Opinion: Big Fish, Little Bowl


Rachel Hammond, Staff Writer

As students both new and returning get settled into their dorms, there arises a conflict. Many students want to have a pet. 

Cats and dogs require documentation to be allowed on-campus, whereas a “non-carnivorous fish housed in an aquarium that is 10-gallons or less” is 100% okay according to Georgia Southern’s housing FAQs. 

A fish seems like the perfect choice: easy, quiet, and inexpensive. However, the sad reality is that many pet fish are being unknowingly abused by their owners. 

Keep reading to get valuable info on these finned friends.

A big mistake many people make when getting a new pet fish is getting a fish bowl. While they are cheap and cute, fish bowls are actually harmful to your fish. 

First of all, there is nowhere near enough room in a bowl. It is recommended that Betta fish have at least 2.5 gallons of room while a goldfish needs anywhere from 10-30 gallons. A fish bowl is typically one gallon or less. Also, due to its small size, a fish bowl needs to ideally be cleaned every day to keep your fish healthy. 

In a bigger tank, you have the option of using a water filter, which makes maintenance much easier (especially for a college student who has limited time).

Another common oversight is not furnishing their habitat.

Imagine living in a room with no sofa, no table, no nothing. 

At the minimum, your tank should have some type of substrate or flooring, plants (real or artificial), and at least one hiding spot for your fish. Without these things, the fish can become overly stressed and eventually die. 

Fish especially need a hiding spot like a cave so they can destress when their environment is upsetting them. If the tank gets shaken, or the room is noisy, your fishy friend can seek the refuge of their quiet little cave. 

One more error that is common is not providing enough food for the fish. Fish typically need to eat every day. 

Not only that, but their diets often require a bit of extra supplementation. This means instead of just food pellets, your fish should also be getting an occasional snack of bloodworms. 

Additionally, fish flakes are not very good for your fish; they lack the necessary protein that is alternately found in pellets.

In general, it is best to do thorough research to get information about your fish; they will certainly appreciate it!