How to care for an Aquarium Fish Tank while on vacation. A Complete Guide!

In this article, we will discuss how to properly care for your aquarium fish tank while you are on vacation. Many people worry about leaving their fish unattended for a few days, but with the right preparation, your fish tank can be easier to maintain than live plants in your home. We will cover the necessary steps to take before leaving, as well as some helpful tools and techniques to ensure the well-being of your fish while you are away.


Preparing Your Fish Tank Before Vacation

Before you leave for vacation, it is important to ensure that your fish tank is in good condition. Here are a few steps to follow:

Clean your filters: Rinse your filters with dechlorinated clean water to remove any debris and maintain the healthy bacteria that help break down fish waste.

Perform a water change: Prior to leaving, do a 20% water change in your tank. Replace the water with dechlorinated water. If you will be gone for an extended period of time, consider removing twice as much water as you normally would.

Check your feeding routine: If you will only be gone for a few days, there is no need to make any changes to your fish's feeding schedule. Fish can go without food for up to two weeks without any issues. However, if you will be gone for a longer period of time, you may want to consider alternative feeding options.


Feeding Options for Longer Vacations

If you will be away for a week or more, there are a few feeding options to ensure your fish are well-fed in your absence:

Vacation feeders: Slow-release food feeders, such as the API brand calcium feeder, can provide food for up to 14 days. These feeders are made of a calcium block that naturally decays in the aquarium, providing a source of nutrition for your fish. However, keep in mind that these feeders are not the most nutritious option and should not be relied upon as the sole source of food for your fish.

Automatic fish feeders: Another option is to use an automatic fish feeder. These devices can be set to dispense food at specific times, ensuring your fish are fed regularly. Make sure to choose a feeder that works well with the type of food you use, as some may not be compatible with flake food. Additionally, ensure that the feeder is positioned at least an inch or two above the water level to prevent the food from getting wet and clumping together.

Manual feeding: If you prefer not to rely on automatic feeders or vacation feeders, you can ask a trusted friend or neighbor to come and feed your fish while you are away. Provide them with clear instructions on how much and how often to feed the fish to avoid overfeeding.


Maintaining Air Circulation in Your Fish Tank

In addition to feeding, it is important to ensure that your fish have proper air circulation in the aquarium, especially if you will be away for an extended period of time. Here are a couple of options to consider:

Air savers: Air savers are devices that provide a continuous supply of air to the aquarium in case of a power outage. These devices rely on a battery backup that kicks in when the power goes off, ensuring that your fish have enough oxygen to survive. They are particularly useful for smaller tanks, such as beginner tanks ranging from 5 to 20 gallons.

Light timers: While fish do not require light to survive, having a light timer can help maintain a consistent day and night cycle for them.

Additionally, if you have live plants in your tank, they will need light to thrive. A light timer can be set to provide 8 hours of light per day, ensuring that your plants receive the necessary nutrients. Make sure to choose a timer with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) for safety around water.



Taking care of your fish tank while you are on vacation doesn't have to be a daunting task. By following a few simple steps and utilizing some helpful tools, you can ensure that your fish remain healthy and happy in your absence. Remember to clean your filters, perform a water change, and consider alternative feeding options for longer vacations. Additionally, maintaining proper air circulation and providing light for your plants can help keep your aquarium thriving. With these precautions in place, you can enjoy your vacation knowing that your fish are well taken care of.

Remember, it's important to plan ahead and make the necessary preparations before leaving. By doing so, you can have peace of mind knowing that your fish tank is in good hands, even when you're not there.

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