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Feb 10 2017
by Rachel Loia

6 Steps to Care for a Pet Fish in College

By Rachel Loia - Feb 10 2017
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After being in college for a couple of months (and away from my cats) I have realized I've been missing something: an animal pal I can always rely on. Since my college only allows fish, I decided to get me a few to try and fill the void. Fish are more complicated than I thought, so here is a list of ways you can care for your fish while away from home. 

1. Get a Good Tank and Distilled Water

Rachel Loia

Don't get anything less than a three-gallon aquarium. This may seem a bit ridiculous, but all fish, even goldfish, like a lot of space to swim around in. If you want them to survive, give them the best environment possible. I picked up a tank kit (including a bunch of other things you may need). Mine was from Petco and can be found here. The distilled water I bought from my campus store and used it to fill the tank.

2. Water Conditioner

Rachel Loia

This is to ensure that they're in good living conditions and can thrive in their habitat. When having an aquarium, it needs to have a certain pH and also low levels of ammonia. The conditioner keeps these in balance and you only need a tiny bit of it for your tank. 

3. Filter and Heater

Rachel Loia

A filter and a heater are just practical with a tank. The heater will keep the fish from freezing to death and the filter will keep the water clean. It honestly saves you from having to do water changes and such. The water bottle you see there is to keep the filter from being too loud or too forceful. You can learn more about it here.

4. Aquarium Salt

Rachel Loia

Fish tend to get this disease called ich, which can be fatal. If you notice white spots or your fish swimming at the bottom of the tank, add this salt if you haven't before. Once it's in there, you don't need to add any more unless you do a water change. 

5. Fish Food

Rachel Loia

This one's obvious. Make sure the food is good for your fish (beta food, goldfish food, etc.) before purchasing it. 

6. Water Exchange

Rachel Loia

Make sure to do a water exchange maybe once a month. Use a net to place the fish in a holding tank which can be just a cheap aquarium (pictured below). 


Rachel Loia

Keep an eye on your fish and try to care for the tank according to what you see your fish enjoying. While fish seem like simple creatures, you want to give them the best life possible. You also don't want to wake up to a dead fish...yeah, that's happened. 

Good luck with your fishies! 

Lead Image Credit: Rachel Loia

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Rachel Loia - Ramapo College

Rachel is a freshman studying biology at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She also loves writing and uses it as an excuse to not do schoolwork. Instagram: @rachloia

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