Keeping a Planted Tank in College - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Keeping a Planted Tank in College

I am a high school senior, and I am planning out my first planted tank at the moment. Originally, I was going to go the traditional sand/rocks/driftwood route, but then I realized that I would need to disassemble, transport, and reassemble everything before and after each semester! I live in Dallas, and neither of the two colleges I hope to end up at (TAMU and UF) are particularly close (though one is at least in-state), so moving my tank will be a nightmare.

So now I am worried: should I use sand at all? I could go with a layer of river rocks instead, which would be much easier and cleaner to remove, transport, and replace. But that would limit me to only plants which can attach to rocks and wood... Moss tanks can be nice, but it is still kind of a bummer.

Was this a big problem for those of who have been to college (or are there right now) and kept planted tanks? Or am I overreacting? Advice?

tl;dr- Worried about the logistics of keeping a planted tank in college. Please help, advise, and/or reassure.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 09:14 PM
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I have moved reef tanks before and they weren't bad. I just made sure they were the last thing to come out of my house and the first thing to be set up in the new house. It's doable, just plan it out or you could run into problems.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 09:19 PM
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I never lived in the dorms myself but if you are planning too, some are very strict on no aquariums, some have size limits, some don't care, some don't enforce it. Then you have to consider the dorm size, even a nano would have been a big use of space in my little brother's door room at UCLA, 3 people packed into an average sized bathroom. Then consider if your roommates will respect your tank, some will find it super cool, some will find it super funny to put strange things in it.

So, I would take that into account first, not get ahead of yourself. More than a few on the board have done it but others had to keep the hobby on hold until they got an apartment or even graduated, I got into it in college and though it's a great relief, I am not mad I didn't get into it in my first two years, I wouldn't have wanted to deal with it.

From a practical matter, it's just like every other move. It's never really fun, even within a reasonable distance. The biggest piece of advice I can give, both with moving and likely small living conditions, smaller is always going to easier to deal with. I can rip down a 5 or 10 gallon in about an hour and set it up in about the same time. That's with or without fish, not sure if you plan to bring those with you or not.

Since you have them time now, I would research the rules and inquire what you can really do, plan what you could do with the smallest tank you find reasonable, and possibly downsize your current setup if need be, or find a home for it if you have to.

-Matt

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 09:35 PM
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I recommend against it. Things can change very quickly once you go to university. At least see how things pan out before committing to any fish.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 09:46 PM
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You could always do a bare bottomed tank and keep the plants in pots
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 09:54 PM
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Keeping a Planted Tank in College

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Originally Posted by Thenoob View Post
You could always do a bare bottomed tank and keep the plants in pots

This is a good suggestion, small pots will allow you to even do an aquascape. You can look into the pots used in hydroponic systems, some if them can be pretty tiny, and they have slits in them to allow the roots to continue to grow.

When I move my aquariums, I never take the plants out. I always drain out all the water then put several damp paper towels over them and wrap the top with plastic wrap to hold in the moisture. If you stick with a nano you can do this easily.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-07-2014, 10:06 PM
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maybe do a small planted nano in a cookie jar, glass vase, or something similar. Will be much easier to move, won't take up as much space, and will be a bit more durable then a full fledged tank.

On the other hand, when I was in college, all the dorm furniture we had (as well as a handful of other colleges I've visited/worked at, was pretty sturdy and well put together. Could easily use one of the desks/dressers to support a 10 gallon, maybe larger if you are careful about the placement.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. I do know that all of the colleges I am considering allow aquariums. I checked that out well in advance. TAMU allows one tank up to 10g in size and UF allows the most of any college I have ever heard of- they allow anything that doesn't exceed 3ft in length, 2ft in width, and 2ft in height, though how anyone could actually fit such a large tank in their dorm room I don't know. If it is too difficult to manage a tank in the dorm room, both TAMU and UF allow students to live off campus, even as freshmen. I might also end up in a private dorm, but I'll see how it goes.

As far as tank size goes, I am thinking an ADA Mini M or 45P (5 & 10g, respectively). Personally, I like fish best of all, so even if I don't do plants, I will still probably go ahead with the fish. I have my eye on a Betta Imbellis or a group of Danio Tinwini.

Using pots is a really good idea, thenoob. I'll have to check those hydroponics systems out, aquarist.

Thanks again, y'all. You've given me a lot to think about.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 01:54 AM
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I had an aquarium when I was at my dorm and it was messy so I took it out after a couple weeks. I would wait till college is over or until you live in a house/apartment.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 02:50 AM
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Background:

I'm going to be a senior at a university in Indiana this year and I went from a 20g to a 40B and now we have 4 10 gallons (one is a roommate's). I live an hour away from the college the roommate lives 3 or 4.

We go on a quarter system so the longest break we have is two weeks, the most common is our week breaks between quarters. That being said my tanks have all been sand except for the tens which are dirted with sand. I never took my tanks home over break only the fish. I'd keep my lights and everything else on timers throw the fish in a 5gallon bucket of tank water with a heater and throw them in a different 20 gallon when I got home. I don't advise breaking a tank down all the time, just move the filter and fish into a tank at home is easiest (much less risk of breaking the tank).
Besides a 20 gallon would only be 20$ at a dollar per gallon sale.

It's good you checked your school's rules but definitely wait and meet your roommate and define what you both want out of your room because that can be a big decision factor and there is nothing worse than living in the same room with someone you can't get along with (especially if its over a fish tank).
I speak from experience, however it did not involve a fish tank it involved music.
(guy didn't want ANY noise in the room....my second roommate was so chill)

If you ever do move it Aquarist has the right idea with plastic wrap. I would hate to completely break down my tank.

I don't know what your schools are like but living on campus for at least a year is a good experience. I've thought a lot about getting an apartment but it just always seems to be more of a hassle than its worth with driving and what not.

At least for me we had our head of student affairs living in our dorm (its been over 10 years since this guy graduated) and his kids always stopped by my room and would stare at my 40B for something like 5-10 min and they would always get us to go play football or something with them.

Hope this helped.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 03:16 AM
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I don't want to have any pets in college because I feel like my roommates would put stuff in the tank as a joke, break the tank, or insist that they add fish to the tank since it is in "our room" or whatever...

I literally wouldn't even get a betta bowl because I feel like they'd kill the fish. People are stupid.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MHerboth View Post
Background:

I'm going to be a senior at a university in Indiana this year and I went from a 20g to a 40B and now we have 4 10 gallons (one is a roommate's). I live an hour away from the college the roommate lives 3 or 4.

We go on a quarter system so the longest break we have is two weeks, the most common is our week breaks between quarters. That being said my tanks have all been sand except for the tens which are dirted with sand. I never took my tanks home over break only the fish. I'd keep my lights and everything else on timers throw the fish in a 5gallon bucket of tank water with a heater and throw them in a different 20 gallon when I got home. I don't advise breaking a tank down all the time, just move the filter and fish into a tank at home is easiest (much less risk of breaking the tank).
Besides a 20 gallon would only be 20$ at a dollar per gallon sale.

It's good you checked your school's rules but definitely wait and meet your roommate and define what you both want out of your room because that can be a big decision factor and there is nothing worse than living in the same room with someone you can't get along with (especially if its over a fish tank).
I speak from experience, however it did not involve a fish tank it involved music.
(guy didn't want ANY noise in the room....my second roommate was so chill)

If you ever do move it Aquarist has the right idea with plastic wrap. I would hate to completely break down my tank.

I don't know what your schools are like but living on campus for at least a year is a good experience. I've thought a lot about getting an apartment but it just always seems to be more of a hassle than its worth with driving and what not.

At least for me we had our head of student affairs living in our dorm (its been over 10 years since this guy graduated) and his kids always stopped by my room and would stare at my 40B for something like 5-10 min and they would always get us to go play football or something with them.

Hope this helped.
That is very helpful! I do think I might like to like on campus freshman year, at least- I am not bothered by a drive, but it feels sort of inauthentic to live off campus as a freshman... And I hadn't really considered my roommate at all. I don't see why anyone would have a problem with a little fish tank, but you are right that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to roommates. Well, I guess I will be postponing my planning until next summer. Thanks again, everyone!
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 06:22 AM
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I loved my tank in college. 10 gallons, sand, river rock, and two platies and a red tailed shark and fed lightly. At fraternity/sorority parties if I met someone I liked. "Wanna see my fish tank?"

The fastest way to success is patience.

Best,

Joe
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 07:27 PM
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I loved my tank in college. 10 gallons, sand, river rock, and two platies and a red tailed shark and fed lightly. At fraternity/sorority parties if I met someone I liked. "Wanna see my fish tank?"

Talk about using fishes as baits.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2014, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquadawg View Post
I loved my tank in college. 10 gallons, sand, river rock, and two platies and a red tailed shark and fed lightly. At fraternity/sorority parties if I met someone I liked. "Wanna see my fish tank?"
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Talk about using fishes as baits.
Lol! Did it ever work?
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