I’m going away for two weeks and leaving a friend to look after my fish. She is not a fishkeeper, so I am going down the usual “pre-bag the food” route. The main reason she is coming round is to actually top up the marine aquarium and water the plants, so feeding the fish in the display aquarium and water changes are a bonus.
Before leaving, I made up one pack of food per day. Going by how many packs were left when I came back, the fish were fed every 2 days out of 3.
A head count showed that there had been no deaths and the general health of the fish was great. The bristlenose plecos had spawned and there are young all over the tank, the majority on the filter outlet or the glass near it. The new Hagen pump was quite clearly not strong enough to suck them in.
Water readings are fine, except a 25 ppm increase in nitrates. I am slowly resuming the water changes on a daily basis.
There was some hair algae in the plants which floated to the surface, which is a pain, but nothing can be done about it.
Equipment was functioning well, same as when I left it.
Actually, it’s not quite as bad as that: I have prepared zip-lock bags of food (one per day), instructed the neighbours on how to check the equipment and left them contact details for a fellow fishkeeper, in case anything looks wrong.
The idea is simple: every day, the kids come over and (while being supervised by the parents) feed one bag of food to the fish per day. At worst, the fish are getting fed the right amount of food and the equipment gets checked for malfunctions; at best, the child from a pet-free home learns about the basic responsibility of keeping pets.
Then, once per week, a fellow fishkeeper will come to do a 5% water change and check on the general welfare of the animals.
And just for the fun of it, I am also setting up a webcam, so that I may be able to check up on the fish myself.