Vacationing Your Saltwater Aquarium

It’s SUMMER! You know what that means, right? Fun in the sun, chillin’ at the beach, sunburns, “real” tans and VACATION! Are you going on vacation this season? If so, then this article is for you. You have your plan all ready and made out…and you can’t wait for next week to get here. But wait – your fish! What will your fish do while you’re gone? Who’s going to take care of them? This post will answer those questions for your saltwater aquarium.

First, figure out how long you will be away from your aquarium. If two to three days is all the longer you’re going to be gone, don’t worry about it. If you plan to be away for a week and a half or more, you will want to do some things to prepare your aquarium for the time period you are gone.

Do your water change AT LEAST one week before you leave. This will give you some time to correct any issues that might have gone wrong. Never do your water change a few days before you leave. You won’t have enough time to recognize an issue in the aquarium and when you come back, you may have a very unpleasant surprise.

Second, if you don’t have a “doser” or “reactor” to dose the chemicals you add to the tank, you may want to hire someone trustworthy to add your chemicals and possibly do a water top off. If you do go this route, invite that person into your home before you leave and take them through the steps they will need to do while you are away. If you do not have an automatic top-off machine, you may want to set out some 5 gallon buckets of dechlorinated water for them to add to the aquarium once it gets below the fill level. You can set the fill level for them by putting a piece of tape on the outside at where you usually fill it up to. Also, set out the chemicals that they will need to dose in the amount they need to add. Make sure to leave specific instructions so that they will do everything correctly.

One last thing you want to ensure during your week of preparing your aquarium: check your plumbing and temperature. Make sure there are no loose connections. Clean your powerheads and protein skimmer cup (if you have a protein skimmer) and adjust your temperature to the correct temp. Make sure all your fish are healthy. Also, if you have someone watching over your aquarium, be sure to show them how to feed the fish, how much, which foods when, etc.

All in all, if you are only going to be away for a week to a week and a half, then your aquarium will be fine on its own. A reef tank can go for up to a week without maintenance. A week and a half is pushing it, so I would NOT go past ten days. In this case, if you can’t locate anyone trustworthy to take care of your aquarium, no need to worry. But if you are going to have a lengthy vacation, it will be very important to find someone  who can take care of it for you.

Oh, and one more thing, HAPPY SUMMER!

Photo Credit: Photos by Grant Walker. This is his saltwater aquarium.


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