person feeding a goldfish with flakes

How to Feed Your Fish When You're on Holiday

LAST UPDATED April 3 2023

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian Dr Nicole Wynne Bsc BVMS MANZCVS (Unusual Pets)

Going on holiday can sometimes feel more stressful than its worth! While a pet sitter is always the best option to care for pets when you’re away, fish can cope well with absences of up to 4 weeks as long as their water quality, water temperature, and feeding schedule is consistent.

What should I do before going on holiday?

fish in a tank

Make sure that you inspect, clean, and maintain all your tank equipment such as filters, bubblers, thermostats, heaters, and do a water quality test prior to going away. A partial water change of 10-20% is a good idea to ensure that the water quality will remain consistent during your absence. It is also a good idea to replenish your tank’s biological filter prior to going away. 

If you have a spare filter, it is worthwhile setting it up as a backup filter in case of failure. Make sure that you initially run the filter for a day or so in a spare unpopulated tank or tub of water with added biological filter to populate it.

What is the best way to feed fish when on holiday?

feeding a goldfish flaked food

Avoid feeding blocks or other holiday feeder blocks that claim to slowly release food into the water. These blocks often foul water more than they feed your fish, and this can lead to dangerous water quality issues. Fish also prefer a feeding schedule and are unlikely to adapt suddenly to a change in food type and location. These blocks also don’t cater for different types of feeders, such as top feeders or middle feeders, and they often don’t provide adequate nutrition either. 

The best way to feed your fish is an automatic feeder. Automatic feeders usually run on battery power, and release a set amount of food on schedule. These feeders can usually be programmed to feed varying amounts of food at varying times. The main issues with automatic feeders is that mechanical or battery failure is still possible, and they will have a limited amount of food that they can store.

To reduce the risk of the automatic feeder failing or running out, start using it for at least a week before you go away so you can troubleshoot any potential issues. 

It is still best to have someone pop in every few days or so to check that everything is looking okay and make sure that all your equipment looks like it’s all running normally.

Further Reading

Want to read more? Check out our other articles:

Fish Tank Maintenance and Cleaning 101

How to Cycle Your Fish Tank

A Complete Guide to Setting Up Your Fish Tank

Common Aquarium Problems and How to Solve Them

Shop All Aquarium Supplies Now

Did you know our vets are also available on Live Chat 24/7, via email and through our Vet Pet Plan service; answer a few simple questions about your pet and a Pet Circle vet will respond with a tailored nutrition, health and lifestyle plan!

Please note that as our vets have not examined your pet, any advice given is general in nature. If you believe your pet is unwell, please seek direct veterinary attention.