Travel, and leaving newly cycled and 'silent cycling' tanks

Keenamoss

Member
I'm having to leave my freshly cycled and un-cycled/'silent-cycling' tanks for an entire week, along with my cat.

I'm worried there will be some kind of ammonia or other emergency while I am away, because they're so new.

The paid cat sitter who is coming every day, has said she can also check/feed the fish, but I think it's too much to ask for her to get the testing kit out and do partial water changes as needed etc... none of my friends or family are 'fish' people either so I don't really feel like I can ask them to do that....I'm looking for tips to do everything possible to keep the fishes safe while I'm gone?

The tanks:

130L planted, gravel
1 x bristlenose pleco
1 x betta
6 x harlequin rasboras

87L planted, sand
1 x betta

Parameters roughly the same for both, and all stable - 25-27C, no ammo/nitri, ph 6.6-6.8, 2-4dgh - except when I got the harlequins last week, we've had a bit of a rise in ammonia, not sure if from them or from possibly getting excited and overfeeding them or a combination of both. Handling that with daily testing, and partial water changes about every second day, using Seachem Prime.

I am hoping the relative under-stocking of the 87L tank currently will go a long way in preventing any harmful spikes.

My current plan is: make sure it's all fairly new water in there the day I leave obviously. Also rinse out both filters to prevent clogging over the week.
Have bought a timer for the lights to ensure the plants and fish all get their normal daytime cycle.
Ask pet sitter to check daily: the filter is flowing normally, temperature, and use the net to remove any debris.
Ask pet sitter to feed only every second day. And maybe a dose of Prime every second day, to nullify any potential ammonia issues? And continue to give the plants their Flourish every second day too. Would an extra dose of Stability every second day do anything to help?

If anyone else has any other knowledge or tips about this particular situation it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

candiedragon

Member
You could do a big and thorough water change and gravel vac the day before you leave, rinse out filter sponges in old tank water, and add a dose of Stability as well. You should not need to double/triple the dose of Stability that's just too excessive. Otherwise, I think your plan is sound as can be without confusing or overwhelming the cat sitter. Your tanks should be okay especially with your preparations before leaving.

I've only done a big water change and thorough cleaning when I went on a trip for a week or two. If I was gone longer than a week then I asked my dad to do just one water change, however he's had experience caring for tanks before. Other than that, I usually don't have an issue. It's good that you're having the cat sitter checking the filter functioning and the temperature (maybe check the heater as well, make sure there is no moisture visible inside of the unit if it's one of those clear ones, if so it needs to be unplugged immediately and disposed). I also pre-dosed my fishes' foods in a weekly pill box organizer for each tank to prevent overfeeding lol. My tanks were nice and healthy when I returned.
 
  • Thread Starter

Keenamoss

Member
Thanks for this. I love the pillbox idea! What do you think about dosing with seachem prime throughout the week to nullify ammonia, on the chance that there is a build up? Can you overdose with Prime?
 

candiedragon

Member
Keenamoss said:
Thanks for this. I love the pillbox idea! What do you think about dosing with seachem prime throughout the week to nullify ammonia, on the chance that there is a build up? Can you overdose with Prime?
I'm not sure if you can overdose or what happens if you overdose honestly. Seachem says that in extreme cases where ammonia and/or nitrite levels exceed 2ppm you could use up to 5x the recommended dosage. Other than that, you could do a normal dose every 24-48 hours as it should bind to ammonia and nitrite for up to 48 hours. So I think having the cat sitter understand how much to dose every other day is a safe cautionary step to help prevent any potential spikes while you're away. However, I find it hard to believe that any spikes should occur with such light stocking in both tanks, and especially if you have the cat sitter carefully feeding every other day.
 
  • Thread Starter

Keenamoss

Member
Awesome, thanks. The bigger tank has shown ammonia at .10-.25 the last cpl days, even 24 hours after 20% water change the test was exactly the same, I think because of the new fish? (did not plan that well in hindsight) so did a 40% change today.. that might stabilise by the end of the week hopefully though if the bacteria can catch up in time? If not, I like the idea of dosing with Prime as a buffer just in case. The betta on his own I'm not so worried about, I believe the plants are already taking care of his ammonia as there has been no reading at all so far. But see how the week pans out. Thanks again for your input.
 

candiedragon

Member
Keenamoss said:
Awesome, thanks. The bigger tank has shown ammonia at .10-.25 the last cpl days, even 24 hours after 20% water change the test was exactly the same, I think because of the new fish? (did not plan that well in hindsight) so did a 40% change today.. that might stabilise by the end of the week hopefully though if the bacteria can catch up in time? If not, I like the idea of dosing with Prime as a buffer just in case. The betta on his own I'm not so worried about, I believe the plants are already taking care of his ammonia as there has been no reading at all so far. But see how the week pans out. Thanks again for your input.
I see, it could be due to the newly introduced bioload so your nitrifying bacteria colony is still catching up. So the Prime will definitely help buffer things to keep your fish safe while the cycle adjusts. Stability helps with this exact situation, too, which is why I suggested doing a good water change and dosing with stability before you go. I think your fish will be okay! :)
 
  • Thread Starter

Keenamoss

Member
Thank you. Fingers crossed!
 
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