So the tank Walmart sold me had almost no substrate and I had no fish so Off to the pet store I go.

I could bore you with how I wasted many hours going from PetsMart to PetCO and back, and how it took me about a week to realize they were in fact the Walmart of Animals.

Not only were they the Walmart of Animals, they were the Michael Vick of the fish world.  On a side note, I think Michael Vick is a phenomenal athlete and I think as a person he has taken the proper steps atone for his crimes. In my mind 2 years, 18 million dollars, and bankruptcy was enough to make up for his poor decisions.  As someone who grew up in and around poverty I can understand how someone could get sucked into that kind of underground animal cruelty. So long as Michael Vick continues his work with the humane society, and talking to children about his mistakes and how to avoid them, I can forgive him for a vice that was potentially a side effect of growing up in a culture of poverty.

So what do Michael Vick and Petco/Petsmart have in common?  Both intentionally kill animals for a profit.

WHAT? But How? Let me explain.

When it comes to aquatics these big box stores sell many products with there fish, and being as I would like to create some semblance of an ecosystem in my tank, I decide that natural plants are the way to go. The plastic ones always look so lame anyway.  Well I ask the guy which plants are easiest to take care of, grow the best ect.

He points me at several plants sitting in plastic tubes with a base of gel-beads. Okay cool, I can handle that, they look decent and healthy.

I pick up 5 glo-fish, 6 guppies, and 5 ghost shrimp. Which was “fine for a 10 gallon tank.”

Turns out that 2 of those 3 plants were not actually aquatic plants, but rather semi-aquatic, which means they do not grow underwater but rather slowly die and release toxins. If you sold dog or cat toys that did this pretty sure it would not take long before the Animal Nazi’s (PETA) burned you down.  Apparently aquatic life is not life and they don’t care because the stores solicit donations for fluffy animals, or they have some food industry people to secretly video tape or something.

I digress.

After all the guppies died, I decided to do some research. It is here I discover the difference between aquatic and semi aquatic plants, what bioload is, as well as what a cycled tank is. All of these things would of been good to know before purchasing fish.