I'm actually enrolled in UNCC! As a sociology major. So glad to see someone else here in the NC public college system (ours are the best in the country!)
It looks like as long as the tank is properly sized and what not that it shouldn't take up too much space. Which is great because when I first read all the proper care guides I wasn't sure if this is something I'd be able to have in the first place.
I'm looking at tanks and I see two choices Acrylic and Glass. Now glass is my favorite material and I remember my parents having glass aquariums when I was much, much younger. I didn't know you could get them made out of acrylic.
Is acrylic a bad choice? I'm worried about it eventually breaking down and leeching chemicals into the water. Otherwise it would be great to save a few dollars, however as this is literally the single most important piece of equipment I probably shouldn't skimp.
(I'm also noticing this fish keeping thing isn't nearly as expensive as my cat!)
Good choice of major . I am a grad student in Sociology, and I teach Intro to Sociology at a community college. Do you know what your emphasis area will be (social inequality, family studies, rural, crim, etc...)?
On topic, I never lived in the dorms so I can't help you there. But, I know a lot of people who keep fish in dorms (and other non-allowed pets) and seem to be fine.
I think keeping a betta in a dorm is very doable! I have a 5 gallon and a 2.5 gallon in my dorm. It takes me about 30 min to clean the 5 gallon and 10 min to clean my 2.5 gallon. The only annoying part is transporting the fish from home to school but it isn't so bad that I would say don't get a betta.
I actually live only 30 minutes away from my school. (Yes I know why not just live at home, but it's a long, long story and in essence because of personal problems I'm taking advantage and moving out) So I'm not tremendously worried about transporting.
Someone earlier mentioned that I should settle into my dorm first before I set up my tank and I totally agree. That is a great idea! It will also give me time to figure out how to set up the water properly before I stock it. God forbid I kill these animals, I can hardly keep my phalenopsis (Moth Orchid) alive, so I'm a little worried I'm going to hurt these little guys.
I could probably fit a 10 gal in, but I'm anticipating a terribly small dorm. I'm even considering having a little community to add variety to my tank. (Has anyone seen those GloFish? They would look gorgeous with a Betta but much research must be done to see if they're compatible)
Bottom line is, I'm so glad this is something I can do! I was really worried that this was going to be too much. I'm also glad I found this forum before I bought the little guy and stuck him in a vase and killed him two weeks later.
I have had a 10g in my dorm for two years and it wasn't much work. Weekly water changes, daily feedings... All easy enough to handle, plus the stress relief & interaction my fish provided made it more than worthwhile.
My first year I had a dresser that was large enough to support a tank, so there was no extra footprint but my second year I had to buy a stand due to different furniture styles in the building I moved to. Both times I was in a single, which is cramped as all get-out at my school but there was still enough space.
As for tank materials, it's a matter of personal choice. I prefer glass because I know they can be fixed, they're hard to scratch, and they're distortion free. But acrylic is lighter, cheaper, and break less easily which might be important in terms of moving your tank around. I haven't heard anything about acrylic tanks leeching chemicals, and I can't imagine it would happen in a few short years anyway or else people would have been complaining.
GloFish are just modified zebra danios, which I kept in my 10g with my betta. They're compatible if you have enough danios to stop fin-nipping, but danios prefer colder water and more current, plus they like at least twenty gallons because they swim super fast. I would recommend a group of cory cats if you like bottom-feeders, or maybe some harlequin rasboras which are pretty bright orange. Danios in a 10g can be done, but it's not ideal. (I still have mine in a 10g because I'm not allowed to upgrade, but if I could go back in time I'd pick another type of fish)