When you’re away for the weekend or on vacation, you ask a friend or neighbor to stop in and feed your fish. But sometimes you must leave for longer periods, such as a long business trip or an extended vacation. When this happens, you need a committed aquarium caretaker willing to become familiar with aquarium basics.
Before you leave…
Planning ahead ensures your aquarium stays in peak condition while you are away. Before you leave, address the more-involved or higher-ticket aspects of your aquarium system. Your lighting system is a good place to start. Check to see if it is operating properly and if you haven’t done so in a while, now is the time to replace old bulbs in your aquarium light fixture.
Also, stock up on essential items such as filter cartridges, filter media, food, test strips, water conditioners, and salt mix. Having aquarium essentials on hand not only simplifies things but also reduces any out-of-pocket expenses for your caretaker.
If possible, a fellow hobbyist would be the ideal candidate. However, if your caretaker is unfamiliar with aquariums invite her on several occasions to observe while you perform routine maintenance. Give them a notebook to jot down the tasks, as well as tips and suggestions to make things go smoother. Before you leave create a checklist. Preferably the person coming in while you are gone will be an experienced fish keeper and will be able to take action in an emergency situation. If you have more then one tank, it is best that you leave a separate list beside each tank and clear instructions for every tank.
The following is a basic aquarium checklist for your caretaker:
- Number of fish in tank. – Note if some of them are prone to hiding and may not be seen during a quick count.
- Equipment to check — this includes ensuring that water is flowing through the filters, lights are on, temperature is stable (give them a range of one or two degrees that it can be off)
- Feeding regime — if someone is going to feed your fish while you are away, it’s best that you divide the food up into feeding portions and that you hide the rest of the food. When left on their own people will tend to over feed if fish. While your away this could have disastrous consequences.
- How far to top off the water if necessary — the water level should be clearly marked on the tank. If you don’t want to put a mark on the tank itself, a small piece of masking tape could be used with a dark line to indicate how high the water level should be
- Whether or not to treat/quarantine ill fish.