Going On Vacation For A Month (planning Ahead)

peppy210

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My family is planning a month-long vacation in the summer. It is a few months away, but I want to plan ahead of time because tank maintenance is obviously going to be a concern.
I have two betta tanks. One is a 5 gallon and one is a 10 gallon.
My 5 gallon has one female betta and 3 ghost shrimp. It also has some water wisteria.
My 10 gallon is divided and has 2 male bettas. There is one anubias nana on each side and water wisteria. There is a moss ball in both aquariums.
My grandmother will be home and she will be able to feed the fish. But my main concerns are water changes/gravel vacuuming, feeding the ghost shrimp (since I hand feed them because my betta eats pellets), rinsing the filter media and moss balls.

Does anyone have advice on how I should go about this?
There isn't anyone who I will be able to ask to help maintain the tanks and my grandmother can only do so much.
 

notmyfirstname123

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I dont know if this works for fresh water, but you can ask her to add some vodka to the tank. In saltwater this drops the nitrates down a lot and it is really easy. I would wait to see if someone can give you more specifics, has more experience or do your own research on it to see if it would work
 

Tyler Fishman

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Ghost shrimp will feed on biofilm. Feeding 3-5 betta pellets a day will suffice, as Bettas will quickly eat these and the risk of water contamination will dramatically decrease, as you may know over feeding causes bad water quality. at this point you really have to rely on a mature tank. One that's been cycled. How old are the tanks? Mature tanks will feed the shrimp VIA biofilm and handle amounts of nitrates as your denritying bacteria will break harmful substances down, shrimp will also eat algae or brown alage (diatoms), you could also buy a vaction feeder for the shrimp as well.
 

TexasDomer

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Definitely don't add vodka to the tank.

Can she do water changes? I wouldn't worry about gravel vacs, but if she could replace a gallon or so for the smaller tank and a few for the 10 gal, that would be fine for her to do weekly or every other week. I would reduce feeding though, and only feed the bettas a few times a week. They'll be fine on a reduced feeding schedule until you get back.
 
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peppy210

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Ghost shrimp will feed on biofilm. Feeding 3-5 betta pellets a day will suffice, as Bettas will quickly eat these and the risk of water contamination will dramatically decrease, as you may know over feeding causes bad water quality. at this point you really have to rely on a mature tank. One that's been cycled. How old are the tanks? Mature tanks will feed the shrimp VIA biofilm and handle amounts of nitrates as your denritying bacteria will break harmful substances down, shrimp will also eat algae or brown alage (diatoms), you could also buy a vaction feeder for the shrimp as well.
Both tanks are cycled but they are fairly new. The 5 gallon has been set up since March and the 10 gallon has been set up since the beginning of April with old cycled media from a tank I took down shortly after
 

notmyfirstname123

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so here is a link to an article about adding sugar to help reduce nitrates without a water change Sugar as a nitrate reducer
actually it is vodka which converts to sugar. upon my research and that article it will work as a short term solution just make sure that you give exact instructions to grandma to make sure she doesnt get your fish too drunk it wont harm the fish in low doses, just make sure to do at least a 50 percent water change when you return... if you decide to do it this way.
 

TexasDomer

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so here is a link to an article about adding sugar to help reduce nitrates without a water change Sugar as a nitrate reducer
Did you read the entire thread? It wasn't tested with fish, and might even cause problems. Water changes are the best (and safest) way to remove nitrates.

For the stocking in these tanks, I don't think a nitrate reducer is necessary. Feed less while out of town, and there shouldn't be any issues.
 

notmyfirstname123

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Did you read the entire thread? It wasn't tested with fish, and might even cause problems. Water changes are the best (and safest) way to remove nitrates.

For the stocking in these tanks, I don't think a nitrate reducer is necessary. Feed less while out of town, and there shouldn't be any issues.
I did read the entire article, but I am just exploring other options, because I assume by the post that it is an impossibility for water changes. Im wondering if there is a way to try it with fish to see if it would cause problems. considering it is a month a bacteria bloom could potentially cause an issue, but would that be a bigger issue than a large nitrate spike? I might get a few feeder guppies and try it in a bucket to see if I can get some results. This could be extremely useful for aquarist such as ourselves to actually be able to vacation again haha! Also I do apologize for posting this as an "absolute" solution when it has not been fish tested.through the two community college chemistry classes I took (bahahaha!) I cant imagine 1/8th of a tablespoon or so of ethanol would kill a freshwater fish and not have any negative affects on a saltwater fish, but it could be totally different. I look forward to experimenting with this!
 

TexasDomer

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I just don't think it's necessary. Bettas don't produce much waste, and they can go a few weeks without eating, which will further reduce their impact on the waste in the tank.
 
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peppy210

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There's a change of plans.
My grandmother will be coming with us, so now there won't be anyone at home to take care of them.
At this point the only solution is to have someone come to our house to take care of them, right?

I even checked if I can bring the fish with me, but from what I've seen so far, dogs, cats and birds are allowed.
And if I want to bring my fish I need to package them and send them by cargo, but there are so many requirements for packing such as putting them in double skinned polyethylene (I don't even know what that is) with a lid cover, hatch cover with a vent system, carrier with oxygen cylinder and regulator and "live animal/This way up" stickers. It's probably not worth it
 

TexasDomer

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The longest I've left my betta without food or water changes was three weeks when I went out of town. Longer and I get a friend to swing by once a week to feed and do a water change every third week. I think you'd be fine to do the same. When you feed less this way (and no, your bettas won't starve), the fish will produce less waste and the nitrates won't rise near as fast as they normally would. I only do this when I go out of town; I otherwise feed my fish daily and do water changes weekly.
 
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peppy210

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The longest I've left my betta without food or water changes was three weeks when I went out of town. Longer and I get a friend to swing by once a week to feed and do a water change every third week. I think you'd be fine to do the same. When you feed less this way (and no, your bettas won't starve), the fish will produce less waste and the nitrates won't rise near as fast as they normally would. I only do this when I go out of town; I otherwise feed my fish daily and do water changes weekly.
That long???? Wow.
My mom was going to have her friend come to feed them.
I guess I'll tell her to come once a week or every few days.
I'm also down to 2 ghost shrimp. One died today rip.
 

JRS

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Question to others - can she use something like Nitra-Zorb while she is gone to help absorb any nitrates or other toxins? Never done it, just remeber seeing these in the store.
 

TexasDomer

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I don't think it's necessary. If OP does a large water change right before leaving and right when they get back, and feeding only once or twice a week, nitrates shouldn't get too high during the month.

I would put the amount of food you normally feed each fish in a ziploc baggie (one baggie for each feeding for each tank, hide the rest of the food) and have your mom's friend feed that, rather than relying on her to feed an amount she deems appropriate. Most people will overfeed fish, and with you being gone for a month, overfeeding could kill your fish.
 
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peppy210

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UPDATE
Well I just came back from the month long trip this morning and the fish are fine!
I did a large water change on both tanks before leaving and I had a neighbor feed 2-3 pellets every other day because I didn't want to bother my neighbor too much. She doesn't know much about fish so I thought it would be best to minimize the tasks. I was kind of sad that I couldn't give a more varied diet, but I didn't want to disgust her by making her feed bloodworms too, so this was my only option.
There was quite a bit of algae, but nothing too crazy.
I also had the light off the whole entire time I was gone which meant I had to remove the plants. I put them in a well lit room, but my mother decided to close all the blinds right before we left which I was unaware of, so when we came back, they turned out half dead, so I will have to get new plants.
The hood and lights on the 10 gallon burned out too, so I have to get a new one tomorrow. I am thinking of getting an LED light this time because beforehand, it was two small fluorescent lamps and I think the evaporation burned them out One of the bulbs worked when I came back, but when I tried to turn it on again a few hours ago, the one that worked didn't turn on and started making popping and buzzing noises which scared me to death lol.
I was expecting the worst, but the fish turned out perfectly fine so I am happy about that

By the way, it's been ages (3 months) since I have been on this forum, so it feels good to be back!
 

TexasDomer

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Glad they survived!

In the future, I'd just use a timer on your lights, rather than taking the plants out and moving them. A lot of plants don't do well after being moved (like crypt melt) and many need to be planted to survive. A timer would allow your plants to live without you having to move them and potentially without causing additional algae problems.
 
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