Fishkeeping is a very relaxing and rewarding hobby. Under good conditions, a tank does not need an overabundance of maintenance or supervision. However, no matter how good of an aquarium you have, the fish always need to eat and you won't always be home. In these instances, try Wardley weekend feeders.
Weekend feeders are an easy-to-use way to ensure your fish are fed while you are gone without fouling up the water. These feeders are designed to last for three days and feed "10-12 average-sized fish." Since it specifies "in a 10 to 15 gallon aquarium," I'm assuming their "average size" is about 1"-2" per fish.
Wardey Weekend Feeders are designated for both tropical fish and goldfish.
How to buy and feed Wardley weekend feeders
Weekend feeders are sold in packs of four seashell-shaped blocks, each weighing approximately one-tenth of an ounce. To feed, simply drop a block into your aquarium before you leave. After three days, or upon your return, the extra should be removed. Weekend feeders are now sold on bright pink cards, rather than the one pictured.
What exactly is in Wardley weekend feeders?
Essentially, a weekend feeder is a block of calcium with granulated fish food mixed in. With proper filtration (this is very important for it to work correctly) the calcium slowly dissolves, continually making fresh food available to the fish. The food still encapsulated in the calcium will not be in danger of spoiling, only after the shell around it dissolves is it in danger of fouling the water.
Nutrition information and ingredients for Wardley weekend feeders
Calcium sulfate, iodized salt, corn starch, ground corn, fish meal, soy flour, corn gluten meal, wheat germ meal, dehydrated alfalfa meal, brewer's dried yeast, shrimp meal, ground wheat, fish oil, herring meal, choline chloride, betaine, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, ethoxyquin (a preservative), vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pentothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulphate complex, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodate, sodium selenate, cobalt carbonate.
Crude Protein..........min 1.1%
Crude Fat..............min .2%
Crude Fiber............max 1%
It's not just for vacation -- using Wardley weekend feeders for an invertebrate supplement
Besides being an excellent way to feed your fish while you're gone on short trips, Wardley Weekend Feeders are also a great way to add dissolved calcium into the water. Dissolved calcium and calcium-rich foods are especially beneficial to invertebrates such as snails, shrimp, and crayfish. I've been using weekend feeders in a dozen of my tanks for Pomacea Bridgesii snails for the past year, they love it and their shells have shown a marked improvement.
Please bear in mind that Weekend Feeders are not intended for everyday use as a sole diet for your aquatic creatures. All fish and invertebrates should be fed a varied diet, and Weekend Feeders do not have the nutritional value required for long-term health of your fish. Weekend Feeders are designed to keep your fish fed while reducing waste while you're not there to attend to tank maintenance. Also, as specified on the package, this product must be used in a tank with a filter and aerator to ensure enough water flow to properly dissolve the block.
Don't need extra calcium in the tank? Try the gel weekend feeder from Tetra
Sound good? Here's the alternative that doesn't add calcium
Experiences and opinions from using Wardley weekend feeders
I've used weekend feeders for a dietary supplement for my snails, as well as an "away food" for guppies, platies, mollies, endlers, and other such small community fish. For these they've worked very well. For larger tanks and mid-size fish such as gouramis and large tetras I'd recommend Wardley Vacation Feeders; they're the same thing as weekend feeders, only larger and sold in packages of two and are supposed to last 10 days for the same amount of fish as is specified for the weekend feeders.
As specified on the package, for proper function of this product the tank should be 72 degrees or warmer with a pH of 6.8 to 7.2 and will not dissolve properly in highly alkaline water. Though the product is specified for use with goldfish, the temerature specification may not make it an ideal product for goldfish since they are a cold water fish and prefer temperatures around 65 degrees. The pH specification makes the product inappropriate for a higher pH or for an especially low pH...however, most of these issues do not apply to the amateur aquarist as a number of people, if they even know what their pH is or bother to regulate it, use products such as Bullseye which puts the pH at 7.0. This may or may not be ideal for your fish, but it is the safest to go with if you haven't researched your specific pet's requirements. If you don't know what your pH is or should be, however, it is important to tank health to find out.
Weekend Feeders are not appropriate for larger predatory fish such as oscars, pacus, or many cichlids as they not only will not provide enough food, but is also the wrong type of food. If you have these types of fish your best bet would be to have someone check up on your fish every other day to feed them until your return.
I have never had problems with Weekend Feeders fouling up my water, and as long as directions are followed about removal of leftovers you shouldn't have any problems either.
So, are Wardley weekend feeders worth buying?
Wardley Weekend Feeders are an excellent, no-hassle way to feed your smaller omnivorous aquarium fish. It is often a choice product for amateurs and some professionals alike for its ease of feeding and cleanup. They also make an excellent dietary supplement for many invertebrates that rely on calcium for the health of their shells, exoskeletons, or chitin plates. For more or slightly larger fish I'd recommend Vacation Feeders, also by Wardley.
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