It is good to have a vacation every once in a while as it is a form of self-care and you will be more productive when you get back to work. But you might be worried while you are on vacation, especially if you are thinking about your guppies alone in your home.
So how can you feed your guppies while you are on vacation?
Adult guppies can survive for two to three weeks without food, but you should not disrupt their metabolic processes, therefore you should not stray from their usual feeding sessions. You can use an automatic feeder or ask someone to feed them for you, which is actually better.
It is actually a mix of tank maintenance and guppy food preparation. We will get more into this as you go through the article. So if you are going to be away for a significant amount of time, keep on reading to know how to feed your guppies while you are on vacation.
How Long Can Guppies Survive Without Food?
Before we talk about the several ways you can prepare your tank for your coming vacation, you should first know the basics about guppy “hunger.” It will really ease your worries to know that adult guppies can survive for two to three weeks without a single amount of feeding.
However, this does not necessarily mean that you can just opt to not feed them when you are away. This simply means that your guppies are hungry, but since there is no available food, they will find different ways to satiate their hunger.
They will forage for food, eat algae, nibble on live plants, and the like. Unfortunately, this is bad news for the guppy fry that you have in the tank. First off, they need more food in order to develop and grow.
Second, they are going to be the number one target of your adult guppies when they get so hungry.
Preparation + How To Feed Guppies While On Vacation
As we have mentioned earlier, everything will go according to plan if you are on top of your tank maintenance as well as food preparation. More than that, you might be surprised that tank maintenance takes precedence over the actual feeding of your guppies.
This actually takes over 70% of the entire preparation if you are going to leave your guppies alone for a while. We mentioned earlier that they can survive for a good number of days without food as they will find other ways to procure food.
Therefore, proper tank preparation is key so that they can do these natural survival behaviors. Your guppies are going to be okay when they do not have enough food, but surely, they will perish if the tank conditions are bad.
So, you really have to be on top of your tank maintenance before you even worry about how you can feed your guppies while you are away.
Clean The Filter
You should be 100% sure that your tank’s filter is clean and working properly before you go. Therefore, you should deep clean the mechanical filter and remove all the debris and waste that are found inside.
Keep in mind that you should remove as much or even all of the mulm (sludge in the filter that comes from fish waste, dead plants, etc.)
It is important to note that you should not clean the biological filter because there should still be beneficial bacteria in the tank. This will help in removing toxins and ammonia.
You can also opt to vacuum the gravel even though most of the waste falls to the bottom of the tank. It may seem tedious, but you really want your filter to not falter while you are away.
We explain what happens to guppies without a filter here.
Change The Water
You should start doing this a week before your vacation as you cannot change the water all in one go. Doing so might stress your guppies.
Just remember that the water change should be at least 50%-70% as opposed to the 20%-30% of water change that you do every week.
When you do a big water change it can remove a significant amount of nitrates from the water which will ensure that the water is in good condition even though you do not do a water change for a week.
Lastly, make sure that you treat the water to get rid of chloramine, chlorine, and other heavy metals found in tap water.
You might need help on this one especially if your lights do not have a timer on it. By now you know that light is essential to your guppies’ way of life as they need a proper day and night cycle.
At the same time, you should move your tank away from windows that do not have any curtains, as you cannot predict how much or how little sunlight will hit the tank while you are away. Too much sunlight will cause the development of algae to be faster.
The best thing to do is to use a timer on your lights or ask someone to turn on and turn off the lights for you.
If these two options are not possible, then you can simply stick with the natural light, but make sure that the tank is still in a shaded area so as not to disrupt the water temperature.
Removal Of Dead Plants
The existence of dead plants in the tank contributes to the ammonia level. Therefore, if you see some of your live plants starting to brown or wilt, it is best to remove them altogether.
Replace the aquarium with healthy and live plants. Again, this can also be a source of food for your guppies.
Remove Or Separate Sick Guppies
Do this at least two or three days before you go. Take a closer look at your guppies and look for signs if one or many of them are sick.
It is better to remove or separate the sick ones from the tank if you are going away for a long time as there is a possibility that there will be a disease outbreak in the tank.
In the event that you did not see the sick guppy and he ends up dead while you are away, the decomposition of the guppy inside the tank will produce a lot of ammonia which can be too toxic for the other healthy guppies.
If you have problems with your guppies’ health, we highly recommend reading our article: 20 reasons why your guppies are dying!
Now that you are done with the 70% of guppy preparation, it is now time to tackle the remaining 30% and that is the actual feeding process of your guppies. Here are some options you can try.
Asking A Friend Or Family
This is the best option as going this route will not disrupt the normal feeding sessions of your guppies. You can simply leave your friend or family member instructions on when to feed them and how much they can feed them.
In order to prevent overfeeding, you can prepare beforehand separate bags of the food that are already measured based on how much you feed your guppies.
Hiring A Fish-Sitter
There are a lot of fish-sitters that you can hire online and it is best to choose one who actually owns fishes as compared to someone who is just available and can follow instructions.
The reason behind this is that the fish-sitter who also has pet fishes can gauge different situations and he or she knows how to deal with problems in the tank.
They can also do tank maintenance which will ensure you that everything is working great with your guppies not just with their food but with their environment as well. The downside to this is, of course, you are going to give access to your house to people you really do not know.
If the other previous options do not work for you, then you can consider purchasing an automatic feeder. However, you should first test this in your tank to see if your guppies will take food from it and if it is even working in the first place.
A disadvantage of using an automatic feeder is that it can get clogged by uneaten food. Moreover, the uneaten food will eventually become waste which can then pollute the water and change the water conditions.
Another disadvantage is that you cannot control the amount of food that it gives. Therefore, you run the risk of overfeeding your guppies.
For a lot of people who do not have the option to ask someone to feed their guppies, or even have a fish-sitter or an automatic feeder, they tend to think that if they overfeed their guppies days before they leave for their vacation, their guppies will not get hungry.
This is an absolute no-no. You should never overfeed your guppies as this will lead to their deaths. Not to mention the fact that too much uneaten food in the tank also causes the water to become polluted which is also harmful to your guppies.
You might just consider not feeding your guppies at all if all the options that we gave you are not possible. As scary as it may sound, again, your guppies are going to be okay (so, relax). Just another note, this logic does not apply to guppy fry.
Going back to the non-feeding part, this ensures that there will be not much water pollution. So the chances of your filter breaking down is next to none. At least, in this case, you will not worry that the water conditions of your tank will go bad while you are away.
It is also good to note that some fish breeders actually do this where they will deliberately not feed their guppies for two to three weeks. The reason behind this is that it is a way to clear the digestive system of the guppies.
So in the event that you decide to not feed them at all, it is not entirely a bad thing for them, in fact, it is beneficial to them.