Today I will tell you how you can take care of your shrimp aquarium when you are out on vacation. This subject comes up quite often especially in summertime, which is coming. Therefore, a few tips will be always nice to know.
In short. Vacation does not change much. You should stick to the routine. Do a water change, check the equipment and if you are not going to be gone for longer than 10-14 days, it would be better to feed them only once (before leaving), instead of risk disaster from well-meaning people overfeeding.
Without further ado, let’s start.
Tip # 1 – Feeding
I would like to start off by saying that you should not be afraid to give them hungry days. They will not starve even if you do not feed the shrimp for a week. Actually, there is plenty of things in an established tank and they can easily go a week without supplementation. After all, shrimp are scavengers, let them do their job in your tank.
Warning: Do not do a big massive feeding day before you go because you do not normally do those things. Thus, you do not know what the effect is going to be and you are not going to be there to monitor it. Stick to the routine.
1.1. Indian almond leaves in a shrimp tank
These leaves are amazing. They provide a great grazing spot for dwarf shrimp and they last very long!
However, in order to get the most benefits from the Indian almond leaves, they must be added at least 7-10 days beforehand. Let the leaves soak in tank water and get a bit murky, so a biofilm can develop. During this time, the biofilm will start covering the leaves, which is the shrimp’s favorite food.
If you put the leaves right before leaving, your shrimp will not be able to benefit from biofilm at once. It takes time for the leaves to become soft and break down. Therefore, if you know that you are going on a vacation for a week or two, prepare your Indian almond leaves in advance.
1.2. Snowflake food
Give them some food that can last longer, for example, the Snowflakes. It is fantastic food in general for shrimp and even better food for vacationing because it does not spoil the water and it does not attract pests like planaria or hydra.
Therefore, the best method to do this is to give them a few snowflake pellets the day that you leave. It will take your shrimp a few days to eat it.
So if you put some snowflake food and the Indian almond leaves in one day that will be enough food for them to eat for at least seven days. At first, they will be busy with snowflake pellets. Then, after 3-5 days, the Indian almond leaves will become soft enough for them to start eating them.
1.3. Powder food for Baby Shrimp
Unlike adult shrimp, small ones cannot compete for food like snowflakes. That is why, if you have shrimplets in your tank, you need to choose something for them, for example, Bacter AE.
One dosage will be more than enough for 7-10 days.
Once again, do not overfeed!
Tip # 2 – Feeding schedule
2.1. Ask for help. Pill Containers
If you are going on vacation for more than seven days you can ask somebody (a family member or a friend) to help you. Yes, I am sure that you already know that and it does not sound like a piece of real advice. However, there are countless cases when all these people crush the tanks even with detailed instructions on how to do it. You can go on about the dangers of overfeeding and demonstrate exactly how much you feed, they will still feed more than is acceptable.
The best way to avoid this situation is to portion out the amount of food that they should be feeding each day or each time. Put the food with the exact number in little bags or pill containers. Then label them with the corresponding numbers as well as dates you want that food put in the tank.
Make it as simple as possible if you have someone come in to feed and care for your shrimp. This is really the best way to prevent overfeeding. That will last another 7-10 days.
Note: Did you know that you can hire a pet sitter? There are insured certified professional pet sitters in the United States.
2.2. Automatic Feeder
– Turn off the automatic feeder if you will not be around for 7-10 days. The point is that if it fails and dumps in a lot of food, it will be a disaster. I seriously doubt that you can trust anybody to do the cleaning in your tank in your absence.
– Turn on the automatic feeder if you are planning to go away for a long time and cannot ask anybody to come into your home to care for the shrimp.
Note: automatic feeder is a lesser evil, in this case. Anyway, I do not advise to use them on a regular basis because they can break and completely ruin the tank. Because of the moisture in the air, the food can get stuck or complete dump in the tank.
Tip # 3 – Water change
Make sure that your water has been changed. You need to do your regular amount of water change no more, no less. Do not do a giant water change! There is no need to do anything radically different from what you normally do. Keep in mind that big water changes can cause molting issues for your shrimp.
Some shrimp or fish breeders advise doing a regular water change in a day before you leave, just to make sure that you do not miss your regular water change during your vacation.
Personally, I do not think that this is the best option. It can be a terrible idea to do the water change the day before you leave or the day that you leave and then find out that there are some issues. That is why I DO NOT advise to do it the day before you leave.
It will be safer to do it at least a couple of days before you leave. That way you can just test and make sure that no problems have arisen in your aquarium. In this case, you will know that you have some kind of problems, and it will give you the necessary time to react and set up the way it should be.
Tip # 4 – Water level
Make sure your water level is high enough. Actually, it usually comes along with the water change. Keep in mind that your water level is pretty high because during your trip the evaporation will occur, depending on how long you are gone.
If you are going to be away for a long time, you really want to minimize the evaporation rate. The easiest way to do it is by using a lid. The lid will significantly reduce the amount of evaporation that you will have in your shrimp tank.
Do not underestimate this advice, try it and you will see the difference, especially in the summertime where the evaporation rate is a lot higher than in the wintertime.
Tip # 5 – Failure of Equipment
Make sure that everything is running; the pump is working and all the tanks are getting air.
In addition, if you can ask somebody to help you with feeding, you can also tell this person to check out your equipment as well. In case there was a power outage or anything like that, to be sure that hang on filters or canister filters have restarted.
Tip # 6 – Set your Lights on Timer
Do not forget, that light plays a very important role in shrimp live. Therefore, if you have not done it already, well, this is the perfect reason to do so. Set the timer for how many hours a day you need it on and off. Unlike automatic feeders, they have more credit maybe that is because they just keep working without any problems.
A lot of shrimp and fish breeders use them. They make our life easier.
Tip # 7 – Add some Floating Plants
Floating plants are very popular in aquarist hobby. One of the advantages of having them is that they are extremely effective at absorbing nitrates in the water. Thus, they will increase the water quality and reduce the need for water changes.
Even more, since shrimp do not produce a lot of waste, a small amount of these plants will help to keep just about all of your nitrates out of the water allowing you to enjoy the tank all the time.
Tip # 8 – Lower the temperature
This tip will work only if there is a heater in your tank, which does not happen very often in shrimp breeding, frankly saying. Anyway, if you have one, you can lower the temperature on the heater a little bit.
Do not do any sudden changes! One or two degrees will be enough.
These changes will not harm the shrimp but they will reduce the metabolism of the shrimp. As a result, the shrimp will eat less and will not be as active in a little bit of cooler water.
Those are the tips that let you know how to take care of shrimp when you are on vacation. Do not worry, your shrimp will be fine if they are left alone without being fed for a few days.
Have a good vacation!