Many customers ask me what they should do with their discus when they are going away on vacation.
Being the true discus fish enthusiast that you are you are probably thinking that your discus fish need the high protein discus food that you normally feed them while you are away.
The first solution that probably comes to mind is to go to your local pet store and see what they have. At the pet store you will “time released” food blocks. You will also find automatic fish feeders. STAY AWAY FROM ALL OF THESE. Why you may ask? Time released food blocks are primarily intended for guppies and small tropical fish. They will not work for discus regardless of what the packaging says. Automatic fish feeders have the tendency to malfunction and release too much food at once which will mess up your water parameters which if not treated immediately will kill your discus. So, based on my many years of experience- STAY AWAY FROM BOTH OF THESE OPTIONS!
The next option that probably pops up in your mind is to get a relative, friend or neighbor to come in daily and feed your fish. DO NOT DO THIS! Why you may ask? If the person caring for your discus does not know anything about them they may overfeed them. Also, if they will be feeding them on a daily basis then they must keep up with the water changes. Failure to perform water changes especially after overfeeding will cause your discus to get sick and possibly die. Once again, based on my many years of experience with discus- STAY AWAY FROM THIS OPTION ALSO!
Caring for discus fish while on vacation may sound like a hassle but it really isn’t. It is extremely easy!
So what should you do then if you are going on vacation? My answer will surprise you but it is the best proven method to maintain discus while you are away on vacation.
1. Stop feeding your discus 24 hours before you leave.
2. Do a water change at least 35%-50% before leaving.
3. Leave your aquarium lights off or put them on a timer. You do not want too much light otherwise algae will form.
4. When you return from your trip turn the aquarium lights on for 30 minutes and leave the room. After 30 minutes feed them the normal portion as you would.
Discus will survive up to 4 weeks without eating. In the wild discus actually stop eating for up to several weeks which helps them clean out their system. The discus will not be affected in any way. If you plan on being away for more than 1 month then you need to find someone who you can train on how to feed and do water changes.
I hope this information helps you as you prepare for your next trip.
Caring for discus fish while on vacation should no longer be an issue for you!