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Dorm Zen: Have a (Teeny) Pet

March 23rd, 2009 admin

When I lived at home, there were few things more rewarding than having my two dachshunds run to greet me when I walked in the door. I really missed them when I moved off to college, but clearly I couldn’t have a dog in the dorms. In fact, I couldn’t even have one when I moved off-campus to an apartment, because most complexes either don’t allow cats and dogs, or charge an extra fee for them.
What’s an animal lover to do?

Go Fish

In the middle of my sophomore year, our RAs introduced a big competition among all the on-campus apartments in our area–goldfish. The concept was simple: keep your fish alive the longest and you get a gift certificate for fish tacos (ironic!). I was pretty excited about the fish, and quickly took over the care of our golden friend Joanna.

The great thing is, after a little effort for the set up, there are some fish that are VERY easy to care for. And they have a very soothing, zen-like presence; watching them swim around is very relaxing (why do you think they show up in so many dental offices?!).

Which Fish?

For beginners, I’d recommend getting either a Goldfish or a Betta. They don’t require much space, and aside from a little feeding and the occasional water change, they are relatively self-sufficient. And pretty!

Note: Betta’s are the lowest maintenance as single fish, but if you get a Betta, only get one! They don’t play well with others.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Fish

Both Goldfish and Betas are very hardy fish, but they still require some care, so again, don’t get one if you don’t have the time (or will) to care for them. Also, keep in mind that the initial set up will take more effort than the day-to-day care of your fish.

Here is are a few great resources for basic Betta & Goldfish care:

photo by afranklin

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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. TheDutchSchoolKid  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I like the idea of having some living things in your room. Also with plants or something. When I go to the university next year, and live in my own dorm, I will definitly buy a plant or a fish. Good idea!


  • 2. Lindasy  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Don’t forget that while bettas can survive in a very small space, they’re much happier and live a lot longer if they have good space to swim around in. It always makes me sad to see them in those horrible little cups, because the bettas I’ve had were so active and friendly in the bigger tanks I had for them at home.

  • 3. Jamie  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    @ Lindsay: I feel the same way. Dear readers, please let your Bettas out of those nasty plastic cups. Name them. Give them fresh water. Make them happy that their ancestors were moved from rice paddies so they could become your pets.

    After all, they are living things. And nobody wants to live in a cup.

  • 4. Paul  |  March 23rd, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    A couple of my friends have a betta fish and I have to agree with the zen element of watching a fish swim. Caring for a fish isn’t too tough, but you do need to remember. Make sure you don’t forget to feed the fish!

  • 5. Enrich Your Dorm Life Wit&hellip  |  March 25th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    […] to the blog Surviving College Life, the answer is simple: get a fish! Sure, they can’t cuddle up on your lap, but they are quiet, soothing to watch, and […]

  • 6. Stu  |  March 29th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Having pets while you’re away at college can be great, especially if you’re used to having a pet with you at home. Check out this article on the easiest pets to keep in a college dorm room

  • 7. 5 great blogs about study&hellip  |  May 6th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    […] student should know. About where you should get your food and which pet you must have (called Dorm Zen)! Great […]

  • 8. Aubrey Keen  |  June 29th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Another pet suggestion – a newt or salamander. I had one my first two years of college – he ate out of my hand, seemed to enjoy walking all over my arm, and could be kept in a small fish aquarium, so he didn’t violate the pet rules. Just make sure the aquarium has a tight lid!

    Also, a small houseplant, like a money tree, a little palm, etc. that can be put on a desk, or even be a little larger if your dorm is bigger than mine was, lends a nice atmosphere to the dorm.

  • 9. Jill  |  August 3rd, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Me and my roommate got a blue beta this year in the second or third week of the year. We thought he’d last a week, maybe 2.
    Well, that was almost a year ago.
    Azura, the Fish of Destiny (or “Fishy”) is now in a bowl in my kitchen for the summer and going back with me to the dorm. I’ll have a new roommate though.
    But still! Having a fish greet me every morning was nice and comforting. I’d highly recommend having one in any dorm room.

  • 10. 14 Helpful Dorm Links &la&hellip  |  August 3rd, 2009 at 11:40 am

    […] Dorm Zen: Have a (Teeny) Pet […]

  • 11. Stu  |  November 12th, 2009 at 12:14 am

    I think having a pet in the dorms is a great idea, as long as you keep it out of your RA’s sight. Here are some other ideas on easy pets to keep in a college dorm room

  • 12. Kitty  |  December 3rd, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Actually goldfish take up more water than you think. I worked at PetsMart and the rule for goldfish was 2 gallons of water per inch of goldfish (for everything else, it was 1gal/1 inch of fish).

    So if a fancy goldfish can grow up to 6 inches, that’s a 12 gallon tank that you need.
    And also about the cheapie fish, they grow up to 12 inches, so it’s 24 gallons.
    This isn’t also counting the mess that goldfish make in general lol x]

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