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How difficult is it to keep fish in college?

rbouwensrbouwens Registered User Posts: 936 Member
edited June 2012 in College Life
In a dorm, either in a tank or in a bowl. Fish are the only pets I can have, and I'm wondering if they're worth keeping in a dorm. Advice?
Post edited by rbouwens on
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Replies to: How difficult is it to keep fish in college?

  • ladeeda6ladeeda6 Registered User Posts: 508 Member
    My suitemates and I bought fish from Wal-Mart that died within the week . It must have been a common occurrence because later that week we went back to the store and all of the fish like the ones we bought were gone.

    It wasn't very difficult during the very short time we had them though since they didn't need to be fed everyday. You just need to make arrangements for them over break if you can't travel with them . Our cleaning lady was willing to feed them while we were gone but they died so there was no need.
  • soccergurl7988soccergurl7988 Registered User Posts: 896 Member
    They're fairly easy to keep, although I will say, you have to transport the thing back home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, when you head home for the summer, and if you're going to be gone at the same time your roommate is. Also you're obviously going to have to clean the bowl/mini-tank occasionally, and that can be difficult in dorm bathroom sinks. Most people with fish had them for a semester because they bought them on a whim, but that was about it.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,894 Senior Member
    D2 and her roommate won goldfish at a local fair during the first week of their freshman year. Roommate's fish died over the summer while living at our house, D2's is still going strong 4 years later.

    Recommendation: get a sealed tupperware container to transport the fist home during vacations. It saves an immense amount of dampness.
  • KKmamaKKmama Registered User Posts: 2,998 Senior Member
    My daughter's college gave anyone who wanted them free fish during her freshman year. She has since successfully petitioned to end that practice, as most fish died. Hers, however, is now 8" long and living at our house in a large aquarium. She transported him back and forth over breaks for three years, using a sealed container. Now that he's big enough to filet, he stays here.

    As someone else said, the biggest challenge is cleaning the tanks. I'd suggest a betta, but keep it in a one gallon fish bowl. They are easy to maintain and don't get ginormous like goldfish.
  • Emaheevul07Emaheevul07 Registered User Posts: 5,966 Senior Member
    We kept a fish for a couple years. Dealing with it over long breaks was a pain in the butt, but otherwise not a big deal. Keep the tank immaculately clean or your room will stink.
  • FullofpopFullofpop Registered User Posts: 212 Junior Member
    That depends on how good you are at keeping fish. Since most dorms have a pretty strict limit on tank size you're very limited on what kind of fish you can have. If you can only have up to a gallon of water a betta is the only thing I'd recommend, and I wouldn't keep one in less than that. And you still need a heater and ideally a gentle filter for the tank, too.

    Goldfish get huge and produce a lot of waste. Not a good idea for a dorm.
  • sopranokittysopranokitty Registered User Posts: 1,506 Senior Member
    If you're good at maintaining your fish, you can keep fish for a long time. My suitemate bought her betta from Petco a few weeks ago and it's still alive since she's pretty good when it comes to taking care of fish (especially since she said that back home, she has a 50 gallon aquarium filled with various fish).
  • icedragonicedragon Registered User Posts: 2,170 Senior Member
    I wouldn't.

    For one, the water quality at my own school is crappy (i kid not, when you turn the shower on it runs orange for like a min).

    Another is the fact that the sinks are too small to really clean a tank well.

    I grew up helping maintain a 150 gallon salt water tank and several smaller ones, so maybe i'm being a bit of a fish keeping snob here. But under those cercumstances, I wouldn't.
  • rbouwensrbouwens Registered User Posts: 936 Member
    Yeah, I'm leaning toward "no" because I'd be living with communal baths and that might be annoying.....
  • Lily2015Lily2015 Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    My roommate and I loved our beta fish. It took some time and remembering to take care of, but we managed. The thing that killed him though was that our dorm didn't have air conditioning and it got so hot that one day he just like, boiled. Poor fish. I wouldn't get one - it's probably torture for them!
  • luckylillyluckylilly Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    I love having a fish close by when i am working or studying. My choice of aquarium is a large clear vase, generally used for big flower arraignments. You can go and find something like this at Walmart for about 20 bucks or hit the local thrift store and find many much cheaper. DON"T buy fish from walmart. They take terrible care of them and many die.

    The trick with a small fish tank is to only keep certain fish in there. My tanks will usually hold about 2 to 2.5 gallons of water. I only get a betta because they are so small and aren't demanding. They don't mess up the tank or expel a lot of waste like guppies or goldfish.

    Yoiu need some plants in there too. I go and find them in streams and put them in gravel in the bottom. I think the name of the plant is moneywort? Anyway if you can get a little something to grow in the tank it will stay cleaner.

    Also you need to get some snails.They will keep the sides of the vase clean from algae. If the tank/vase gets any natural light it will grow algae and you will see nothing but green on the sides. Get small snails if you can. Put in a very small aerator too. between the bubbles and the fish it is very relaxing.
  • b@r!um[email protected]!um Registered User Posts: 10,373 Senior Member
    I am a grad student and have a fish in my office. (University policy prohibits fish in residential buildings but not in the academic ones :))

    If you already have fish, you know how to take care of them. Do you think you can and want to have that responsibility in college? What would you do over breaks, for instance?
  • HumanoidHumanoid Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    It would depend a lot of the kind of fish.

    Tanks are generally a little big for a dorm I think. It is generally recommended that starters go with a 20 gal (long of course, because most fish prefer that) and that is both heavy and big. Of course you can get smaller tanks and only keep one or two fish but it can be harder to maintain the right water conditions in those. Plus you have to clean them fairly often.

    You might need a pump system, heater, filter system(s), and all that jazz if you keep certain kinds of fish. That stuff adds up.

    You will probably have to condition the water, chlorine is bad and it WILL be in the water. A lot of the starter fish don't mind water that is on the hard side though, so you might be okay there.

    Then you have to transport them. That could really suck if you go for a big tank. For short breaks you might be able to get away with just a feeding ring and wouldn't need to worry about them.
  • spectasticspectastic - Posts: 847 Member
    If you work in a research lab, you can steal some deionized water. I'm quite sure the fish can live in those conditions. And they're cheap, so you don't have to feel guilty. :P
  • arghwhyarghwhy Registered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    ^steal de-ionized water. lol. only in cc. only in cc...
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