Aquatropics to the rescue

 
There are two creatures not for sale at Aquatropics tropical fish store in Gainesville – a Jack Dempsey fish and a freshwater fire eel. They are considered guests for now, staying in tanks marked NFS.
 
They belong to Gainesville resident Nick Gummi’s whose house lost power recently causing filters and pumps to go out on his fish tanks. Gummi used a battery-powered air pump to get the systems running. Unfortunately, that system stopped working and when he returned home that evening, he saw that the batteries died and so did most of his pet fish.
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“I came home to a tank full of dead fish buddies,” he posted on Gainesville Word of Mouth. “I had one Jewel cichlid (aka Jack Dempsey fish) and a freshwater fire eel gulping for dear life still hanging on,” he wrote.
“I panicked and made a post here on GNVWOM (Gainesville Word of Mouth facebook group) desperate for help,” he said. “Aquatropics was mentioned, so I called them. They answered and said ‘bring them here, we’ll put them straight into a tank and make sure they are taken care of.’
“I netted these guys and ran up there as fast as possible,” Gummi said. 
When he arrived at Aquatropics, Sales Associate Noah Vincent, 24, a recent graduate of Santa Fe College who just earned a degree in Animal Science Technologies, greeted Gummi at the door and did exactly what he promised.
 
He took the fire eel known for its bright dark reddish orange striping on the face and tail and a colorful Jack Dempsey fish and found tanks for them to hang out in. Then he wrote on the tanks in black marker “NFS” (not for sale).
 
Vincent said the store will hold them until Gummi gets his tank figured out.
“They were a little stressed out,” Vincent said about the condition the survivors were in when they arrived. “But all things considered, they were in great shape.”
Vincent said he was surprised that the Jack Dempsey fish and the eel got along in Gummi’s tanks. The fresh water creatures, “can be pretty aggressive,” he said about the fish named after Fighter Jack Dempsey sharing his strong facial features and fighter attitude. “But with him working out with the fire eel, he probably has a pretty passive personality, for a Dempsey. Vincent admired the coloring of the two guests and said this isn’t the first time the shop has served as an ER for fish.
“Every once in a while when somebody brings in a fish and their tank is having a really hard time such as a power outage or a huge spike in ammonia, we hold onto them for a brief period of time to help,” he said.
Gummi posted on social media a “HUGE pat on the back to Noah and the crew at Aquatropics,” for helping him out.
“They aren’t charging me for the storage, care, or even the food for my swimming pals,” he posted. “They are giving me the time I need to purchase more pumps and filters with no pressure and empathy and compassion.
“You don’t find that very often, especially at the big national brand pet stores.”
Vincent, who has worked at Aquatropics for two years, said his career goal is to become a zoo curator one day. “Or possibly have my own kind of zoo,” he said.
Gummi said he will always be a loyal customer since getting help during a bad situation.
“If you own fish, I’m sure you can understand how devastating having a total tank loss can be,” he commented. “Financially and emotionally. I had some of these guys for over five years and they moved up here with me from Miami.”

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