How To Feed Your Fish When You’re On Vacation

Just like any other pet, you have; a cat, dog, rabbit, gerbil, etc. your fish needs to be fed 2-3 times a day. There are automatic feeders and water dishes for our 4-legged friends. But, what about our pet fish? When you are home each day they get what they need from you.

Their fish flakes, pellets, frozen, or live foods. But what happens to them when you are not home? Most fish can last at least a few days without eating, especially if you have live plants and your fish are herbivores.

How do you feed your fish when you’re on vacation? The first thing you think of is a trusted neighbor or a family member stopping over twice a day to feed your fish. If that is not an option for you, you can look into vacation feeders, automatic fish feeders, slow-release fish feeders, or fish blocks.

Depending on your species and how many fish you have, one of the above will be sufficient while you are away.

No matter how much we love our pets, a large number of us take a vacation every year. Making sure your pet is taken care of while you are gone is one of the most important things to figure out.

We are going to go through the different fish feeders that you can use when you are going on vacation. We will also briefly touch on other things you need to do for your fish before you go.

Preparing Your Fish For Your Departure

When you decide to go on vacation and you have pets, you need to make arrangements for them as well. Whether you board them, have a pet sitter, or someone stops by periodically. Our pets are like us and they need to eat to stay healthy and happy.

How long can you be gone and come home to healthy, happy fish? Depending on the species, you could be gone for up to a week and they would be ok without food. Here are some examples:

  • Goldfish: up to 8 days
  • Guppies: up to 2 weeks
  • Tetras: 10 days
  • Bettas: 4 days

Just because they can go for that amount of time without food doesn’t mean that they should have to. Not when there are solutions out there and ways to feed them when you are not available to do so.

So while you’re planning your vacation, make a plan on how your fish are going to eat while you are gone. As stated above there are automatic fish feeders that you can purchase, for this exact occasion. Though it doesn’t hurt to have someone stop by once a day to check on them, if available. Make sure they are still active and doing well.

Types Of Feeders For Your Fish

There are a few automatic fish feeders on the market that will provide for your fish while you enjoy the beach, the mountains, an amusement park, or the museums. They will give you peace of mind, knowing your fish are getting what they need while you are away from them.

One option that you do have, if you can’t afford an automatic feeder, is a Tetra Gel feeder block. This particular feeder block doesn’t disintegrate on its own. These are tropical slow-release feeder blocks.

A package of 4 fish Blocks is under $10.00. One block will last up to 5 days and will not cloud your water or raise your pH levels. Some reviews state that the fish are not interested and just ignore them.

You can fill them with fish flakes or fish pellets. You can program to feed your fish twice a day, 6 hours apart, or however, you usually feed them. You can also set a certain amount to be dispensed each time.

Most of the automatic fish feeders also run on batteries. So if your power goes out while you are gone your fish are not going to go hungry.

The blocks need the water movement to help them dissolve. The gel clock will not cloud the water. The calcium blocks will cause your water chemistry to change. One other concern with the variety of blocks is that your fish could overeat. 

Things To Do For Your Fish A Week Before You Go On Vacation

We are going to provide you with the most important things to do, for your fish, before you go on vacation. It is best to do them a day for 2 before you leave. These will give your fish the best chance to stay happy and healthy while you are away.

Timer for your lights: You do not leave your lights on when you are home every day, so why would you do so on vacation? If you do not already have one then you need to buy a timer for your lights. Set your timer to turn on/off in 12-hour intervals. This way their schedule isn’t interrupted and it is one less thing you have to worry about.

Water Temperature: If you are going on vacation during the winter months, make sure your heater is working. If possible, have a battery back-up in case the power goes out due to a winter storm. You also do not want to turn your house temperature down too low, it could potentially affect your tank temperature. 

If you are going during the hottest part of the summer, make sure your air conditioner doesn’t kick on until your house reaches 78-80 degrees. This will keep your fish comfortable as most of them prefer the temperature to be between 74 and 78 degrees. If you do not have an air conditioner then you will have to have someone come over at least once a day and check on your fish.

To-Do Checklist: Here is a quick check-list of other things to do before you go on vacation. 

  • Clean your aquarium: Whether it is your weekly 25% water change or a full tank cleaning, you should make sure you do it before you go. Though some recommend not doing a full tank cleaning, because your pH and water chemistry may not be right when you leave. 
  • Check Temperature: Make sure your thermometer is working and the tank temperature is where it should be. 
  • Check your filter. Of course, it will need to be cleaned when you do your water change. Make sure it is running at full capacity.
  • Examine your fish. Make sure they all look healthy and that they are swimming around and being active in the days before you depart.


Your fish are just so important as any other pet you could have. Just because you don’t need to snuggle them, pet them, and let them outside doesn’t mean they don’t need you. So when you go on vacation you need to have a plan or a sitter for your fish. Yes, some fish can last up to 10 days without food but it doesn’t mean that they should. 

There are options; a fish sitter, automatic fish feeder, or fish blocks (also referred to as vacation feeders or slow-release feeders). A high-quality automatic feeder is the most recommended. You will fill them with food, set a time of day to dispense, how much to dispense, and go catch your airplane.

The fish blocks will work for an unplanned/emergency weekend away, but they are not recommended if you are going to be gone for more than a week. They can pollute the water, clog the filter, and your fish could overeat. 

Do your research, plan your vacation, and go have a wonderful time. Your aquarium accessories will take good care of your fish until your return 

Related Articles

5 Types Of Freshwater Fish Food


I'm passionate about fish pets and love sharing everything I learn about them.

Recent Posts