We are constantly asked, usually around this time of year, what should I do to make sure my fish are okay while I’m away on vacation. We have some thoughts on what to do and not do, to ensure a relaxing trip for you and a calm peaceful existence for your fish friends.
Don’t invest in a fish feeder. Something that doses out fish food methodically is not the answer to keeping a balanced home for your fish. In many cases during feeding times, they are engaging with you, believe it or not! They get to know your figure and your shadow so well, that even hiring someone to help while you are gone can spook them under a rock or into a waterfall cave for protection. So if you take this measure, don’t be alarmed if they don’t eat as usual.
Don’t turn off your pumps. Imagine walking out to your car in the dead of summer, getting in and not being allowed to open the windows or turn on the air conditioning. This is the closest correlation we can make to removing the pump or turning it off for long periods of time. Your pump performs a very specific and very important function. It circulates the water, adding oxygen levels to the water so your fish and animal life can survive happily and without stress.
Don’t triple dose. Treating the problem before it arises only creates a bigger problem. Dumping a bottle of algaecide in (true story) before you go on vacation is not going to prevent algae blooms from exploding in your pond. In fact, it may almost be guaranteed to do the complete opposite. Your pond has achieved the delicate balance that takes mother nature decades to complete in the wild. There is no reason and no benefit to preemptively strike.
Do double up on bacteria. There is a great benefit to adding more bacteria in the swing of the season. Plants are tripling in size, fish are actively pursuing food and creating more waste, and outside elements are likely to find their way into your pond. This naturally creates more for the beneficial bacteria to digest. Double doses of bacteria are a great jumpstart to your time away and often help combat algae blooms and general imbalance.
Do have a neighbor or family member on ‘weather watch’ or standby. Summer brings about some crazy weather, and dangerous thunderstorms knocking out power, and dumping inches of rainwater into our yards and ponds. Runoff can be a dangerous element especially if you have fertilized or have recently treated for weeds or bugs in other parts of your yard. Having someone to be your eyes and ears locally gives you peace of mind to fully relax while you’re away, and allows for swift action to be taken if necessary.
Do make sure there are plenty of plants for your fish. Plant life provides a natural barrier from the strong sun rays of summertime as well as possible predators. Fish love to nibble on their natural food sources, and enjoy the oxygen provided from happy healthy plantings. A lily or lotus this time of year provides great cover and a beautiful sight to see upon your return!
Vacationing is not impossible when you have a living mini ecosystem to watch over. It takes some simple planning and good instincts to keep a happy healthy pond.
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