Vacation Aquarium Care - Man swimming under bright and clear water amongst a school of fish while on vacation

Vacation Aquarium Care: 7 Easy Tips for a Stress-Free Experience

Sometimes you just need a vacation to take a break from the responsibilities of everyday life. However, going on vacation may be stressful in and of itself regarding your pets. You may find yourself asking: What is the proper vacation aquarium care? 

Here are 7 tips for stress-free vacation aquarium care: 

  1. Find an aquarium sitter 
  2. Automate crucial tasks 
  3. Prepare your aquarium 
  4. Train your aquarium sitter 
  5. Have enough stock 
  6. Last-minute details 
  7. After vacation aquarium care 

Dogs and cats are one thing but owning an aquarium is a completely different ball game. There are several things you can do ahead of time to make caring for your aquarium while you’re gone much easier.

7 Tips for Stress-Free Vacation Aquarium Care

Here are 7 tips you can follow for a stress-free vacation and happy and healthy fish. 

Vacation Aquarium Care - Two blue and white beach stools on the sand with an orange beach umbrella providing shade

Tip #1: Find an Aquarium Sitter

This is the most popular choice among aquarists. While away, they have a neighbor, family member, or friend check for their tank. Someone who is trustworthy, reliable, and preferably knows something about fishkeeping. 

In all probability, your helper’s daily tasks will be restricted to making sure everything is operating well. Simple tasks like feeding the fish, turning the lights on and off, and adding supplements if needed. 

If you intend to be away from home for an extended period of time and are unable to find someone to assist you, consider contacting a professional firm in your region that specializes in aquarium care or petsitting services. 

Tip #2: Automate Crucial Tasks 

You can consider automating crucial tasks, leaving your aquarium sitter with little to do except for ensuring that everything is working properly. Consider the following key tasks that can be automated: 

  • Invest in an automatic fish feeder. 
  • Try an automated light timer. 
  • Experiment with an automated top-off device. 

It is advisable to test your automated equipment for about a week before you leave for vacation. This way you can ensure that everything is working properly. You may also get familiar with the mechanics and inform your aquarium sitter about it. 

Tip #3: Prepare Your Aquarium 

There is no need to make any particular preparations if you are only going away for 2 to 3 days. It’s a good idea to make a 25% water change and clean your filter approximately a week before you depart for longer trips. 

When changing your water, avoid completing a thorough cleaning or upsetting the substrate, and avoid disturbing the biological medium when cleaning your filter. Do not introduce new fish or make big modifications to your aquarium within a month following a long absence. 

Check that your heater is operational and maintaining the right temperature. If the aquarium light does not have a built-in timer, buy a timer from your local hardware or home improvement store and program it to the aquarium light’s usual day/night cycle. 

Tip #4: Train Your Aquarium Sitter 

Go over the fundamentals of your aquarium system’s setup with your aquarium sitter. If you’re going to be gone for an extended amount of time, you’ll want to go through things in greater detail such as how to test water parameters, an aquarium’s water chemistry, and the nitrogen cycle.  

It is a good idea to organize ahead of time and have your sitter spend time with you and your aquarium, showing and letting the individual take on any tasks that may be required. This is useful since visual or hands-on experiences are far simpler for many individuals to grasp. 

Does your aquarium sitter know what to do in case the power goes out? You’ll need essential aquarium equipment that can assist during power outages, like air pumps. Here’s a video explaining why you need a backup air pump

Tip #5: Have Enough Stock 

Make sure you have all of the things your aquarium sitter will require. If you don’t have an automated fish feeder, pre-measure the daily meal amount into small zip-lock bags and label each bag with the date. This will prevent your sitter from overfeeding the fish— which is the leading cause of fish death when they are cared for by a sitter. 

Tip #6: Last-Minute Details 

Create a to-do list to help your sitter. This will make it simpler for them to remember what needs to be done and when, as well as provide you peace of mind that nothing will be forgotten. 

Leave your number where you can be reached, as well as an emergency number of a person who may be able to help with a situation if you are unable to be reached. 

Making it simpler for someone else to care for your aquarium while you are not around will also make it easier for you to maintain it when you return. 

Tip #7: After Vacation Aquarium Care 

Your fish should be alive and well when you get home if properly prepared, but it’s a good idea to examine them for symptoms of damage or sickness. Here’s a little inspection list: 

  • Visual examination of the tank (check for leaks and ensure that the water level has not gotten too low).
  • Examine all equipment to ensure it is in good working order – If necessary, replace the filter media.
  • Check the aquarium water quality and chemical levels (compare to your tank’s “normal” values).
  • Adjust the water chemistry as needed based on the findings of the water test.
  • Examine your fish to ensure that they are all still alive and healthy— watch for any changes in physical appearance as well as unusual behavior. 
  • To eliminate collected toxins from the tank and enhance water quality, perform a 25% water change – be careful to use a gravel vacuum to suction away accumulated trash from the tank’s bottom.
  • Dechlorinated water should be used to refill the tank (make sure to match the water temperature in the tank). Use a dechlorinator such as Seachem Prime
  • Return to your usual feeding and maintenance routine.

Make a note of everything that did not go as planned so that your future vacation will be even more fun and stress-free for you and your fish! 

In Case of Emergency, Contact for 1-on-1 Coaching 

Having a home aquarium should offer you joy, not stress. Having an aquarium sitter care for your fish while you’re on vacation is essential. If you don’t have time to educate your aquarium sitter, try out KaveMan Aquatics’ personalized 1-on-1 coaching services. 

KaveMan Aquatics' personalized 1-on-1 coaching services

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