Roomba The Cray : Our Story

Discussion in 'Crayfish - Crawfish' started by Platyarelife, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. PlatyarelifeWell Known MemberMember

    Young Roomba
    Part 1

    Hello everyone! I have a Tangerine Lobster-Crayfish named Roomba. He is my first Cray and he has taught me so much about himself and how to better care for him. The journey Roomba and I are taking has been stressful at times but in the long run it's been worth it. He told me in many ways how to help him and better take care of him, all I had to do was listen. Cray, like many other pets, cannot use words to communicate but they are very good about showing and explaining what they need.

    I got Roomba when he was still a Juvenile. He was small and cute and very pretty. I had to have him! Of course I did my research on water parameters and learned what basic care I would need. It wasn't until I really spent some months with him that I truly began to understand that he needed more. For awhile Roomba would zoom around the tank, always on the look out for food. He enjoyed spending his time perched on the highest point in the tank, practicing his hunting skills on his Cichlid Neighbors. I was never worried as even though he'd get close to catching one, they were always too fast.

    I normally fed Roomba when I fed the other fish. Once a day for about 3 days, fast on the forth, then feed for the next 3 days. He was always full of energy and ready to eat. I feed him with an Aquarium claw and to my surprise he took to it rather fast. He would eat the food and try to climb on it so I made sure he was always fed that way so he would see it as a good thing and never have to fear the claw.

    Later down the road Roomba's behavior changed drastically. I was really concerned because he would hide in his cave and wouldn't come out for days even for food. I got so use to seeing him out all the time that this was a bit of a shock to me and I couldn't help wonder if he was sick. One morning a few days later I woke up panicked, as I turned to look at the tank I saw a lifeless claw wedged behind some decor. It was a pale red-orange and my heart sank...This couldn't be happening. Mt Precious crayfish was dead!

    I quickly got the aquarium claw and moved some decor just to find a life-less body. Sad and shocked and called to my boyfriend, "Roomba is dead! Roomba is dead!" He moved fast to the aquarium to look at the body in disbelief and then he laughed. "He's not dead. He molted," my boyfriend said. I pulled out the empty shell and and couldn't believe I had been so stupid. I grabbed a flashlight and shinned it back into the cave just to see Roomba sitting there. I was sooo relived. Later that day he came out of his cave and I got him some food. The next few days he would come out for food then go back into his cave. I later learned that when Crayfish molt their new shell is still really soft, leaving them vulnerable to being hurt or killed, so they hide to stay safe until their shell is hardened and ready to protect them once more. Learning the signs of molting had really prepared me for the next couple times he molted. Each time he would come out much bigger and much more brightly colored and gorgeous.

    One day I decided the plants were over growing in my Betta tank so I'd move some to the big tank as it had no live plants. Over the course of the next few days Roomba would eat all the plants. I was quiet frustrated and annoyed as I didn't think he'd eat them and I liked them! Eventually I decided to add Frogbit to the tank as It was out of his reach, or so I thought. Roomba would climb up the air stone tube, grab onto the frog bit and float around the tank while he ate. What a clever cray he was but I wasn't going to let him eat all my Frogbit too! I moved the air stone making it harder for him though I'd come back just to find him still floating on the Frogbit. I watched him for hours wanting to know how he did it! This brought me to the next important thing I learned about crayfish.

    Roomba perched him self on the highest point of the tank and turned around, tail hanging off the edge of the decor. In one swift move he lunged backwards and began flapping his tail and swimming backwards. I couldn't believe my eyes! I had no clue he could swim! He propelled himself to the surface and moved so he could grab onto the ammonia reader then onto the frogbit. He was so determined to get to this frogbit and nothing would stop in his way. I'd try to make it harder on him by moving the reader but this clever cray would always find a way and he ended up eating ALL the frogbit. Not only did I learn that he was a fast swimmer but that he's very smart and will stop at nothing to get his delicious meal.

    Growing Up
    Part 2
    Little by little, month after month, I'd see less of Roomba. I always thought he'd be getting ready for his next molt or just wanted a break from the fish. He went from being so energetic to very lazy and aloof. It got to the point where he would no longer approach the aquarium claw for his food. Instead I had to drop it as close to him as I could which resulted in a lot of frustration as the fish would steal his food before he'd grab it. I'd go so frustrated about the fish stealing the food where there were days I was concerned about him being underfed and other days where'd i'd be like, "Fine starve!" It sounds harsh but I never meant it. I love Roomba and only wanted the best care for him and couldn't understand why he wouldn't come out any more.

    As time moved on I got use to him never coming out during the day or while the light was on. He had become nocturnal and would wait for lights out before roaming the land. This made me sad since he was the tank center piece and my favorite thing in the tank. Might sound silly but I had grown very attached to him.

    Same old habits continued until Roomba decided to grace us with a new and curious trait. He started to dig out his cave. I mean literally. He picks up rocks and moved them to the outside of his cave making it so his cave is more hidden and there is only a slope for him to climb up and down to enter and leave. I assumed it made him feel more safe and helped keep the fish out.

    Once more time goes on and Roomba moves from cave to cave cleaning out rocks and is rarely ever seen. He still hadn't molted in a very long time and wasn't seeming to be getting any bigger. The color of his shell remains a bright red-orange and looked very healthy. He still eats and scavenges but nothing as much as he use to. By now I was use to him not coming out and when I did see him for a brief moment i'd be happy but in the long run was still a bit sad that I didn't get to look at him more. I felt that bond we use to have and built up had been shattered. When he saw me he'd go back into his cave and wouldn't take food from the aquarium claw.

    I don't know why I didn't think about this sooner but as I was watching the fish and thinking about all of Roomba's changes it hit me...He had grown up. Roomba was no longer the always hungry and energetic, Juvenile, crayfish he had been. He was now and official adult crayfish which meant he was taking on adult crayfish responsibilities. It was his natural instincts all along and now that he was an adult his adult instincts were taking over and he was doing what was natural, not because he hated me. This opened my eyes a bit more to really pay attention to him.

    I thought about his behaviors and what made him happy, that he wasn't doing any more. He wasn't climbing as much which he LOVED to do. He wasn't hunting the fish any more, which he did enjoy but no longer had the appetite for ( no he never caught or harmed a fish, he wasn't a good hunter). I decided to start off slow and introduce some new changes to the tank that I thought he may enjoy and the fish too of course.

    First added a couple pieces of driftwood, specifically getting one with a part that stuck up for climbing. Next I added two aquarium plants which had me super nervous as it was one of his favorite foods. Lastly, I waited. Weeks moved on and I would find him climbing on the driftwood and the plants without eating the plants! He didn't even take a nibble which brought me so much joy.

    It finally got to the point where I went on a plant shopping spree and fully planted the aquarium even adding carpet plant seeds. Never could I have been more happy or excited to see Roomba emerge from his cave to explore all that was new. He now climbs all over the plants and the driftwood and explores all over the tank just as he use too. I also began feeding live ghost shrimp every now and then for a treat which gets the fish excited but also Roomba. Roomba is able to hunt the shrimp and he loves it!

    Last but least came feeding. I have been working on the aquarium claw with Roomba again using as much patience as I can and it's paying off. Roomba is getting comfortable with the claw again and is taking food from it. He's even been really grabbing onto it and isn't so afraid of it any more.

    Since I made these changes to the aquarium Roomba now comes out much more and I am able to see him run around and be a crayfish again. He seems much more happy now and can now fully enjoy his life as an adult Tangerine Lobster-Crayfish.

    Thank you for reading
    This story might seem a bit weird and long but it's one I really wanted to share. Some times I feel we take our fish and aquatic friends for granted. There is a lot more to them that meets the eye and I feel if we take the time to really listen to what they are trying to tell us, It opens a whole new world to fish keeping and over all feel better about. I really look forward to continuing on this path with Roomba and all my fish.

    For any new Cray keepers or fish keepers there will be ups and downs. Just remember to your mind open to learning and breath. It gets easier and is highly rewarding in the end. Thank you for reading.

    :emoji_fish:Just keep swimming ~Dory :emoji_fish:

    1st Pic Roomba as a Juvenile
    2nd Pic Roomba now

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  2. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    This was an awesome audiobooklet. I love Roomba too! (Thank you for not killing him off at the end, I hate when that happens). Thank you for this. :)
  3. PlatyarelifeWell Known MemberMember

    Glad you enjoyed!
  4. Gypsy13Fishlore VIPMember

    Are you kidding? Very well written. Easy to listen to. Keep adding to it occasionally. Roomba will have his own novel! I truly enjoyed it. I hope everyone takes the time to read it. If not, they’re missing a beautiful tale. :)
  5. PlatyarelifeWell Known MemberMember

    Oh wow! That is so great to hear! Thank you very much, truly means a lot. :)
  6. McasellaFishlore VIPMember

    Roomba may be a female (if you haven't attempted to sex there is no need to do so, but the claws are very female). Good story, glad you were able to learn and get Roomba out and about.
  7. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    What a wonderful journey you and Roomba are on. Thank you for sharing it with us. :)
  8. PlatyarelifeWell Known MemberMember

    You are correct. Roomba is indeed a female. I still refer to Roomba as just Roomba or "he". I only recently learned( a month ago) how to sex crayfish and had just been calling Roomba a him for so long that it feels weird to change it to "she". I don't think Roomba minds much or at least hasn't told me so. :p
  9. McasellaFishlore VIPMember

    So she just waited for you to spruce up the place to her liking before coming back out?
  10. PlatyarelifeWell Known MemberMember

    Young Cray fish eat a LOT and are always on the look out for food. They are full of energy and buzz around. As Roomba got bigger her instincts kicked in. Her coloring was much much brighter and being bigger in size also meant easier to see. Because she lives with fish she wants to feel protected and concealed. The fish have never hurt her and pretty much just leave her alone though she doesn't know that and still feels the need to have more coverage. So when I added the plants and made the tank fully plants it gave her more hiding spots and made her feel more safe. She is now more comfortable with roaming outside of the caves and climbing around.
    If she is climbing on-top a plant and feels like she needs to hide she'll either put her claws out defensively or she'll jump down into the leaves and hide. :emoji_seedling:

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