Having had my tank "sat" a couple times, I do this..
- Pour a bucket of fresh RO
water and leave it near the tank. I explain where the waterline should be and supply a measuring cup for the person to use to add water. (Or finally break down and get one of these as I did and just have them swap out the bucket of water as needed.. http://www.marinedepot.com/md_viewIt...product=AQ4513
) Make sure to leave enough buckets of water so that they won't run out. Explaining even a simple RO
system over the phone can spell trouble.
- Don't use complex foods while away. Either pre measure a supply or provide a way for your friend to measure out a simple flake food mix while your gone. Feeding a couple times a week with flaked food will not hurt your fish *unless* you have something that won't take flake food. I left four or five baggies of flake food (each bag with a premeasured amount) and just told my sitter to fill the feeding cup half full of water then just add one bag of flake food (Explain, if needed, whats in the bag is fish food, not something to smoke ; ). Wait for 15 minutes then slowly add to tank, allowing the fish time to eat. Won't be the best feedings ever, but its better than nothing. Overly complex feeding rituals for someone with no marine experience can spell, you guessed it, problems.
- Contact your sitter every couple days to get the 4-1-1 on your tank. He/she can get a visual on whats going on instead of waiting until you get back. There are some things you can correct while away.
- Always do a good size wc
a day or *less* before you go. This ensures a good fresh water supply for as long as can be expected while your gone.
- Replace, not clean, your filter media a day or less before you leave. That way if most of the food just ends up decaying in your filter it won't simply add to the filth already there.
- Leave a shop vac setup for wet operation near by if possible. I know, but if the unthinkable does happen, at least he/she can be your first defense against permanent damage to your crib.
- ALWAYS leave a number for your cell, hotel etc. There is nothing worse than being the sitter and not being able to get help if you need it. You'll have to be somewhat available if you want your sitter to be successful. If you have a good relationship with a LFS
you may want to leave a name and number for your sitter to call that will help them in the event they cannot reach you.