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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I started a 75g "high tech" tank last year as part of my Covid Mental Health Program. I had a planted 75g tank about ten years ago that did well.

I am anticipating being out of town later this year and now am starting to worry about how to best provide for the tank so that nothing perishes and it does not become an algae farm. With this in mind I am looking for ideas regarding how best to sustain the tank for a month or so.

I do have friends who could come by periodically but none have the capability of doing more that feeding and water top-off. My main worries are equipment failure and power outages. Power outages are not as common here as they used to be but do still happen. My pump with integrated heat is on a smart plug. I plan to bypass that while I am away. CO2 is on a smart plug also. I may have to experiment with cutting it's power to see if it will go back on schedule. I have a Jebao doser but I think that it will be OK when power resumes.

I guess the other issue would be how the tank will fare without a water change for 4 weeks. My tank is heavily planted with low/medium light plants. CO2 flow is not too high and still drops the Ph by 1.0 during the daily cycle. I have very little algae.

Any suggestions or anecdotes would be appreciated. Successes? Failures? Gotchas?

Best,
Paul
 

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Ugly as heck, but if you could set up a premixed water container and could sump pump it you could see if a friend could drain the required amount and then plug the sump pump in (I don't know if you have other animals/ situations that make this impossible) and monitor and dump the rest in at the end. I've, personally, left tanks for a month with minimal damage but I don't ever lose power (automatic backup generator) so I'm not sure about the ability of preset storage on smart plugs so I don't know how to advise you on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ugly as heck, but if you could set up a premixed water container and could sump pump it you could see if a friend could drain the required amount and then plug the sump pump in (I don't know if you have other animals/ situations that make this impossible) and monitor and dump the rest in at the end. I've, personally, left tanks for a month with minimal damage but I don't ever lose power (automatic backup generator) so I'm not sure about the ability of preset storage on smart plugs so I don't know how to advise you on that.
Thanks! One way or the other I will have someone come in to feed so they can top-off with our kitchen RO water. I think that the water changes will just need to wait. I will do some testing of my smart plugs, doser, and light dimmer/timer before I leave...
 

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A month before you leave, I would change everything to lower doses. Lower light, lower co2, lower ferts. Put the top on the tank to stop or slow down evaporation. Even if it's just plastic wrap. Leave a very small hole for aeration. I have friends come by too feed a couple of times a week. Or if you trust it, use an auto feeder, and that's it. I wouldn't bypass the smart plugs if I were you. I find a comeback on with power outages without any issue. To the extent that they do go offline and you can't connect to them wherever you are in the world, you can ask a friend to come and check on them if you have people willing to do that for you. If I starting this a month in advance you can work out any kinks well before the time to leave.
 

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About the only thing a fishsitter will understand is feeding the fish. And then they will overfeed the fish. I have used automatic fish feeders with success. I measure fertilizer out into little viles and containers for my fishsitter. Maybe measure third doses since there won't be a water change. My biggest failure was when our fishsitter introduced some new fish into the tank to surprise us. We lost everything.
 

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About the only thing a fishsitter will understand is feeding the fish. And then they will overfeed the fish. I have used automatic fish feeders with success. I measure fertilizer out into little viles and containers for my fishsitter. Maybe measure third doses since there won't be a water change. My biggest failure was when our fishsitter introduced some new fish into the tank to surprise us. We lost everything.
Oh my .. I'm so sorry...

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Oh my .. I'm so sorry...

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I hate being such a Debbie Downer. The fishsitters meant well. They're our good friends. Measure everything out so they don't overdose the Nitrate. If you give them little vials and containers in date labeled Dixie cups or something like that they can't fail. You could probably have them dose the macros once a week and the micros just twice a week. It would be like putting your tank on life support. Wa waaa, Debbie Downer.
 

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I'm away from my tank for two weeks at a time pretty frequently. I usually don't feed the fish if I'm going to be gone for two weeks or less. Longer than that and I'll get someone to feed them every few days, or I've set up an autofeeder in the past as well. A large dose of water column fertilizers before you leave (EI levels) as well as some fresh osmocote root tabs will make sure your plants are fed just fine, there is no real reason to bother with auto dosers. I had one back in the day, I think they are more trouble than they're worth.

As @minorhero said, lower lights and CO2. I would turn off the heater. Basically try to send everything into a slower metabolic state, and both your fish and plants will do a lot better. If you don't have a lid, spread plastic wrap over the top of the tank to prevent evaporation (leave a small portion open for gas exchange and feeding).

Algae blooms can happen, but it's usually not much more work than manual removal, removing dead plant matter, scrubbing the hardscape, and a big water change when you get back to put everything back on track again. The fish won't care about algae, and the plants are usually fine too. A bigger risk is fast growing plants growing across your water surface and overshadowing everything else. You can give your most robust plants a big trim before leaving to help mitigate this.
 

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I'm away from my tank for two weeks at a time pretty frequently. I usually don't feed the fish if I'm going to be gone for two weeks or less. Longer than that and I'll get someone to feed them every few days, or I've set up an autofeeder in the past as well. A large dose of water column fertilizers before you leave (EI levels) as well as some fresh osmocote root tabs will make sure your plants are fed just fine, there is no real reason to bother with auto dosers. I had one back in the day, I think they are more trouble than they're worth.

As @minorhero said, lower lights and CO2. I would turn off the heater. Basically try to send everything into a slower metabolic state, and both your fish and plants will do a lot better. If you don't have a lid, spread plastic wrap over the top of the tank to prevent evaporation (leave a small portion open for gas exchange and feeding).

Algae blooms can happen, but it's usually not much more work than manual removal, removing dead plant matter, scrubbing the hardscape, and a big water change when you get back to put everything back on track again. The fish won't care about algae, and the plants are usually fine too. A bigger risk is fast growing plants growing across your water surface and overshadowing everything else. You can give your most robust plants a big trim before leaving to help mitigate this.
Awesome insight .. thanks!!

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