If as a pet owner you love aquarium fish, and saltwater fish in particular, read this blog. Caring for your saltwater fish tank yourself is a joy if the fish are your passion. But what happens when you go on holiday and you need to brief your petsitter? Read on to learn our top tips on how to brief your saltwater fish tank sitter.
Tips to give your saltwater fish tank sitter
You’re a marine aquarium hobbyist and no one could possibly love and dote on your fish the way you would. And loving saltwater fish the way you do caring for your saltwater fish tank becomes a priority.
But now you have to go away on a business trip or vacation. And then you realize, you need to figure out how best to take care of your saltwater fish in your absence.
A lot of things could go wrong, like overflowing pipes, power outages, heater malfunctions, etc. Plus chores fulfilling chores like feeding, maintaining optimal water parameters would be of utmost concern. What to do?
Resigning to getting a sitter is your most logical option. But beyond finding the right sitter, helping and making sure the sitter does a good job is the most important. Here are some tips you could relate to your sitter that will make yours and their job a lot easier.
Tips on how to successfully handover your saltwater fish tank to a sitter
Finding The Right Aquarium Helper
It’s advisable to ask someone you know who is reliable, trustworthy, and preferably has some understanding about marine aquariums.
A fellow hobbyist or someone who comes heavily recommended would have some basic knowledge and is less likely to muddle up or misinterpret your instructions. Even someone who has dealt with freshwater tanks is much preferable to a novice.
Make a demo of your instructions
Nothing tops visual demonstrations, this way you get to show your sitter how and the exact manner you run your aquarium. In briefing your sitter on caring for your saltwater fish tank you could demonstrate things such as:
- Feeding the fish, and others like corals and invertebrates
- Adding fresh water to the tank to make up for evaporation
- Supplements and dosing
- Unloading and rinsing your protein skimmer’s collection cup
- How to detect leaks in the system.
- Label and show your sitter drains, tubes, and wire in case you need to troubleshoot while on vacation
- Working the lid and securely closing it, because fish jump out of tanks all the time. If left out for too long they dry up.
It is common sense to leave behind notes. Let’s face it, the demonstration may help the sitter see exactly how your instructions will be carried out. But putting down an explicitly written checklist of what needs to be done will help keep your sitter’s memories fresh, leaving little to no room for error.
This is important because our brains are wired to forget. And we forget 56% of what we learn in an hour.
Also, be sure to include your contact details, so your sitter has access to you in the case of an emergency. You could also include the number of your go-to local aquatic veterinarian should the need arise.
Divide your feed into pre-portion rations
When it comes to feeding quantity, most people tend to overdo it. And overfeeding is the fastest way to make your water quality poor. The smart thing to do would be to pre-portion your feed into the exact desired amount before your departure.
Here are some tips to help with that
- Arrange daily servings of frozen foods, such as chopped clams, plankton, Mysid shrimp in an ice cube tray with labels to match. Distribute into each compartment each of the pre-portioned daily rations. Cover the tray with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then place the tray in the freezer.
- You can make use of a pill organizer to pre-apportion dry foods like flakes and pellets. You could also use the pill organizer to dose your supplements. This is important because your sitter could mistakenly apply an overdose of supplements which could be of catastrophic consequences. Also, in the case of multiple supplements, labels are crucial in helping to know which is which
- Precut sheets of dry marine algae for feeding rabbitfishes, tangs, and other grazers into servings of appropriate size and number. Then, store them in a plastic sandwich baggie.
How to make your pet sitters job easier
Automate important tasks
You can automate some important tasks, leaving your sitter with minimal chores. When they care for your saltwater fish tank they must do the basics like checking and making sure that things are running smoothly. Some of the central tasks you can automate include: feeding, topping off the tank, and switching the lights on and off. Here’s a list of solutions you could consider:
- Buy an automatic top-off system
- Buy an automatic light timer
- Buy an automatic fish feeder
Test run these devices for a couple of days before you leave to be certain they work effectively. These devices will make life a lot easier for you and your sitter.
Perform all of the regular maintenance protocols
Make sure you run all your maintenance protocols a couple of days before your departure. A system in top-notch condition is less likely to develop any complications. And with this, you can rest easy on your vacation or focus on your business trip. Also, your sitter would have a straightforward job.
Setting your saltwater fish sitter up for success
A final word on briefing your saltwater fish tank sitter
Though running a saltwater tank is a beautiful hobby to have, it’s also quite an investment. And like most investments, you should try your best to keep your fish tank afloat.
That’s why even when you have to go away on a business trip or vacation, you make arrangements for your precious aquatic ecosystem to be taken care of. If you follow some of the tips we’ve discussed, you will be able to effectively transfer the care of your fish to a fish tank sitter.