About a month and a half ago, I finally gave the okay for Jeff to set up his old aquarium. We’ve had it in the garage for a few years and it’s something he’s wanted to do for a long time. We’ve never had an aquarium as long as we’ve been together and we supposedly had all the parts. Or so I thought. First we had to go to the store to get gravel. Do you know how expensive gravel is? $18 for gravel. Oh and we also needed a new cover and light for the top of the tank. That was $40. Luckily all they had was the floor model and they gave us a discount. We also needed some new decorations for the tank. Another $50. I was starting to think that maybe we just should have gotten another cat. Jeff purchased some other things we need and the total was over $120 for the first trip. This was not a frugal endeavor. We got everything set up and we realized that the filter we had was leaking. Back to the pet store to purchase another filter, $45. But look, we got free filters! Yay? It’s like a coupon. Yeah, I know. I tried to make this seem frugal. After a few days we test the water and everything looks good so we go get some fish. The fish store has us by some bacteria for the tank and the fish food, plus some bleeding heart tetras. The fish are cool and they look like they’ve got a little heart on their side. Reminds me of My Little Ponies. Fifty dollars later, life seems good again. We do everything we are supposed to do to get the fish in the tank and put the bacteria in the tank. My Little Fishies are swimming happily around the tank. We turn off the light and listen to the sound of the filter, dreaming of My Little Fishies. When we woke up the next morning, all the fish were dead. All five of My Little Fishies. We called the aquarium store and we were told to come in with a water sample. We drove 20 minutes back to the aquarium store, only to be told that it was probably the bacteria stuff they sold us. This was the second time this had happened. We had to change the water in the tank, get it all regulated again and they would replace the fish, plus one free fish for the drive. At $4 a gallon gas, I was losing money on this deal but Jeff was heart-broken over the dead fish so we would try again. After another trip down to the aquarium store, My six Little Fishies are doing well. We have also added some zebra fish (another $10). Everyone is happy. Did I mention they got sick? Well, they got Ick to be more precise. Stress related they tell me. I had to get fish medicine. At least that was only $3. Now that things have been going well for about a month and everyone is happy. We decide to get some neons. We purchase five neons and two little catfish ($18). The neons die. My husband says sometimes fish die from stress and they were only $1 each (maybe they were on sale because they were crappy fish?). He doesn’t think they have a fish return policy and flushes them. Again, I go to the pet store to replace the neons, but they don’t have more neons. They have cardinals, which were much more expensive but they are really the fish my husband wanted. I purchase six cardinals because that was all they had and I didn’t want to leave one of the cardinals without the rest of his school ($21). A few hours after we get them home, one of them dies. “It must be stress,” Jeff says and flush. The next day (that would be yesterday), four more die. At this point, I start googling the return policy for the pet store. To get my money back, I need a receipt (got that), a water sample (check), and the dead fish (ewww). I made Jeff get the dead fish out of the tank and we brought them back. We put the fish in a zipper bag and then put the bad in a container with another baggy of water. They tested our water, said it was fine and gave us our money back for all five dead fish, even though we only brought four bodies. Must be stress. Who knew there was so much fish stress. I know this whole process has caused me a lot of stress. And money for that matter. This morning I woke up to find the last cardinal dead. I was proud of myself that I got him out of the tank and put him in a little zipper bag. It’s back to the pet store today. I think I’m all done with new fish for a while. We’ll just have to life with the ones we’ve got, that is until we need an algae eater to keep the tank clean. The saga continues. Could we call it “As the Aquarium Churns”?