Going On Vacation For 2 Weeks

  • #1
In March I'm going on vacation for 2 weeks. I have 2x 10 gallon tanks, each home to a single Betta and one also has some Red Cherry Shrimp. I also have a 20 gallon outdoor container pond home to 9 White Cloud Mountain Minnows and a freshwater mussel.

Normally with the betta tanks I set up an automatic rotating feeder that drops in 3-4 pellets once a day. The shrimp fend for themselves. I do a big water change before leaving and the day I get back. However the longest I've left the tanks like this before is 10 days. Will they be OK for 2 weeks without a water change? I can reduce the feeding to every second day, or even just a couple of times or not at all if needed (I'd rather feed them something than nothing though, even just 1 pellet a day).

I've also never been away since setting up my pond. I'm pretty casual with feeding the WCM's, I tend to just throw some pellets in once every day or 2 days. I also change out some of the water once a week and top off any evaporated water as needed. Will the WCM's survive for 2 weeks without feeding, water changes and top offs? I'm not really sure how to handle the evaporation as at the moment I'm topping the pond up every 3-4 days.

We don't really have any friends or neighbours nearby that can stop in to take care of water changes/topping off the pond. What should I do?
  • #2
Somebody can probably chime in but what about those slow-release feeding tablets? I've never used them before so I can't vouch for their effectiveness...
  • #3
I wouldn't use those automatic feeders or tablets especially since they won't have a water change during the 2 weeks. The feeders could malfunction and release too much, causing ammonia spikes and potentially kill your fish. Fish can go a couple of weeks without food. I've left on vacation for 10 days without feeding my fish and they were all perfectly fine when I got back. Just do a large water change before you leave and drop the temp a couple of degrees so it slows their metabolism.
  • #4
Yeah, fish not eating for 2 weeks should be fine
  • #5
I'm not very experienced, but I left my WCMM and endlers on vacation last month for 8 days. I fed them well (not overfed) in the week leading to the vacation and did a large water change day before leaving. I came back and every fish was just fine, super active and tank was normal I think they can go two weeks without issue. They definitely snacked on algae on the plant leaves I think.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thanks. Maybe I'll add some extra weed in for the WCMMs. As for the automatic feeders, I've used them several times before without incident. This is the one I use, it seems pretty reliable and fully adjustable:

The only issue I've ever had is one stopped working due to an old battery I put in it that went flat. But maybe it's best not to feed the Bettas if it prevents ammonia building up? How much ammonia would build up over 2 weeks in a 10 gallon with one Betta?
  • #7
I don't know how much ammonia would build up but I wouldn't take the chance to find out. I've read about plenty of disasters on here that happened from automatic feeders and people coming back home to dead fish.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
This one works on a timer so the only thing that really could go wrong is that it wouldn't turn, I'm not sure how a timer would dump all the food in at once. I'm more concerned about water changes, the longest I've ever left one is 10 days. I guess another 4 days wouldn't make that much difference?
  • #9
No, 4 days won't make a difference though if you put in a feeder, it may.
  • #10
I've left my fish for 3 weeks with no feeding and no water changes. Came home to algae-ridden tanks, but all my fish were alive and healthy!
  • #11
wow. this is great to know! I went away for 4 days and had a mate come and feed my fish for me. turns out I didnt need to ask him
Mister Krabbs
  • #12
Oh yeah, well......

the day after I got my first fish ever, I went to work for 8 hrs and much to my surprise they were all still alive and well when I got home..... but boy was I worried ALL DAY

just kidding, but it is good to know that you can go for so long without feeding. Will make me worry less if I take a long weekend and go somewhere
  • #13
first time I went away I had my landlord feed my fish... boy was that a mistake .. couldn't of been gone for more then 14 days and one tank was blanketed with fish flakes the other had a so many snails it I couldn't barely see anything else other then snails on top of that I barely had any fish food left tore through what I would of considered nearly a years worth of flakes and pellets .. suffice to say ive stucken to leaving my fish to there own devices from now on figures there's micro organisms and snails they can snack on if they ever get hungry
Gabriel De Paula
  • #14
I currently have two tanks, a 28 gallon that has been set up for 4-5 months now and a 100 gallon that has been cycling for a month. The problem I have is that I will be leaving from the 24th until the 7th and won't be able to feed the fish.

My plan is to do a very generous feeding the day before I leave and then a 30% wc on the 100 gallon since it is relatively new and a 50% wc w/gravel vac on the 28 gallon the day that I leave. What are your thoughts?

My main question is whether I will need to have someone come by and feed my fish once or twice while I am out or if they will be okay.
Farlowella Fella
  • #15
Just out on a limb here and people can hopefully correct me. With the planned water changes, assuming you do regular changes as is, parameters should be OK.
What type of fish are in the tanks?
Feeding wise, stores sell vacation feeders and I don't think they cost too much. that might be the way to go, otherwise if you have a friend who's willing to feed them, that'll work too. I think 2 weeks would be a long time without food and feeding in excess will likely just cause ammonia spikes or a snail explosion.

My two cents ($5 with inflation)
  • #16
What types of fish do you have in the tank so far? Are you over or under stocked in the tank? If you are understocked with relatively peaceful fish you should be able to get away with two weeks of no feeding.
If not on those options I would have someone drop in twice during the week to feed them to prevent them from eating any fish that looks like sushi.
Vacation feeders are not a good idea, normally the fish power through them in very few days, specially if they are used to being fed daily or every other day. This can cause an ammonia spike which can be deadly for the fish. the water changes schedule is perfect, do a large 50% when you get back on the 28 as well.
  • #17
What I would do in your situation is, the day I leave, I would do a regular feeding, then do a 90% water change, go on vacation, come home, do a water change, then feed them. Your fish can go two weeks without feeding.
Automatic feeders, are more problems than they are worth. They can at times malfunction, overfeed, could possibly make the flake food damp from moisture. Also, once the fish learn where the food is coming from, some fish could hog all the food, and be overfed.
  • #18
I just do a 30% or 50% ( if I can ) water change, double dose prime and net any garbage floating around. Aquarium lights off and blinds wide open for some light. I also use some algae wafers once in a while to feed and after about a day if there's any left it makes the water smell of sewage.
  • #19
I have to respectfully disagree with BluMan1914 about the change in water. I wouldn't change the water on the day you leave. I would actually change the water a few days before you leave. This way it gives you time to make sure the tank is running smooth. We all know that when we change the water in the tank there is always a small thing that might happen, best to be here to resolve it before you take off for two weeks.

I just recently returned back from a three week trip. About 3 days before I left I did a 70% water change. I asked by brother in law to only feed the fish twice a week while I was out, and it should be a small amount of food. But this was for three weeks, your fish should be fine w/o food for 2 weeks but if you do have somebody come in to feed, only feed twice a week.
  • #20
You also need to think about how much water you will lose to evaporation. Not sure about your tank but mine is an open top and in one a few days, I could lose almost an inch of water to evaporation. I've used the vacation feeder blocks before (for a week vacation) on a cichlid tank with no issue. Not even sure they needed it. It looked the same when I returned home. I did a 30% water change a couple of days before we left and another 30% the day we returned home.
Gabriel De Paula
  • #21
Thanks a lot for the great information guys, really appreciate it. My 100 gallon is a cichlid tank which is pretty new and is the only one that I am really concerned with considering its age but I added some filter media that has been running fine on an old tank that I just took down today so I hope that will help if any problems arise. The 28 gallon has otos, a betta, nerite snails, and neon tetras and is also planted. None are overstocked at the moment.

My current plan in regards to feeding is to set aside 2-3 days worth of food for the fish and have someone come by and feed them 2-3 times while I am gone for the two weeks. I am not at all considering getting an automated feeder since I have heard plenty of bad experiences with those. I might considering throwing in a feeding block in both tanks.

Would the feeding block cause an ammonia spike? Since I have cichlids, I have a feeling that they would devour the block in a day or two and cause a huge spike like someone mentioned above, any input on this?
  • #22
A great tip is to use one of those 7 day pill organizers. Just put the correct amount of food in the days you need then put it on top of the tank. This way someone doesn't accidentally overfeed your fish! Esp if they know nothing about fish
Gabriel De Paula
  • #23
A great tip is to use one of those 7 day pill organizers. Just put the correct amount of food in the days you need then put it on top of the tank. This way someone doesn't accidentally overfeed your fish! Esp if they know nothing about fish
Great idea! I will definitely use that.
  • #24
Great idea! I will definitely use that.
It's one of the best ideas I've seen on this forum! I'm glad someone mentioned it about a year ago. Saved me for when my bfs mom had to come feed my fish! She even said "is that all you feed them?!"
  • #25
I think if you have someone feed them, I'd skip the feeding block.

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