Originally Posted by earlywaters
How long can I go away without maintaining my fish tank? I will be leaving this summer for a 9 day trip and no one will be around to feed, do water changes, etc... Will my tank be alright? It contains various tetras, cories and some shrimp... Lights are on a timer... Automatic heater.
On a side note: next year I am planning a 3 week trip and hope to have 3 tanks running by that time. What so you guys do for your tanks during extended absences?
First, fish can easily go a couple of weeks without food. In the wild, they may go longer than that and be fine. When I plan a vacation for a couple of weeks, I start feeding a little more than normal. A couple of days before I leave, I stop all feeding and do a larger than normal water change. The fish spend the time you're away foraging for those small leftovers and use their fat stores. You come home to a clean tank. I think it's good to have someone check in on the tanks, just to make sure things are running, but they don't need to feed or change the water. Just check on things.
Longer than a couple of weeks, you can instruct that person on feeding and put just a bit of food in some envelopes, so the fish aren't fed too much. I don't believe a water change would be needed, because you did a larger one prior to leaving. But, a couple of weeks is about the limit you should go with a tank that's essentially unattended.