It's Tuesday night. Thursday morning, the Kittyboy and I head off to my parents so that Kittyboy can meet his auntie's college friend, AND so that I can pick up and take home a bluegill for my 65-gallon tank. I've been planning this "Illinois tank" for weeks, ever since the two big goldfish in that tank died, and it's been quite the project. New filters (because it turns out that relying on an under-gravel setup in such a big tank is probably why fish died periodically), new lights (to hopefully grow plants), and live plants. I was going to try and get duckweed or hornwort for plants, then found out those both float on the surface, and eventually would COVER the surface, blocking light to the grass I've already got. So I'm sticking with grass and whatever grows from those little dried bulbs they sell at Walmart.
Anyhow, lights are set up, grass has not died yet and in fact might be growing more, a bulb that I thought was a dud (been in there for months and done nothing) has now put out six inches of growth, filters are running, all's good. Getting the fish Thursday.
Need a battery-powered air pump to transport it with the absolute minimum of stress.
But those are such basic, necessary things, I didn't think to look around in advance. It's something you need if the power goes out, an emergency measure that you don't necessarily plan for, but usually when you need one, you NEED ONE. RIGHT THEN.
Petsmart had none. Petco had none. Oh, they had them online. If I had, you know, a couple weeks to wait. But if you run in crying, "Omygosh a tree just fell on our power-line and I need an air pump for my 500 gallon reef!!"? Sorry, not in stores.
I was fuming. And panicking, I need a pump in roughly 36 hours, but also fuming, because that's just so short-sighted. We had a tornado about four years ago that knocked out power to MUCH of Springfield for days or weeks, depending on where you lived. We get tornadoes every year - they don't do that much damage every year, but we get them. Not stocking back-up air pumps is like Wal-Mart not stocking hurricane lamps.
I called the only small, local fish store I could think of, The Fishman Pet Center - insert Star Wars clip, "Help me Fishman Kenobi! You're my only hope!" - and THEY have them. They have two, on the shelf, right now. They open at noon tomorrow.
And I flooded the lady on the phone with my gratitude and relief. I told her the whole long story and that neither of the major chains carry this basic, necessary piece of equipment in their stores. She also thought that was ridiculous - she knew people who lost THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS worth of fish after the tornado because they hadn't bought pumps and their store didn't have enough to go around. When you need one, you NEED ONE.
We've actually never gone to The Fishman before, because it's waaaay the other end of Springfield while the chains are only a couple miles away, but I think I will be patronizing them from now on. They know what fish-keepers need!
Sooooooo relieved... :)