Just like you would the car, prepare the pond or aquarium before you go on holidays so you don't come back to disaster!
Our suggestions for your holiday pond maintenance
1. Clean the pond filter ,sponges. Don't touch the bio balls and pump at least a week before you go away not the day before.
1A Tidy up all live plants cut off any dead bits and floating debris. Only repot plants in spring.
2. If the pump has a sponge take it out , replace when you come back.
3. Do a 10% water change, check your pH is between 7 -8, don't forget to use water ager for tap water!
3A If you pH is low add pH buffer, make sure you do this days before you go, not on the day.
4. Add pool salt or rock salt 1kg to every 2000ltrs this builds body slime on the fish
5. Add a second backup air pump so while you are away, if one blocks up the fish will still have air.
Our suggestions for your holiday aquarium maintenance
1. Clean the filter, replace filter media and carbon. Don't touch the bio section of the filter
2. Tidy up any live plants cut off any dead bits and floating debris, add live aquarium plants to feed the fish.
3. Siphon the bottom gravel, don't take out any more than 10% of the water when doing this. check your pH is between 7-8. Don't forget to use water ager for tap water.
3A If your pH is low add pH buffer. Make sure this is days before you go, not on the day.
4. Add Rock Salt, 1/2 cup any size aquarium, will help the fish build up body slime.
5. Check all your equipment is working, lights, power cords, air pumps etc.
What works and what doesn't.
Don't add a holiday food block to your pond or aquarium for your goldfish or koi, these blocks are supposed to feed the fish while you are away, all are designed for small tropical fish, The blocks need adequate filtration and very good water movement to dissolve. Even if you have good circulation and the right fish, adding a feeder block to your tank can be a disaster ! not only will your fish refuse to eat it, most destroy water quality.
Do add live plants, try to add plants that you have seen your fish eat before. Our goldfish love Bacopa, Vallisneria, Water Fern, Water Sprite, Wisteria, Ambulia. Try to add these a week before you go so the bits that are going to break off can be cleaned up prior to leaving. We put the plants in Chinese food containers with aquarium gravel holding them down or small stones. They might make a mess in the tank, but it wont cloud your water or change the water ruin the conditions over a week or three. Easy clean up job when you get back just skim the fishtank with a net.
Do put a timer on your lights, do this a least a week before you go, so you can check they are on for the right amount of time. You can buy timers at any hardware or large chain store. Set to leave lights on for 6hrs per day. This will keep you plants alive and your pH stable, very important.
Don't add auto fish feeders, unless you are prepared to buy an expensive one, most we have found clog, moisture gets into the food after a short amount of time and the food starts to stick together within the feeder. If you are going to add one to your pond or tank, buy it well before you leave and test it out for a few weeks. The only feeders we have found to be any good for longer than 2 days are commercial grade, which are very expensive.
Do pre pack food for your koi and goldfish in resealable bags with the correct amount of daily food for your neighbour or friend to feed to the pond fish.
Don't leave all the food out for your friend or neighbour to feed to the pond, They will feed to much and send the pond water off.
Do ask you friend or neighbour not to turn off pond pumps or power to the aquarium.
Do add another pump to the pond, can be solar for extra oxygen while you are away, and a back up in case the power goes out or your pump or filter clogs up and stops working.
Do give your friend or neighbour your mobile or email in case something goes wrong with the pond or aquarium while you are away, don't get them to fix it without your instructions, if you don't tell them to contact you we have found most people will turn the whole system off, and wait till you get back "certain disaster".
Do check the condition of the fish before you go, make sure you have a good feeding regime weeks to months before you go, so the fish are well feed and in good condition. This will sustain them over the time you are away. If they are in good condition the fish can go with feeding for
* Goldfish in a pond 3 weeks
* Koi in a pond 5 weeks
* Goldfish in a aquarium 4 days
Don't change what you feed or feed more before you go, the fish will heavily pollute the pond with their waste in the time you are away if you do this, feed as normal.
Do add coral gravel or shells in a mesh bag to your aquarium or pond before you go. fill the bag 1/2 cup for a aquarium, up to 2 kilos for a pond. This will buffer the pH, while you are gone, very important as a low pH means your koi and goldfish have less available oxygen to them, this can mean disaster at night when the pH already drops due to no light.
Windsor Fish Hatchery 38yrs Breeding & Selling Koi & Goldfish www.windsorfishhatchery.com.au