Ok, most folks know by now that I am plagued with guilt over my fish. They (the goldies - Bill was spoiled rotten, bless his little scaly departed soul) have never been in a proper-sized tank. I am entirely to blame - I didn't do enough research initially, and I allowed people who wanted to be "nice" to me (rather than yell at me, as they should have if they really gave a shit about the well-being of the fish I have decided to keep) to let me think I was doing right by them.
I have known for some time that I need a tank that is at least 100 gallons. I was fortunate to acquire my 65-gal from Freecycle, but have not yet found a larger one there. Instead, I have planned on a future purchase of a good-sized tank and good filtration system. In the meantime, though, I've been watching craigslist for something to come along that would do the job for (hopefully) significantly less than retail. Because full price for a decent tank and filtration system is going to be at least$1500. A rather hefty sum, which I would play gladly if the cash was just lying around, but it isn't.
Something popped up last month, but was quickly gone again. Tonight I found something that would possibly do very nicely. An auspicious start quickly devolved into a situation that has me upset.
I wrote with specific questions about the dimensions of the tank and the condition of it, the stand, and the filtration system. The seller also mentioned that they could provide photos upon request, and I asked for them, of course.
In response, I received answers to my questions, as well as a single photo. Then tank and stand look nice, but they featured a planted, stocked tank. At least 17 tetras of different varieties.
I started worrying, and wrote immediately, "I have to ask - the fish in the pic are NOT coming along, right? I'm assuming they have a new home? My goldies are big, and the older one is decidedly mean (as goldfish tend to be)."
The seller responded: "You can have the fish to . im in townsend and dont mind transpoting it there for you." (All spelling and grammar issues totally on his/her end).
So now I'm upset. Was I not totally clear? I have no need or desire for more fish. I'm too lazy a fish-mama as it is. I cannot handle a planted tank, or a tank with this many fish. The whole point of the new tank was to get a home for fish who need one, not to get a bunch of new freaking fish! And I can't put a goldfish in with the tetras - aside from the environmental incompatibilities, the goldfish would eat all the rest in a heartbeat, and I could NOT handle that.
So now I'm worried for those poor little finny babies - this person clearly doesn't give a crap about them. What would he/she do to them if I said I want the tank but NOT the fish? Don't tell me - I know. Worse, what will happen if I do nothing (as I now must)?
I'm angry, because now I can't buy this tank. I can't trust that all those lives will be treated properly if I try to arrange things how I need them to be. Which means that Goldie and Alfie will have to wait, and they have already waited so long. I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up, but I did. And now I know of a whole group of animal lives in peril that I can do nothing about. And I don't know what to say to this person, someone who has also had hopes raised - in a pretty crappy economy - that they might be able to sell something they may no longer be able to support financially.
I just don't know what to do or how to handle things like this - so many hypothetical burdens on my soul. And once the potential is there, it will always be there. If I was able to forget this sort of thing, my being would be much lighter, at least for now. But this tank, with its school(s) of tetras will stay with me the rest of my life. I will always wonder if they were ok, or flushed away so the current owner could pay some bills. And not knowing, I will assume the worst and feel responsible.
THIS is why I pay retail.