solving the going on vacation dilemma

 

So you are in betta heaven. Your fish room is looking better each day, shelves are going up on the wall, baby brine shrimp hatcheries are bubbling happily…

Life is good.

Then comes the devastating news: You are going to take a vacation. LOL

And suddenly, anxiety grabs you by the throat (or other body parts, which I am currently unable to mention :) ). WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR BETTAS????

Fear not my friend, your faithful friend Faith is here to get you out of this mess . Disaster (hopefully) shall not strike thy fishroom and happy little finned family.


The week end trip

Bettas need not eat daily. So if you are going to be out of town for two or three days, I would say “don’t sweat it”!! Just go and enjoy yourself :)). Hey that was easy, no? Of course, do feed your bettas RIGHT BEFORE LEAVING, and be a bit generous with the food quantity . Don’t give them more food than they can eat, but you can make sure to give them ALL they can eat. Remember uneaten food will pollute the water and cause diseases.

Do a last inspection before leaving. Are all filters on your tanks working properly? Any betta looking sick that needs to be pulled out and isolated? Are your jars all covered and secured? If you live in an earthquake prone area (I know I do :(( ), then you might consider placing all your jars on the floor, providing you don’t have any other pets that could get to them. Cover the jars. Remember, bettas do jump.

Is your room warm enough? For jarred bettas, which do not have heaters to keep them warm, it is important that the room stay warm while you are gone. Or cool if it is in the hot summer months. You will need to leave the heater or A/C on while you are gone. Don’t forget.

Beware of your little neighbor: If you are gonne for just 2 to 4 days, your bettas will be safer left alone. The kid around the block you were planning to enroll as a betta guardian, might over feed your bettas and will do more harm than good. I say: save your bettas from the ignorant and save a few buck. Skip the babysitter. They’ll be just fine on their own.


The long trip

Love them friends/ boyfriends/neighbors/relatives. This is the time you’ll know who your friends really are :). If you are gone for more than a few days, you will need help. That is when you have to ask for favors or hire someone or both :))

Think ahead. I strongly suggest you think about this now, long before you get confronted by a trip. Who would you trust to handle your bettas? Pick someone that is gentle, smart, reliable and loves animals. Pick someone who will not get into your underwear drawer while you are gone. You will need to give your house key to that person, so be selective. You might want to line up a couple of different options.

Train your future helper. Once you have selected a couple of people and have talked them into it :)), then you should have them come over once or twice to show them the ropes. Which food to use, how much to feed, how to mix tap water (in case of emergency). Imagine for example an earthquake happens while you are gone (it did last time I went to Vegas) and your helper flies to the rescue, only to find most of your fish on the floor, and that all the jars have spilled. How would he save your bettas if he cannot replace the water and treat it to remove the chlorine, etc…. So a little training might come in handy.

Pay your helper. A little money goes a long way and makes it a lot easier to ask for help the next time you leave.

Make a small written “how to“ list. Your helper may be willing but his memory might fail him, so don’t take chances, leave him a complete instruction on how to do his daily betta caring tasks.
Stick to a minimum. If you are gone less than 10 days and your jars are 1/2 gal or more, then don’t even ask for your helper to clean jars for you. Ask for the least amount possible, there will less room for error and your bettas will be safer. Just ask for him/her to feed them once a day. That’s it. He/she might also make sure none of the bettas have jumped out of their jars, and all filters/ heaters are working properly in the tanks.
Longer trips. If you are gone for more than 10 days, then you will have to train your helper to do water changes. Have him/her do it a few times with you so you can supervise, and also leave him complete instruction in case he/she has a blank later on :))

 

Taking a trip and the betta fry

Your betta fries will more than likely not survive your absence. If you blink, they will get a fin rot, velvet or come exotic mysterious disease that will wipe them off in 2 seconds. This is a big problem. Babies require constant monitoring and supervising and only an expert can keep them alive and well. Your fishiesitter will more than likely over feed, or will not detect the outbreaks of fungus/bacteria/parasites in time to save all or part of the spawn.

Plan your spawning. If you know when you will be gone on vacation, avoid starting new spawns for that time.

Transfer to larger quarters. If you do have spawns, then you could move the fries to a larger tank 2 weeks before leaving. They will have less of a chance to get a bacterial outbreak in a larger quarter. Remember, no power filters or anything other than a sponge filter or corner filter should be used for small babies. See “mistakes to avoid” for more info.

Clean right before leaving. Do your water changes, and baby tank cleaning right before leaving.
Start a new microworm culture before you leave. This way your helper will not run out of worms and your babies won’t starve.
Teach your helper how to feed babies. Show him/her how to harvest the microworms, or how to hatch and harvest the baby brine shrimp, etc… Show how much to feed.
Leave a number where you are going to be. So your helper can call you in case of disaster (you can bet one will inevitably happen while you are away!! Murphy’s Law).
Pray a lot. Hey, I believe in prayer. I always pray before shipping my bettas for them to have a safe trip. I am a believer. So by all means do pray before leaving, both for your safe return and for your bettas survival. Having said that, don‘t freak, your betta will probably be just fine and won‘t even notice you were gone ;))).

 

Taking your pet betta(s) with you

If you only have one betta, or just a few, or if you are deranged :), you might want to take your bettas with you on vacation. It is doable, but here are a few rules to abide by.

Airline restrictions. Some airlines have strict rules about taking live animals and fish aboard a plane, so call ahead of time and find out. Remember bettas cannot be placed in the unpressurized cargo area of the airplane, because the temperatures will be below freezing and will kill the fish.

Customs restrictions. Some countries are VERY strict about letting live animals in. They may require a quarantine or flat out send them back. So also check with the customs of the country you are going to.

Get a small cooler. For local trips or road trips, I recommend getting a small cooler, which is to be used WITHOUT ice (duh!). Coolers are nice because they are insulated and have a hard shell, thus protecting bettas from impacts, and they also often have a strap, which makes it easy to carry cooler. You can place your bettas, bagged or in sealed jars, inside the cooler and place newspaper or shipping material between bags/jars to keep them in place.
Get jars that can be sealed. Plastic jars are recommended, cause they don’t break. Pick some with a lid you can screw on. You can place a sheet of saran wrap on top of jar opening, and then screw the lid on top of that. The saran wrap will insure the jar is leak proof. Fill water only half way or 35%, enough to cover your bettas bodies, but leaving plenty of AIR in jar so they don’t suffocate.
Teach your helper how to feed babies. Show him/her how to harvest the microworms, or how to hatch and harvest the baby brine shrimp, etc… Show how much to feed.
Leave a number where you are going to be. So your helper can call you in case of disaster (you can bet one will inevitably happen while you are away!! Murphy’s Law).
Pray a lot. Hey, I believe in prayer. I always pray before shipping my bettas for them to have a safe trip. I am a believer. So by all means do pray before leaving, both for your safe return and for your bettas survival. Having said that, don‘t freak, your betta will probably be just fine and won‘t even notice you were gone ;))).

 

Well, now you are set to go, so all I have left to say is:

Happy road, to yoOOOoooooou…. Until we meet agaiiiIIIIIiiiiiin…. :P