Hey there, folks. I've been keeping tropical fish for a good portion of my life, but I'm pulling my hair out trying to figure out whether or not I should bring my old 10 gallon to school with me and make my room a little less lonesome. I have a good spot picked out for the tank, but I'm still not sure if I can make this work or not. There are quite a few hurdles to overcome, so I'll get started with the basics:
1.) I live about two hours away from my house. This means:
-The fish will need to be able to survive a two-hour car trip, plus the amount of time it would take me to set their tank back up at home (I'd imagine around 20 minutes), in small containers. Would my envisioned community of 4 female bettas and 3 African dwarf frogs be able to manage this about four times per school year?
-I will need to find suitable containers for the fish, and a stable place to put them. A local burger joint sells 32oz (1/4 gallon) drinks in clear plastic containers with lids - if I get empty containers and clean them thoroughly, how many animals could comfortably I fit in each container for the ride home?
-I will not be able to take all of my tank water with me, meaning that I would lose many of the benefits of a properly cycled tank. Is there any way to make this less harmful on the fish? Would the bacteria harbored in the gravel and the filter be enough? Would saving a gallon of the tank water help?
(NOTE! I am not considering taking this tank home every weekend. I would only transport the tank at the start of the year, at the beginning and end of winter break, and to go home during the summer. I would use a feeder tab for spring break, assuming that ADFs will take to it.)
2.) I used to keep hermit crabs in this tank until I moved them into a 22G. The tank has had EcoEarth substrate sitting in it for awhile - once I get rid of the dirt and sticks, how can I safely sterilize the tank for the fish?
3.) I'd like to get live plants, but I know that most pet stores have snail-infested vegetation for sale. Would snails be suitable to feed to bettas and ADFs? Also, are water sprite, java moss, and java fern good bets for a low-maintenance tank? How about flowering plants? Will the water sprite obstruct the surface for my bettas too much?
4.) How can I dispose of unwanted plant matter (assuming they start overgrowing) without unwittingly introducing harmful species into my area? Are there fish I can buy that will chomp on the vegetation? How about a small species of pleco (not zebra, please, I'm not made of money)?
5.) What sort of lighting is necessary for the plant species I'm looking at? Would a 15 watt bulb do? How about heating, both for the fish and the plants? It gets pretty cold in here during winter.
Please note that I have not bought fish or anything yet. I've only looked into possibilities and tried to conjure up an inexpensive, easy to care for tank that will give me something relaxing and fun to do between studying. Even if your advice amounts to, "Please do not consider taking any animals into your care right now", I'll appreciate it. I'm sure the fish will too. Thanks for reading!
EDIT: I could have sworn I hit the Freshwater Aquariums section. Oh well, I suppose that's what forms have moderators for, right?