WWYD? Tank in classroom--need ideas for summer

  • #1
Ok. I'm a teacher and the end of the school year is upon us. I have 2-10 gallon tanks in my classroom; 1 has 2 marble mollies and 2 green cory cats; the other has 3 albino cory cats and 2 gold inca snails. Both tanks are fully cycled and my water parameters are totally normal.

I was wondering what would be the best thing to do for the summer. I have a few options, let me know what YOU would do:

1. I live 30 miles away from the school, but my summer teaching job (for the month of July) is right down the street, so stopping by to feed/check isn't an issue. However, I will be gone for 10 days at the end of June and 10 days in August. I DO have an automatic fish feeder, but worry about overfeeding or the tank getting filthy. So, this option is to stop by every Tues and Thurs (the days I'm teaching) and take care of the tank, and just pray the fish feeder works over the 2 times I'm out of state. Now there will be a few days that I won't be able to come due to them stripping the floors in my room (fumes, chemicals).

2. Bring ALL the fish home and put them into my 30 gallon tank; the problem is I"m pretty well stocked for now and fear overstocking--but it would only be until the end of August so 2 months. Nice thing is when I'm gone, hubby can feed fish (June) and housesitter can feed fish (August).

3. Bring ALL the fish home and put them in my empty 10 gallon tank--yes it would be pretty crowded, but again it's temporary. And hubby can feed them and so can housesitter.

4. BUY a new 20 gallon tank for the house and hope it cycles by the end of the school year; however I REALLY don't have the room (or want to spend the $$$) on a new tank just for it to be empty when we go back to school in August.


  • #2
You say "stripping the floors in the room". Is this the room that the tank currently is in?

If this is so, they must come out of that room. Gas exchange at the water's surface will transmit the fumes into the tank, and this has been known to kill fish. There are ways around it, but you'd have to count on the maintenance staff for part of it, since you wouldn't be there to undo what was being done. Also, if it needs to be up for more than a day, that could be problematic.
The good news is that 10 gallon tanks are easy to move. Take the fish out and carry them in plastic bags (you can buy the kind that fish stores use. Otherwise, ziplock usually work). The soft sides of the bags help the fish not get hurt during transport.
Put the media from the filters into a plastic bag, along with some aquarium water.
Drain the rest of the water. (get as much as you can, at least down to the gravel)
Move the tanks. As long as you don't have back issues, a 10 gallon with gravel and a tiny bit of water is pretty easy to lift.
Find a temporary place to set them up at home. Get the tanks filled with water, put the filter media in, and get the filters running. Introduce the fish slowly, so they get a chance to acclimate to the new type of water (or, if you want, and can pull this off, you can bring the old tank water home with you in 5 gallon buckets. Then they'll get slowly acclimated with water changes.)

If, however, I misunderstood where the floors were being stripped, then the fish should be okay with you leaving for a little bit. Get one of the little gel feeder blocks for them for the time you're gone, and don't worry too much. For various reasons, fish can last for quite awhile without being fed.

  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks! I'll have to check with the janitorial staff on the floor stripping; they stripped the floors in my room last year (no fish yet) so I'm assuming they are going to do it again this year since it's a new school.

I DO have a 10-gallon and a 5-gallon (cycled but nothing is in it but live plants) at home that's not being used; what do you think about that? Put 2-3 cories in that one, and put the other cories and the mollies in the 10 gallon at home? I am trying to avoid tranporting the tanks because I already have to bring home the guinea pig and 3 hamsters as well and I was hoping to accomplish this in 1 move......

THANKS again!!!
  • #4
I set up a 10 gallon and was able to get it to cycle almost completely in 2 weeks. Use gravel and any other things you can from an established tank and it will greatly shorten the time it takes to cycle the tank. If you move the fish home bring the filter with you. A good number of the bacteria are found right in there. I put some filter fiber next to the filter in my established tank. In two days it had turned that yellow green color and was saturated with bacteria. I then placed that filter fiber next to the filter in the new tank I was setting up. That speed everything up really quickly.

I just graduated with my elementary education degree. I am looking forward to bringing in my naturally planted tanks and exploring them with the students. Do you do any lessons using the tanks?
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I teach high school Veterinary Assisting (vocational school). The kids do the water testing (THEY got to do the fishless cycle and were so frustrated with it, it was GREAT!!!), they have to figure out what happens when the water gets cloudy, or algae grows; they have to feed the fish, measure the snails' growth. They also do the water changes as well. We have live planted tanks, so they are in charge of making sure we don't have plant debris, make sure they plant new budding plants, etc. They all understand the nitrogen cycle and are familiar with pH now!
  • #6
Our teacher selects students to send the tanks home with them for the summer..and seeing how you have high school kids, that mite not be a bad idea...an extra credit thing maybe? My daughter brought in her ghecko for the year and now, hes coming home again but she gets an extra project score for redecorating his home over the summer...just a suggestion ...otherwise, id go with the automatic feeder if the floors aren't being done in the tanks area...we have one at work and its great...we are closed sundays and I got one so they didnt go an entire day without food..just aligning it up properly was an issue, so if you decide to go that route, get one now and watch it for a week or so to make sure the food goes in goodluck??


  • #7
I get what you're saying. It's not ideal, but it might work.
What about this?
Mollies in the 10g, 2 green cories and 2 snails in 5g, 3 albino cories in 30 gallon home tank (presuming it doesn't have anything in there that would eat a cory)? I'm thinking that it would be best to split the excess bioload among as many tanks as possible. What you don't want to do is split the cories up from their normal groups, as they like being with others of their own kind.

Also, I would like to say that it's awesome that they're being taught about the health of fish and whole aquariums. Hopefully someone will decide to specialize in fish (there are a few such specialists around the US, but not enough)
  • #8
The MTS in me wants to say go with option #4. (You could put your own fish in it when school starts back up.)

But I think SDS has the best plan for them. A soft-sided cooler bag could transport all the fish home.
  • #9
SDS has a very god plan there. It's really cool that all the students are properly educated about fish! I have to teach about 10 high school students all about the nitro cycle etc. right now - how hard is that!? Especially when it comes from a little kid smaller than most of them... They where shocked with a capital S when they learned I did my water changes every week!

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