How To Prepare Your Tetra Fish Before Vacation?

Tetra fish tank on Vacation

Do you fall into the category who loves traveling and also a fish lover? How will you manage both things? If you will go on a vacation, then how will your fish survive? How will they eat? Who will care for them when they breed? If they are scared of something, who will notice? These kinds of questions may be revolving around your head. But you will get almost all the answers through this article.

In this article, I will give you some ideas on how you can prepare your fish tank when you go on vacation. Without worrying about your tetra fish, you can enjoy your vacation.

What Are The Things You Need To Consider Before Going On A Vacation?

Request your friends to watch your tetras

One of the options is you can request your friend or a neighbor to look after your tetra fish if your friend is also a fish lover and has an aquarium that will be a great benefit for you. You do not need to explain every detail of what to do and what not to do.

Tetra fish are not so hard to care for. So with the instructions given by you will help a fish sitter to take care. If you have a friend who has no experience with fish, the best option to avoid overfeeding is to use zip lock bags. Keep that much quantity in a zip lock bag that tetras will eat in a day. Ask your friend not to tamper with any equipment inside an aquarium and with water.

Automatic Fish Feeders

This is another option for you to maintain an aquarium when you are away. Automatic Fish Feeders is a piece of equipment that distributes food in an aquarium automatically in a certain period. This is pretty easy to install and use. Without any hesitation, you should invest in this equipment for your tetras because if you buy a cheap feeder, then it might create a disaster by not distributing adequate food or by distributing it in a large quantity to the tetras.

You can go on vacation without worrying as it can store foods for several weeks. Most models have a feature of adjustment; you can set up the time and quantity for your tetras. Some models need electricity supply and some runs in batteries as well.

Test the feeder before you go on a vacation so that you will not get any surprises when you return.

Change the water in your aquarium.

It is very important to keep your aquarium clean. So, it is better if you change the water before you go on vacation. Partial water change also can work, but it depends on the size of your fish tank. If your fish tank is small, you need to change the water completely. But if you have a fish tank of 5 or 10 gallons, partial water change also works.

When you change the water, it removes toxins from the fish tank due to which your tetras are safe from diseases. The leftover foods excrete everything that should be cleaned up so that your tetra fish remains healthy.

When you use tap water for your fish tank, it is necessary to add a water conditioner. Water conditioner helps you to remove chemicals from the water, which may be harmful to your tetra fish. 

Read more about Water Parameters for Tetra Fish: Stable Water Condition.

Managing the water levels in the tank

Water parameters play a vital role in the survival of your tetras. So, you need to keep an account on the water level of your fish tank.

To manage a water level, you can install an automatic water top-up device. This is an equipment that runs through electricity, so you need to be sure if you have any backup when the electricity goes off. Furthermore, this device feeds extra water to the tank when the water level drops in your fish tank.

To be sure this device works properly test before you go for a long holiday.

Want to find what’s the ideal number of tetra for your tank? Check the article “How Many Tetra Fish Per Gallon of Water?”.

Checking and cleaning the filters

Filters help to remove impurities from your tank. So, it is very important to check the filters. If the filters are malfunctioning without wasting time, you must change it. You cannot take any risks during your vacation.

Filters are also required to maintain adequate oxygen in the water. Likewise, you need to clean your filter before you go being sure it’s working properly.

I will describe to you how you should clean your filter.

  • Firstly, unplug your filter to avoid electric shock. You may get shocked while cleaning the filter so better to unplug it.
  • You will need two cups of water or more from the tank to clean the filter’s sponge. It is better if you avoid tap water to clean your filter because it may contain various chemicals. You can drain the water in a bowl or a bucket
  • After you keep the water in a bowl, wash the sponge with your hands and water. You do not need to worry about killing the bacteria of the sponge that were protecting your tetras. You should clean and squeeze the sponge until it throws clean water. If you do not like to touch the sponge with your bare hands, you can use gloves to clean it. But if the sponge is too dirty better to replace it than to clean it.
  • With the left water in the bowl, you have to clean other parts of the filter. You can use a filter cleaning brush, which is easily available in the pet stores. This brush helps you to clean your filter more efficiently. If the water in the bowl is dirty, do not use the same water to clean other parts.
  • After this, carefully put back the sponge to the filter and keep it in the aquarium and use it. You can keep the remaining water of the bowl in the tank if the water is clean and no junk is floating in the water. But I suggest you to avoid keeping it back to the tank to maintain cleanliness in the tank.
  • You need to clean the filter as quickly as possible because it is better not to keep the aquarium for too long without any filter in it.

Learn more about Types of Aquarium Filter and Filtration Methods.


As a human being, you know when to turn the light on and when to turn off the light. Similarly, tetras fish also know when to expect lights on and when to expect lights off. Keeping this in mind, you need to adjust your aquarium lights. You cannot keep your lights on the whole period, nor can you turn off the lights for the whole period.

While going on a vacation, you must maintain a daily routine with your tetras regarding lights, or else it may create problems in their habitat. You can set the timer in your lights when you are away according to their regular lifestyle. Generally, you can keep the lights on 8-10 hours a day; this is the maximum limit.

Remove dead plants

Before going for a long trip, remove all the dead plants from the aquarium because it may create bacteria in the tank. How much sense does it make to keep any dead thing around you? It is better to remove all the dead things, whether that is a dead fish or a dead leaf. These are just an invitation to diseases. Along with bacterial infection, your fish tank will also look dirty and unattractive. As you do not keep dead fish in your aquarium, do not keep dead plants as well, remove it immediately as you see it.

What Do You Need To Do After Coming Home?

Before going on a vacation, you need to perform some tasks; likewise, after coming home, also you have to look at your fish tanks. Even though you were sure you had done all the things necessary for your tank before going on a vacation, you must see how your tetras are. If you have kept a fish sitter, then it is important to know whether s/he has done his/her job perfectly or not.

Following things must be done when you return from vacation:

Visual Inspection

You need to check for any tetra fish that are dead or are breeding. If you find any tetras dead, then you need to remove it immediately. As tetras do not care about their eggs so it’s your responsibility to take care of the eggs by hiding those eggs from them or else tetras could eat the eggs. Also, check if there is any leakage in the tank to ensure the water level has not decreased too much.

Changing water

Although you have changed the water before going on a vacation, you need to change 25% of water after you return. This helps to remove toxins from the fish tank, which is unhealthy for fish. Likewise, cleaning the fish tank increases the life span of fish.

Check the equipment

To create an artificial environment for tetras to survive, you must have installed some equipment like filters, feeders, lights, etc., so it is very important to check whether all of your equipment is working properly or not. This helps you to know whether the tetras were fine or not when you were away.

Check water temperature

Although tetras are hardy fish, which means they can adjust in the environment, they are kept in, but you need to check whether the temperature of the water is suitable for them or not. Due to the unusual water temperature, tetra fish may find it difficult to survive. If required, you can make changes immediately after returning home.

Test the water of the fish tank

After returning home, you need to test the quality of water on the fish tank by using water test kits. This helps you to identify whether to change water or not. Quality of the water is important for a healthy and long life of your tetras. Due to poor water, your tetras may suffer from various diseases that decrease their life span.

After all those inspections, you can feed your tetras in the normal routine and have regular maintenance of your fish tank like before.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long can tetras go without food in an aquarium?

Tetra fish can survive for more than a week without eating. They have enough body mass and fat reserved in their body due to which they can survive for a few days without eating. We always feed our pets more than their capacity. This is one of the basic reasons for survival without feeding. You do not need to worry about survival; they can survive for more than a week without eating. Maybe you forgot, but tetras live in the freshwater of South America where there will be no one to feed them regularly, they have to manage on their own. So this builds the capacity in them to survive without food.

Should I leave my fish tank light on while on vacation?

As I mentioned earlier, tetra fish expects the light to turn on and off in regular interval. You should not keep lights on all the time because this will disturb the tetras during night time. As long as the lights are on tetras do not take rest, they are active. This degrades the health of tetras. It is better to keep the lights off all the time than to keep it on. I suggest you keep a timer in the aquarium lights. You need to set the time, and accordingly, lights will turn on and off. You do not need to ask your friend to turn on the light or turn off the light if you have a timer in your light.

Is it necessary to change the water of the aquarium frequently?

You must change 15% of the water every week if you want your tetras to be healthy. But if you are busy and could not do it every week, then within the fourth week, you need to change the water. You can keep the water maximum for four weeks. If you do not change the water frequently, this leads to discoloration of fish, loss of appetite, weak immune system, etc. In short, it will decrease the life span of your tetras.

Is vacation feeder suitable for tetras to feed when you are away?

If you are going on a vacation for one or two weeks, then the vacation feeder is okay, but if you need to go for a long trip, vacation feeder may not be the best option for you. You may notice the water of the fish tank getting dirty too soon due to the use of a vacation feeder. Vacation feeder gets dissolve in the water, which pollutes the water of the tank and makes it dirty. Instead of a vacation feeder, I suggest using an automatic feeder, which is better than a vacation feeder.

Is it possible to keep tetras with other fish even when you are on vacation?

Yes, you can keep your tetra fish with other species like guppies, danios, corydoras, discus fish, etc. Tetra fish are peaceful and friendly so they can stay together with other non-aggressive fish. Even though you are away from your tetras, you can keep them with other fish because they do not fight with other fish. Tetra fish stays with groups called schools, so they are not so aggressive. Only if you keep excessive fish in the tank, then they may fight while feeding.

Final Words

I hope this article will help you to prepare a fish tank for your tetras when you go for a long trip. It is important to take a break from your work and stress for some time to give some care to yourself. Just because you have a pet fish to look after, you cannot take a break. But here I am with some tricks for you to prepare your tetra fish tank for vacation. You can have a long vacation without any tension about tetras. And hopefully, when you return, you will find the tetras in the same way you left them.

When I go on a vacation, I follow those steps for my fish tank, and it works well. Your tetra fish remains healthy, and you will not notice any changes in the behavior of your fish.

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