Oh wow, these posts remind me so much of myself, it's scary! (but in a sort of un-related way).
See, I've had problems with "hamster obsession" the past couple of years. Started with one, and she was so much fun that I decided to adopt another.........and another.......and another........until I had 5 of my own and 2 fosters. Then it dawned on me how much money was being spent on cages, bedding, etc. etc. And mind you, these are SPOILED hamsters. They each had a galore of tubes with 5 or so cages each (or 3 large tanks connected with smaller pods). I actually kept every receipt from what I spent, and it added up to $800+ dollars! (probably closer to $1,000 by this point.
Which is RIDICULOUS!!!! I spent SO much money on cages and supplies, and got incredibly overwhelmed caring for them all. Now I'm down to one (the fosters were adopted out and my own passed away from old age or congestive heart failure), and have a closet full of cages and supplies. Sometimes, like you said, I'd like to make them disappear and have the money back, but at the same time there are no regrets.
You certainly seem to have enjoyed all of your fish, right? Would you trade all of that experience? I know I wouldn't. I do plan on selling buttloads of things on Ebay, though, and hopefully recouping some cost to put in the bank.
I'm also not in the greatest financial situation at the moment, but found a cool site that I can trade in virtual money (from searching), and trade it in for Amazon giftcards. This is how I've decided to save up for fish supplies, as I REFUSE to throw away my money this time. Yes, it takes EXTREME self-control and discipline, but once you start, it's much easier to enjoy saving and not get stressed.