Taking a small reef tank to college is easier than you think. Most colleges have a limit on the tank size that you can have in the dorms and this is usually 20 gallons or less. So when I decided that I wanted to have a slice of the ocean in my dorm room I decided to go with an all in one system for a few reasons. The first reason was it was an all-in-one and there would be no need to plumb anything. The second reason was that it came with LED lights and all of the filtration. Getting the tank to college was no problem. Smaller all-in-one tanks fit great in to the back of any car and can be easily carried by one person, which makes moving day even easier if you don’t have to hide a bigger tank from your RA.
Once it was set up, all I had to do was plug it in and it was ready to go. One of the hardest things about having a reef tank in college is that you have to remember to do regular maintenance. This can be hard because of the additional workload that many students experience in their first years of college. Through my personal experience, I found that doing my weekly water change on Sundays worked best for me because Sundays for many college students is homework day. I viewed maintenance on the tank as a well-deserved break from the copious amount of homework that I had from procrastinating on assignments throughout the week. For all of the problems that would pop up now and again with the reef tank, local fish stores were able to help me every step of the way.
Thomas Cook is a contributor for AquaNerd and an employee at Easy Aquariums located in Gorham, Maine.