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Vacation Planning
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Jimbob
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Joined: 27 Feb 2004
Location: London, England

PostPosted: 2007.03.03(Sat)4:16    Post subject: Vacation Planning Reply with quote

I have been planning how best to manage my marine system while I go away for a two week vacation in April. I have spent the last six weeks sorting out an auto-feeder and how to reduce evaporation. The feeding is now sorted - twice a day using an Ehiem feeder. I have been watching the nitrate levels and have got the feeder adjusted to deliver the same level of flake as the occupants would normally get without polluting the water.

I researched a couple of auto-top up devices to compensate for evaporation but in the end (based on cost and reliability) got a piece of 6mm clear perspex, machine cut to order, complete with gaps for the auto-feeder, pipes and a reasonable size inspection hatch. There is still a decent amount of light getting through and I figure in the absence of coral etc it will do the job.

The perpex cover has cut the evaporation loss from @4ltrs a week to @.75ltrs a week and I noticed that the salt water readings are at 1024 up from 1023. I reckon that over the two week vacation period the salinity could max out at 1025/1026 which is going to be at the upper limit for the present occupants. I plan to do a 30% water change and filter clean the day before I go and then do the same the day after I get home.

Here is the question - If I spend the next two weeks reducing the salinity down to 1020/1021 and let it stabilize for two weeks will the inevitable increase whilst I am away be gradual enough so as not to cause major problems for the occupants?

I have neighbors coming in twice a week for the furry pets but none of them are willing to do water top up's for me. My LFS has agreed to be contacted in an emergency (ie- if things start floating in a bad way which for me is not a place I want to go) but not for routine maintenance.

Presently I have, in a 20 gallon tank, one:

Mithrax crab
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2007.03.03(Sat)17:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two weeks is a long time to leave a marine system alone.
Lowered water levels from evaporation can be a problem, IMO the specific gravity is really not a major concern, but without sounding paranoid--- there are many, many other things that can go wrong; power outage, heater malfunction, clogged filter or prefilter, light bulbs, siphon tubes, pathogens/illness, etc.

In my experience a few days is not a problem, but for a 2 week absence, I would have a fellow marine aquarist or professional aquarium maintenance company come my and check your tank once or twice a week minimum.
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