Leaving My Goldfish For A Week

  • #1
In a few weeks I am going to be going on holiday, however that means I am going to have to leave my goldfish at home alone. I have been worrying about this fact so I did a bit of research about what to do, but I still can’t find the answers to some of my questions:

What should I about my goldfish being fed? Obviously I will be on holiday so I won’t be there to feed them and I don’t want a stranger (or even someone I know) going into my house to feed them so that isn’t an option for me. I heard you can buy these things which dissolve in the water and they release food, however I have heard a lot of mixed opinions about these so I’m not sure about them. I have also heard that some people just don’t feed them whilst they are on holiday, but I don’t want them to starve whilst I’m away.

What should I do about the filter? I currently have a HOB filter, however this is making me worried about leaving it on whilst I’m on holiday in case it over flows or starts a fire. I have a internal filter from another fish tank with no fish in it yet which I would prefer to leave on if I had to. Would it be possible for me to turn off my filter for the week while I am on holiday or would that be too dangerous for the fish?

Is there anything else I need to do? This is going to be the first time I have gone on holiday since I got these fish so I’m just really worried about it. Any advice would be really appreciated.
  • #2
They can survive for a week without food. If you want to look into automatic feeders, that's an option as well.

Don't turn the filter off for a week, it needs to stay running. I would do a water change a day or two before you leave and then just let the filter run. You really shouldn't have any problems.

You shouldn't have to do anything else. Just a water change, make sure the filter is running normally, and leave any lights off or set them on a timer.
  • #3
I suggest not feeding at all. The disolving kind will just pollute the water and cause the parameters to be off. Goldfish as well as most fish can easily go two weeks without food. As for the filter, what size tank, what brand and model of filters, and how many goldfish do you have? In general, I have never heard of a filter catching on fire and as for overflowing, unless you have had an issue in the past with it overflowing I would not worry to much about it. You do need to have a filter running though so your ammonia and nitrates don't spike. As for other advice, I would do multiple large water changes in the few days prior to your trip to get the nitrates as low as possible. I change 50% on both the second and third day prior to my trip and then about 75% on the day prior (or the day of depending how late you leave). Make sure the light is off also before you leave if you do not use a timer! Better for the fish to be in dimmer lighting than in constant bright lights.
  • #4
I recently left mine alone for 9 days without food. I came back, and they appeared as happy as can be. I simply did a large water change the day before leaving.

Before having goldfish, I left my community tanks alone for over 2 weeks, and everything was fine. So yes, fish can go longer without food than you think, with no problems.
  • #5
If you are nervous about not feeding while gone you can always throw in some live plants for them to nibble on
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
If you are nervous about not feeding while gone you can always throw in some live plants for them to nibble on

Yes that is something I am definitely going to do.

I’m so nervous though! I leave tomorrow afternoon and I am going to be doing a large water change tomorrow morning. I have also got some live plants to add to this tank.
  • #7
float a beer cap upside down and put a little food in it, then eventually when the fish get bored and play with it, they knock it over and the food falls in

ok I never tried that but I bet it works lol
  • #8
I just left for vacation and put a bag of nitrazorb in my tanks over a bubbler because I’m always more worried about not being able to change water in emergency. One dead fish or snail can spoil a tank if unnoticed. Nitrazorb sucks up any spikes in nutrients when you can’t be there to change water.
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
I just thought I would let anyone who wants to know, that I got back from my holiday this morning. However, what I came across was not what I had expected.

It’s really hard even to type this but ... all 3 of my goldfish died!

I think it was the heat which might have killed them as there was a really bad heat wave that week and I don’t have a chiller in my fish tank.

I’m absolutely devistated and I wish I never went on that holiday.
  • #10
Oh no.. I’m so sorry.
  • #11
Oh that’s terrible news.
  • #13
So sorry to hear this! It's never easy losing a pet.
  • #14
You must feel so devastated. I’m sorry. I once used an automatic feeder that dumped in all the food and spoiled the tank- everything dead. Was horrible. I don’t want you to feel you should never vacation again during summer with goldfish pets though (and for those reading the post and panicked about vacationing now)- couple of steps could help home alone fish in a sudden heatwave.

-Gf are extra sensitive to water parameters in high heat (esp ammonia)- and their metabolism speeds up so they expel extra ammonia from their gills -1) make sure your tank is cycled properly before you leave (nitrogen cycle- check parameters). 2) even if cycled, heat could cause ammonia spike if bacteria can’t keep up or die from extended heat).Also With goldfish many owners have to change water very often to keep down nitrates even in normal temperatures. Vacation solution- throw in some ion exchange media (purigen, nitrozorb) before you leave ( it will suck nitrates up while you are gone and also reduce any spikes in ammonia and nitrite). It releases aquarium salt ions in exchange for nitrates but in very low, non harmful amounts.

- the other major cause of death in high heat is that bacteria and gfish can use up all the O2 in high heat leaving fish at risk of suffocating so add extra filter flow/ a spray bar or bubblers to tank

my 2 small outside goldies in a 55 g pot were home alone in 90-100 degree F water while I was gone for almost 2 weeks *yikes* so I added hornwort plants an extra bubbler and a fountain for extra aeration and a pack of nitrazorb in the filter. This is xtreme heat for gf and I feel lucky they made it.
  • #15
I'm so sorry to hear it, OP. I had to leave my fish alone for the first time (5 days) but I had a friend come in (I also have birds and a rabbit, they don't do as well not eating for a week!). I did a large water change and only had her feed a pre-measured amount once per day (I usually feed that much twice a day). I was worried about the heat so I left my air conditioner on at 78, just to be on the safe side.

Turns out we also had a massive heat spike at home while we were away, so I'm glad I thought to leave it on. My tank water measured at 77F Tues when I did my water change; my fishes are doing OK but they're probably the main reason I've been leaving my AC on lately.
Lacey D
  • #16
Oh man, I am so sorry This summer has been a killer Even my betta and guppies are feeling it...

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