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FAQs about Bivalve Mollusks, the Clams, Mussels, Oysters... 2

Related Articles: Tridacnids, Bivalves, Mollusks,

Related FAQs:  Bivalves 1, & Bivalve Identification, Bivalve Behavior, Bivalve Compatibility, Bivalve Selection, Bivalve Systems, Bivalve Feeding, Bivalve Disease, Bivalve Reproduction, Tridacnids, Tridacnid Clam BusinessTridacnid Identification, Tridacnid Selection, Tridacnid Compatibility, Tridacnid Systems, Tridacnid Lighting, Tridacnid Placement, Tridacnid Feeding, Tridacnid Disease, Tridacnid Reproduction, Flame Scallops,

NYT op-ed on Oysters    10/30/12
Hello everyone.  I do hope everyone on the east coast is safe and sound.
Just read this article on Oysters in the Times.  Thought Wet Web readers would find it as interesting as I did.
<Interesting relating of the human-involvement history of Crassostrea virginica... not surprising... and can/will be reversed w/ a reduction to elimination of humans... in time. Bob Fenner>

Bivalve In My Live Rock 10/25/10
<Hello Cynthia>
I am into my third week of cycling my 75 gallon tank when this guy showed up in the crevices of one my live rocks. The tank is thriving with copepods and other crustaceans. I fed the tank one night to see what would crawl out of the rock and noticed a bristle worm in the mix. I was reading about the good and the bad and was not sure if this guy falls in the 'bad' category.
<Bristleworms are very good scavengers and rarely cause any problems.
See here and related articles/FAQs found in header.
I have 30 lbs of cured live rock from an aquarium shop, 40 lbs of live sand, and the tank hit its diatom bloom around day 10. The SG is 1.024. The temperature is 75 degrees. The Ammonia is 0. The Nitrite is 0. The Nitrate is 0. Today is day 14 of my tanks cycling.
This guy actually made a loud noise closing his shell when I noticed him.
<Bivalves are often found in new live rock and generally live short lives under captive conditions.
James (Salty Dog)>


Oyster Keeping At Home: At home oyster farming 10/13/2010
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hi Alan.>
I intend to purchase some small oysters to keep at home till they grow bigger size for personal consumption.
<A difficult proposition.>
My question is can I used those commercially available salt (e.g.. Red sea brand) to mix with the water?
Also, what should I feed them with?
<Phytoplankton, LOTS of phytoplankton.>
How about commercially available liquid food for corals?
<This would work. but keep in mind that there is more than just feeding when it comes to raising oysters. You would have to keep a tank rich in phytoplankton, while keeping the mineral content and water quality high enough support growth. This is why most commercial oyster farms raise the oysters on platforms in the ocean. Raising them in captivity in a closed aquarium is too cost and labor prohibitive to be viable. It can be done, but for the money and effort spent keeping a small number of oysters alive long enough to eat them, you could have already purchased several hundred commercially grown oysters>
<Have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivsysfaqs.htm and here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivfdgfaqs.htm >
Thanks in advance.
<My pleasure.>

Baby clam found in tank Hi there, my name is Tyson and I had a few questions regarding a clam I found in my reef tank a few days ago. It's about a half inch long and 1/4 inch wide. It's white and it looks like its going to be one of the giant clams. My question is regarding what steps I should take to keep it alive and healthy. <Really... to just keep doing what you have... maintenance and feeding-wise... I've heard and read that keeping a young clam less then 3 inches or so is difficult. Now mind you I didn't buy this, it just showed up one day. lol . I have a 55g reef tank with 2-250 watt metal halides. Lots of sps and LPS corals and a few fish and inverts. Calcium and ph levels are good and my temp is about 78-80. I use DT's phytoplankton every other day and sometimes instead of the phyto I use oyster eggs. I found the calm in my rockwork one day and kept my eye on it for the last few days. then one morning I looked and it was gone. It had moved up the rock and was crawling with it's byssal foot it looked like, with the mantle side facing down. So I gently picked it up and put it in a plastic tub on the bottom of my tank (so that it wouldn't get away). <Mmm, better to not be moving> If you have any pointers or advice for me I would be extremely grateful. Tyson P.S. Im not too familiar w/ email so I will leave my address to reply back too, tyvm. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bivalvia.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Returning Flaming Scallop to Sea? 5/26/08 Hi, guys & gals. This is my first time e-mailing, but have been reading all the helpful info on your site. <Great> I admit it... I made a critical mistake in getting a flame scallop from the LFS on impulse without knowing what it was. The shopkeeper said "it eats anything you throw at it". The more I read about it, the more I regretted this impulsive buy. <Shame these are even offered, but lesson learned.> What is the best thing for me to do now? The LFS won't take it back. I leave near the coast. Would it be wise to take a boat out and put the flame scallop back in the sea? <Captive specimens should never be returned to the ocean, most like illegal and a possible threat to native life.> The sea around my area's not exactly that clean. Water's murky and there aren't exactly any living corals.  I know mussels and oysters can survive since I do see them stuck on the rocks that are submerged in the water. Would that be the most humane thing to do? <Not to the life already there and again probably illegal. Non-native species introduction is a real problem.> Or would it be better for me to try and keep it alive in the tank? I have a 30 gallon tank (Red Sea Max) with plenty of live rock and sandy substrate. <This is the way to go, chances of success are slim but it was doomed the moment it was removed from the ocean for sale in the pet industry.> Thanks for your help. And yes... I will NOT buy anything else without proper research! Charles <Chris>

Flame Scallop - 6/4/07 <Hi there!> I have searched all over and cannot find an answer to my question, so hopefully this is not a redo question. <It is, but worth mentioning again.> I have a 75 Gallon Reef aquarium that has been set up for a few months. The first month or so I only had enough to get 50 pounds of live rock for the tank. I bought a couple of things just to test the tank. This is my first try at a reef aquarium and I do like a challenge. A few weeks before the other 100 pounds of my rock arrived, I purchased a flaming scallop on the urging of my daughter. <Uh oh. Although there are many beautiful and tempting choices available today, many have specific needs that cannot be supplied by most hobbyists. It makes researching "before" purchasing, of vital importance. This group, in particular, is a very poor choice because of its overwhelmingly dismal rate of survival. Most starve to death within a relatively short period of time.> At first it was fine, out and about the tank as beautiful as ever. Once I got the rest of my rock, I placed it with plenty of caves like I was instructed to do. The problem now is that my scallop goes and hides in the cave all the time and I cannot easily target feed it anymore. <All too common a problem.> So back to the question. Is there anything I can or should be doing, or am I good just target feeding in front of the cave it has taken up residence in? <Depends on how deep the cave is, how far back the scallop, and which way any possible currents are passing through/in front of it. If the cave is not very deep, or the scallop is fairly close to the entrance, then yes, carefully aim the food back towards the scallop. Most importantly though (and I can't stress this enough), if possible, please return this scallop to the store ASAP. If you find that you can't, Google "flaming" or "flame" scallop at WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm. There is much information available there regarding these beautiful, but nearly impossible to keep, animals. Here's one link to get you started: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivfdgfaqs.htm > Thank you for your time. Anthony <You're very welcome. -Lynn>

Compatible coral and a devoured scallop   4/27/07 I have a few questions related to my new-found love of marine aquariums.  I have had a Nano 24 going for about 3 months.  I have 20 lbs of live sand and about 12 lbs of live rock.  I am using Chemipure Carbon and the filter sponge that came with the Nano.  I also only have one powerhead which I imagine is underpowered.  I'  m a chemistry teacher and so I obsess over the water chemistry and so it has taken a little while for me to relax and let the bacteria, algae, etc. do their part. <Much better to be patient...> I finally have a pretty stable little tank now, the temperature fluctuates daily between 77.2 and 78.5.  The pH is 8.29, ammonia and nitrite levels are 0 but my nitrate level had been steady at 40ppm <About twice as high as you want to allow this> but the folks at my LFS have yelled at me enough times now to where I think I'm not overfeeding and my nitrate level has come down to 10 ppm now with my last water change and I expect it to continue to drop.  Oh, and the salinity is about 34 (not sure about s.g. since I measure the salinity with a conductivity meter. <Conversion tables on the Net...>   My lighting is metal halide as well. Currently I have 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 firefish, a true percula clown and the star of the show is the open brain coral.  Recently I made a stupid move and bought an electric scallop and situated it in the tank (in my classroom) and came home to read about it only to see that I had pretty much signed its death warrant by buying it. <Yes, these pen shells are not easily kept in most aquariums> I felt guilty all night and planned to get it back to the store ASAP.  But to my surprise, the next morning I checked on it and there was nothing but an empty shell with a few red chunks of tissue floating in my tank!  I can't figure out what could have possibly eaten it. <Could have "just died" and fallen apart... Happens> What are some possible critters that I have that I don't know about because I never get to see it at night?  So far it appears all I have is some coralline algae and other types of algae that have amazing colors.  There is also some weird looking branching stuff in a couple small crevices in the live rock. <Most likely sponge/s...> It is white and seems to be growing but I have no idea what it is.  So in addition to the scallop mystery what other corals would you recommend?  I love the look of pretty much everything but after spending hours reading your site in fascination I see that corals aren't so nice to each other. <Correct... compete in various ways for space, food, light...>   And one other thing, (sorry so long) would it be beneficial to my clown to get another.   <Mmmm, maybe... this species can be more easily fit into a small volume... do get one that is decidedly smaller...> I had bought them as a pair but one of them died (long story but I had a bristle tooth tang <This volume is too small for a Ctenochaetus species> that killed several fish before I realized he was terrorizing everybody and traded him.  So he is very skittish which bums me out because their social personality and funky behavior are so neat and I want my students to see more of them.  So I was thinking a non-traumatized potential mate might help bring him out from behind the rock a little more? <Likely so... Bob Fenner> Thank you so much for all you are doing to educate and promote the beauty and responsible care and handling of some of nature  s most incredible organisms! <Glad to assist, co-conspire, live vicariously through your efforts. BF> Craig Fox

Bivalves: jewel box  10/7/06 I am trying to do a research paper for school on bivalves: jewel box.  I am having trouble finding anything about a "jewel box".  Can you give us any information where I could find anything about the bivalves: jewel box?  Thank you, Sharon. < http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=PCTA,PCTA:2006-31,PCTA:en&q=bivalves%3a+jewel+box RMF>

Clam question   3/3/06 Hi, I'm doing a science experiment where I'm determining the behavioural response of clams (specifically littlenecks and manilas) to moonsnails. <Neat!> I'm trying to find information about how to care for these two species of clams, basically water temperature, what I should be feeding them, salinity, etc. <Mmm, where to start here? Have you a basic background in aquarium keeping? If not, I would seek out help from a hands-on "guru" there who can help you... As it will take quite a bit of time, effort to educate yourself otherwise> Any information that you could share would be much appreciated, Thanks so much, Carolyn <... You could start with online resources like WWM... forward or back... with Marine Systems, Set-up... or Bivalve/Amphineuran culture... What do you want to do? Bob Fenner>

Re: Clam question   3/4/06 Hi, Thanks for your prompt reply. I'm conducting the experiment in an ecotoxology lab, so we actually have water pumped in from the ocean (which is what we're using). I was wondering if you had any really general advice (mostly food and stuff) for maintaining littlenecks and manilas (we're only going to have them in our lab for a couple of weeks, and then we'll probably let them go again). We're going to use a bubbler in the tank. Anyways, I would really appreciate any general info that you have about maintaining these two species in particular. Thanks so much, Carolyn <I have been involved in bioassay work with bivalves (mainly Mytilids) and not-so filtered seawater... and encourage you to do little more than apply mechanical aerators (bubblers) and some flow rate to keep metabolites (likely ammonia) at undetectable levels... No feeding should be necessary for your test time frame if the water can be kept clean, cool by open circuit means. Bob Fenner>  

A bivalve by any other   2/26/06 I want to know more detail about Pholas orientalis or oriental angel wing clams.. I hope Mr. Fenner can help me to do my thesis. I attach a few photo this Bivalvia in my country. Asian pacific.   Many thanks <I am unfamiliar with this species. Have you tried a computer search bibliography of this species? It's family? This may lead you to recent papers, identifying current researchers that you can contact. Bob Fenner>

Tubastrea on Oyster  12/12/05 Howdy, <Hello Mike> I purchased a Tubastrea Sun Coral a few weeks ago after doing some  research about it.  I put it in the QT, and began to feed it.  It  opened up to eat after almost no effort.  Then, much to my chagrin, the  rock it was on also opened up.  It appears the rock is a kind of  bivalve resembling the Honeycomb Oysters on page 225 of your "Reef  Invertebrates", book. So, how difficult to keep are these oysters?  Do you have any tips for   keeping it healthy? <Mike, oysters do rather poorly in reef tanks as they are filter feeders and require food on a daily basis.  Here is a link with more info for you.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvia.htm>     Also, I have an 11 day vacation in one month,  can the Tubastrea go for 11 days without direct feeding? <I think that would be pushing it, I wouldn't.  I've heard of people keeping them for over a year feeding DT's Live Phytoplankton two or three times a week.> The procedure to  feed is so complex, after all you've got to spray with juice, wait 10 minutes to  open, feed each polyp, don't overfeed.  I think my friends are very lazy,  and I want them to do as little as possible to my fish tanks. <Mike, I think you will just have to find a good nanny. I'm posting a link on Sun Corals, FAQ's on feeding etc that you may find helpful.  http://www.google.com/custom?q=Sun+Coral&sa=Google+Search&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com> Thanks, <You're welcome and Happy Holidays to you.  James (Salty Dog)> Mike

The Shame of the Flame ( Scallop) and the Almighty Buck Most praiseworthy and omniscient crew,  <No need to go overboard> Having read through a ream of FAQ's this evening, I am prepared to submit myself for a drubbing with a dead mackerel. Today I purchased on impulse [I know, I know...] a flame scallop, approximately 2.5 inches across. He opened nicely after acclimation, and jetted himself around until he found someplace he liked. He currently cohabits my 75G tank with 45 pounds of live rock, a fuzzy dwarf lion, a pincushion urchin, a petite long-tentacle anemone, a chestnut cowry, and a couple of Condoleezza (Rice?) anemones. My water parameters are quite good, with respect to ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, pH, and buffering. I have no apparent copper contamination in my tap water, and no measurable phosphates. I am now, however, painfully aware that the odds of keeping this critter for very long are not very good at all. <Yup> My questions are these: First, now that I feel like the back end of a horse for having bought such a fragile and likely-to-croak creature, I am committed to doing anything within reason to maximize the chance for success. Can you please suggest an appropriate food that will come closest to that which the little guy requires? I am anticipating dropper feeding upstream, two or three times weekly. I've been feeding the anemones a food called Invert Gumbo, to which they have responded well...is such a thing even close to what the "scallop" [nee file clam] really needs? Any other ideas?  <You can try the gumbo. I suggest getting a syringe from the drug store and remove the needle and squirt the stuff in him. They will require daily feedings to survive for any length of time.> Second, in the process of jetting around finding his place, the scallop blundered right into the lap of one of the Condi's. Can the anemones do damage to the exposed tissue of a bivalve under such circumstances?  <Certainly> Third, and possibly rhetorically, why in the #%&* do the people at the LFS sell livestock that is so difficult to maintain and doomed to death by starvation, without communicating an understanding of the low probability of success? <$$$$$$$>  I am rather new to this hobby, but I am committed, sincere, well-intentioned, well-resourced and reasonably intelligent [impulse buying not withstanding]. I genuinely want to do this the right way, and in a conscientious and responsible fashion, and thus need to lean on the supposedly more knowledgeable experts. Where can one turn for guidance on those species that really aren't "right" for the private, amateur aquarist to acquire and maintain? Thanks for allowing me to vent. And I promise, no more impulse buys before doing my homework. <Yes, if more people didn't buy these things, the LFSs wouldn't order them.> Best regards, Rick <Good day to you. James (Salty Dog)> 

Flame scallop Husbandry Bob [or his minion]:  <James today> A few days ago I admitted to the error of buying a flame scallop before doing my homework, and to my understanding of how difficult the little guy was going to be to care for. Since then, just about everything I have been able to find, on WWM and elsewhere, is mostly lamenting the foolishness and/or cruelty of the fact that they almost always starve to death. <Yes!> Well, having bought one, I was prepared to take full responsibility for doing everything within reason to maximize its chances of survival. In the days following I have acquired four more, including a couple from a LFS where their care was dodgy at best. My rationale is this: I am fully aware of what is involved, and can at least commit that the new ones will get the same chance as the first one, rather than having them be purchased by people who won't make the effort. Further, everything I read indicates they do better in groups. Finally, if I am going to stick my arm in a tank of venomous fish every day to feed one [lions and scorpions and Foxface, oh my!!] , I might as well feed more than one. In for a penny, as they say. They reside in a 75 gallon tank, with 105 lbs. of live rock. Water parameters are very good, and I am using two power heads, one with a rotating deflector, to provide strong circulation. I have been feeding each by dropper, daily, directly injecting a product called Marine Snow.  <Rick, in my opinion, Marine Snow does little or nothing.>  During feeding, and for 30 minutes after, I suspend mechanical filtration and water movement. I also add another product, "Invert Gumbo"... <Another nitrate producer>  ... and have added an iodine supplement as well. Over the last week, each scallop has improved dramatically in color, relocated to a spot of its own liking, and displayed more vigorous movement of its tendrils.  Is there anything else at all that you can think of that will enhance their chances, either in the area of a feeding regimen or of a supplement or enhancement to the tank environment? Would the addition of some sort of vitamin supplement, or something like Selcon, make a positive difference? I'd appreciate any suggestions.  <Selcon would help some, but I would use DT's phytoplankton or Cyclop-Eeze phytoplankton for feeding. DT's is actually live phytoplankton. Keep your calcium at 375-400ppm along with a dKH of 8-12 as the scallops do require calcium. James (Salty Dog). Rick, keep a record of your experiment and if you have long term success, let us know.> 

Flame scallop Husbandry - Follow-up James, Thanks for your quick response. <You're welcome>  A few more details, if you don't mind. I certainly trust your opinion on the Marine Snow, but why so? Is it the wrong type of micro-critter, or is the processing of the product what renders it ineffectual? Similarly, you note that the Gumbo stuff is another nitrate builder.. is this because it's just wasted organic matter in the system to decay uselessly? <Rick, all I will say is that in my opinion, these products are not good source of food for invertebrates. Believe me, using them will help algae more than it will help the inverts.> I checked with Marine Depot's website, and they carry the DT's stuff, which I should have by this weekend. They also offer oyster eggs for reef feeding. Any thoughts on whether they might be worth a try? <I have not heard anything bad about the product.> They also seem enthused about a spray-dried phyto product, touting its high level of HUFA's. Thoughts? I am open to just about all reasonable possibilities to make this work. <Rick, go to their website, very informative. I think this will answer all your DT's question. www.dtplankton.com > Having read your reference to my 'experiment', I've decided to make it just that. Off to the store to buy more testing capability, and I intend to journal my progress and record conditions at regular intervals. If I can keep these guys alive and healthy for a year, somebody somewhere owes me a cold one. <Well Rick, I certainly like cold ones. Be glad to share a few with you. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for all your help. Rick <You're welcome>

Flame scallop Husbandry - Seeing the Light? Part III James, Thanks for the website reference.  <You're welcome>  It is very illuminating. For the first time, I feel like I have an overall understanding of the feeding process. The incidental beneficiaries of this new-found knowledge will be my feather dusters.  <Good luck in your experiment and keep me posted, sounds interesting. James (Salty Dog)> 

Starfish & (My Friend) Goo Problems, Flame scallop Flamers... Hello! I need advice again oh wise ones! <More like wise n heimers> First off here's the tank specs - 29gal 3-5" DSB, 30lbs(-ish) LR from a previous large reef setup Double 55w PC 50/50 lighting Emperor 400 doing the filtering - I don't change the filters and there's tons of pods and shrimps in there so they keep it fairly clean. <Good> 2 - 225gph powerheads set on either end Water all checked out as normal and stays that way for the most part. I do a 10% water change about 3-4 times a week...no extra additives, I figured I was changing enough water that the salt mix would cover this. <Yes... good practice> Creatures 3 little red starfish (think they're Fromia) 1 "African" anemone. I still have not been able to find out what this thing really is but it is doing well. I see the dyed ones in the store a lot... most of them looked half dead.. 2 - true perc clowns 1 firefish 1 neon goby 1 yellow watchman goby 1 neon Dottyback 2 skunk cleaner shrimp Numerous little hermits and snails Trumpet coral and a small rock of green sea mat Ok my first question...I used to have 2 flame scallops that were doing well. They had supplemental feedings every other day and their shells were nice and dark. I had let them stay near the back of the aquarium for awhile and they were fine like that for a good 6 months. One day in my cleaning I got the brilliant idea to move them out to where people could see them! Evidently it wasn't a good idea... the next morning one of the shells was empty and that was quickly followed by the emptying of the other shell. Now could the 3 cute little red stars be the ones to blame here? I can't think of anyone else in the tank that would really feed on these guys. <These Lima's just don't live period in captivity... in the wild they're either on the move (can jet about) or way back where other animals' can't get to them> Second question/problem...I cannot for the life of me get the Cyano and hair algae to go away. I have read up on both of them on your forums but it seems no matter what I do it keeps coming back. <Is persistent> I put a lot more turbulence in the tank with the addition of two 225gph powerheads and like I said I do 3-4 10% water changes a week. <All helpful> The Cyano (pretty sure it's Cyano.. nice red slime that burns when it's on your skin) seems to love the added flow and has covered the back part of the glass overnight. I am in the process of getting a decent skimmer... <Good idea> ...evidently my water changes aren't enough. I don't add any extra additives and I'm very careful about how much food goes into the tank. Do you think the skimmer will help? <Definitely> I don't think it could hurt though I'm running out of edges to hang gadgets off of! Thanks! ~Angela <Mmmmm, am thinking about a bigger tank for you? You don't need that couch! You don't need that TV!... Bob Fenner> 

Electric scallops Have read all info on bivalves on your site.. am ashamed to admit I bought an Electric scallop and THEN decided to worry about the care and feeding. After reading about dirty water...bivalves like that, turn off your skimmer... it takes away the things that bivalves like .. I wondered if you could feed the bivalves skimmer scum?? Maybe this is a dumb question? Thanks!! <It is. Bob Fenner> 

Bivalve experimental model I am at present trying to devise an experiment looking at the filtration rate of a specific bivalve and how it is affected by chemical contaminants in the sediments. I will be using, 1kg of sediment in the container with possibly 1 litre of water. I am trying to devise either a dye that can be measured or algae of which I cannot find a suitable concentration. The filtration of one individual bivalve will be measured. Thank you for reading this. Maria <... there are materials that are taken up that are easier to label with gear in turn that is cheaper, easier to come by... Immunofluorescence, radioactive tagging... or simpler quantitative chemical analyses... I would narrow down the "chemical contaminants" list to one, at most two items... and use a computer search bibliography (at a larger college library... with the help of a reference librarian) to aid me in that selection (use those which have been studied, written about already as a guide to what you might check for... might even grant you insight as to test gear, protocols)... Oh, I see by the further information below that you are directly involved in the sciences. You have access to mass spec. gear? I worked for a few years (as a tech. to put it kindly) in a bio-assay lab for the (U.S.) gov't testing anti-fouling paints (copper and organo-tin compounds)... and one of our test animals was a bivalve (Mytilus edulis) in a few population densities, concentrations... using LD50's, Immunofluorescence... Again, would search the literature... there were some 10k ref.s in our "library" on copper, effects alone. Bob Fenner> 

That bivalve experimental model II I have two questions this time..  Thanks BOB for replying to my last question!!!! <Welcome> Q 1..  The experiment I described about trying to see if bivalves under chemical contaminant stress filter more particulates from the water. Thanks Bob, I do have access to spectrophotometer, so that's good, but I cant find any info on dyes that can be put into the water, then the removal of the dye signifies filtration, so after a period I can see what concentration of dye is in the water. <Alizarins are the group I would look into here... large, easy to assay with a simple/r colorimeter... not likely removable by bivalves... but can be used to stain in/organic matter that can be assayed> Q2.. I am trying to organize a display for kids for a science week and really need one particular photo, which I cant find. I am displaying Nereis virens, but I would really like to find a photo (I have looked on your photo library) of its jaws, possibly a colour photo, because they are quite scary showing the teeth etc. <Mmm, am going to cc Ron Shimek here in the hopes he will help you... Bob Fenner>

Mussels in a sump Hi WWM Crew, <Hello Chris> First I would like to say what an excellent site you have, it has been an endless source of useful information to me since I started my marine aquarium last year. Keep up the good work, the hobby would be a lot more difficult without you! Now that the flattery is out of the way, to my question. I have been feeding my chocolate chip starfish live mussels which he/she loves and I buy in 1kg bags from the local supermarket. Last week as an experiment I placed one in the overflow box to see if it would live, if not it would be easy to retrieve before it died and polluted my system (a LFS told me that these can really pollute a system if left to rot after they die, is this true?). <Very much so>  I expected it to die as they are collected from the Orkneys North of Scotland, where the water temperature is significantly lower than the 28C of my set up. However after a week it is still alive, openly filtering water and reacts very quickly when touched by closing up tight. This lead me to think would it be possible to put the kilo of mussels in my sump firstly to give me a long term supply of live mussels for feeding the starfish and secondly, would there be any advantage from the filtering effect of having 40-50 live mussels in the sump?  I am intrigued to hear what your thoughts are on this.  <You have a few things going against you in this regard. As you say the temp is significantly lower where the mussels are collected from, so more than likely the warmer temp will not be suitable for them. Secondly, they are strictly filter feeders and the small amount of nutrients they get from your tank is certainly not going to sustain them. Then, as your LFS says, if one dies without your awareness, the problems that causes is not going to be worth the risk. If your interested in keeping them alive for a food source, I would put them in a tank by themselves, unheated. You would still have to provide phytoplankton for them to survive long enough to be used as food, and now we are getting into cost effectiveness of your end product. The choice is yours, Chris. James (Salty Dog)>

All the Way to Alaska - Hitchhiker Good Evening from Alaska, <cheers, mate> I got me a great live rock the other day. I was attracted to it because it had an empty bi-valve shell open on (very pretty), had two attached closed shells on it and it was covered with coralline algae. So, about a week later, after my Frogspawn kept getting knocked over, I went to perch it back against the shell rock and noticed that the shells moved, and the reason my Frogspawn kept falling. Based on my own previous experience of harvesting oysters and clams in Hood Canal, WA, it seems to me these are oysters. The closest I can find on your site is this: Spondylus violacescens. Apparently the rock came from Fiji. <interesting> So, I feed with DT's about 3 times per week, and with frozen Invert Food about 2 times per week. Since I noticed the little critters, I have been target feeding them also when I feed the rest of my corals. <you were (or at least may have been) lucky to get no worse hitchhikers for lack of QT for this rock. Yikes! Please heed this strictly my friend... QT all new livestock, rock, fishes, corals, etc. (anything wet!) faithfully for 4+ weeks to prevent the risk of introducing disease, parasites, predators, etc> 46 gal, established tank. The largest fish in here is Briny, the Bi-color Blenny. Frogspawn is my most "elegant" coral, with mostly mushrooms, green star polyps and some clove polyps. Is my current feeding going to accommodate these critters, or should I target feed daily? <hard to say... I'd feel better with live cultures of rotifers and/or phyto. But DTs is a fine product. Consider a refugium too> Do I need to consider mashing up some seafood for it? <not likely... particle size will still be too large. Such filter-feeders favor nanoplankton> Thanks so much (again). Sher H. <kindly, Anthony> 

Flame Scallop creating electricity? - 1/19/05 Hello from the "Blue Tarp State"! <Hello from the Sunshine State!> I am totally in  love with your website ... refer to it almost everyday.  :o)  <Great to hear, Lisa> After surviving four hurricanes, and almost a month without electricity, I am ecstatic to say that I lost NOTHING in my tank, thanks in part to you guys (and my handy generator!). <Awesome> I have a question about my 8-month old flame scallop ... he's very content and looks healthy. <Cool. This animal tends to be on the difficult side of pet fish keeping. Here is an excellent article written by a friend of mine: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/july2002/toonen.htm> I noticed the other day that part of his fleshy, red mantle "flashes" constantly. It's a very thin area, almost the width of a needle, and it changes from bright red to white in a matter of a nanosecond, and back again. <This seems to be fairly hard to explain as there is not much in writing that I could find, but I do know that in past discussions it has been stated that this is a flap of tissue (membrane) that is moved back and forth. It may actually reflect or refract a portion of light which may give it this glow or look like a quick electric arc. My feeling is that it is not electrical in any way.> Have any of you seen this reaction? <I have> If so, do you know why they do this? <Oh many possible reasons. Simple anatomical structure (just happens), food attraction ( planktonic animals are attracted to light), possible a deterrent to fish predators....these would be my guess but again, very likely just a result of respiration or a feeding.> It doesn't seem to be a problem, but I was curious as to what it means, if anything. <Not hurting the animal at all. I have seen this done in the wild by this species ~Paul> Thanks for everything! Lisa C. Florida Pet Clam? 1.8.05 <Hello, Ryan with you today> I was at the local grocery store  and  decided to buy a few treats for my choc chip sea star. Namely a live mussel and a live cherrystone clam. <Also called a Quahog, these round clams have extremely hard shells.  They're Atlantic clams.> I put the clam and the mussel in for the star and just waited for him to enjoy his treat.   And very slowly I began to realize how amazing clams are.  So did the sea star, he ate the mussel but after a couple of tastes he decided the clam wasn't worth the trouble.  I now have a pet clam by accident.  what to do? <It will likely starve, as a filter feeder like this requires nutrient rich water.  This type of clam also requires far different water temperature than a tropical starfish.> It has buried itself in the crushed coral and is now happily rearranging my tank.  Do I name it?  I don't know if I have the heart to pull it apart...even for Cookie the sea star. thanks very much <No problem! Ryan> Beth Coral Beauty Angel and Flame Scallop 1/6/05 Hello wonderful fishy folk! <cheers> Today's question is short and sweet -- I know that Coral Beauty Angelfish may be prone to nipping at clam mantles.  My question is, do Centropyge (and particularly the coral beauty) tend to nip at flame scallops?   <all have the potential indeed> I wasn't sure if all bivalves were a potential target, or just the very fleshy clams.  I know that larger angels will pick on flame scallops, but I didn't see anything concrete on the dwarfs. Thanks! Deb <please do read/research here in the WWM archives and beyond for the reasons why your flame scallop is a very poor choice for aquarium use and I beg you to not buy anymore unless you set up a species tank, have an aged refugium (over 1 year old) and culture live plankters in an attempt to keep this animal. Nearly all starve to death slowly over a period of months in typical home aquaria. Anthony>

Flame Scallop save 1/6/05 Thanks for the feedback.  In fact, I haven't bought any flame scallops. I wanted to research BEFORE buying.  I won't be buying one. :) Deb   <whew! Very good to hear my friend. This is one of those creatures better admired in the ocean and left there :) Anthony>

Feeding polyps, anemones, and clams Hello, I just purchased 70 pounds of beautiful live Fiji rock. I placed it in my uncycled aquarium to help it cycle. One rock is covered in green polyps with orange centers, a vast number of them have turned white but there is a few that have opened up. Will there be some die off then will they grow back? << Sounds like both.  If they are turning white, I'm assuming they are bleaching.  Although polyps don't lose all their color when they bleach.  Anyway, with proper conditions they will of course grow back and continue to spread. >> Also I have what looks like some sort of anemone. Its about 2 inches wide, white with neon green tips, do you have any idea what kind this could be? << No, lots of anemones out there.  I'll say some sort of flower anemone. >> I will have a digital camera within the week so I'll sends some pictures. I have a few oysters or clams on the rock to what do I feed them? << Lots of phytoplankton. >> They open and close and spit of stuff so I know there alive. thanks a lot <<  Blundell  >>

Flame scallop (Lima) clarification 11/6/04 Great site.... I read your FAQ's on the flame scallop (I understand *now* that they are a tough species to keep). I have a question or clarification. Having previously kept FW for years, including some attempts at breeding guppies, I have a large supply of brine shrimp eggs in the refrigerator. I didn't quite understand if you thought BBS needed to be blended or not... <no my friend. Blending is to reduce particle size in phytoplankton cultures and bottled food supplements. Baby brine shrimps are fine as whole foods> here's what I do now (prior to the addition of the scallop). <hmmm... you do know too that the flame scallop eats little or no baby brine shrimp? They principally eat nanoplankton - hence the reason most starve to death in aquaria in well under 2 years time (months really)> Every week or two at lights out, I remove the filter pad and put a very small amount (couple hundred probably) of eggs in my 10g micro reef. The next day, most of the eggs that haven't been eaten by the Domino Damsel or Percula hatch out. <decapsulated eggs? Hopefully> It takes a couple of days for the filter feeders and fish to track down the rest, but it seems to make everyone happy. I was wondering if, in addition to a phyto supplement, if you think the eggs/hatched baby brine shrimp would be eaten by the scallop. <I am sure they will not> On a similar note, in your opinion would the scallop be better in a high or mid-low flow area (powerhead on them maybe?). <higher flow is better> Thanks! Sincerely, Mark Ristine <kindly, Anthony>

Flame Scallop Hello there, I've been keeping a flame scallop for past 3 months. Recently had remove some rocks where the scallop attached itself.  Tried to move it but it got 'stuck' to the rock.  Tried several times with slight tug each time.  Got it loose but the problem is after the 'move', it refused to open.  The tentacles are still out but the scallop does not open more than 3-4mm. Can't see the 'flame' at all.  Still continue to feed it with small pipette.  Please help.  Thanks >>Sounds like you are in trouble. Flame scallops are difficult to keep in general - most don't last more that 6 months even in the best tanks. Scallops attach themselves to rocks and removing them can hurt them. I suspect that yours in injured. It may not be, and may open wonderfully in a week or so. Either way, try to keep feeding it and see what happens. And, if it attaches to a rock again, leave it alone. Hope that helps. Rich?>>

Re: Flame Scallop Hi there, Thank you so much for the info.  Appreciate it very much.  I only knew that Flame Scallops are difficult to keep after visiting WWM but too late.  Already bought one.  Well, it had attached itself to a nearby rock again but still not opening itself yet.  Will do as advised and continue feeding it.  Thanks.  Pat >>Keep us updated! Rich>>

Re: Flame Scallop Hi Rich>> My scallop is still not opening but the tentacles came out longer. Is there anything I should do?:-( >>Nothing I can think of. Sorry!>> Love WWM.  Gain a lot of info.  Great job guys. >>Thanks. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful here!>>

Responsible Anemone/Scallop Keeping 8/12/04 Hi there! It's been awhile since I've had a question come up, so here I am. ;] <we've been waiting with bells on> I recently got a deep blue carpet anemone. I'm in love. ;] <this is an illegal relationship in most civilized countries> It is very sticky, the foot is in perfect condition, and it ate a chunk of food on the first day!  I have it in a tank with lots of light and very good flow. <all good> My main question is how can you tell the difference between S. haddoni and S. gigantea?   <listen for the accent in their speech betraying the locale of their origin/speciation.> Do S. haddoni come in blue as well?   <yep... RIT brand dyed fresh from some charming Indo exporters> I have two rock/flower anemones that are near the carpet (3 inches away) but not touching.  Will this be a problem?   <I expect the carpet will stress or kill these in time> Everybody seems happy at the moment. Do pink skunk clowns take to carpet anemones? <the answer to this question, as with the details of speciation between anemones (like the tentacle-free distinction around the mouth of S. haddoni) and so much more is waiting for you in our archives. We work hard to build this database... please do make the effort to use it and help yourself. There's a clownfish/anemone compatibility chart ta boot: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm be sure to follow the many other links atop these pages> I feed all of my anemones (3 flowers, RBTA, green BTA) a mixture of live plankton and Prime Reef/Frozen Brine shrimp by Formula foods.  They all seem very happy and are growing.   Is this an acceptable diet for the carpet anemone as well? <seem weak to me... the phyto is of dubious value for the carnivorous anemones (they feed on zooplankton principally)... and brine shrimp is a truly hollow food (barely useful even if gut loaded). Please do add better variety here with 4-6 other meats of marine origin. Shredded cocktail shrimp, Mysid shrimp, Pacifica plankton... minced krill... and fish eggs (grouper roe from the LFS or flying fish eggs from an Asian groceria... excellent food for such filter feeders)> Thanks for everything!  Morgan Mok ps: Just as an update for the naysayers and the "blind squirrel people", my red flame scallop is over 1 1/2 years old in my system. ;p <Morgan... you do understand that we are here to serve the greater good in the hobby? I hope you are too. Encouraging the majority of aquarists to keep inappropriate animals like flame scallops just because less than 1% survive over one year is... well... irresponsible. Unless you can clearly explain and document how yours lived to 18 months (still not much of an accomplishment when many simply take longer to slowly starve via a small daily deficit in nutrition as from brine shrimp feedings over time... and all have a natural lifespan on a scale of magnitude much longer!), let me ask... rather, beg (!) that you do not casually promote the keeping of flame scallops or the like as if its a lottery, and telling people the equiv. of "you might win too!". The truth is that most lose... and these are living creatures lives lost... not lottery tickets. Your fave naysayer, perhaps... Anthony :) >

Responsible Anemone/Scallop Keeping II 8/13/04 Hi Anthony, First, I tried to find info about carpet anemone differences in the FAQs/articles and couldn't find anything, therefore I sent a question.   <no worries... but it was all sitting on that first page. The archives are huge though, understood> I asked about the skunk clown cause I saw a couple different compatibility charts and wanted to be sure. <OK> Don't worry, I warn anyone interested in keeping flame scallops, Tubastrea, and tube anemones about the high maintenance quality of these corals.  I don't ever encourage the casual reefer to keep these or other corals.   <ahhh... very good to hear> I just had to give you a raspberry and let you know how my scallop was doing.  You gave me such a hard time originally and called me a "blind squirrel". ;]   <perhaps still mate ;) Many filter feeders can hang on for over a year or even longer still starving slowly. Without evidence of growth or reproduction... victory on such species living decades is not assured yet <G>> I can't say exactly why I have had success with it.  I know people that grow their own rotifers and can't keep flame scallops.   <indeed... many filter feeders need very specific sized zoo- or phyto plankters> I use the previously mentioned (live phyto (the one I use has 7 diff types, that's what it says) <truly nifty... good to hear> prime reef, frozen brine shrimp by the same people, blood worms, and Spirulina chunk) marine soup to feed my corals, anemones, etc.  My DSB is 5-6 inches and 9+ years old.  Good lighting, flow, and a euro-reef skimmer.  Is this a recipe for success? <dunno... time will tell. But sounds very nice to me> I don't know, but my corals all grow well, my plate coral is huge (7 inches) and eats like a pig (it has turned from green to almost a solid purple), my flower anemone is 6-7inches wide when open, and my flame scallop has survived in my system for over a year and half.   I'll probably switch to Hikari foods and get a much larger tank in time, but everything else will stay the same.  My question is, how many years will I have to have my flame scallop before I am "successful"? hehe I collected it myself btw.   <a subjective valuation... but anything over 3 would be outstanding by hobby standards. Honestly, even over 2 is quite good IMO. Aside from he much longer natural lifespan of these invertebrates. You are on your way> I totally understand your need to chide people for getting corals with a high mortality rate.  So many people kill animals because their LFS says they're easy to keep, etc.  I don't own an elegance, can't keep pink tipped Heliofungia (sniff), no dendro or chili coral,  etc. <you can keep the latter easily if you'd care to try it. Anyone diligent enough to feed rotifers or baby brine shrimp can. They are quite hardy if fed regularly> However I am glad I tried to keep a flame scallop and I have a patch of bright orange colonial tunicates that are doing great (turtle grass tunicates).  Life is about experimentation and I agree that these corals are lives not just lottery tickets, but reef keeping is a continually developing hobby that requires some careful experimentation to figure out animals' limits and abilities within our systems. <yes... agreed. Careful experimentation> I guess I have a blue haddoni??  The pics aren't the best and the anemone closed some when I moved the rock to take the pics.  It is usually open and rufflly.  Other pic is anemones and orange colonial tunicates (take my word for it). ha! One last question, do you run aquadesignz? Just curious.   <nope... not sure what that is?> Feel free to edit this e-mail if you're going to post it. ;] <we edit nothing my friend beyond personal info and inappropriate language. Free speech!> Very nice talking with you.  Have a nice weekend! Morgan <to you in kind... best regards :) Anthony>

Mystery Critter ID What's up Crew!<<  Just typing away. >> I found this critter clamped onto my Hammer Coral's skeleton.  It took mucho strength to pry it off.  It opens up split from the middle and sticks out a pinkish tongue-like flesh. << Haven't seen the pic yet, but already sounding like a bivalve mollusk. >> It's pretty alien looking IMO.  I'm attaching two photos top and side views.  Really appreciate if you can help me ID it and let me know if it is predatory towards any of my corals or inverts. << Well it appears to be some sort of Bivalve.  Looks cool.  Unfortunately with about 14,000 species of Bivalves, I don't think I can be much more descriptive.  I'll bet it isn't predatory and is a great addition to your tank.  This type of biodiversity is exactly what you want in a reef tank, so I say keep it.  Please continue to watch it, and if it on a coral let us know.  Otherwise keep it growing (it needs live rock, and that's about it) and please take pictures again.  Looks pretty cool, and I'm sorry I can't identify it. >> Thanks a bunch! Roy
<<  Adam Blundell  >>

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