Going away for the weekend...

  • #1
Hey all,

Heading home for the weekend, and was wondering if it would be okay if I left my fish alone? I plan on doing a water change before I leave, and I'll be gone Friday night - Sunday night. Should I see if I can get someone to watch them, or should they be okay? I have a school of Danio's, 1 swordtail, 1 betta and some White Cloud Minnow (if that matters). Thanks,

  • #2
They should be fine.
Feed them normally on Friday.
I would recommend turning the lights out on the tank while you are gone.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Ok, I thought they'd be okay, the people at PetSmart said they would be, but you know how that is...
  • #4
Yea, that's not too long of a time for them to go without food. Really, just Saturday would be a fasting day if you fed them a little Friday and a little Sunday when you get back.
  • #5

They should be fine. I fast my fish 2 days a week anyway! (In my 47gal)

  • #6
What is this fasting you speak of? Is it healthier for fish to go without for a couple days a week?
  • #7
Fasting is them going for a period without food. It's not necessarily healthier for them to go without food a couple days per week, but they're capable of going without food for a time if they have to.

What is this fasting you speak of? Is it healthier for fish to go without for a couple days a week?
  • #8
Ah, ok. HatchetHaven's comment made me think that perhaps fasting was something that everyone should do - I guess it just means that it's something that *can* be done. Thanks! : )


They should be fine. I fast my fish 2 days a week anyway! (In my 47gal)
  • #9

Many hobbyists do it, as it prevents the fish from pooping for a few days thus reducing the bio-load. It's good when you're maintaining a slighly overstocked tank. My tank is a bit overstocked, but I do my maintenance etc. and it's a planted tank so it's OK really. But newbies shouldn't try it!

  • #10

Many hobbyists do it, as it prevents the fish from pooping for a few days thus reducing the bio-load.

This is incorrect.
Weither a fish poops or not, it is still adding waste to the tank.
Fecal matter is not the only waste a fish produces.

Not feeding for a few days DOSE NOT reduce the bioload.

The main reason most folks do it is to allow the fish time to empty out their digestive system.
It also helps to cut down on microfauna, as the fish will eat that, if no prepared food is precent.
  • #11

OK Dino - I haven't done Biology in science yet! I'll not bother with fasting them then.

  • #12
I'm going away for the weekend, and I have a new betta. I got him a week ago, and the tank isn't cycled yet. The last time I tried one of those big food pellets (I was away for 2 weeks) my tank was extremely dirty, all my guppy fry were dead and one of my guppies was dead. I can't get anyone in, so seeing as it's a weekend, should I just leave him be? I'll obviously feed him just before I go.

  • #13
Why don't you do water change before going?
  • #14
He'll be fine for a few days without food, do a water change before you go.
  • #15
I agree with the above.
I'd feed the night before or morning of and do a large water change hours before you go, if you can.
  • #16

Being on the vacation thinking about my fish dying is a nightmare for me. So make sure everything is okay before you go.
  • #17
Thanks to all of the above. I'll feed him the night before and give him 3 pellets in the morning, and feed him when I get back. I'll do a water change tomorrow afternoon.

  • #18
If you're only going for two or three days I'd actually skip the feeding the day before and morning of departure to help maintain water quality.

Just do a large water change before you leave.

All adult and juvenile fish can easily handle at least a week without food with no ill effects and 3-4 days of fasting won't bother them in the least.
  • #19
I keep a betta at work, and he never gets fed on the weekends, since I live an hour away. He is happy and thriving. I wouldn't worry too much. (says the girl going on vacation for a week and stressing over someone else messing with my tank.)
Sarcasm Included
  • #20
I agree with EricV, since the tank isn't cycled, don't feed the night before.
  • #21
This is why I have my little brother trained in my feedings and water changes my job takes me away from home for a week or so at a time so he is really handy to have
  • #22
I regularly don't feed my fish for a few days. They only eat what rcs they can catch.
  • #23
I have five guppies and three Otos and one large live plant. Should I leave the a lights on or off when I am away. Also if I feed the fish at three on Friday would they be ok until Sunday night?
  • #24
If it is just for a couple of days I would leave the lights off or I would get a timer if you are worried about the plant. If the tank gets some natural light I wouldn't be concerned about just leaving the lights off. The fish will be fine. They can go for up to a week without being fed.
  • #25
I would leave the lights off, as long as there isn't any natural light hitting the tank. If you leave them on all weekend, you may come home to an algae bloom. (you may also have algae if there is natural light hitting the tank).

In terms of feeding them, there are 'weekend' feeder blocks that you can put in the tank to 'slow release'. HOWEVER, I've heard of them making a mess. The fish SHOULD be absolutely fine going 3 days with no food.

I've had my power go out on me for 2 weeks before. I stopped feeding my tanks during that time to reduce nitrate and nitrite in their water for the 2 week period. I didn't lose anyone from starvation.
Small Tanks
  • #26
A timer is a good thing to have but I agree, if you don't have one lights off and no food is best.
  • #27
Don’t use the vacation feeders, they’ll posion your tank. Just leave the lights off and feed before you leave.
  • #28
Don’t use the vacation feeders, they’ll posion your tank. Just leave the lights off and feed before you leave.
I agree. Another member put a weekend feeder block in his tank and came home to some dead fish and a fouled tank. It was a mess
  • #29
I agree. Another member put a weekend feeder block in his tank and came home to some dead fish and a fouled tank. It was a mess
Yeah, I agree with the above 2 posts. We sell them where I work, and I do mention them to customers but...just as I did here, I also make sure to tell them how they work and what they've been known to do. Fish can go a max of 2 weeks without food, and even if you're not putting food in the tank, they'll scrounge for algae or other food sources in the tank before they pass of starvation. You have nothing to worry about. Enjoy your weekend away!
  • #30
I leave all my tanks for a week to 10 days 3-4 times a year. I have some tanks (with specific plants) on timers for the lights, but a couple days with no food or lights won't hurt anything. Do a water change before you go and you're all set.
  • #31
Your fish aren't going to starve from 3 days without feeding, unless they have a specialized diet, like dwarf seahorses do, or unless they're fry. In fact, depending on what kind of fish you have, they might actually benefit from a few days of fasting. In the wild, fish go several days in between meals. If anything, aquarium fish are overfed.

Also, +1 that you should get a timer. A cheap outlet timer from wally world will do just fine, as long as your tank doesn't have one of those touch sensor LED lights, or doesn't cycle through multi-colors when you turn it on. If you can't get a timer, just leave the lights off for your vacation. I'm sure you'd rather come home to plants not looking their best than an algae outbreak.
  • #32
Normally I would say just leave the lights off the entire time you are gone but...

Since you have oto's I have to ask, are they dependant on algae growing in your tank for food? If so, having the lights out for a few days could possibly cause the algae to either start to die off, or just stop growing. I don't know if this would be a problem, but I just thought I'd throw it out there.
  • #33
That is a good point. Usually I would turn all the lights off and not feed, but otos rely on algae.
  • #34
Hopefully the OP will come back with a bit more information. At this point we are basically shooting in the dark. If the tank is in a basement with no light the algae may start dying off with no tank light but if it is in a well lit room that is flooded with light from windows during the daytime it is a different story.
  • #35
I’m leaving for a few days. Leaving Tuesday and coming back Sunday. I have a ten gallon tank with 3 platies and then a 3 gallon tank for a Betta Fish. Will they be okay without food those few days or should I get those food blocks for them? I just want to make sure they are okay when I get back!
  • #36
They should do fine, most fish can live for a few weeks withought food as long as they are healthy beforehand. However Id still get an autofeeder or foodblocks for them.
  • #37
They should be fine for that time. Like Drav said, most adult fish can go 2 weeks without food. I would overfeed before you leave though and if you have live food, add that to the tank just before you go (itll take a while for the fish to get them all).
  • #38
It would be hard for me to go that many days without feeding my fish but your fish should be fine. From all I have read folks have gone a week or more without having anyone feed their fish.

I wouldn't add a feeding block. It is very possible to come back to overfed and bloated fish. That can also cause an ammonia spike from them eating so much food and that would be a lot worse than them just getting a bit hungry.
  • #39
I agree, don’t use a feeding block, it can mess up your parameters. They will be fine! For the platies, you can skewer a piece of zucchini. I leave mine in 3-4 days and they nibble on it. It has never altered my water like food will. Only if you want to, not needed for that length of time though.
  • #40
I've heard nothing but horror stories about feeding blocks. I'd also recommend just feeding normally before you go. I've left my fish for a week on a couple occasions, and they've been absolutely fine when I got back. Overfeeding can foul a tank very quickly.

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