Vacation Club?

Discussion in 'Other Reef Talk' started by fishy408, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

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    Weird title, but not really sure what to call it.

    A lot of us reefers go on vacation once in awhile. Over the past couple of months, I've noticed things going wrong when people are out. So it kind of freaks me out when I have vacations planned this year.

    For myself, I really don't have any close friends that have a clue about a reef tank. So I'm trying to think of other people in my position.

    I guess the concept is, maybe we can help babysit each other's tank while someone is away. I'm pretty sure there probably has to be a trust relationship, but I think that can be built over time.

    Does something like this already exist?
     
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  2. NelsonCh

    NelsonCh Supporting Member

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    I dont mind babysitting tanks as long as its not further than 50miles roundtrip. As for the trust thing, maybe the BOD could create a position where one persons job is to look over tanks for people out of town. reimburse them gas money and 5bucks for a bag of chips or some snack. I would totally be down for that.

    Another question related to tank care on leave... does BAR have a physical location? I am looking into options on what to do with my tank since active duty military is 4 years and I dont think I can be stationed in San Jose. Was thinking of teaching my parents on how to take care of my tank... which might end up with everything dead. Another option is selling the tank and its livestock off which I really do not want to do... or moving it somewhere where people can enjoy it until I get back.


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  3. rygh

    rygh BOD

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    I do like the idea.
    Same problem here. My friends/relatives are more likely to just add more food.

    Of course ... We mostly just know each other through the internet and a few club meetings.
    And it is not a small favor.
    Not so much because it is a lot of work, but because it is a lot of responsibility, and we all know things can go wrong.

    There are members that have businesses taking care of tanks.
    You would have to pay them of course, but it seems worth it for the trust/professionalism issues.


    -- My suggestion --
    Perhaps simply add another category under buy/sell/trade for tank sitting.
    With sub-categories:
    1) Offer of vacation tank sitting service
    2) Offer of regular tank maintenance service.
    3) Service wanted requests.

    Members only of course.

    You can put:
    Region you support.
    How much you charge.
    Restrictions, like only people you have met.

    I consider the benefit to the club worth any ethical questions about special free advertising.
     
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  4. fishy408

    fishy408 Supporting Member

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    I think if it's possible, it might be a good idea. Thoughts from anyone who offers the service would be valuable.
     
  5. OnTheReef

    OnTheReef OnTheReef (Eric) Supporting Member

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    I like this idea. We should also keep a list of recommended tank maintenance services. So the question I have would be how much training does someone need to take care of another member’s tank? I guess I’d also be pretty hesitant to take care of a tank that didn’t have an ATO and programmed dosing.


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  6. Bruce Spiegelman

    Bruce Spiegelman BOD

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    I think it's a great idea, but you are depending on finding someone close by who is capable of doing it and has the free time to do it. In many cases it may work out, but I'd guess there will be many where no one is available. Keep in mind that there are not only professionals that do this (@Coral reefer -- like Mike), but most stores also have a maintenance service. Jess at Diablo does it, Clearwater has a service, as does License to Krill. I believe AC and Neptune as well and many others. I know people "hesitate" to pay for tank maintenance, but it's not that expensive. Most services charge $65.00 to $85.00 and will do cleaning and a water change and double check everything. This is a pretty small price to pay considering your spending thousands on a vacation most likely and have invested more thousands in your tank.

    As to feeding I have a neighbor that does it and I make it easy. I put the proper amount of dried food into little jars -- one for each feeding. She can't screw that up.
     
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  7. daddio

    daddio Supporting Member

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    We are planning to go away for 5 days. I contacted a local BAR member that we feel will do a good job and we trust (he also has an awesome reef) He will come over prior to us leaving to get a quick run-down of our reef. He will only come over once at day #3. I will have the tanks on "auto pilot" he will just need to fill the ATO with Kalkwasser that will be pre-mixed and feed a couple cubes/seaweed. Otherwise no dosing will occur for that time and the skimmer cup will be taken off. We are paying him $100 - well worth it for the peace of mind. I will do all maint. at least a week prior to leaving so I can make sure I haven't screwed something up. Beyond this it is in the hands of a higher power.
    The other 3 tanks will get zip lock bags with proper food portions taped to the glass with the day to add to tank written on. My pet sitter can take care of this.
    Cheers!
     
  8. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

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    This is an important part of the club imo. As you mentioned being out of town is a big risk, as is relying on An untrained person to care for you tank.
    With part of the club mission being promoting better husbandry this is an area that we should help each improve in.
    And we do.
    I've checked in on double digits worth of member tank over the years easily. @sfsuphysics happens to be my neighbor and has fed my tank several times for me while I've been gone. It's a very nice perk of the club. Obviously you want to know the person at least a little, and have your system as automated as possible, and leave good simple instructions.
    The more members you meet, the more you will realize we are mostly pretty damn generous and friendly people that all share a passion/hobby, and try to treat each other the way we hope to Be treated. I think you will find plenty of not too far away members that would Be happy to help you.
    In my case I've had mike literally pop in several frozen cubes as close to every day as he can and make sure nothing is obviously way wrong. Everything else is automated with auto feeder with pellets,temp controll, dosing pump, and top off.
    This reminds me...I have to go check in on @anathema gustys tank soon.
     
  9. insomniac2k2

    insomniac2k2 Supporting Member

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    I like this as well. Over the past 10-12 years of vacations, i have just resigned knowing that I do not have a friend that is experienced or even informed enough with Marine/coral systems. I have always just done my best to have a fully automated and redundant system, and crossed my fingers a lot.

    Knowing this is a pain point of mine, I would be more than happy to do this for a member in my area. Obviously getting to know each other before hand is a great idea!
     
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  10. Ashalye

    Ashalye Webmaster

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    For a little while we had a map of where members are located in the Bay Area (@roostertech) maybe a combination of that, so you can find someone close to you, and posting in search of a tank-sitter? We were lucky @RandyC works close enough to our house to tank-sit for us earlier this year.
     
  11. insomniac2k2

    insomniac2k2 Supporting Member

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    I actually just ran across that map yesterday and added myself to it. Now to find it again....
     
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  12. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

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    Well as Mike mentioned, he's a very close neighbor to me so the few times he's asked me pop in on his tank and feed (frozen) it's not been a problem. He trusted me enough to give me a key to his house which is where the "you have to really know the person" comes into play as opposed to just asking someone to come by and do it. He even had me deal with his RO water make up (filling a very large reservoir) and when I do feed I do take a look at his sump and what not just to get a quick visual to see if anything is out of the ordinary. One such instance I noticed one (or two) vortechs were on the bottom not connected however rather than just fixing it I sent him a text to see if this is normal (it was). I have yet to get him to return the favor, mostly because my fish tank is "very" temporary to the point of fish food is the only thing that it needs and an autofeeder takes care of it, but if I had a nice array of corals and what not I absolutely would hit him up as opposed to relying on family members. Here's why

    about 10 or so years ago, I did have a nice tank with corals, and I went away to Hawaii for 10 days. So I needed him to 1, feed my cats, and 2, deal with my tank. The cats were easy, but my father being my father found a way to screw that up by not looking in the cabinet with the food that I put a big sign on that said "CAT FOOD IN HERE". Then came the tank, I kept things simple, I wasn't dosing, the only thing I really worried about was food and evaporation (this was pre-ATO days), I made this check list of things to look at, detailed yet simplistic instructions of what to look for and even a chart to check off everything just to give some queue that everything has been done. All the food was put into tiny cups, one cup a day, the check list was all checked off but it looked like it was all checked off at one point with my father and his "I'm not going to do this crap" mentality, and the top off water consisted of a small bucket, to grab water from a big brute full of RO/DI water. There was tape on the sump (which was raised and not under the tank) which labeled both low level "fill me up" and high level "fill me up to here". Well I got home to that burnt electrical smell, and found my power cords were melted in the strip due to water infiltration, now can I prove it was him? No... but again... knowing my father.

    So bottom line
    1) Know the person who's going to look after your tank, make sure they are capable of following instructions you leave (my father wasn't), and not just doing anything the way they want.
    2) Make sure the person can get in contact with you when you're away (again my father wasn't, as he has no cell phone)
    3) KISS, make sure what you need is a reduced tank maintenance schedule. Make things automatic, make sure that it can easily be corrected or shut off if something goes wrong, and be prepared to do a little extra TLC on your tank.
    4) The longer you're away the more chances are things can go wrong even with someone looking in on the tank. Throw a reef tank into the same category as dog or something, in that it limits you from going away for 2-3 week long vacations, especially if you have a "sensitive" tank (i.e. SPS heavy)
     
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  13. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

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    I’ve done it for a club member. I kept them updated after every visit
     
  14. Ashalye

    Ashalye Webmaster

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  15. insomniac2k2

    insomniac2k2 Supporting Member

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    I looked for 20 minutes straight trying to find that again! Glad you did.
     
  16. rygh

    rygh BOD

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    Can we somehow add an easy to find link to that map, and the LFS map???
     
  17. jepoy

    jepoy Supporting Member

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    As a recent victim of a vacation crash, I love this idea! Would be awesome to have tank sitter(s) from the club that are knowledgeable and that everyone can vouch for. These people should be compensated of course for their services. I am willing to pay for peace of mind, something that I should’ve done the first time .


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  18. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

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    I personally don't think paying each other is "the club way". If you wanna pay someone hire a service company, but as for the club I like to just help each other out as much as we can. Granted if you gotta drive etc...maybe some money or frags as a bribe Is called for, but I think helping each other is the best solution.
     
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  19. Ashalye

    Ashalye Webmaster

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    We try to bring back vacation souvenirs for our sitters, and we give frags or some $ too, depending how long we were gone and how much they did.
     
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  20. tankguy

    tankguy BOD

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    I've never charged. Donations are fine but I never ask for them
     

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