Leaving for 10 days, how to keep the tank alive? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Leaving for 10 days, how to keep the tank alive?

Hi everyone.
It's been 5 dad since me and my family, except for my dad, have gone on vacation. Dad had work so he said he'd come later.
He's coming today, and we're staying here for 10 more days. The problem is that right now I have a 10 and a 20 gallon tank at my house. The 20 is empty, it's filter is transferred to the 10 gallon for seeding. So there are two filters at the 10 gallon.
The 10 gallon currently has only 2 young swordtails, about 1 inch both. Now that my father is leaving, how can I keep the cycle alive? That's the main thing I'm worried about, the swordtails will survive I think. What should I tell my father to do before he leaves, should he overfeed? I know it's weong, but if he doesn't feed them they wont poop and there wont be enough food for the bacteria. I'm really worried .
I'm only 16 and I can't give the key to a friend at my age to come at my house, you understand. I don't have any siblings near me either .
Oh and I thought about the autofeeder idea, but I looked everywhere but couldn't find any in my city.
One more thing, I know I'm gonna have algae when I come back, but can I keep the lights on the whole time until we come back? I can't find light timers either and I'm affraid my plants will die.
Thanks and sorry for the long post.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 01:30 PM
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You could've easily picked up any generic plug-in timer to run your lights. The fish and filter bacteria will be fine. Just tell your dad to feed as normal before he leaves or get a vacation feeder.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 01:59 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't find any light timer at the petstore, I didn't think of buying one at a hardware store. I can't do it now and I just talked to my dad on the phone and he's leaving in 30minutes . What should I tell him to do?
So if he feeds the fish normally, the bacteria and fish would still survive 10 days without food?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:19 PM
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Yeah, just feed them normally. As long as the bacteria are still oxygenated they should be fine. Something is always breaking down in a tank so there's always going to be food for bacteria. Lights on for 10 days straight....that a different story. It's probably better to leave them on and deal with the algae than deal with the plant die off.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:19 PM
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I just got back from a 9 day trip. I put my co2 and lights on timers from walmart. I did a 50% water change when I left and when I got back and everything was fine.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:38 PM
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Is there a window nearby that you can use to get some light during the day? I would not leave the lights on 24/7 for 10 days.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendyjo View Post
is there a window nearby that you can use to get some light during the day? I would not leave the lights on 24/7 for 10 days.
+1.

VickiStill running most of my tanks.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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My dad just left and he told me that he turned off the lights and opened the whole window instead :@ ... The tank is 2-3 meters away from the window and there are med-high light plants in it, crypts and hygrphilia polysperma! ... I wish I could have called him earlier to tell him that the lights need to be on, I really hope the plants wont die .
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:47 PM
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At least you get natural light on its own timer.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 02:52 PM
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The Crypts will be fine and the hygrophilia polysperma is basically a weed which should make it through okay.

I think your dad made a wise choice. And I think you learned the meaning behind the old adage: To not plan is a plan. Maybe next time you'll start planning a little earlier.

VickiStill running most of my tanks.

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 03:03 PM
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Seems you are late in planning but for reference sake:

1. lighting - best to leave on a timer for 6-8 hour duration (less if you are using high light)
2. vacation feeders - food that comes in solid form and dissolves over several days. This should be sufficient for fish. Autofeeders are fine but cost more money.
3. filtration - throughly clean your filters to prevent clogs while you are away. since you are seeding a cycling tank, you could easily wring out the mulm back in the tank.
4. Feeding - do not leave excess food as it would cause a spike in ammonia potentially killing your inhabitants. see item 2.


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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-19-2012, 04:39 PM
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I have a different take on some of the suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
2. vacation feeders - food that comes in solid form and dissolves over several days. This should be sufficient for fish. Autofeeders are fine but cost more money.
I've seen more people come home to disasters caused by various means of trying to feed fish while they're gone, this is one of the most important areas to consider.

Fish do not need to be fed while you're gone unless you're gone for an extreme amount of time. Fish will do fine without food for 2 weeks. Don't forget most fish will nibble on things in the tank just as they do in the wild. It's abnormal for fish to get their daily feeding anyway.

So given a choice, it is far better to not feed the fish than to use any kind of vacation feeder, autofeeder, or friend coming in to feed the fish. The only exception is if you have a really good friend who understands to not overfeed and you premeasure the daily feedings in a pill box so there's no question how much to feed. There is some kind of instinct in people to overfeed so it's important to stop the caregiver from this instinct which can be detrimental to the fish and entire tank.

Quote:
3. filtration - throughly clean your filters to prevent clogs while you are away. since you are seeding a cycling tank, you could easily wring out the mulm back in the tank.
Be careful to not clean so thoroughly that you knock out your beneficial bacteria, sending your tank into a mini-cycle just before you leave it unattended. I'd suggest a regular cleaning, not a thorough one. You should know how well your filter(s) can handle 1-2 weeks undisturbed.

Quote:
4. Feeding - do not leave excess food as it would cause a spike in ammonia potentially killing your inhabitants. see item 2.
I agree here. I will take it a step further and recommend a water change before leaving. Starting the fish off with good, clean water is always helpful.

VickiStill running most of my tanks.

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