Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Elkaybee 05-27-2008 09:38 AM

Vacation Fish Feeder
I need some advice about vacation fish feeders. For my goldfish tank the regular one that sits on the bottom and releases over time works, but what about for my other tank that has guppies, etc that eat flake food at the top or as its falling? Is there anything else out there that would be better for them? We're going away for a week and I have someone getting our mail and such, but won't be here everyday to feed. Plus, I'm worried that they will overfeed them.

iamntbatman 05-27-2008 10:28 AM

I tried one of those gel feeders, but I'm pretty sure the only things in my tank that bothered with it were my snails.

I would recommend not worrying about it. Fish can go for a week without eating.

Elkaybee 05-27-2008 10:45 AM

Thanks for your reply. I should have researched first, but didn't think I'd have time. Now that I've research I think I'll just have the person getting our mail stop in and feed them maybe 2 or 3 times while we're gone and pre-measure their food. I guess if they can make it a week generally, then a few feedings would be okay too. I just don't want to come home to any dead fishy friends.

thespiff 05-28-2008 10:38 AM

You can get a $20 vacation feeder at the pet store that will work for you. I use one in my Tetra/Rasbora/Cory tank and it works just fine. The feeders with big spinning hoppers work best with smaller flake food. They don't do so well with sinking wafers or pellets.

Make sure you test it out a bit before you leave and tweak the amount of food that it dumps. Feed just once a day and feed a bit less than you usually feed them just to be safe. Also, this may seem obvious, but only stock the hopper with exactly as much food as you need for the time you are going to be away. If you underfill, the worst that can happen is the hopper dumps a little too much on some days and you end up with no food for the fish on the last day or 2, which is not a big deal. If you overfill, and the hopper dumps too much, you could end up with an overfeeding-induced ammonia spike that could be unpleasant.

The mail-fetcher option is a good one also, as long as you do pre-measure the food so they can't overfeed. The big key to vacation feeding is to avoid over-feeding. Fish can handle underfeeding for a lot longer than they can handle ammonia spikes due to overfeeding.

I always do my weekly water change on the day before an extended trip as well.

okiemavis 05-28-2008 04:29 PM

Ahh, I've heard SO many horror stories about any of the fish feeders under $20, and I've experienced how cruddy they are myself (luckily I chose not to trust it when I went out of town). I think your luck with them, Spiff, is an exception to the rule. They aren't designed to keep moisture out, so the food eventually sticks together and clogs the dispenser. It's especially likely to happen in these humid summer months.

Having a human feed them in your best bet. That way if, god forbid, one of your fish were to die the person could scoop them out before they break down and pollute the tank too much.

The big risk of having a human feed them is overfeeding. I combat this by pre-measuring out all my fish's food into a once-a-day pill box, so the people just have to pop open a tab and dump the food in. If you're only gone for a week the fish will be more than fine with only a few feedings.

Elkaybee 05-29-2008 06:47 AM

Thanks for all your advice! Everyone here is so helpful! I'm sure I'll be posting more in the near future as I am truly a newbie. :)

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