When going on a trip for business or a vacation, it is best to make plans and arrange to have someone attend to or at least check in on your aquarium once a day while you are gone. There are a number of things you can do ahead of time which will make tending your aquarium while you are away much easier.
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Reasons NOT to Leave an Aquarium Unattended
- Problems with the power going out, an overflow pipe getting plugged up, a heater malfunctioning, and other unfortunate situations can occur without warning at any time.
- You most likely have a substantial amount of money invested in your system. Why take the risk of something going wrong, possibly resulting in the lose of everything!
- If you own a dog, cat, bird, pot-bellied pig or other family pet, you wouldn't even think about leaving it alone and uncared for, and being an aquarium pet owner... is no different!
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Aquarium Care Planning Tips
- Ask someone to help you that you know is trustworthy, reliable, and preferably has "some" knowledge about saltwater aquariums.
- Do any necessary regular maintenance tasks several days prior to leaving. A system that is in tip-top shape will need little, if any care at all. In all likelihood your "helper's" daily jobs will be limited to checking to see that everything is running ok, doing a few simple things like feeding the tank inhabitants, turning the lights on/off, and... possibly adding supplements if you have a reef tank.
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- To make things simpler, the fewer things a helper has to do, the better. Ironically, the most important tasks can be automated, leaving your helper very little to do, other than to check to make sure things are running properly. The major tasks that can easily be automated are: Topping off the tank, feeding and turning the lights on and off.
- Purchase an Automatic Top Off system (Compare Prices) or you can easily build your own DIY Auto Top Off.
- Purchase an automatic light timer.
- Purchase an... Automatic Fish Feeder (Compare Prices).
- You will probably want to run your automatic devices for a week or so before you leave, just to make sure that they are functioning properly. You'll probably wish that you had installed these items long ago.
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Train Your Helper
- Go over the basics of how your system is set up with your helper. If you going away for a substantial period of time you'll want to cover everything in greater detail. For this situation it is a good idea to plan ahead and have your helper spend time with you and your aquarium, showing and allowing them do any task that may need to be performed. This is beneficial, as visual or hands-on demonstrations for many people are much easier to understand and retain, compared to just verbal or... written instructions.
- Put together a "things-to-do" checklist. This will make your helper's job easier for remembering what needs to be done, and when, as well as can help ease your mind that nothing is being overlooked.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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- Be sure you are stocked up on all the supplies your helper will need to use. Even though there is little chance your helper will have to do a water change, storing a premixed batch of saltwater is a wise thing to do in case an emergency arises.
- Leave phone numbers for where you can be reached, including an emergency number for a person or persons who may be able to assist with a problem if you cannot be contacted.
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Away You Go!
- If you are using any kind of an online tank minder or computer software program to keep a record of your aquarium's statistics, instruct your helper in how to use it. The information provided in the log will tell you all you need to know about what transpired with your system while you were gone. Besides, many of these types of programs have diagnostic or analysis capabilities, which can provide some troubleshooting assistance if a problem arises.
- If you plan to be away from home for some... time and are unable to find someone to help you out, consider hiring a professional company in your area that specializes in aquarium maintenance care or babysitting services. It's better to be safe, than sorry!
- Have a good time!!
- Ironically, by making your aquarium system easier for someone else to take care of when you are not there, you will also be making it easier for you to maintain your system when you are there. Adding an automatic top-off system to your tank will cut down on the time tank maintenance takes for years.