A College Student's Guide To Taking Care Of Betta Fish

A College Student's Guide To Taking Care Of Betta Fish

How to properly care for your fish friend.
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Without your family dog or pet hamster around, dorm rooms can get pretty lonely. A popular pet college students often turn to is a betta fish. Also deemed siamese fighting fish, bettas are colorful and lively additions to your dorm. However, there are many misconceptions about how to properly care for a betta. Here’s how to ensure your fish friend is healthy and happy.

1. Bettas don't belong in small bowls

Bettas are hardy fish and are often kept in bowls. It’s possible for them to survive, but they will be quite unhappy. Bettas typically need at least a 2.5 gallon tank. These can easily fit in a dorm room and aren’t large. A large bowl is better than a small bowl, but tanks are cheap and much healthier for your fish.

2. Bettas need heaters

Bettas are tropical fish. They need their water to stay around 74-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Small heaters are cheap, and along with a heater pick up a small thermometer that goes inside your tank. This will help you make sure your fish isn’t too hot or cold. If your water is too cold, your fish will be lethargic, not hungry, and possibly get sick.

3. Bettas do best with filters

A common misconception is that bettas don’t need filters. They can survive without filters, unlike most other fish, but they do best when they have a filter with a light flow. Make sure to change their water often if you don’t have a filter. Their water can get dirty quickly, and a buildup of waste can harm or even kill your fish.

4. Bettas don’t generally do well in groups

Male bettas are solitary fish-- they cannot be housed with other males OR females. Males will fight males and kill each other. Males will also fight females and potentially kill them. They also may breed with the female, which will leave you with around 50 baby bettas. Good luck finding out what to do with those.

Female bettas can occasionally be housed together, which is known as a sorority, but you need at least a 15-gallon tank, at least 5 female bettas, a large number of plants and decor, as well as an extensive knowledge of betta diseases and proper water care such as pH and nitrite levels. This is for very experienced betta owners only and can get expensive quickly, so it’s not something you want to try in your dorm room.

5. Bettas can get constipated easily

A betta’s stomach is roughly the size of its eye, so make sure not to overfeed your betta. This can cause bloating and constipation and can be quite harmful to your betta. Research the appropriate feeding amount for your sized betta.

6. Bettas can contract various common illnesses

Fish can get sick just like us. Some common illnesses for bettas are fungus, fin/tail rot, and parasites. Bettas can also acquire stress stripes if not cared for properly. Do your research on betta illnesses and make sure to watch them closely. Common signs are dull color, lethargy, and not eating. If your fish does get sick, inexpensive medications can be purchased-- just make sure to follow the instructions.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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If You Left Your Pet Behind During Hurricane Florence, You Are Trash

There is never an excuse to leave your fur baby behind.

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Currently on various news sources, images and videos of pets abandoned in the flooding aftermath of Hurricane Florence are circulating.

How?

How can anyone leave behind their pets to essentially die? I don't care what your circumstances are, you do not leave behind a family member.

YOU are all that your pet has. And you chose to abandon them.

They have no way to evacuate on their own. They have no way to get their food into their bowl. They have no way to find dry land on their own.

They are left to die.

When you bring a pet into your household, you are promising that pet a forever and always. You are promising that animal happiness, love, and safety from the cruel outside world.

When you choose to leave an animal behind, you are choosing to leave them to die.

I get that money is tight. I get that most Americans don't have an emergency savings set aside in catastrophic events such as these. But if your money is THAT tight that you can't bring your pet along with you, you probably shouldn't have gotten an animal in the first place.

With Hurricane Florence, there were free Animal Hospitals and Shelters opening their doors to temporarily house animals. There were companies such as AirBnB offering free housing (some options included pets).

If I were in those pet owner's shoes, my fur baby would be the FIRST thing I packed up when it came time to evacuate. I don't care what the circumstances were. I would sleep in my car for weeks before I left my animals to die.

If you evacuated, but left your pet to die, you are the absolute worst of the worst.

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There Are Two Types Of People Who Have Dogs In College, One Right And One Wrong

Spoiler: some of you are doing great, others not so much.

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Having a dog in college is one of the best and worst decisions someone can make, depending on the amount of effort they're willing to put into their dog.

There are the people who keep their dog in a cage at a noisy house party and there are people who keep their dog in a cage in a nice quiet space if people are over. Don't be the person who lets their dog get stressed at a party, be the good dog owner.

If you are going to have a dog in college, make sure you have the time, means, and energy to have one.

There are a lot of people in college who have dogs who help them de-stress and relax, which is one of the many amazing things a dog can do for you. These people spend a lot of time with their dog and make sure it is taken care of. These people are good dog owners!

Having a dog to help you handle your anxiety or stress is a great reason to have a dog. If your dog is comforting you and taking care of you, just make sure you are doing the same for your dog. People who have their dogs for the right reasons tend to treat them better.

Then there are the people who just want a dog because they love dogs or just want something to do. Please don't do this. I love dogs just as much (if not more) as the next person!

If you are going to get a dog, you need to be prepared financially and mentally to take care of a dog.

I can't tell you how mad it makes me to see someone just leave their dog alone for hours, see a dog with its ears back at a party, watch someone feed their dog random human-food, or see someone who has made no effort to train their dog whatsoever.

If you can't spend hours working with your dog and make time each day to take them on a 30 minute to 2-hour walk, don't get a dog. If you want to go somewhere super fun on spring break and don't know what you'd do with an animal and will just "figure it out later," don't get a dog. If you don't want to spend the money to get your dog quality dog food, flea medicine, and heart medicine, don't get a dog.

Believe me, I get it. Figuring it out as you go is apart of life in college; however, you should not have a dog if that's how you are going to treat it.

Before you get a dog in college make sure you can buy all of the supplies, get it vaccinated, have time to train it each day, be able to set a routine for it and have plenty of time to get your pup lots of exercise! Getting a dog was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made, but it definitely comes with its compromises.

You will want to give a dog the best life you possibly can, so make sure you are able to do that before getting a dog.

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