How to Hand Off Your Aquarium to a Babysitter

It happens to every aquarium owner eventually. You decide you are going to go on a vacation or leave home for a while. What are you going to do with your aquarium?

Your aquarium needs attention almost daily. Fish need to be fed. Water parameters need to be checked. Hardware needs to be inspected and maintained.

Who’s going to do all that stuff when you decide to leave your home for a few days? You can’t take your aquarium with you. You will need to get somebody to check on your aquarium for you. Many of you have already probably done this.

In the most basic sense, you probably just need somebody to check on your fish and feed them a couple times a day, each day, while you are gone. If you’re only going to be gone for a few days, then this probably will be the case. And this scenario is not that hard of a scenario to deal with. You can easily show somebody how to feed your fish.

But what if you are going to be gone for longer than a few days, or what if your aquarium requires more specialized maintenance? You will need to take extra care when handing off your aquarium to it’s temporary caretaker.


I would recommend that first you chart out everything that will need to be maintained, in a timeline, and write it out clearly on a sheet of paper. If possible, write tasks on a calendar for your temporary caretaker. You may even have your own schedule written down, if this is the case you can just use that.

This will leave nothing to the imagination for your caretaker, they’ll know exactly when to do everything, and there is much less room for error.

Also make sure to review your aquarium supplies to ensure that everything that your caretaker will need is readily available.


If you are going to have a friend, acquaintance or relative maintain your aquarium while you are gone, you will need to educate them before you leave. It would be best if you are able to show them in person how to do the stuff they’ll need to do.

Show them the following

  • How you feed the fish
  • How to measure out the fish food
  • How to scrape the glass with an algae scraper properly
  • What to look for to make sure that all the fish are acting normal
  • How to test the water
  • and so on

You get the idea, basically just look at your list of things that they’ll need to do and show them each thing. Once again, if you make your caretaker guess how each task should be done, there is a lot more room for error.

If they seem interested enough, tell them why each thing needs to be done. Your caretaker will have a lot more vested interest in doing a good job of watching over your aquarium if they understand the importance of it all.

You might even create another aquarist if you educate well enough. Even better yet, if you already have a friend who has an aquarium, they’ll be well suited to watch over yours.

Make Yourself Available

If possible, make yourself available through some means of communication to your caretake while you are gone. If they run into trouble, or something goes wrong with your aquarium while you are away, they will want to contact you with questions or concerns. Even if you are able to be reached by just email, for example, it will prevent your aquarium babysitter from having to make uninformed decisions in tough situations.


Of course, as with most needs, there are probably professional services available to cater to your needs. You may have a professional aquarium maintenance company in the area. If you have a more serious aquarium setup, or if your aquarium is not exactly easy to be maintained by the wary, you may want to have a professional take control of the aquarium babysitting.

What types of services are available could vary wildly by locale, but you can always check at the local pet stores and the local business directories to see if such a service is available in your area.

About Luke

the owner and caretaker of a 75 gallon aquarium in his home studio. Good times.

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