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Having Fish for Pets on Campus

Having Fish for Pets on Campus

At SUNY Poly, non-carnivorous fish are the only pets allowed in the dorms on campus. Here is the policy from the SUNY Poly 2018-2019 Student Handbook:

“ Pets Except for non-carnivorous fresh water aquarium fish, pets are not permitted to visit or be kept in the residence halls. Fish must be kept in aquarium tanks of less than 10 gallons. Specially trained companion dogs for disabled persons and therapy animals are not classified as “pets” under this policy. Please consult the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and the Disability Services director for questions regarding pets in residence under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ”


Per the Student Handbook policy, the fish have to be fresh water, non-carnivorous, and the tank has to be less than ten gallons. These restrictions are important when picking a fish to have as a pet. When choosing a fish, it is key to do research on the type of fish before purchasing because different fish have different water treatment needs, tanks sizes, temperature requirements, and dietary needs.

First, consider the minimum tank size required for the fish being bought. Different fish have different size requirements, some on the minimum tank requirements surpassing the Student Handbook restrictions. For example, people tend to buy a Goldfish or a Betta. Betta can be properly taken care of in a dorm, but Goldfish cannot. The minimum tank size for a Goldfish is twenty gallons, double the allowed amount in the dorms. For this reason, Goldfish should not be bought as a pet if being placed in a dorm room. However, Bettas have a minimum tank size of two and a half gallons, so they can be kept in the residence halls.

The second consideration is dietary needs. There are a variety of different types of fish food at pet stores, so again it is important to do research on the type of food the specific fish being bought eats. Betta fish, for example, can eat special pellets specific for Bettas and can also eat treats such as freeze dried bloodworms.

Third, check what temperature the fish needs to be kept at. If the required heat is above room temperature, there are different kinds of heaters that can be bought at pet stores, such as Petsmart. Betta fish require a temperature range that should be around seventy eight degrees to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, Bettas require a tank heater.

Another thing to think about is what pH and water treatments are needed for the specific fish. For many fish, tap water can harm them, so a water conditioner should be bought in order to get rid of any chlorine that may be in the water. Bettas require a pH range of 6.8-7.4, so for Bettas and a majority of pet fish pH test strips or a pH testing kit should be bought so that a proper pH is maintained.

So remember to consider the proper minimum tank size, dietary needs, water temperature, and water treatments/pH needed before buying a fish. With any animal, it is important to research and take into consideration these needs. Fish such as Goldfish should not be kept in the dorms because they require tank sizes that are double the allowed size in the Student Handbook. Betta fish are fine to have in the residential halls, but it is key to buy everything needed to meet all the needs that a Betta requires. If meeting one of the needs for a fish is unobtainable, do not buy the fish. Instead, compare different types of fish or wait until all of the proper requirements can be bought and are obtainable.



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