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FAQs about Bivalve Mollusk Systems

Related Articles: Tridacnids, Bivalves, Mollusks,

Related FAQs:  Bivalves 1, Bivalves 2, Bivalve Identification, Bivalve Behavior, Bivalve Compatibility, Bivalve Selection, 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,

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)>

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> 

Keeping Thorny Oysters Dear Mr. Fenner, I am interested in getting a thorny oyster from my aquarium but I can't seem to be able to find much if any information about them. Your site was one of the few that had any information about them. I need to know how to go about caring for them. I know they are filter feeders, but other than that that's all I know.  <Mmm, there are species of thorny oysters that are cultured, used for scientific study... What types are you considering? Species, tropical, cool water? What sort of system? Desires? What other organisms do you intend to keep in the same system? Bob Fenner>  Thanks for your time, Wally
Re: Keeping Thorny Oysters
Thanks for your quick reply! I am talking about "Spondylus americanus" <Genus Spondylus. You need the correct spelling to find much in books, the Net... We have S. princeps off our neighbors coast (Baja California)> or the American Thorny Oyster. I am in the planning stages of my new tank and I am researching everything that will go into it.  This tank is going to be something a little different. I am calling it a "rocky reef". I have been in the aquarium hobby for a long time (longer than I like to admit, this will be my first salt-water tank) and I am wanting to create a tank in which inverts (but not corals) are the primary focus. I am going to be setting this up in a 55 gallon. I have 50 lbs of dry aragonite rocks that will be set up in two rock piles on either side of the tank I will seed the piles with a few lbs of "live rock" from my LFS. This will also give me a large sand area in the middle. I plan on having a 4 inch deep sand bed. As for tank inhabitants, I plan on keeping the fish load light. I will get a pair of False Perc Clownfish (tank raised), and perhaps another small fish or two. (not sure about what type leaning towards a flame angel, and an orchid Dottyback.) <I see> But then I want lots of inverts. I have been in love with snails for quite some time (both land and water) and have kept them for years. It is this love of snails that is driving me to start this tank (ok I know I am weird just ask my wife). I plan on getting some of the aquacultured conch's, an abalone, as well as the typical cleanup crew type snails. I am not going to put any hermits into this tank, I have heard to many horror stories about them killing snails. <Yes, this happens with many species.> I also want to get several of the shrimp species and perhaps a starfish. <Mmm, do research here... some of these are avid mollusk eaters as well> I figure that the two large rock piles on either side will facilitate the species that like rocks and the open area will be good for the fish to swim in and provide a lot of sandy area for the fighting conchs, and Nassarius snails to plow through. I thought about the thorny oyster to have yet another type of invert for my system. I thought about flame scallops but I know they are very hard to keep and thought the oyster would be better. When I was a kid I lived in Maryland, we kept oysters from the Chesapeake Bay in our classroom tank. They were pretty cool and lived the whole year so they must have been pretty hardy. Of course that was over 20 years ago but I still remember it. <They are still there> Also as for lighting the tank I am just going to use a standard strip light with a 40watt 50/50 bulb. Since I am not going to have corals I don't really need all the light. <Correct>  Thank you again for your time, I appreciate any info you can give me on the oyster, and any comments on my planned tank. <Rather than relate my limited knowledge, I encourage you to peruse the literature. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks Again, Wally

Rubble to Be Used for Oyster Reef (washingtonpost.com) I thought this may be of some interest to you and others. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5147-2002Apr6.html <Neat. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Bob Fenner> The Associated Press Saturday, April 6, 2002; 4:07 AM  BALTIMORE ---- Concrete rubble from Memorial Stadium, the former home of baseball's Baltimore Orioles and football's Baltimore Colts, will be used to create an artificial oyster reef in the Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources plans to plant more than 4 million baby oysters on the reef off the mouth of the Patapsco River. "We're using one cultural icon to rejuvenate another," said Bill Goldsborough, senior fisheries scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, one of several conservation and sportsmen's groups helping build the reef. Not everyone sees it that way. "It's the last straw," said state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, who fought unsuccessfully last year to stop the demolition of the downtown stadium, built in 1954 to honor World War II veterans. "It's just saying to the veterans, 'We don't care about you. Let's throw 'em in the ocean.'" DNR officials say the stadium's remains will be respectfully treated. The 8,000-cubic-yard reef will be an oyster sanctuary, off limits to harvesting, said Eric Schwaab, DNR's fisheries director. Oyster diseases thrive in the saltiest parts of the bay. Fishery managers hope the reef's site in fresher water will make it a good home for disease-free oysters raised in a University of Maryland hatchery. The proposal is expected to get a permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment. Construction should begin in the summer, Schwaab said. 

Mussels Hi Bob, I was wondering if adding New Jersey sea animals to my aquarium is a good idea. (Your thinking probably not???)  <Depends... on whether they're physiologically, physically, behaviorally compatible... to what you can offer> My aquarium is a 30 gallon fish and hardy invert tank set up for a few months. Its got a Prism skimmer and a Marineland Emperor filter, and 20 lbs of live rock and 3 lbs of live sand. It contains 4 blue leg hermit crabs, a damselfish, and 2 porcelain crabs. I was thinking of adding mussels, crabs of different sorts, and maybe a few other bivalves. I see many butterfly clams (Donax variabilis) on the shore especially at low tide. Is it wise to include them into my tank, or should I just find other things to put in it? Thanks much for putting up with me, Jen. <Well, this is really a small volume of water... what will you do when it's the equivalent time of winter there? Return the native animals? Get a chilling mechanism and remove the tropical animals? I encourage you to study what the shore there has to offer (much, have been to NJ numerous times), and perhaps put up a specialty tank that mimics the conditions (thermal, current, lighting...) of some part of the offshore environment and attempt to keep a few types of organisms you have a desire to study further. Bob Fenner>

- More on Oysters, lighting, etc. - Jason C: <Howdy.> As far as lighting, I have 2 110 watt VHO Actinic 03 lights, and one 175 watt 10K MH. Should that do? <That will work for the Tridacnid clams, yes.> The oysters are from the Gulf of Mexico, where can I find info on water temps there? <I would use your favorite search engine.> I did do some research on bivalves, just not specifically oysters because most of the info I found on the web was related to captive culture of oysters in the ocean. Would food preparations for recommended for flame scallops, etc. work on oysters also? <Hard to say, all bivalves are filter feeders so those preparations should work better than nothing.> If not I guess I could always try the butter sauce. <This is really the route I would go.> Thanks, John Jordan <Cheers, J -- >

Flame Scallop (Fileclam) care - 2/16/03 OK thanks for the info on the blue sponge... We will see... I don't want it to just die on me... So we will see... but thanks for the info. <No worries... and it may be a fair indicator of readiness for SPS (which we do not recommend you start with if they are your first corals... soft corals instead, and definitely not LPS for their single or few-polyp vulnerable structures)> OK...now you have me wondering about the scallop. I feed it phytoplankton 3 times a week...I also have 2 mussels and lots of feather dusters that came on my live rocks. Is this enough to keep him alive? <mussels are variable in captivity... many feather dusters will do well (although phyto is not needed... they feed more on dissolved organics and by mucus strategies) [fanworms specifically do well in contrast to the large Hawaiian feather dusters can starve in a year or two]... As far as the scallops, I do believe the will be dead within 4-6 months of your purchase. The bottled phyto is a precarious product to use... great idea... marginal benefits in my opinion. A seagrass refugium would produce far more food and of far better quality and size for these creatures. All of these subjects have been covered in detail in the FAQs if you care to read more about them. Popular creatures/subjects (including bottled phyto issues). Do use the google search tool for keyword searches at the bottom of the wetwebmedia.com homepage> He seems very happy right now. <No slight... but I'm guessing "happy" means you've had it for less than 2 months but it still opens up each day and looks good. Do understand... we get this question a lot (keeping flame scallops)> Thanks for any info you can give me. <Not much to say... we almost never recommend these creatures for captivity... even rare for species specific displays for their short captive lives. Read a bit here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvmarfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvia.htm Best regards, Anthony>

Her Flame Scallop Is Happy As A Clam! Hi guys! <Hey there! Scott F. your guy tonight!> I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and didn't put on too much weight.  Remember you have to save some room for Christmas food too! ;] <Yikes! And I still haven't finished my shopping, either!> Well I haven't written in quite a long time (that's what happens when you become an educated reefer).  hehe   I wrote back in March about a Flame Scallop I collected while snorkeling.  It took a few days to settle in and did a very funny scallop jig around my tank in the process.  It finally found a secluded spot (kind of cavey) on the back of one of my rocks (a miracle that I can actually see it!).  I don't want to jinx it, but I am happy to say that it is December now and my scallop is still as happy as a clam. hehe <Glad to hear that it is doing well. We usually tend to discourage the keeping of these guys in most aquaria. As you are probably aware, Flame Scallops have an absolutely dismal survival record in captivity, starving to death over the course of a few months, so keep doing what you're doing!> It extends all of its tentacles (?) and its filters are nice and pillowy looking.  I feed a mixture of 3 tsps Dt's, 1 chunk blood worms, and a chunk of red frozen food via turkey baster to everyone once a week.   <Glad to hear that you are feeding...Usually, most hobbyists don't seem to have luck using bottled phytoplankton, as these animals feed on some of the most minute-sized plankton, which is usually hard to come buy in captive culture...Keep giving it your best!> My flower anemone is gorgeous and my open brains look like meat corals the morning after.  So I will report later on down the road and hope my success continues.  (Of course there are other factors: 58 and 75gal running on the same sump, running a refugium for a few months, Nerites and Ceriths love to make it on the glass adding to the zooplankton population, well established tanks with 3+" sandbed, etc, etc)  ;] <There you go! Having a healthy refugium is one of the best things we can do to assure success with delicate animals. You're right on the mark regarding the natural zooplankton production occurring in the 'fuge!> Okay one question,  Do you know of anything that would make an open brain (red rim green middle) that is 5+ years old rip open from the mouth, then fix itself?  This went on for several months then it finally got so bad (couldn't repair itself anymore) that it kicked it.  My four other open brains (I have a thing for them) never had this problem.  We figured that the brain in question might have had a microscopic algae problem that caused this.  Sad because it had a true RED rim figure eight shape. <Well, it's hard to say what this was. Could have been anything from a localized trauma to some sort of malady...Don't really have an answer for you on that one..> Drats!  I have another small question.  I have these little algae eating guys in my tank.  They're under half an inch and have a shell like a limpet crossed with an abalone.  My husband says they're limpets, but here's why I'm not so sure.  They have a head like a snail and if you touch one it zips away as fast as a sea slug.  These guys really move!  Thank goodness they eat diatoms or I might have problems!  If this doesn't help I'll try and get a pic to you sometime. <Yep- a pic would really help...I'd like to see what it is before making a guess!> Love you guys, take care! I hope everyone has a fine holiday and happy new year! Goodnight! <Thanks for the kind words, and happy Holidays to you, too! I hope you have continued success with your Flame Scallop! You're doing the best that can be done in captive husbandry- keep it up! Regards, Scott F>  

Flame Still Burning! (Flame Scallop Longevity) Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> Here is a picture of my flame scallop, 'Scooter'. Since purchasing him about four months. He has grown since then, he is about 3 inches from tentacle to tentacle and still has his flame color. He's found a place of refuge in my tank, even though no one bothers him (one small red clown, his refuge is on the other side of the tank, and one turbo snail, friend has the small crab now, about 30 pounds of live rock) I feed him DT's and Micro Vert every other day. He doesn't seem as bright as he was before. Not that big of a difference, but his tentacles are more orange than red now. He still opens up and acts the same. I do 30% water changes weekly on my tank (25gal) tests all come out great. Anything I can do? <Well, these are among the most difficult animals that you can keep in aquaria. They require large quantities of very fine plankton, which are pretty difficult to come by in aquaria. In the long run, they are best avoided... In your case, it's good that you've been continuously feeding this animal while maintaining good water quality. You really cannot be sure that the animal will make it for the long run (like years, not months) yet, but keep doing what you're doing.> Everything else is healthy and bright. Since purchasing him, I have talked to the LFS where I bought him from and expressed my concern for the Flame Scallops. They haven't sold them since. <Glad to hear that!> I thought that you would like this story, since you were the ones that educated me on this delicate species. This site is amazing, it really is a wonder for the public. Thanks! Justine <We're happy to be hear for you...Best of luck with this beautiful, but difficult animal. Regards, Scott F>

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