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I’m going on holiday, what do I do with my fish and plants?

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Most aquarium owners are busy with their aquariums almost every day. But how do you do that when you go on vacation? Can you leave your aquarium with peace of mind? How do you do with feeding? And is it necessary to call in someone to take care of it when you are away?


Many people thoroughly clean their aquarium just before going on holiday. A logical line of thought, but in practice, this does not always work out well. You may have the urge to do a big water change on the day you leave. But changing too much water can upset the balance of your tank, and there’s nothing you can do about it if you’re not there. It is therefore advisable to do the last water change at least a day before your departure. Make sure you don’t change more than 1/3 of the water.

Are you going on vacation in the summer? Make sure you know what to do to prevent an aquarium that is too hot at extreme temperatures.

The day before you leave, check that there are no rotting plants or fish floating in your aquarium. It is also advisable to reduce the strength and duration of your aquarium lighting before you leave. Make sure that the lighting is not switched on for more than 7 hours a day during your absence. If you normally have bright lighting, consider removing one bulb. A little less light for a while will not have any negative consequences for your aquarium: your plants will only grow a little less quickly. But that’s not as bad as being confronted with an algae infestation when you get home!

Feeding your fish

holiday food

If you go on holiday for a maximum of one week, you can use special holiday food. Usually, these are a kind of ‘globules’ that you put in your aquarium. The food gradually releases and can thus provide your fish with food for a certain period of time. For example, you have Tetra Min Holiday Food 30 grams

This is a 100% edible block of dried food that provides your fish with food for up to 14 days. The dosage is very important when giving holiday food. You want your fish to have enough to eat during your vacation, but leaving too much food in the water can lead to all kinds of problems, such as algae. Therefore, take into account the size of your aquarium, the number of fish, and the time you are away.

automatic feeder

If you are going on vacation for a week or more, you may want to consider purchasing a feeder. These vending machines are available from a few ten and can provide your aquarium with food for a longer period of time. You can usually very accurately set how much food should be given per feeding. In addition, you can put different types of fish food in it, such as flakes, granules, and tablet food.

Tip: Are you unsure about the amount of food? Better to give too little than too much! Most fish species can go without food for a few days. Moreover, feeding too much carries more risks than feeding too little.

Do I have to ask someone to take care of my aquarium during my vacation?

That depends on how much work your tank normally requires, and how long you’ll be away. If you’re only gone for a few days, you usually don’t have to ask anyone. But if you are going to be away for a week or more, it is advisable to call in someone. That can be quite difficult. Of course, you don’t just give everyone the key to your house. And the people you trust may have no knowledge of aquariums at all. If you ask a layperson to take care of your aquarium, it is important that you inform them very well about exactly what needs to be done during your absence. Make a checklist of all the important points. You can think of the following things:

  • Are the fish active?
  • Is the food eaten?
  • Are there no dead fish floating in the water?
  • What do the plants look like?
  • Do algae develop?
  • Does the lighting work well?
  • Is the water temperature consistent? (see thermostat)

If you also leave the feeding of your fish to your keeper, make sure you are very clear about how much food your fish should be fed! When you talk about “a little flake every day” it’s not clear enough; what is ‘a little’ for you, maybe half a jar for someone else. Tell your sitter about the risks of overfeeding and ask if he/she can monitor to make sure all food is eaten.

Tip: Are you concerned about the well-being of your fish during your holiday? Ask your sitter to take pictures of your aquarium and text them to you. When you see that everything still looks good, that is a great reassurance. That way you can at least enjoy your holiday!

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