The first Betta I ever had I bought when I was in college. I kept him in my dorm room my 4th year, where I lived alone as an RA. Many students have animals back home and long to care for a pet at school but housing rules, hectic schedules and roommates can make this difficult or impossible. Many more students never had a pet growing up and are now considering it for the first time. Whichever category you’re in, a Betta can make an excellent addition to your school-family. Here are a few things to consider before you buy a Betta for your dorm room.
1. Know your school’s housing rules. Most universities don’t allow pets in on-campus housing but will list fish as an exception. Know the rules so you aren’t put in a position where you may need to find a new home for your betta or risk punishment.
2. Check with your roommates. Respect their right to have or not have a pet in their home too. It’s the courteous thing to do and simply running it by them first will save headaches later.
3. Review your schedule. College students are notoriously busy. Be sure you have the time and interest in caring for your new pet. If you’re carrying a full class load, working two jobs, playing a sport and attending your band practices you may not have it in you to clean your aquarium and test your water each week… Then again you may enjoy the quiet time at home.
4. Evaluate your environment. Bettas like a warm, quiet environment and don’t tolerate loud noises and vibrations well. Avoid keeping your Betta in high traffic areas or in rooms where loud music is played frequently.
5. Plan ahead. Bettas typically live about 3 years but can live up to 5 years in good conditions. Of course no one expects a college student to know exactly where they’re going to be a few years down the line but you should have a plan for how you will handle school breaks and vacations. Bettas can travel well over short distances in a car, if packaged properly, but carrying them on a plane is very expensive and impractical. Shipping them ahead of you is possible but can be stressful for your fish. If you’re going to have a friend care for your fish be sure (s)he is up to speed and willing to take on the responsibility.
If you have reviewed your college’s pet policies, spoken to your roommates, found a proper location in your room and developed a plan for school break and feel that a Betta fish is the perfect college pet, you can go ahead and start planning your aquarium set up. Visit the Nippyfish main site for more information on Choosing A Tank.