How I bought a tank

By Ev Bogue - November 19th 2014

A few days ago I went to the pez mercado with the intention of buying a tank.

A tank for fish.

One of the things I've gotten very into since living in La Ciudad is the fish. It's not all petsmart/petco inbred monocultures here. Instead, there are mercados full of fish. Dead fish, live fish, swimming fish, sick fish, salt water fish, tropical fish, large fish, small fish. You want it, you got it. But you gotta learn how to negotiate the fish mercado, which is not exactly a gringo zone. Which is why I feel safe going there, because no one will find me there.

I'm addicted to buying fish, and trying to get them not to turn into floaters. Because it's the hardest thing I could possibly do with my time. If you want me to buy more fish, buy more of my products so I can have disposable fish income.

Anyway, right now I'm looking at an empty fish tank. Well, not quite empty. It has two plants in it. And it smells of glue or caulk or some kind of sealant. I figure if I put a fish in there right now it will turn right over and float to the top never to be heard from again.

Which is fine. Fish die. I might cry every time, but they die. You get one thing wrong, and all of a sudden you have a tank full of floaters.

Which is why I can't figure out the fish business. How do any of these people make any money? The fish business is in many ways the opposite of the digital products business, as all fish expire -- some faster than others.

But I bought this tank. First I went around and price compared a little bit. There are custom tanks, of course. Large fucking tanks that are much too big for my 5000 peso apartment tanks. And there are piles of pre-made tanks lining the street, in various shapes and sizes. These tanks were what I was ater.

In addition to a tank, there was also a betta that was picked up. But right now it's listing to the side at an extreme angle, so I can't be sure it's going to make it. The night will tell. If it's a float in the morning, into the great beyond for you!

I want to fill this tank with many fish, and watch them swim around and live happy little lives, but the problem is it smells of glue right now. So I'll let you know if things get better.

But that isn't what I came here to write about. No, I wanted to write about the lady I bought the tank from. She had mad hustle.

First I asked how much it would be to get this one tank. Black rim, bigger than the rest, but not too big. What does she tell me? I can buy three tanks for less than it'd cost me to buy them all separate.

Okay, but I want this tank.

I measure it. It seems to fit the space I want it to be in.

And then she asks if I'm buying my first tank. I nod, because that's kind of true. I'm upgrading from padre kino bottles filled with betta fish to a small aquarium with a more diverse selection of swimming critters.

Then she pitches me on this glorious monstrosity of a tank filled with all of the things I need to get my tank going. There's a filter, a heater, neon gravel. Everything I never wanted to put into a tank. But she's into it, so I cross my arms and look bored, but she keeps on going about it.

Then I manage to convey that I want "solomente este tank, quanto questa?"

Then I find out it's 85 pesos. Not bad, for a tank.

I tell her I'm going to think about it, and then I wander around for a bit. Some other lady is selling a very similar tank for 80 pesos, but she gets confused and tells me 35 when I ask her "quanto" when she thinks I'm referring to how many liters it can hold.

So after getting some plants and the betta that's listing so horribly to the side of the great beyond right now, I end up going back to the lady with the mad hustle.

"este es ochenta y cinco pesos, si?"


Out of my pocket I pulled a cien peso bill, and handed it to her. A moment later she was back with 15 in change and I was on my way with my first full size aquarium tank in a long wile.

And no fish to put in it.

So tune back in next week to see if the orange betta was a floater, and whether or not I've figure out how to heat this tank I have sitting on the table.

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