get a 10 gallon, because I already have so many tanks, and my parents won't let me. I also probably wouldn't have enough money. Thanks for the help guys!

Oops, I kept says "I also....". Lol whoops. Well guess I should've read over it before I posted.

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