With all vacation plans, all your time will be spent planning out what you are going to be doing, packing, getting flights or travel arrangements in check, time off of work, and enjoying every moment of being away. Whilst you can take the dog away to friends or family, or the local carer, you may have forgotten about your beloved Betta fish. So what can you do to ensure they are alive and well when you return?
Whilst there are plenty of articles online about “how long can my Betta fish survive without food” many forget that being healthy isn’t the same as survival, and will leave your Betta susceptible to disease and infection, which may drastically reduce the lifespan of the fish.
The best idea to ensure your Betta is happy and healthy when you return is to tick all the boxes that come to its care, these include :
Depending on the length of time away from your Betta there are several different options for ensuring that your fish is well fed upon your return such as :
Automatic feeders do as the name suggests, feed your fish without the need of you being there. Some of the products on the market will dispense dried food at a certain interval during the day, for example every 12 hours, and others will give you the variability of choosing how often you want the Betta to be fed, such as twice a day with a 6 hour interval.
I recommend using the EHEIM Battery Operated Auto Fish Feeder.
These are good options to consider if you are going to be away for more then a week as it will continue to dispense food until the supply has run out. However care must be taken if you are choosing a automatic feeder as there a several reports online of over dispensing of food, or clogging of the dispenser. If the fish becomes over fed it can lead to a build up of ammonia in the tank causing the fish to become very ill very quickly, as well as the fish becoming over fed which can cause constipation and bloating. If the dispenser fails to dispense food the fish will simply starve to death after roughly 1 week, neither of which are good scenarios and will put a negative end to the holiday. So they should be setup well before you leave to ensure the setup is right for you.
Food Blocks are a good option if you only intend to be away for a few days, with several varieties available on the market and with relatively cheap cost. Some Blocks can last up to 2 weeks but are less recommended for Betta fish as these are intended for use in large aquariums with several fish, as to avoid over feeding. However if you are only going to be away for less then a week many options will work well, as they slowly break down in the water and dispense small amounts of food, this will ensure the Betta is eating regularly until you return.
I use the Vacation Food Slow Release Feeder Block.
If you intend to travel for more then one week at a time, then organizing to have the tank cleaned or partially cleaned whilst you are away is very important . There are several options for this which include:
With many small tanks they do not initially come with filters, so moving to a slightly larger tank or purchasing a filter may be necessary. Filters allow for sediment to be removed keeping the tank cleaner for longer, this can include removing excess food in order to avoid ammonia build up causing the water to become toxic . They also disturb the surface of the water causing air to be moved through the tank, cutting down on pockets of stale or toxic water in the tank, this can also be achieved by purchasing an air bubbler. Many small filters can be obtained very cheaply and will create a better overall place for the Betta to live. If you intend to be away for longer then 2 weeks then you will need a more sophisticated filter system including several filters.
If Purchasing a filter is not an option then moving to a larger tank may be an alternative, with a larger tank comes a larger body of water, which means that the water will take much longer to become toxic due to over feeding, as well as cut down on the risk of the tank evaporating and becoming dry due to heat. Many larger tanks come with a filter already built in which will benefit the fish in the long term. However if the tank is only a temporary fix many alternatives can be used such as large storage boxes. If this is the case ensure you prepare the new container in the same manner you would prepare a fish tank before use to ensure you are not introducing any new toxins or diseases to the environment.
Water Top Up
You may notice in the usual week between tank cleaning that the water level of your tank has dropped significantly, this is due to evaporation due to heat or direct light and is a common problem in small tanks. In order to keep the tank from going dry whilst you are away, or the water level becoming too low for the fish to survive happily, you may need to invest in a automatic water top up solution. There are several varieties of these units, some which are gravity fed, as the water in the tank drops the extra water slowly pushes its way into the tank keeping it full, others which require a pump and a sensor which do the same job. Either of these solutions work well, but will require some amount of setup and testing before you go away as not to leave you with a dangerous mess when you return.
Family and Friends
Alternate options to filters and automatic feeders are much simpler things such as sending your Betta on a holiday of its own. You may decided to ask family and friends to look after your beloved fish whilst you are away, if this is the case you should ensure you equip them with knowledge of how to properly care for the Betta whilst you are away. Ensure you Include everything from feeding, to cleaning the tank if you are going to be away for long enough to need it. A good way to do this is to make them do their homework and read up on the basics of Betta fish care .
Local Pet shops
Many local aquarium or pet shops allow you to pay to have your Fish kept with them whilst you are away, this isn’t always cheap but its an option to consider if you are going to be away for any amount of extended time. It will also ensure that your Betta is in the best of care, as they’re often the experts when it comes to keeping and caring for fish. This requires you to do your own research and call around to local pet shops or aquariums and ask if they offer this service, or know of any others that do in your area.
Just like your vacation needs thought and planning to be successful, your Bettas health and well being does too, in order to return home from your vacation to find a happy and healthy Betta when you return certain measures have to be taken, and if you follow these tips then you’ll be on your way to a stress free vacation and and a happy Betta .