At some point or another it’s going to happen where you will be away from your pet piranhas. Sometimes it will only be for a few days (i.e.: golf trip to Vegas, held up in a local police drunk tank for 48 hours, etc. ) or sometimes you just need to take off for a few weeks to get away from the day-to-day stress of normal life.   Whatever it is, there are a few things you can do to make sure your pet piranhas survive your time away.
If you are only going for a few days, you don’t really have to do anything special really. Piranhas can survive several days without food. But, to be on the safe side you should try to time their feeding right before you leave.

If you are leaving for more than a few days, there are a few things you can do:

  • Examine all your piranhas to make sure they look healthy and are eating properly. If they aren’t, they may be stressed or possibly have some type of disease. If in doubt, consult your local pet store to see what can be done. It’s better to take care of it before you leave if possible.
  • If at all possible, make sure that the regular maintenance is done on the tank before you leave. You really don’t want to hand over a mess to someone else, especially someone who most likely doesn’t care as much as you do about the tank. This includes topping off the water if it’s getting a bit low, making sure the filter is running at full capacity and making sure the temperature is ok.
  • If you are in a habit of cycling your aquarium light on and off during a specific schedule, you can purchase a timer and set up your aquarium light to do the same thing while you are away. Always test this ahead of time to make sure it works properly. You don’t want the lights to be on the whole time you are away and you’ll have some peeved-off piranhas when you get back!
  • If you’ve ever had problems with power where you live, you should consider getting a UPS. Say what? Yes, UPS. It’s a “Uninterruptable Power Source” which is basically a bigger version of a power bar and has a battery in it. They don’t help if the power goes off for a day or two, but they do help if the power tends to get cranky a bit (i.e.: flicker on and off for a few seconds or minutes here and there). Once you plug your aquarium equipment into it, if the power flickers, the battery will kick in and keep everything alive. For how long? That will depend on how big of a UPS you get.
  • Ask someone you trust to come over and feed them while you are away. This could be a neighbor, family member, close friend, or even a friend “with benefits”. Whoever it is, just make sure you give them a basic overview of how and when to feed your piranhas, how the tank works (without getting too technical), and what they can do in case of an emergency.   For example, what happens if they walk in and the aquarium sprang a slow leak?  Chances are in won’t happen, but try to think of a few things that could happen and give them ways to deal with it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • If you can’t find someone to come in and take care of them, you can buy an automatic feeder for your aquarium. These let you dispense food at specific intervals during the day. You can only use flakes/pellets with these feeders, but they’ll get you out of a jam if needed. (Important: If you are going to do this, set it up a week or two before you leave and test it out to make sure that it works and that it dishes out food exactly when you want). 
  • Talk to your local aquarium/pet store and see if they can take them on. They might charge you for it, but at least you know they’ll be in good hands. I would only do this if you are gone for a long time because it will mean bringing them to the store, acclimatizing them to their environment, etc. It’s a lot of work and some places don’t do this, so check with them ahead of time.

I hope this helps you with the next time you are away from your babies. If I missed anything important, please let me know! I’m always curious to see how others deal with being away from their fish.

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