Getting away for awhile is one of the best things anyone can do for themselves. After enjoying our vacations, we hobbyists want to come home without any troubles from our tanks. They bother us enough when we're around!
You'll find many horror stories of people finding their tanks crashed after a short trip. Take that trip. Simple steps can help save your investment.
Make sure your auto top off device is working and not clogged. It is essential to keep your salinity stable while you're away. Make more than enough RO/DI for top off just in case you don't return on time. If you're looking for an ATO unit, I recommend the Tunze Osmolator.
Inspect any heaters for signs of failure. Heaters are known to get stuck in the on position overheating your tank. You don't want clownfish stew. Heaters can also build up calcium carbonate on the surface making it inefficient and may even cause the heating element inside to overheat and explode. Broken heaters leech heavy metals into aquariums (upgrade to a titanium model if possible!).
If you dose anything, fill your containers. SPS keepers know that keeping your Calcium and Alkalinity levels stable are a must. You don't want to cause any kind of tissue necrosis by not having enough to dose.
Inspect and clean your pumps before you leave. Pumps help with air exchange in your tanks. They can become clogged over time from debris and from build up. Running your pumps in a vinegar/water solution will help remove these build up. When I'm away, I like to use a foam cover for my return pump to ensure that large debris doesn't jam the impeller.
Check all parameters. Before you pack your bags, checking to make sure everything is in check will help greatly. You may be able to correct any chemistry issues such as low pH and avoid a crash. Double check with an LFS to make sure the readings are correct.
Mix a batch of saltwater for an impromptu water change. In this hobby, Murphy's Law applies to everybody. "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." Having ready made saltwater is always a great idea just in case you need to do an emergency water change.
The above tips are not a fail-safe plan but it will greatly minimize possible problems., especially for those that do not use a more advanced aquarium controller. For extra protection, think about investing in a controller. Controllers can help stop a heater from overheating your tank as well as automate your top off, dosing, and lighting.
With the holidays closing in fast, many of you will be leaving your aquariums for a week or two. Do not be afraid to leave your tank unattended. If you have a trustworthy friend, have them drop by just to make sure everythings working well, or invest in a quality aquarium controller that provides remote alerts/monitoring. They're well worth it!