Going away on holiday presents many unique challenges to the fish-keeper. While the word ‘feeding’ would jump to most people’s minds upon hearing that statement, there are other aspects of fish-keeping which should also be considered when preparing to go away on holiday.
For those hobbyists which adhere to a routine water change schedule, deciding how to mitigate the effects of missing a water change or two, should be at the top of your priority list. When considering this, it is important to take into account the reasons for the water changes that you perform. Is it to reduce nitrate levels? Is it to remove excess nutrients from a planted aquarium? If the water changes are done in order to reduce nitrate, then it is important to get the nitrate level as low as possible before leaving for your holiday getaway. For example, before leaving for our end-of-year family holiday one year, which lasted 12 days, I carried out three fifty-percent water changes on a 175 litre aquarium in the week leading up to our departure. This ensured that the nitrate level was as low as possible before we left.
That brings us to our next point; filter maintenance. As nitrate is a product of fish waste, any fish waste present in the filtration system will contribute to an elevated nitrate level. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly clean your filtration system before leaving for holiday. Not only will this reduce nitrate, it will reduce the risk of your filter clogging up while you are away. A potentially disastrous situation. However, I would suggest that you clean your filtration system a couple of days before leaving to ensure that everything is running smoothly before you leave.
The next time you plan a holiday ensure that you take more than ‘food’ into account when preparing your aquariums for your time away.