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FAQs on Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Vacation

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Beware of chalky, dried, "block" "foods"... these are junk... nutritionally and worse in terms of dissolving, clogging your substrate. Better to use battery-powered feeders, trust a neighbour, fellow fish-friend, with pre-measured foods (hide the rest)...

Hi there Bob,

I have kept my first reef tank for the past 6 months and up to now everything is going very well. The only thing which is concerning me is when it comes to me going on holiday, which I plan on doing late August. I will be gone for 2 weeks in total and although I'm on good terms with my neighbours I don't want them to feel too responsible for my new pride and joy. Have you much experience with automatic fish feeders? I was thinking this could be a possible solution. I would still like to get my neighbours round a couple of times just to check up on everything, but I also don't want to impose on them. I have an R.O top-up system in place already and I will leave them contact details of my LFS in case of any emergencies.

I would also be interested to hear if there is anything specific and basic I should be telling them to be looking out for, as they know nothing of marine fish, and also what type of preparations are advisable for me to take before going on holiday (water testing/changing etc).

With much appreciation,


Hello Clive, and allow me to help ease your mind lest you over-worry during your upcoming holiday. Yes, I am very familiar with some makes of auto-feeders; have used them for many years. In particular, the Eheim range, though there are other manufacturers of reliable units. I would get/use one of these, practice setting it up, portioning food/s'¦ I use Spectrum brand pellets in mine exclusively. I encourage you to have whatever device you employ set to feed sparingly, perhaps twice a day. Do ask you neighbours in addition to feed a small bit (pre-measured and labeled by date by you) and to simply 'count up' your fish livestock when proffering this food.

          Other than obviously stressed animals or water on the floor, I would not ask the folks next door to test for water quality, nor adjust. Your idea re the local fish store name and address (taped to the front of the tank) is best, with someone there identified specifically (who is familiar with your system if possible) even better.

            Do know that little actually goes wrong with up and going reef systems even almost unfed during such an interval as two weeks, and enjoy your trip.

- Going Out of Town & Puffer Feeding - I have a 125 gallon fish tank with a large Naso Tang.  I wanted to get a Yellow Dog Face Puffer and a Porcupine Puffer.  I go away usually 1 week to 10 day at a time.  Is there any processed food such as pellets they will eat or can they be left for a week at a time without food and without attacking each other or other fish. <Puffers wouldn't willingly go that long without food - but I'd be more worried about the Naso. There are pellet foods around that the puffers would eat, but again... the Naso might not take to there. You'll need to get them used to these foods before you leave town.> How often must they be fed? <At least once a day - the Naso probably twice to three times with small portions.> Any suggestions. <Perhaps look for a maintenance service to care for the fish in your absence.> Are these 2 fish compatible? <Yes.> Michael <Cheers, J -- >

Holidays and Feeding and things! Hi Anthony and Crew, <Steven in this morning.> Hope you are well, I have been reading the WWM pages practically daily since our last chat(s) but have not needed to ask you anything else until now. I am going away for two weeks on Holiday (Italy, I cannot wait!). <It is lovely! I have been there twice and want to take my wife for a third trip.> As a quick recap I have two 5 foot tanks, one FOWLR containing 1 Lipstick tang (7"), 1 yellow tang (3 1/2"), 1 pyjama tang (3"), 1 green wrasse (7"), and 2 clowns 2" each. The other tank is a reef with Various Mushrooms, Pulsing Xenia, Leather Coral, Colt Coral, a blue Carpet Anemone (the rehousing into a species tank as you suggested is planned for after my return from holiday) a cleaner shrimp, scallop (not my choice, an unexpected present, I have since found this is not good but I have to try now!) and 5 small fish (2 clowns, 1 red hawk, 1 Firefish and 1 Gramma). Also 3 Sally Lightfoots plus red legs and turbo snails. I plan to do my routine 10% water changes the day before I leave. I have made arrangements with a friend to mind the tanks for me and have shown them how to feed the Carpet Anemone and everyone else as best I can, but how often is the least the Anemone, the fish, and the other inhabitants of both tanks can be fed. <I would feel comfortable with a schedule of every other day. Please leave for tank watcher premeasured portions and literally hide the rest of the food. The film cans for 35 mm rolls work well as do the pill boxes with each day of the week marked (my favorite).> I normally feed the FOWLR tank twice a day (dried in the morning, frozen at night, and bits of fish for the wrasse plus algae strips for the tangs). The invert tank is as you know more involved with the different foods needed (i.e. small bits of fish for the Carpet, Sally's, Cleaner Shrimp, and Red Hawk, dried and frozen for the Firefish and clowns and Marine Snow for the Corals and Scallop etc.). This sounds a lot when I read it but all params are o.k. except for Phosphate and Nitrate which is in my source water until I get my RO unit as discussed with you already. <It also could be coming from your feeding as it sounds like a lot to me, too.> All planned for when I get back! I want to avoid the risk of over feeding and polluting the tank by cutting down on this while someone else is doing the feeding. Can you suggest a reasonable minimum that will keep everything alive and sort of happy until I return? <See notes above.> Your help is much appreciated - many thanks. Jenny <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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