Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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mischievouscat 11-16-2008 08:57 PM

Feeding fish
I have a 5.5 gallon fish tank with two sparkling gouramis. I'll be heading home for Thanksgiving, which means being away for 6 days. Will these two be fine not being fed for that long?

Also, I'll be home for Christmas holidays. Over two weeks of no food and no water changes worries me a lot. Eh, what should I do?

I also have a betta, but he's easy enough just to bring along with me. The move to college didn't stress him out at all, so I figure this'll be fine.

Thanks for the help!

aunt kymmie 11-16-2008 11:22 PM

I wouldn't think they'd do well without food for 6 days, much less two weeks!

Is there someone you can depend on who could feed them while you are gone? You can pre-portion the food into dixie cups, the caps from bottled water, etc. so you don't have to worry about the sitter overfeeding them.

I've never gone more than 7 days on a water change but I'm sure two weeks would be okay IF you changed it right before you left and made sure the fish were not overfed in your absence.

aunt kymmie 11-16-2008 11:30 PM

Another thought: I've seen automatic feeders (not the blocks as they are messy and would most likely tamper with your water quality) that have timers and dispense the proper portion of food. Not sure how well they work (and are probably pricey) but they are something I'd look into if I was going away for an extended time and had no one to feed for me.

I also remember someone here mentioning a gel based feeder that didn't hamper water quality as much as those chaulky blocks will.

Tyyrlym 11-17-2008 08:25 AM

Your fish will be fine without food for 6 days. Mine have gone for 10 with only a single feeding about mid way through it. Just feed them normally up until you leave. They'll be hungry little buggers when you get back but none worse for the wear. Do a water change right before you leave and one when you get back. Unlike saltwater aquariums evaporation isn't a danger to the tank, just a bit unsightly.

If you do get a fish sitter don't bother telling them how to do water changes, it's not necessary for the tank and just one more thing to potentially do wrong. As for food, your best bet is to get one of those pill containers that has a compartment for each day of the week. Put a normal pinch of food in each compartment and tell them to just feed the individual day. Then HIDE the food container. If you don't your sitter will become convinced you're a horrible person starving your fish and decide to triple or quadruple the amount of food you're feeding them.

The two weeks, I'd try and find a fish sitter if you can. If you can't you'll need to buy an automatic feeder. If you go the automatic feeder route be very sparing in how much you put in it. If you just jam the hopper to the brim you can be sure when you return the thing will fritz, dump all the food in, and turn your fish into corpses from an ammonia spike. Just put in enough to feed them once a day for the time you're gone.

mischievouscat 11-18-2008 12:08 PM

Getting a petsitter isn't an option, unfortunately, or I'd go with that. I live in a dorm, and it closes for the holidays. The people who don't go home for break actually have to stay in a different building.

I knew 2 weeks without food wasn't going to be doable, but I was wondering about leaving them for 6 days. Good to know that I have some time to find a good automatic feeder. Any recommendations? And what would the price-range be?

Nudist 11-18-2008 01:06 PM


Originally Posted by mischievouscat (Post 153069)
Good to know that I have some time to find a good automatic feeder. Any recommendations? And what would the price-range be?

Wal-mart has one for less than $15 but i dont know how good it is, hopefully someone else can tell you about one they use.


aunt kymmie 11-18-2008 01:12 PM

AquaChef Automatic Aquarium Fish Feeder - 3 in. x 5 1/4 in. x 3 in. | Automatic Fish Feeders | Feeding Supplies | Aquarium -

I've never used one and from the little research I've done they are not cheap. The above is one of the lesser priced models but seems it would fit the bill.

mischievouscat 12-09-2008 12:24 PM

It turns out my winter break is actually 25 days long. I doubt I can leave my sparklers without a water change in a 5.5 gallon for that stretch of time. Help? Haha. I'd rather not completely tear down my tank and transport it unless that's the only option.

Are gouramis similar to bettas in that they can survive in unfiltered aquariums because of the labyrinth organ? I have a 4ish gallon Sterilite container that I could transport them home in and keep them in over break. It's a LOT lighter than my decked-out glass 5.5. But would 100% water changes be too much for my fish? Sparklers aren't as hardy as bettas, and these two are used to perfect parameters and stability.

Otherwise, my sis has a cycled 10 gallon that's home to four danios. Could I put them in there temporarily?

Tyyrlym 12-09-2008 12:51 PM

Well lets see. The Labyrinth organ doesn't allow them to survive in unfiltered water, it lets the survive in low oxygen warm stagnant water. Their gills will be damaged just like any other fish's by ammonia and such.

Depending on how fast nitrates build up and how fast you evaporate the aquarium might or might not be fine for 25 days, that's your call since you know how fast it loses water and the nitrates build up. On a tank that small its probably not the best idea to leave it without a water change for almost a month though, especially with more delicate fish.

Since it looks like you're taking the fish home I'd say a sterlite container will do just fine. So long as its HDPE (high density polyethylene) and is clean it'll be good. My quarantine tank is a 15 gallon rubbermaid box just for reference. I'd recommend that if you can take the filter with you to do so. With no fish in the tank the bacteria will starve and you'll likely have to cycle the tank all over again at home. If you take your filter with you it can be kept running to avoid a cycle and your fish will be happier too since they won't have to deal with ammonia.

iamntbatman 12-11-2008 07:21 PM

The gouramis should also get along just fine with the danios. You could transport them in the container along with the filter from the 5.5g, run the filter alongside your sister's on the 10g, and that way it'll stay cycled for when you go back to school.

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