One of the best parts about living at home is being close to your family pet. Those animals are often your best friends, providing love and unconditional support to you whenever you need them. When you move away to college, those pets can’t make the trip with you. None of the dorms on Gannon’s campus allow furry pets, but you can still find an animal friend to take care of in your free time.

Though they’re not exactly easy to cuddle with, fish are still a great option to keep as pets in college. First, fish are relatively easy to take care of compared with cats or dogs. You don’t have to walk them or pick up after them—all they need is a clean tank with fresh water, which requires maintenance about once a week. Fish fit right in to a busy college schedule.

Fish are also significantly less expensive than other pets. Once you make the initial purchase of the tank, gravel and food, buying the actual fish is not that expensive. The costs for the upkeep of the fish aren’t that high either— buy some more food and take some water from the bathroom sink!

Of course, as it goes with many household pets, it’s easy to quickly form a bond with your new fish. During my freshman year, my roommate brought home a tiny little fish that she assured me was some breed of miniature shark. She quickly set up his tank on her desk, complete with a little toy to sit at the bottom of the tank. However, her dreams with this fish were quickly dashed. Apparently, the fish hadn’t adjusted well to its new home—when we woke up the next morning, he was swimming with the fishes in a completely different sense. After the appropriate mourning period, we had new fishy friends that were a little more durable than that one had been.

On campus residents are allowed to have one fish tank, with a 25 gallon maximum, to house their aquatic friends. You can decorate the tank however you want and keep as many fish in the tank, though I wouldn’t recommend overcrowding the tank. Make sure you have a plan for your fish if you have to leave them on campus for extended periods of time while you’re gone or figure out how to take the tank home.

Once you move off campus, you can decide for yourself if you think you are responsible enough for a pet that requires a little more care. Until then, if you’re still craving some love and attention from a family pet, it’s not that weird to ask to see them when you skype or facetime with your family. Otherwise, you can spend some time volunteering with animals at Erie’s ANNA shelter or window shop for puppies on your next trip to the mall.