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tank maintenance for 1 month holiday


10 Mar 2008
On Saturday I fly off to Peru for a month long holiday. :D :D :D

So here is my normal and holiday maintenance schedules for you guys to critique. My housemate is going to be performing the holiday maintenance. He has dosed the plants and fed the fish for me once in the past and yesterday I took him through cleaning the filter and performing a water change with hoses. He has almost zero first hand experience, but he is keen, has lots of common sense and has listened to me talking about my tank like a religion for the last year so knows the concepts of fertilisation of plants via CO2, the importance of water changes and that kind of thing!

Tank stats
160l tank (3 footer)
2 x 24w T5 and 1 x 25w T8, 12 hours a day.
Tetratec ex1200 (with Hydor heater and DIY reactor inline)
Pressurised CO2 (running 24/7, dropchecker light green with 2.5bps)

my usual maintenance schedule
Daily dosing on a 2 day schedule
one day 'macros' - 1 teaspoon of potassium nitrate, half teaspoon of monopotassium phosphate
next day 'micros' - 1 teaspoon of pre mix. pre mix is 1/3 of potassium nitrate, traces, espom salts.
feed fish once every day, often missing a day here and there.
50% WC, followed by macro dosing and 1 teaspoon of epsom salts.
Trim, debris clear.
at least monthly
clean filter,
every couple of months
glass clean

So that is the usual, for the next month I am going for...

Daily plant and fish dosing no change. The ferts are all premeasured in paper wraps and labelled with a date and 'micro' or 'macro'. Fish food also in wraps. One wrap a day.
Weekly WC of 30% (as at 50% the filter needs stopping and starting and often repriming which I don't want to subject my housemate too)
No dosing after water change (to simplify dosing schedule)
No debris clearing, trimming, filter cleaning.
Adhoc instructions for holiday maintenance
If the dropchecker goes blue - cut the plant dosing down from once a day to two wraps in a week. Making sure one wrap is micro and one is macro.
If the flow stops coming out the spraybar or goes really low - clean and restart the filter.
If you forget the odd days dosing - don't worry about it.
If you miss a lot of days dosing - you can put 'backdated' wraps in the tank, but leave at least 2 minutes between a 'micro' and 'macro' wrap
If you see a little scum on the surface of the tank - ignore it.
If you see scum on the surface of the tnak and it is increasing more each day - perform extra water changes.

I've been doing los of extra maintenance for the last month so the tank is in fantastic condition now.
I contemplated switching some lights off, switching CO2 off etc but decided against it, as whenever I make these kind of changes the tank takes a while to settle\stabilise again. I have however intentionally let the cover glas get dirty over the last two months so that has already lowered light levels by a noticeable amount over a nice gradual time frame.

I expect the tank will suffer from the lack of pruning\debris cleaning, but hopefully it will be healthy enough for me to whip it back into shape upon my return.

Any constructive comments appreciated!...


Thread starter
10 Mar 2008
Hey Aaron, thanks for the reply :D

I am nervous about lowering the light as my CO2 levels might then go too high. I dont then want to be messing about tweaking CO2 just before I go away.

:idea: I think I will turn off one of the tubes when I get home today, then if the CO2 still looks OK between now and Saturday (the day I fly) I will leave it off. If not I'll just turn it back on.

I guess the lack of other replies means the schedule doesn't look too shabby ;)

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