Going on long trip away from aquariums, need advice - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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Question Going on long trip away from aquariums, need advice

Anybody have any tips for leaving a couple tanks in the hands of people not really all that great with aquariums? (long post/bellyaching initialize?!)

I'm leaving the country for a couple months and leaving my two smaller (one 6gal, one 20gal long) low-tech, no CO2 tanks to the care of my parents in the meantime. I trust them to do water changes/light gravel vacuuming and feedings but little else (dad hasn't kept fish in ~30 years and wasn't to into it to begin with -- though he apparently did a good job -- and my mom is pretty bad with aquatic plants and watching her fish for signs of stress and disease).

I know I'll do maintenance on the cannister filter beforehand and begin to use some more root-based fertilization so that they mostly just have to do is water changes, light gravel vacuuming, feeding, removing dead stuff leaves/trim and dosing liquid ferts when the plants show signs of malnourishment.

Thing is, I'm pretty worried about disease given my mom's track record of not noticing things awry with her own fish until either 1.) someone is dead or clearly dying, or 2.) I point it out to her. I've tried educating her on signs to look for when she watches her fish, but she still has the same amount of trouble noticing problems -- punctuated by the fact that the fact that she still has a persistent issue with intestinal worms, now manifesting in some new fish she compulsively bought while two others were suffering from it, and the fact that she didn't notice it until I pointed it out even though it's clear that this poor fish has a painfully gaped butthole with worms sticking out. That and I don't think she watches her fish enough except to feed and take a headcount -- which certainly doesn't help diagnosis and treatment. Dad's badly farsighted so I dunno if I can ask him to take up the job.

That and I'm mildly worried about trimming, since that I know my mom wouldn't do it and that leaves my dad -- and he's kinda clumsy and a bit hamhanded, despite being the resident green thumb. Also literally hamhanded -- huge hands (!) -- and even I have trouble sometimes maneuvering in my own tank (mostly because of the glass hood and the fact that the lighting is not mounted from the ceiling but atop the tank). Not saying I'm the most deft, but with smaller and generally more gentle hands and it's still a problem? Yeah.

Long story short, neurotic fishmom worries about her babies and would like tips to make it easier for the fishsitters and her own troubled mind. Also, a recommendation for some kind of root tabs would be helpful too.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 05:29 AM
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If these are low light tanks you shouldn't have serious problems. Just do a good cleaning before you leave and let your parents feed the fish until you return. If the plants are growing fast enough to over grow while you are away, prune them down quite a bit before you leave.

If they aren't low light tanks, I would reduce the light intensity by either removing half the bulbs, or by putting a layer of window screen over the lights. Then proceed as for a low light tank.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 06:14 AM
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If your lights aren't already on timers that's really the only suggestion I'd make... beyond packaging everything (food, ferts, etc) so that it's impossible to "overdo" anything added to your tank(s).

Tiny bags are available in the bead department of most craft stores and you can get hundres for a few dollars.. I'd prepare one for every day you plan to be gone.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 06:21 AM
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I second the timers for your lights. I went on a trip for a week and left my brother in charge of my tank. I came back home to find a tank full of pea soup!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 03:27 PM
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When I left for my last vacation, I did the following:

1. Cleaned filters & tank.
2. Pruned all faster growing plants.
3. Reduced light intervals on the timers
4. Demonstrated basic water changes, feedings, and dosing
5. Created an explicitly detailed instruction sheet, printed 2 copies (1 on the fridge, second in the stand)
6. Measured out food & ferts in separate labelled bags.
7. Had a bottle of Rid-Ich ready just in case things got ugly.

Everything turned out okay.

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I have 1 bag of Akadama Double Red Line Medium still available....PM me.
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