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Long vacation, what to do? Need prep tips.

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I have two nano tanks, stable and pretty independent systems; ATO, Auto Feeder, efficient CUC etc.


The only maintenance related work I do would be changing filter floss and my weekly waterchange(s)


Here comes the fun part - I will be going on vacation for 19 days meaning the tanks will be without water changes for 20.


This is currently my only form of nutrient export and I have nobody trustworthy to perform these. The water changes are also my only way for parameter replenishment.


So what do I do?

- Cheato Reactor / Mini Fuge

- Skimmer

- Leave for 20 days


Please help, got ~2 months to prep.




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How big are these nano tanks? There's a nifty all in one water top off and water change thing. 

To be honest I haven't read much about it, only seen a video...maybe you have the perfect scenario to "pioneer" it 🙂 ?


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Definitely make sure your ATO reservoir is big enough for a 20-day trip.


I'd clean all pumps and auto feeders before leaving.  It will give you a chance to inspect for wear and hopefully catch any impending failures if you see something looking as if it's about to be worn out.  Replace batteries in auto feeder with new, fresh, name brand (high quality) - if battery powered.


I used to put a SeaChem product in my ATO water.  I think it was Reef Buffer (NOT reef builder).  It kept my pH, alk and CA within specs.  I used to add a premeasured amount to my 10g ATO reservoir and that was good for about 10 days or so, on a 65-70g system.  I had to experiment with the amount I added to my ATO reservoir.  You've got 2 months, so plenty of time to figure that out.


I'd change the water before I left and then cross my fingers. 

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If its 2 months away id try to leave it for 3 weeks now. While your home to "pioneer" the vacation. We left for 12 days. I just portioned out my flake food with date and left the 7 gal rodi jug on the table and showed hin how to fill the top off. Did a waterchange before i left and when i got back

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I would get a nest cam or something to be able to monitor the tank and have an emergency contact on hand. You will sleep better being able to visually check in.


Test the auto feeder heavily unless you mean you currently run it and it's working fine. Sometimes they dump in too mich if not tested well.

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All good advice. 

I would definitely remove filter floss or any other floss-like filter pads etc. You don’t want those pads get exhausted and clog/slow down water flow. 

Not sure how you keep your Alk levels in check but if you’re dosing manually, I would look into Kalk solution. Just figure out how much you need to add to your ATO to keep the Alk at reasonable levels. 

Disregard above solution if you’re using dosing pump(s). 

I wouldn't add any new equipment b4 that trip. Have extra RO water handy in case ATO needs to get refilled. 

You could lower the temperature by 2 degrees Fahrenheit, lower light intensity by 5-10 percent and shorten the photoperiod by an hour or two to slow down metabolism of your corals and possibly your fish as well. 

Make sure all essential equipment is in good working order. Have a safeguard for your heater such as temp controller of some sort. Spare heater might come handy (just in case) if you have someone that could make the swap for you. If you don’t have one of those stick on or other kind of thermometers on you tank(s), get it so your trusty care person can easily check the temp. 

Do a large water change b4 the trip. 

Hope for the best and enjoy your trip. 


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Good input folks - thanks.


Looks like I am doing following;


- Large waterchange (~50%) before and after trip. Clean everything.


- Fill ATO containers (have distilled 1gal containers for additional top off as needed)


- Removing filterfloss


- Check, double check all equipment - replace batteries of auto feeders.


- Buy a cam.


Luckily I have a person that can check up on the tanks daily but I do not trust the person to do anything but feeding(should autofeeder fail)


Hopefully with this and a bit of luck, the system will run and survive 20 days without attention.

Again, it can go 7-10 days right now without attention but waterchanges are my only nutrient export, so they are crucial for my systems.

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I don’t know if you need a cam. By the time you see something alarming (like fish swimming belly up or tank being half full🤭) it is probably going to be too little to late. Plus, it’s expensive (unless you own one already. Than, why not.). 


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Ha, true but $20 for cheap cload camera could put some stress to rest.

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