How to prep fish before going out of town!


Crazy fish lady
Dec 7, 2019
Hey y’all

So, if your like me, you either don’t trust anyone to take care of your water babies, or you just plain can’t find anybody to do it. You don’t want to get those crumby vacation feeders because they are made of crap food (mostly soy, corn, wheat and fish “meal” instead of real meat). Those vacation feeders are a mess and make your fish sick.
You could be rich and want to invest in a $50 automatic fish feeder.... or not.
As a struggling high school student with no money, I’m going to walk you through how to set your fish tanks up for when you go out of town!;)

So, before you worry about food, you need to worry about the tank. If your like me, you have super heavily planted tanks that may be a tad overstocked, but either way, this probably still applies to you. You really don’t want an ammonia spike or anything terrible to happen while out of town, because with a fish tank, ammonia could mean the death of all your fish in the 2 days before you get home. So before you leave, always do a waterchange! I change at least half the water in my tanks before I go anywhere. Vacuum the sand so there is nothing rotting in there. Rinse the filter media in dechlorinated water (don’t change it, that’d kill your healthy bacteria and reek havoc on the tank). You want to save your bacteria, you just don’t want fish poop rotting in the filter while your gone.

Next, if you don’t already have any, get floaters! Floating plants help a ton with water quality and suck up massive amounts of nitrates. They also provide snacking opportunities for partially herbivorous fish (like my goldfish).

Next thing to worry about is lighting. If you have a fish only tank, then just leave lights off when you leave as the light is just for viewing.

If you’ve got a planted tank, get a timer! They are amazing! If you want, you can even put it on a longer cycle when you leave so there will be extra algae for snacking. Your fish might appreciate it. Algae also actually consumes nitrates, so it’s not as bad as you might think.

next, well, food, right?

In all honesty, fish in the wild can go weeks at a time with hardly any food. Now, your domestic fish are probably chubby and used to getting a nice healthy meal of spinach and bloodworms or something every morning, but they won’t die without it.

As a “just in case”, what I do is boil up some spinach and cabbage. You can either just toss it in the tank, or you can put it in a little clip and suction it to the glass. Your fish, shrimp and snails can snack on this for a few days. I’ll also add some live food (pond scuds work great). Those will take a decent amount of time to be caught and eaten, so it should last your fish a few days. Pond scuds are better for more carnivorous fish like bettas.

Also, give your fish frequent meals for a few days before you leave so they will have enough calories in them to sustain them for longer.

I hope this helps some you out there having problems leaving your fish alone during vacation week or what not.