I'm in college currently, but I live with my mom and step-dad (heavily considering moving out into a rental closer to college next summer though). I've been keeping fish since I was younger though.
My first aquariums my dad bought me for Christmas or a similar holidays/gifts, but since then I've funded my hobby entirely on my own from working for my mom's business or other finds.
- My 55g I received for free. It had a custom stand/canopy my dad originally built but sold to a neighbor. Said neighbor ended up just giving it to me for free when I expressed interest in it because he just wanted it out of his house. He gave me everything in it too, but I had to buy new heaters and I scavenged a canister filter that I'm still trying to get running. I'm using the two HOB filters that came with it at the moment.
- My 29g was a sort of gift. The mom of one of my dad's girlfriend's friends could no longer really care for her aquarium, and she was looking for someone to take it over, so she ended up giving it to me (though I think my dad gave her some money even though she didn't want any) - along with two iridescent sharks and a white skirt tetra xx; the sharks were about six inches long, but she didn't want me to rehome them and I didn't have a larger tank at the time. They eventually died, and I have a suspicion it was due to growth stunting. I feel really bad about that. I've had to buy a new heater for it since then because the old one shattered. It now houses my sorority.
- My 5 gallon hex my mom got for me from a salvation army for $10 because I wanted to have a fish at college. I bought the heater/replacement filter.
- My 13g was a Christmas gift from my dad, and was the first 'larger' aquarium I ever owned - I had it before the 29g. It's currently a quarantine tank, but there seems to be some sort of curse on it that no matter how many heaters I buy for it they stop working as soon as they go in that tank, even if they were working fine elsewhere. It's super frustrating. I'm thinking of just changing it into a coldwater tank at this point.
- My 10g hex I bought from a friend for $30, complete with stand. Bought a replacement heater and filter. Unfortunately it cracked, so I can no longer use it. My step dad is going to use it as a terrarium most likely.
- My 3g cylinder was actually part of a gift I bought for a friend of mine (I bought three of them) because a couple friends wanted fish and I wanted to get them started out right with a heater and reasonably sized tank rather than a vase, but after her betta died (she forgot to put water conditioner in the water the moment she took it home from college) she ended up just putting it in her basement and didn't use it. Another friend of mine - who still has her betta in the tank I got her and just dotes on him - talked to her and convinced her to give the tank back to me if she wasn't going to use it. I used it as a temporary home for Socrates after my 10g broke, and my step dad will likely also use it as a terrarium if I don't keep it for a hospital tank.
- My 5.5 gallon I bought myself for a new permanent residence for Socrates after his 10g hex cracked.
I've also purchased all the fish, decor, plants, supplies, substrate, etc. by myself from whatever funds I can scrounge up. I tend to take short cuts to get things cheaper (like buying lights at Lowes, utilising websites, etc.), but yeah. Occasionally my mom will buy me new fish as a gift or surprise.
My fishkeeping is my main hobby expense though, so most of my spare money does go back to my tanks xD I just got a new glass canopy and T5 lighting system for my 29g, and I had to get a glass canopy and light for the 5g. Plus I just put in a big order for plants and fish - which I just got the fish today. More cories, guppies, and danios. Plants should be in tomorrow.