I am brand new to this site and somewhat new to this hobby. I have had a 75g freshwater tank set up for about 8 months now, with the help of my boyfriend who is very experienced in freshwater tanks. I have [and am extremely happy with the exciting group] in the tank:
1 rainbow shark (still only a few inches but getting longer and plumper by the minute!)
1 sunset gourami
2 catfish, forgive me, I forget their actual type, but they are light gray and black spotted and have the long whiskers...they are currently only a few inches but i think are expected to get to about 10"...i love them and they leave each other alone!!
1 weather loach (i expect he is almost full grown at about 8" and quite plump and he is hysterical!!)
3 small loaches...i believe they are kuhli loaches, but my BF knows for sure
Everyone has appeared extremely happy and the water is always within proper parameters. (I am VERY anal!)
My Qs are related to the fact that we are going away for 10 days next month and although my BF is relatively knowledgeable, he has never gone on a long vacation while owning fish.
Since I have heard so many different things to do while away, I am writing to see what you guys suggest about feeding, lighting, etc while I am gone.
I currently feed them once a day a varied diet of a few flakes (mainly for the gourami), several sinking bottom feeder pellets, occasional algae wafers and freeze-dried krill, and once in a while some peeled pieces of veggies such as peas or cucumbers.
Q: What should I do for feeding while away? I have heard so many differing thoughts on the feeder block things and with the constant eating of fish like the gourami and rainbow, I don't think it's the best choice.
People suggest having a neighbor boy come to feed them but I am nervous about the amount, reliability, etc. I could get very anal and separate daily food for him into plastic bags or something, but idk. I don't really like this idea...entering house and all!
My boyfriend thinks the automatic feeder is the way to go. What do you think and what is a good brand?
Q: What about lighting? I generally have the light on 6-8 hrs a day, give or take couple hours on certain days. Should I invest in an automatic light switch? I have read articles that say it is ok to leave light off the whole vacation??
Q: last one! I have read so much info on when to do a partial change before I go. Since I do about 15% or 20% changes with partial vaccuming every week or week and a half, should I do this right before I leave?
ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!!
I really love my fish and tank and would hate for anything to happen while away!
SORRY FOR THE LONG QUESTION!!