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Thread: Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

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    Registered Member Tshethar's Avatar
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    Default Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

    Hi all,

    My family and I are planning to be away from home for about 7 weeks this summer, starting in early June. I've read the old vacation threads and see that people have left adult fish alone for up to 25 days without a problem, but I'm looking at twice that amount of time. It's lucky for us but not so lucky for my discus. I have 6 that are over a year old plus a couple of small guys (survivors from the contest thread) that hold down the bottom of the pecking order in a 90 gallon tank.

    Right now the options I can think of include: a) sell or give away the fish, potentially online as I'm not sure about any local hobbyists; b) hire the folks at the specialty fish store about 45 minutes away to do an occasional feeding and water change (if so, how many? As little as 2-3 or more frequently? $ is a bit of a concern here); c) try to find a local high school or college kid to train up on my water change system and have them come once a week; d) something else I haven't thought of yet.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

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    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

    Bill out here we have a bunch of cat and dog sitters. One option is to hire them
    .many feed fish. Maybe have them feed lightly and do a weekly wc.
    or

    unless you are attached to the discus it may be a great time to clean house...enjoy the vacation and get new fishes when you return.

    al
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    Registered Member slicksta's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

    I think if there is someone you can have come by once a week is your best option.

    I'm not sure how technically savvy you are but I've gone away for 5 weeks without issue. Here's what I do.
    My water changes are handled by a drip system that's monitored with various water sensors and auto valves in case of leaks or drain blocks. I'm notified via email /text of issues
    Auto feeders with large reservoirs that feed pellets once a day
    Web cam set up so that I an check various things like water levels in the tank and sump, pump and heaters are running and the auto feeder food level.
    And lastly I leave keys with a neighbor and/or family member incase I need someone to do a drive_by

    The first is always in place and the rest takes me a few hours to set up a day or two before I go.

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    Moderator Team Filip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

    Constant drip along with an autofeeder sound like a great idea and solution for this problem to me Slicksta .
    However for most of us, at least for me for sure , I guess it's easier said than done . Its def. worth a try though .

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    Default Re: Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

    I'd stay away from local kids, teenagers, etc. I've spent the last 20 summers taking 2 - 3 weeks away at a time, for 2 - 3 months. My wife would "hire" local teenagers to feed the discus. Despite all the training, I always lost fish. More than once, it was clear that daily feeding turned out to be one gigantic feeding shortly before I came home.

    Hiring pet shop personnel to come would be quite expensive and you'll need to assess the cost of feeding versus the cost of starting over with new fish when you return. I'm starting my summer break later this week. A friend who also keeps discus will come by once a week to feed the fish. That's more than enough. Even if you have no local discus hobbyists, a local fish keeper would be so much better than hiring kids.

    Willie
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    Registered Member Tshethar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

    Thanks a lot, everyone, for the thoughtful input. Very helpful.

    Right now I'm thinking my best options are a) to clean house, as Al put it, which I want to do with a couple of other tanks anyway, or b) to go with the once a week option but with an experienced fishkeeper. (Unfortunately I don't have automation with this system, so that is something I imagine maybe doing someday, but right now it's all about the python with barrel and pump.)

    It does occur to me that there are a couple of other LFS closer to me and that employees there might be willing and able to come, maybe for not too much. I don't think anyone in town has discus experience, whereas the guy 45 minutes away I would trust, as he does a lot of maintenance work and mentioned he once kept altums.

    If I went with a local person, would you have them just lightly feed once a week or have them use my aging barrel, etc., for water changes? (Re-reading, looks like Al would recommend the WCs...)

    Also wondering about responsible ways of re-homing if that seems better. It might be the right time to do so but would feel bad sending them to a bad situation. I've shipped smaller fish successfully before and have some fish boxes around but this would be a bigger operation.

    Thanks again,
    Bill

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    Administrator brewmaster15's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

    Bill,
    Be sure to talk to your local veterinarians offices.alot of the vet techs take care of animals as a side thing. These are intelligent educated adults that should be able to care for fish with a little training and if you make it simple.

    I have a vet tech come here when we are away to feed the cats and give my diabetic cat his insulin. She took care of Discus fry for me for a week while we were away as well as my fed my juvies. I just premeasure any food and keep it as simple and bare bones easy as possible. A few weeks of sub optimal care is usually not a problem for healthy fish. Though we give our tanks alot of water changes regularly.... missing a few weeks here and there isnt usually an issue as long as the tanks not over stocked,over fed, or poorly buffered.
    We rely on this vet tech now when ever we head out. Its a good idea to cultivate that kind of relationship if you are a fish keeper. Makes it easier in the long run. Obviously a good fish keeper would be a great choice but I caution you against going with a LFS store employee without really knowing them. Its a given that many out there want to apply their broad fish "experience " to discus... which can be a bad thing. I also have a real fear that theres an increased chance of cross contamination from the LFS to your/our tanks.

    Al

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    Registered Member slicksta's Avatar
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    Default Re: Very Long Vacation Upcoming... What Would You Do?

    @ Filip
    I agree it's not for most. The logistics of the tank location in your home related to plumbing can be a great obstacle. And I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that doesn't have a working knowledge of the hardware involved as setup and periodic testing require you to be able to troubleshoot.
    That said it's allowed me to take multiple 4 - 5 week vacations and keep a well stocked 150g and 120g running with minimal issue. And now in the day of video chat it's even easier to walk someone through a fix from a far should one arrise.
    I had a sump low level diaphragm switch get stuck in the off position after a power failure shutting down the circulation pump and I was able to talk a friend through bypassing it. Hard part was timing the call from Australia.

    And I agree with Willie and the Brewman... I'd avoid LFS help as employees are typically a teen with very little knowledge of aquariums let alone discus. I was always amazed at how little they bother to learn about their job and that's why I rarely step into one unless making a non fish purchase.

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