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FAQs about Giant Clam Disease, Pests & Predators 1

FAQs on Giant Clam Disease: Tridacnid Disease 2, Tridacnid Disease 3, Tridacnid Health 4, Tridacnid Health 5, Tridacnid Disease 6, Tridacnid Disease 7, Tridacnid Disease 8, & Pest Snails (Pyramidellids...),
FAQs on Giant Clam Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Social, Trauma, Pathogenic, Treatments

Related Articles: Tridacnid Health: Pinched Mantle Syndrome in Giant Clams by Dr. David Basti, Deborah Bouchard & Barry Neigut, Got Tridacna? A beginner's guide to keeping Tridacnid clams by Laurie Smith, Example Chapter from NMA Reef Invertebrates book, on Giant Clams, Tridacnids, A Brief Guide to the Selection and Placement of Tridacnid Clams by Barry Neigut, Bivalves, Mollusks, Lighting Marine Invertebrates

Related FAQs: Tridacnid Identification, Tridacnid Behavior, Tridacnid Selection, Tridacnid Compatibility, Tridacnid Systems, Tridacnid Lighting, Tridacnid Placement, Tridacnid Feeding, Tridacnid Reproduction, Tridacnids 1, Tridacnids 2, Tridacnids 3, Tridacnids 4, Tridacnid Clam BusinessBivalves, Bivalves 2, Lighting Marine Invertebrates,

Pyramidellid snails... trouble

 

Predatory Polyclad flatworm 6/7/03 Hey guys, <cheers, mate> I've been trying to find out what this thing is for about a month now with no luck.   <no worries... an easy ID> The first sighting was by my wife as she walked out of the bathroom and saw it on the glass.  She woke me up and I took some pictures of it thinking it was some kind of sea slug.   <actually a true flatworm> Since my tank was cycling I was sure that my water conditions would kill it.  About 3 weeks later we returned home late at night, and for some reason I decided to turn the tank lights on to see if there were any nocturnal hitch hikers that I didn't know about (bristle worms, mantis shrimp and stuff like that).  I saw this thing again, but it was much smaller, about half to one-third the size of the first one I saw. <could be the same one... color is paling, and it is slowly starving to death. Such flatworms have very specific predatory diets in the wild> I took some more pictures as it crawled into a hole in my live rock. Someone suggested it is a Polyclad flatworm. Any ideas? Thanks in advance, Kevin <yep... I took a series of photographs of a very similar looking worm for our new Reef Invertebrates books. This species preys on Tridacnid clams and actually resembles the mantle of a T. squamosa. It needs to be removed. See attached pic. Kind regards, Anthony>

Bristle worm compatibility Hello, <Hi there> I have a 10 gall nano reef tank, and I was reading on your killer site that Bristle worms show no harm to corals of any kind only decaying corals that are fading away. <Mmm, I would say, "most"> But I did not read anything on clams. Are they safe as well? <Actually... about the same situation... there are incidences of large or many small Polychaetes "attacking" both cnidarians and Tridacnids... that didn't appear ill, dying> Because I don't want to kill these cool looking worms when I read that they are great for my little ecosystem along with my pods. Thanks for your time! <In such a small tank, I don't think you'll have a problem... but this size system is also too small for a Tridacnid IMO. Bob Fenner>

Pinched Mantle: What is called "Pinched Mantle" in Tridacnids is caused by "a protozoa" according to Barry Neigut. He has found that a good rinsing (while shaking) afflicted clams in pH adjusted freshwater for a minute usually effects a lasting cure.

Clam killer on the loose - 1/17/05 Guys (and girls?), <We do have quite a few men and women helping out here....thank goodness!> First off, your web site has to have the most information on saltwater stuff in the whole internet.<Totally agree with this statement and I would like to add that it is a totally free resource paid for by Robert Fenner and our sponsors. Websites are not free but he pays for this out of his own pocket. Also, let's not forget that the people who volunteer pay for it with the time they donate. We should also thank our sponsors. To keep this site free we would not be anywhere without their grand advertising monies. Lastly but not least of all, you the collective readership. Without the questions, retorts, challenges, donations (time and/or money), and suggestions, we would but merely exist on the web! Thanks to everyone.> If there is another site I've not found it. Thank you for your time that you donate! <Maybe you could donate your time too??? We are always looking for a new volunteer or two =)> On to the question. I had a Crocea clam (6") Super Colored from Live Aquaria that lived on the sand and it was beautiful. <Crocea clams are gorgeous but also happen to be the least hardy and most sensitive to many environmental changes, in my opinion.> I had it for about 6 months and then one day I noticed what looked to be a white fleshy chunk laying on the sand behind the clam. <Sounds like the foot was severed off. (Yep, clams have a muscular foot for adhering to rocks and whatnot)> It appeared to have come from the back side of the clam <Underneath actually> and I found that I was able to look through the clam where as I was not able to before. <So sorry to hear about this. I have heard they will develop a new foot but that is usually in ideal conditions. Too many predators to enter through the gaping hole left behind after the foot is missing, though> After another week or so the clam regretfully died (much to the joy of the hermit crabs and snails). <No kidding. Have had this happen twice in four years and the animals seem to rejoice and revel in such sorrow so to speak> At the time I chalked it up to "natural" causes (poor animal husbandry?). <Possible but does seem to happen more often with this species of clam> After about 3 months I got another clam (unknown type, not crocea, about 3") because it came with a rock I wanted. <Hmmmm> This was about 4 weeks ago, it did not live on the sand bed but up on the rocks. <Sounds like it could be a maxima> Anyway, I looked in my tank this afternoon when I went home on lunch and seen another one of those white fleshy chunks on the bottom of my tank beneath where my clam is. <Weird, So something bored through the rock to get at the foot??> To say that I am worried is an understatement. <Understood. I don't even know you or your clam and I am extremely concerned. Not the least of which the Tridacnids are very expensive animal.> I was miserable when my first clam died and I hate for my second or any others to die also. <Understood> My tank is a 75 gal with overflow to 29 gal sump. <Very good. Do you quarantine?>  I have almost pristine water conditions. <Says you. Do you continually test for said pristine conditions? What do you base this on? Just curious, as I know nothing of your water conditions or your skill as a hobbyist. You can pretty much find ideal water conditions on our site if any are in question =) See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/Clam_care/Clam_care.htm this was written by our friend Barry Neigut of Clamsdirect.com. I personally buy all my clams from him. A wonderful resource and a super guy to boot.> In my tank I have had the following during both incidents: 1 yellow Tank, <Tang? No problems> 1 3 stripe Damsel, <Nope. He would likely be OK> 1 blue devil Damsel, <Great little fish. Likely not the culprit> 1 coral banded shrimp, <Hmmmm....probably not but might keep an eye> 2 cleaner shrimp, <Nope. Fine> 1 horseshoe crab, <Cool. Love those little bugs> 1 orange sand sifting snail, <No worries> many hermit crabs <Suspect if large enough> and many snails (Trochus, margarita, turbo, Nassarius...) <Absolutely not but there is such a predator in snail form....the Pyramidellid snail> 1 emerald Mithrax crab (with one claw), <Be afraid....be very afraid...I don't trust 'em> many Pulsing Xenia (both Pom-Pom and the silver thinner kind), <Nope not at all> frogspawn, and several other types of corals and polyps. <Not likely culprits but do keep them from stinging the mantle by putting some space  between the LPS and the clam> I hope I didn't forget any important info. <Only you would know ;}> I really don't know what is killing my clams but I really want to find out so I can enjoy having them in my main tank and not have to worry about their safety. <What about a tank aimed at keeping these beauties? Maybe a forty or 50 gallon with a 400 watt metal halide and some live rock in the sump? Add a heater and that would just about do it.....> I am going to move the clam to another tank (27 gal bow front that has been running for 3 months) tonight. <Excellent. This is a great idea provided water parameters are very similar as well as lighting and the lack of predators.> Hopefully it will be safe in there! <I hope so. No guarantees though with clams. Not much else to add but maybe keep an eye on your shrimp and crabs. Water parameters are a must for healthy clams. Let me know what you find out or how it turns out. ~Paul> Thank you all in advance again for all of your hard work and time! Randy

Giant Clam Pyram Snail Parasite pix from Barry Neigut Hi Bob, <Hey Bar!> Just a note to say hi and hope you are doing great! :-) <Yes my friend, thank you> Have been very busy with CD and some other projects but think I will take the week-off and do nothing. Went to LA last Saturday and gave a talk on clams at one of the clubs and had dinner with Scott and Nadine. The presentation seemed to go well, any way I hope it did. :-) We received several emails the next day saying that they enjoyed it and learned a few things about Tridacnids. <Wish I could've been there. Have you seen the 3d ed. of Coral mag.? Mainly spiels re Giant Clams> I submitted an article to Scott for CA after Sherry edited. :-) Didn't know how much he wanted but did tell him I surely could add more if he needed it. <Great. Should work to alls advantage... the encouragement and education of the hobbyist, promotion of your business...> Maybe if you are in town this next week, I can come by and we can do scans those slides that Rod sent. <Sure. Any time. Di is out for ten days to the east coast so we're looking for fun things to do.> Here is an image that you guys might want to use somewhere, " pyrams" I am going to use it in my book. Think it is a good example of how they look after the jelly like sack breaks. Barry
www.clamsdirect.com
<Yikes! Thanks much. Bob F>

New T. Crocea and Possible Mantis Shrimp(s) 4/9/04  Hi Anthony (or fellow knowledgeable Crew mate):  <howdy!>  I hope all is well with you.  <and with you in kind>  It's been a while but I have something to ask. A couple of weeks ago I placed a beautiful T. Crocea on the bottom of a tank with a sugar-fine sand bed. (I'll skip the tank parameters since they don't relate to the question at hand.) I placed him on a flat rock buried in the sand as I have read one should do.  <yes... excellent>  A few days ago, I noticed that the rock was uncovered around the clam, so I carefully scooped some sand back around the base of the clam to cover the rock again. I thought maybe the flow in the tank had uncovered the rock, or that the clam had blown the sand away at some point. Well, to my horror (okay maybe not horror, but definitely displeasure) I came down this morning to find the clam lying on it side in the sand and the rock even more uncovered. I thought at first that the clam had been trying to move and blown all the sand around, even though he was still attached to the rock by a thin appendage. So, I went into the tank intending to upright him when --- YIKES!! From the rock that the clam was sitting on came three darkish brown figures streaking for the live rock! I took a look at the rock the clam sits on and realized that it wasn't quite as flat as I thought. It has a small groove down the middle that goes directly under the clam. I can't think of anything these might be except mantis shrimp. Are there mantis shrimp that stay quite small or grow very slowly?  <yes, indeed... some with a max size of 1" (2.5.cm)>  These were only about 0.5 - 0.75" long and the rock in this tank is probably at least a year old.  <Ahh, probably just amphipods. Unless you are familiar with them and can rule them out. Do find pics on the net of them (also in our Reef Invertebrates book)>  Also, they swam instead of running along the bottom and moved very quickly. I assume mantis shrimp can swim when they want to do so??  <yes>  Anyway, my new theory is that they dug and tunneled around the clam trying to get to his "soft underbelly." I am going to set a trap near the clam tonight, but I just wanted to check whether this sounded reasonable to you or whether you had other ideas.  <no worries... the trap sounds like a good idea, indeed>  Whatever they are, they don't seem "clam friendly," if you get my drift. They must go!! ...if I can catch them..! That's it for now. Thanks again for all your advice in the past. Take care, Greg  <best of luck. Anthony>

Snail Hunting <Ryan with you today.> This is more of an observation/hint/tip on ridding your tank of Pyram snails before adding clams. <Great>  They, Pyram snails, seem to be attracted to the small Trochus intextus snails I got as part of a reef cleaner package.   As the Trochus move around the live rock at night, the Pyrams crawl onto their shells to possibly feed on these Trochus (I have never seen this but I suppose it happens).   When the lights go off, the Trochus come out and usually have a few Pyrams holding on near the bottom edge of their cone-shaped shell.   I just pick the Trochus out of the tank and rub the Pyrams off with my thumb and put it back.   I do not have clams at this time and the Pyram population has been substantially reduced using this method of hand extraction.   I had a small six-line wrasse in the tank and s/he wasn't making much progress at all (underachiever).   It nibbled at many things on the rock but I never saw it eat one of these snails.   Initially, some of the Trochus snails had a couple dozen tiny Pyrams on their shell.   Now I see one or two now and then. Pyrams are not attracted to any of the other grazer snails I have in the tank just the Hawaiian Trochus!   <Very interesting observation.  I will post for others to read.  Thanks for sharing, Ryan>

Citron Goby annoying Crocea Clam Hello, <Hi> This has got to be the strangest pair I've ever seen: http://members.lycos.co.uk/precisionpf/aquarium/104_0479.JPG <Good shot!> I just bought this Citron Goby earlier today, and it hid for a while, as is usual for new fish to do in the tank. When it came out a few hours later though, it took a liking to the clam. First it tried to swim into the clam's intake, which the clam didn't enjoy at all. (Thank God it didn't actually make it in) Now the fish just lays on top of the clam's mantle... The clam occasionally sucks its mantle in, and thrusts it back out, throwing the fish off, but he just hops right back on, and a while later, it happens again. Is this normal? Should I do something to try and scare the fish away from the clam? <These gobies will often perch on different subjects in the aquarium whether this be a powerhead, coral, rock, or a clam. While it can at first be disturbing the clam, eventually the clam should get used to such action and not think it's a threat. On a side note, there's really no way to change the goby's mind.> Also, I'm having some problems with persistent red Cyanobacteria. <That bacteria can be a real pain.> I did a 3 gallon water change (12g tank) one day, and a 2g the next, but the stuff just comes back in a seemingly greater amount daily. I've now added Chemi Clean to help clean the stuff out, and it has worked well (I just wanted to avoid using it to not anger any of the life in the tank, regardless that the bottle says it's safe for all invertebrates). I'll be putting in another scoop in two days, and then do a 3 gallon water change to clean out the system. Any ideas what's causing the outbreaks of it? All my system specs are good, negligible nitrates and nitrates, good PH and Alkalinity, no ammonia, etc. Any advice on getting rid of the Cyanobacteria, and keeping it away is appreciated. <Cyanobacteria is often caused by high phosphate levels, low amounts of current (lack of oxygen) and high nutrients. I would first question your flow -- is it strong? Cyanobacteria tends to grow in areas with low flow/low oxygen levels. Cyanobacteria will also grow in aquariums which contain high amounts of phosphate. You say that at after your water changes the Cyanobacteria comes back in greater amounts. This makes me think that your water you're using contains phosphate and/or silicates. I would start testing your water for phosphate as this could very well be the cause of this. If your tank does contain phosphate, I would recommend using a phosphate filter media which will eliminate phosphate - PhosBan and Rowaphos are both excellent (not to mention pricey) products which I would highly recommend for removing any phosphate or silicate in your aquarium.> I also have this problem with green bubble algae that doesn't seem to want to go away either, any ideas on how to get rid of the bubbles without promoting the growth of more of them from popping the bubbles? <For the most part, this is up to you to get rid of. There are a few species of crabs which will consume Valonia (Bubble algae) such as the Emerald Crab (Mithrax sculptus), however, if you feed your tank well most likely it won't. I've also had problems with larger Emerald crabs moving around the rockwork and eating polyps in the genus Palythoa.> Thanks for your help and time. <No problem. Take Care, Graham.>
-Enrique

- What Was that Thing? - Dear WetWebMedia Crew, I was reading through yesterday's daily questions and came across one about a Citron goby hanging out on a clam mantle.  The question included a picture of the fish resting on the clam.  In the bottom right-hand corner of the photo, there are some small red "buds"  growing on a piece of live rock. What is this red organism?  I have the same thing growing in my tanks.  I attached the same picture below. <I think it's a type of algae, but it's kind of hard to be certain as the focus in that part of the image is a little off.> Thank you, Jason
<Cheers, J -- >
Re: Citron Goby annoying Crocea Clam Hello, <Hi again.> Thanks for the info on the Goby & clam. Glad it's not just a strange Goby. <No problem.> A couple more questions: Is it good that a clam extends it's mantle fully? I would assume it is, but a guy a the LFS said that it might be that it's doing that to get more light and needs to be moved. Here's a picture of it with it's mantle fully extended: http://members.lycos.co.uk/precisionpf/aquarium/104_0457.JPG <Yes, it's a good sign that clams extend their mantle fully. Your clam looks quite healthy, too.> And here's the whole aquarium, before a good cleaning: http://members.lycos.co.uk/precisionpf/aquarium/104_0456.JPG (still trying to figure out how to re-arrange the rockwork.) <Looks good.> I use an RO/DI filter and I'm pretty sure that there are no phosphates in it. Lacking a phosphate test kit I can't be sure. Doesn't an RO/DI filter remove phosphates in the water, though? <Yes, however, if your system is old and the filters have not been changes some phosphate may be able to escape into the aquarium. Frozen foods also usually contain phosphate in them.> I'm kind of constrained by space in the tank to put in another powerhead. Maybe some of those mini MaxiJets that are sold will work. <Yes, those will do fine.> Valonia: I'll live with it for a while more. I'm not too fond of crabs, and I've read that it's hit or miss with emeralds. Some will eat the stuff voraciously, while others will completely ignore it. <Correct.> In the full tank picture: Any idea what type of polyps those are? <I see a lot of polyps -- are you referring to the polyps to the right of the clam? If so, those look like Button polyps (In the genus Palythoa).> I got two of them for free at an LFS a few months back, and they proceeded to take over the entire rock. <They can grow quite quick.> Thanks for your help. <Take Care, Graham.>
-Enrique

Re: Citron Goby annoying Crocea Clam And once more. :) <Hi again!> I think the clam looks pretty good. The guy I got it from kept it in the very bottom of a tank, with what appeared to be dim lighting (can't remember the exact wattage and number of gallons). He had had that clam, and another living there for two weeks, and that they had seemed to be hardy. He also told me that the people he's sold them to have had good luck with the clams and that they're rather hardy. Here's a pic of the whole aquarium, showing the current location of the clam: http://members.lycos.co.uk/precisionpf/aquarium/Panoramic.jpg <Looks fine.> I posted tank pics in the 'Nano Reef' section at reef central, and people are saying my clam will no lead a good life if it doesn't die in the tank. What are your thoughts on this? <I will slightly agree with what the members of ReefCentral said - the clam may not do its best under your current lighting. Under only 32 watts of power compacts (I assume are 2x 16wt compacts?), the clam will extremely darken in color. This coloration change is due to increased amounts of Zooxanthellae in the clams mantel which are multiplying to catch as much lighting as possible. While I have seen clams do well under lower amounts of lighting, the majority of Tridacnids (especially those as light loving as the T. crocea) die under low amounts of lighting.> The tank is a 12 gallon with a 32 watt PC fixture installed, and all the tank water parameters are OK. (Sans the Cyanobacteria, which seems to be mostly under control now). <As I said, 32wts isn't going to be best for the clam.> From my talks with the guy at the pet shop, the looks of the clam (it's been in there for 2 or 3 weeks now), and the way it reacts if you even walk by the tank sometimes, it seems to be in good shape. What are your thoughts? <The clam does indeed look healthy, and from the way it sounds, it's also aware that your in its presence -- will the clam continue to act as healthy in another month? In a year? I actually doubt so. Eventually the clam may starve from lack of lighting, which is what I'm worried about.> Once more, thanks for your help. <No Problem.> I'm a bit new to clams, and from what I read and was told, it should be ok the way I have it, but I could always have been misled. <I can't accurately say whether the clam will die or not under your lighting. As I've stated above, I've seen many aquariums successfully house the T. crocea under fluorescent lighting, however, these systems have outstanding water quality and have been setup for an extended period of time. It may live, it may not. It may even take several months to die off, or it may live but grow at a slow rate and show poor coloration. I would personally recommend returning it and refraining from another clam until you have upgraded your lighting. Most of the low light Tridacnid clams (T. gigas, T. squamosa, T. derasa) will outgrow your tank in a short amount of time. The smaller clams (T. maxima and T. crocea) will require more intense amounts of lighting. As previously stated, upgrading your lighting would help quite a bit if you plan on keeping the light-loving Tridacnid clams.> Take care. <You to! Have a good day, Graham Stephan :)> -Enrique

Pyramidellid snails 1/24/04 Hello there.  I read your articles and FAQ a lot lately. What a great site, I've learned a great deal. <Hi Loris.  Adam here.  Sorry for the slow reply.  Glad you enjoy WWM!> My question is this. I'm interested in purchasing a Tridacna clam, but my tank has these tiny Pyramidellid snails (at least that what I think they are). The tank is as follows: 90 gallon reef tank 6 months running 3 ocellaris clowns 1 fire Dartfish (eventually: regal blue tang, royal Gramma, mandarin fish, Kaudern's cardinal, Chromis) 1 scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp 1 blood red fire shrimp a number of corals (hard, soft, polyps, etc.) blue leg hermit crabs Nerites snails Everything healthy as can be.  From what I've read, a yellow wrasse ( H. chrysus) will munch on the shrimp, a six-line wrasse will pick on the Dartfish and possibly the clowns. <Both of these fish and others will prey on Pyramidellids.  My strongest recommendations for this job are the four line wrasse (Pseudocheilinus Tetrataenia) and the tail spot wrasse (Halichoeres melanurus).  All of these fish will do the job, have great personality and are attractive, but do have two downsides... they all can be a bit aggressive (especially when larger, and especially any Coris) and they are very effective amphipod predators.> Is there anything out there that can control the Pyramidellid snails and be safe with the above mentioned?  Thanks for your time and help.  Loris <Coris wrasses get quite large and aggressive.  The others may be a bit belligerent, but probably worth the risk.  Also, FWIW, if you have never had clams, it is doubtful that these are true Pyramidellids, but positive ID can be quite difficult.  If you can take a very high quality of the operculum of the snails, we may be able to figure it out.  HTH.  Adam>

Derasa Clam in trouble 12/4/03 I think there may be a problem with my 4 " derasa. Last week, I found what I have now identified (I think) as either part of or the complete byssal gland lying next to the clam... This clam has been in my care for the last year or so and has never exhibited any sign of a problem. It lies on the substrate and isn't attached to anything. Now the clam is showing signs of stress... Poor mantle expansion, slow to react, gaping. Anybody have any idea what the problem might be? <could be predation (look for tiny Pyram snails like grains of rice) or bristleworms at night (inspect after the lights go out)... possibly a crab although more damage would have been/be likely. Then there is the issue of water quality: light shock from a recent and overdue change in lamps or a large water change/change of carbon that increased water clarity suddenly... clams are also sudden to a large influx of freshwater for evap top-off... or spikes of supplements to the tank that are not adequately diluted> I've heard of larger clams expulsing their byssal gland but never 4 " ones and especially not T. derasa... Thanx Simon <this last assumption is not correct, my friend... there is little discrimination by age/species for the expulsion of byssal matter... rather just a matter of necessity by individual when called for. Still... its not an unhealthy maneuver and signs of stress here indicate a larger problem perhaps. Anthony>
Derasa in trouble II 12/6/03
Anthony, Thanks for taking the time to answer. Unfortunately, the clam died ~24hrs after my e-mail. I  was not a happy camper. <sorry to hear it> The water parameters are all fine and out of all the inhabitants of my 110 gal reef, the clam is the only casualty. <different tolerances too to stressors, and "somebody has to be first" as they say. Point being... don't dismiss the potential for a problem just because everything else currently looks fine. Without knowing your full water chemistry, I cannot concur with the evaluation of water quality> (there's also a 6 inch maxima in there) No Pyramidellid snails or bristle worms either. There IS an elusive crab in there somewhere. <yikes... indeed, no crab is truly reef safe> He's grown quite big since my first sighting.(~1.5 inches of carapace) I know he's in there but I don't see him often. <do bait and trap him. Should be easy enough (crabs are greedy). We have tips for doing this in the WWM archives and in our Reef Invertebrates book> Looks like a type of crab I've heard called "shame face crabs" but I can't be sure. Maybe I should be trying to catch him...? Thanx again. Simon <if it is indeed large clawed like a shame-faced crab, you can be assured it is a threat. Those claws are generally built for eating snails and bivalves/clams. Kindly, Anthony>

Clams In A Jam? Afternoon all!! <Hiya! Scott F. at your service!> I have an issue with my two clams as of the past few days they are only ? open. I have had both for years and all other corals and fish are thriving. Is this common in clams. My calcium reactor is working throughout the day and all parameters seem fine. Of late the clams have been emitting some kind of mucus which I assumed was from the newly added calcium reactor. Any advise on why BOTH they have shut for the past two days?? Thanks Stu <Well, Stu- it's hard to say exactly what your clams are reacting to, but it might be possible that some sort of water parameters are out of whack. Usual suspects include ammonia, nitrite, excessive phosphate levels, or rapidly fluctuating pH, not to mention the possibility of "chemical warfare" from stinging cnidarians that may be in close proximity to the clams. Did you recently change lighting? Are you using any new additives, "medications", or foods in the tank that could be a problem? Test the water again, just to be sure. In the absence of these as problems, the other possibility is that someone in the tank has started picking at the clams. Do check the behaviors of any of the "usual suspects" (i.e.; angels, certain wrasses, etc.) to see if this occurring. My advice when these kinds of seemingly unexplained anomalous behaviors occur is to use the old standby of a water change, coupled with use of aggressive protein skimming and activated carbon. Hopefully, with a bit of minor intervention, and the passage of time- things should work out fine, and they'll be "happy as a clam" in no time! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Cowries and giant clams Hi, <Howdy> I added a giant clam to my aquarium a week ago.  It seemed to acclimate pretty well, and was generally being left alone by all others in the tank, until today.  This afternoon I found a cowry had latched onto the clams foot. <Foot as at the base? The byssus?> I didn't want to wait around to see if it was just passing by, so I moved it off and relocated the clam to a less vulnerable spot.   The cowry played dead for most of the afternoon, the clam seemed to be ok with the spot I placed it, so no big deal, right?  Now tonight I find the cowry is on the clam again.  This time it's stuck on the clams side.  Does he have the ability to drill through a giant clam shell with his radula?? <Not likely. Cypraeids don't prey on Tridacnids as far as I'm aware>   I have not been able to figure out if he's going to kill my clam or just give up and go away.  Please help. thanks, eve <Very likely the cowry is simply "looking for food" on what it perceives as an "inanimate object". I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner>

Blue cleaner wrasse on Pyramidellid snails  Hi! I have a giant clam which has Pyramidellid snails on it. I introduced some blue cleaner wrasse knowing that wrasses eat these parasites.  <wrasses do eat them but not cleaner wrasses. A six line or four line will do the trick>  Is blue cleaner wrasse good in eating pyrams?  <no>  When is wrasse more effective? day or night?  <depends on wrasse cleaner wrasses more active during day>  I am planning to do a little experiment on the feeding habits of the blue cleaner wrasse that I bought. Do you know the rate of feeding of this wrasse on pyrams?  <no feeding>  I want to know if the result of my experiment will be correct. Thanks a lot! I want to be a marine biologist someday...  <Thanks for the question Mike H> 

Missing derasa clam! 10/14/03 I added a derasa clam to my 44 gal reef tank a few months ago.  It didn't seem to like the spot I originally placed it in--stayed tightly closed--so I moved it to a corner of the tank, on the bottom where the light wasn't as intense.  It appeared to like that spot, opening about half way, closing in response to shadows, first facing the glass on one side of it's corner, then the next day it would be facing the glass on the other side of its corner.  In other words, active, apparently healthy.   <agreed> I dose the tank with a teaspoon of calcium and 8 drops of iodine daily, per supplement label instructions.  I feed the tank DT's once or twice a week, and use a syringe to shoot some DTs near the clam's intake.   <do go easy on squirting any supplements directly at filter feeders... including such foods> This morning, when I fed the fish in the tank their Mysis shrimp, the clam as usual was open about half way and responded to the shadow of my hand.  About 5pm I passed the tank and stopped to watch a minute.  The clam shell was gaping wide open and the clam was missing!  Where did it go? <clearly was predated by something. A crab in the tank is the most likely candidate. Do trap for one at night with a small glass jar and a satchel of bait (heehee... food clam in a nylon bag or piece of boiled nylon stocking) inside... to see who the culprit is. Happy hunting... sorry about the clam too my friend. Anthony>

Gaping Crocea - 10/07/03 I have a 5" crocea which is gaping, the mantle is recessed, the inlet siphon is stretched as well as other spots on the mantle which looks like skin being stretched and ripped, the outlet hole that used to stick out like a nipple no longer does, just a hole, and when you look in the inlet siphon you can see the sand on the bottom of the tank (it's no longer enclosed. water parameters are ok, any tell tale sign? <Well, the sign to me is this clam will not, in all likelihood, make it another 24 hours. Don't move it though. Leave it be for the now. There isn't much known in the way of clam mortality per se. They seem to waste away quite quickly and for no reason. There are a great many theories, though. Read through our site on clams: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tridacnidart.htm go through the links. Also, we have a friend of the site Barry Neigut of ClamsDirect.com, who not only has a forum on his site for troubleshooting clams, but he sells, and even consoles problems with clams via email. Give him a try as I am sure he deals with more clam problems in one day than we hear about in a month.> is it dead? <Possibly a goner> sorry for not giving more info <No more info to give. It is said that without the right sized foodstuffs (usually seems to be a natural occurring type of food) most clams last for a year or less in a tank. What I take from that, is that clams need to be fed at some level. There just isn't enough nutrition derived from photosynthesis. Something to keep in mind. Check Barry out!! -Paul> 

- Everyone's Favorite Snails: The Pyrams! - My really nice Tridacnid clam has not been looking so good for the last week.  He is about 3 inches long.  Today I found about 6 Pyramidellid snails eating on his shell. <Very common on farmed clams> I removed them all, the were really small about half the size or less of a dried grain of rice. <Pyram snails, Woohoo!> My question is, is it too late? <Depends, if everything else is in good shape and it's not too far gone, it should be fine. Keep checking every day or so for a while for any stragglers or egg-masses. It's also easier to check at night when they'll be actively feeding in the open> He is still expanding but the tissue does not go beyond his shell like it use to.  Anything I can do?  I make my own Phytoplankton so I am upping the amount to about 1/2 cup in the morning and 1/2 cup at night in my 125g reef. <Sounds like everything should be ok, although the clam appears to be pretty stressed by the whole situation. Just keep an eye out for more buggers and remove as needed. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks  Larry

Bleached spot on clams mantle- 5/28/03 G'day guys, <cheers, mate> Just a few quick questions regarding thistles and a clam. <and I will counter with a question right off the bat: what is a thistle? The common name is not familiar to me, my friend. I browsed several Australian message boards too (keyword searched) wondering if the name was colloquial and came up empty <G>. Tell me more about what kind of organisms this is, please> Firstly the clam in my tank has grown considerably over the past 6 months. <often so... as much as 5-10 mm monthly is not unheard of for T. derasa and T. gigas in particular> A small area on a flap has lost its pigment from brown speckled to white. Is this to do with this area not getting the light?? <not likely... or not a good sign if so. It seems surprising that any tissue lies settled on any single part of the mantle long enough to cause such a condition. Do you have enough current to keep the mantle of this clam (as with coral polyps) flowing nicely? If so... we need to seek another explanation> As this area is actually hidden when the clam is fully opened. When it shuts you can notice the white section which is only 2cm. Any advise as it doesn't seem to effect the clam but takes away some of the beauty. <it can/will be a problem in the long term though. Beyond current, aged lamps (or those with salt creep, dust, dirty lenses, etc) suffer the clams as the light degrades... the weakest parts of the mantle in turn are the first to show signs of stress/bleaching> Lastly thistles seem to be hard to keep in an aquarium. Why is this and what are the ideal conditions for it to survive. e.g.: placement in the tank and food sources etc?? Thanks Stu <as per above on the thistles, my friend. Kind regards, Anthony>

Gaping clam.. take a sniff Hey everyone!  I ask you guys so many questions I feel like I should send along a keg of beer!  Maybe one day I will have the opportunity to repay you for all the help you have given and likely will continue to give, but for now I hope that my passing on information to those less knowledgeable than myself and keeping my mind open to those more knowledgeable will suffice. <actually... lets get back to talking about that beer. Ahem... oh, sorry... Yes. Your question <G>> Two questions for you this time accompanied by a picture.  It is about the clam again, but this time I am hoping the picture will show what I was describing in more detail. <it does> T. squamosa.  About 5" long, 4" wide 4" tall.  Coloration is fine, but not accurate in the picture.  In reality it is a nice golden/rust color.  The central fading has regained about 50% of its Zooxanthellae since I got it 7 days ago (probably expelled some Zooxanthellae during shipping - shipping water had some minor discoloration).   <understood and common with imports... but not domestically shipped clams. What happened? Coast to coast on the airlines in even inclement weather takes only 6-9 hours. For bleaching to have occurred, the animal would had to have been subjected to an extreme of temperature or a delay. Was this the case? Please don't tell me this was clam shipped via overnight carrier instead... Ughhh! Very few organisms if any should be shipped that way (discussed at length in my book... I'll excerpt it for anybody interested)> Initially I was told by several people (based on written descriptions, which were/are lacking) not to worry about my clam, but something just doesn't look "natural" so to speak. <normally I would have agreed with them as it is most often the case... but your picture helps, and your clam is not feeling well (gaping inhalant siphon... the beginnings are clear to me)> The two questions are: 1.  Is the inhalant siphon gaping?   <yes... just starting. And I have laid eyes on thousands of clams... literally (as an importer for wholesale)> If you look closely you can see the edges of the siphon are rolled back a little bit.   <agreed> This has been progressing more every day I have had it.  Right now the inhalant siphon is the size of a half dollar and almost perfectly round.  Also, there are no tentacles left to speak of.  Barry had the clam for 6 weeks and the quality of his clams is reputed to be excellent (and I have no doubts about this), <and I also agree with this> but do you think maybe the shipping was just too much stress? <depends... if we are talking New York to California on Delta... 4.5-6 hour flight... 2-3 hour recovery... 7-9 hours total. No problem even if New York was cold. However... if you ship FedEx Premium, for example (and most people do not pay this extra-extra overnight fee... but take the "by 3PM" option)... the animal is in transit for a bare minimum of 14 hours (usually closer to 20 hours) and almost every bit of that is at ambient temperature... whatever that is (they pay for no climate control for planes, trucks or warehouses.. can't blame them... they are not in the livestock shipping biz). Again, 14 hours cold is a best case scenario... if the office closes at 8PM, and if the clam was packed outside their door at the last minute (Ha!)... and if the clam makes it into your tank by 10AM next morning. Overnight parcel services are not scaled for livestock and many marine creatures die this way. I just don't see why some merchants still use them> At night it is able to partially close its inhalant siphon. 2.  Is the siphonal mantle spread too wide?  It looks stretched a little bit, especially right at the top of the inhalant siphon. <agreed> I'm wondering if the adductor muscle is weakened at this point and it cannot maintain a more closed position (it can definitely slam its shell shut if it wants, but it doesn't do this unless I'm really messing with it). <what was the water temp when you got the clam and how long would you estimate shipping took?> I should add when I removed the clam from its shipping bag it wasn't completely closed then either. <no biggie at that point> Everything else about the clam seems fine.  Quick reactions to light changes, shadows etc.  When it wants to it can completely close its shell.  At night it pulls its mantle in and closes up a little bit.  I saw a few Pyramidellid snails, so I picked those off.   <no biggie... common and controllable> Today I pulled the clam out and saw a small orange mass on the bottom so I promptly took my nifty Oral-B toothbrush to the whole clam and made sure to get all the orange off, which I am assuming were snail eggs.   <correct, possibly> Also while it was out I smelled it (and I got squirted right up my nose for my efforts, but it was funny) and it smelled just like it should - fresh marine/fish smell.    <dude... you are weird <G>> Also my six-line finally made it into my tank and within 10 minutes was circling the clam and picking at the shell. <maybe it was looking to sniff the clams bunghole> Presumably and hopefully at the snails.  Also, I have stayed up fully two nights in a row watching for predation.  None.   <good to hear> I read a post on Reef Central ( http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=81032&highlight=gaping) that seemed logical.  Basically he tied the clams shells shut.   <The thread is interesting... but I have some concerns with the reasoning and logic of it at length. Something to discuss at length over a beer <G>> I don't think I would want to tie them completely shut as he did, but do you think, IF there is even anything wrong with the clam in the first place, that this would be something worth trying? <weakly if so> Once again thank you kindly!  Yours is an invaluable service to the hobby and to the creatures entrusted to our care! RVM <with kind regards, Anthony>

Clams and Pyram snails and angry little wrasses Anthony (or whomever else, Anthony just seems to get all my e-mail hehe), I hope all is well and pleasant!   <and with hope for you as well> I'm planning to get my open water dive cert. before this summer and hopefully take a trip to Australia and the GBR.  I absolutely cannot wait!   <outstanding!> Well, onto the point of this post, which is quite the direct opposite of the excitement of diving in a natural, well-preserved reef. Interesting observation inside my clam.  I'll paste here what I posted on RC and sent to Barry. ------------------- Looking into its inhalant siphon you can see the gills and internal body structure.  Well, right between the gills, there is the fleshy (could not find the correct anatomical term) divider which separates the guts, internal organs, exhalant chamber from the inhalant chamber.  This flesh is translucent, that is, you can see through it to a degree.  Well I'm peering in at my little shrimp today, doing whatever it is they do in there, and I see a black shadow on this fleshy divider.  I look closer and come to find it has the outline of a 2mm (rather large) Pyramidellid snail.  I can see the foot outline and the shell on top of it.  No mistake as to what it is.   <alas, yes... they are too common> I can see no way to remove this pest without killing the clam.   <actually no... you can have a soft bumper (foam) ready to slip at the splayed opening of the clam to keep it pried open and use surgical tweezers (pointed tip) to extract the snail perhaps... like the game "Operation" as a child... except without the buzzers> I am guessing this is why my clam usually seems stressed.   <Oh, ya> It is probably also why the mantle surrounding the inhalant is bleaching out.   <hmmm... stress here> There are no snails on the outside of the clam and no eggs on the bottom.  I figure even just one of those snails sucking away at its insides could do it in though.   <agreed> This bothers me because there is nothing I can do.   <maybe we can find a 4 mm six-line wrasses with an attitude to swim into the clam's body and kick that snail's ass <G>> Generally all I'd have to do is remove this snail and all would hopefully be well (barring other problems/diseases I am unaware of) but I cannot. If anyone has any advice at all please do share! <use the bumper and tweezers instead> *edited in* I now see 4 simultaneously.  One is still the 2mm one, it hasn't moved much, and there are 3 others, varying from .5mm to 1.5mm.  *sigh*  I'm frustrated! ------------------ Thread is here http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=142032 -------------------- Please do tell me your thoughts on this.  Is it possible this might be the "clam disease" that has been wiping out clams over the past several/many months?   <I suspect they are unrelated> Freshwater dips seemed to have helped in some of these cases.  Obviously the freshwater killing the snails within the clams could account for the success here.   <risky... but possible> I believe Minh Nguyen had much success with freshwater dips.   Either way this might be something worthwhile to put on your Tridacnid FAQ so others might know what to look for.   <will do... with thanks. Anthony>

Waiter, There Are Snails In My Clam! (Pyramidellid Snails) I have a 6" T. Derasa. A few days ago I noticed that it wasn't extending its mantle as much as usual and its incurrent siphon was opened much more than usual. I picked it up and it had about 30 Pyramidellid snails attached to it. <Yikes!> I was able to pick most of them off but there more today. What can I do? I can temporarily move it to a different tank, but it only has NO fluorescents on it. I do have a sixline wrasse that does a good job of getting the snails that attach to the clam up towards the mantle but it can't get to the ones that are attached to the bottom. Thanks, Eric <Well, Eric, I think the sixline wrasse is a good "assistant" for you, but manual extraction may be the best way to go here. I you want to move the clam to this separate aquarium, you can compensate for the NO fluorescents (at least for a short period of time) by placing the clam higher up in the tank. Just keep an eye on this clam...Ya know- I'm a major quarantine freak (even for clams and inverts)...a nasty Pyramidellid snail infestation is a great lesson on the value of quarantine. As you are finding out, these little @#$%#@ snails are a real drag to get rid of once they get a foothold <G> in your tank...quarantine can help. Just stay on top of things...keep inspecting the clam daily, and, in time, hopefully you can end this infestation! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

"Gaping" Squamosa - 4/2/03 Hi there WWM Crew... <Hi there. Paul here for a few> I hope this email finds you happy and healthy today. <Actually no, I have a horrible cold. A little slow on the draw, but otherwise fine> I have a question regarding the well being of my new T. Squamosa. <OK. Go for it>  Is it normal for them to gape for the first few days following acclimation? <Well, in my experience they can "gape" anytime and usually recover. You just never know though. If I remember though it seems to me that Squamosa kinda "gape" anyway.>  The lil guy was delivered Tuesday and was acclimated over a period of an hour plus. <Well, nice but did he go into an acclimation tank? In any event sounds fine>  I ensured that I added some tank water, via a turkey baster, over and over until the container was full. <very well>  I then dumped half and did the process over again.  After more than an hour, I finally placed him on a piece of empty clam shell just under the substrate for him to become accustomed to his new environs. <Very good. Lights off?>  Other than a troublesome wider inhalant, it seems okay.  Color is good and mantle expansion seems normal for a newbie. <Sounds about right> The packaging from the seller was wonderful. <Who is the seller if you don't mind me asking?> Many air filled bags of insulation surrounded the live specimen bag. <Cool>  There was 2 inch foam lining the box and two heating pads therein. <Good> The water temp was not all that cold, considering it is New England. <What does that mean?> I waited at the door all morning for delivery and acclimated it right away. <Very responsible>  It was en route for a short period of time (Next state overnight - FedEx) <Still could be a lot of handling between seller and buyer> The reason I chose Squamosa is that I have power compacts. <Ahh, good choice then> Everyone I speak with says that my 6w/per gallon should be sufficient. <Definitely>  I've read the book "Giant Clams" and it too says that Squamosa would be my choice. <Very good. Glad to hear you on board as a Conscientious Marine Aquarist> I was planning leaving him on the substrate, but your opinion on this is appreciated as well. <I would leave him there for about a week minimum. Then slowly start moving him toward his final resting place. In the wild though, these guys are usually found on the substrate. So he may be fine where he is. If he continues to gape though I would definitely hold off on moving him anywhere. Clams have been known to crash and die in about 12-24 hour period, so keep an eye on him. Oh yeah, definitely let the seller know he came to you in this "gaping" condition. From the picture though he looks pretty good!> I may just be paranoid.  Others have told me that Squamosa have larger siphons as compared to other Tridacnids. <True> I'm used to seeing Maximas which rarely "open wide". <Also true. Healthy ones anyway> I've attached a picture for your viewing. <Looks good>  You can email me direct if this is not FAQ worthy. Definitely FAQ worthy. Did you get a chance to read our FAQs? Lots of good info there. you can always contact Barry Neigut at ClamsDirect.com as he has quite a good amount of experience in the various hobby clams.> Thanks for all your help. <My pleasure David. I am sure your clam will thank you for your research as well!> David  

Clam exudation 3/27/03 Greetings!  I have a blue Tridacna maxima, about 5 inches below the surface of the water under a 175W MH with 40W of fluorescent actinic.  The clam is about two years old.  Recently I have noticed that in the evening, I see a very thin brown strand of  (I assume) Zooxanthellae algae coming out of the exhalant siphon.   <could be... sometimes they are expelled naturally in small packets, other times induced by stress (increase in light as with new bulbs or clarity as with water change or sudden use of carbon)> The clam is well extended and looks great.  Water parameters are great and unchanged, except that I recently (1 month ago) noticed that the pH was dropping to 8.00 during the night.  I slowly used Reef Buffer to raise the pH to about 8.45 during the day, dropping to about 8.30 at night.  Salinity is 1.025 and nitrites are zero, and nitrates are 5ppm.   <all good> I use PolyFilter and an Urchin Pro.  Is this algae discharge normal? thanks tom <likely no worries at all. Be mindful not to overfeed (at risk of clogging gills) with liquid supplements too. Best regards, Anthony>
Re: Clam exudation 3/27/03
Thanks for your response, Anthony.  I have been feeding liquid food, perhaps a little bit more than usual.  This afternoon I noticed some bleached spots on the mantle which weren't present this morning.  The mantle is open/out. <not good signs at all... and rules out coagulated food from overfeeding as the primary. Stress from a physical parameter is more likely now... the sudden influx of a larger than normal bit of freshwater perhaps for belated evap top-off? Dosing supplements in strong concentration near it at the top of the tank (sans dilution in sump or strong stream). Hmmm... many possibilities. Predation is more common in general but would not expectedly cause the bleach spots. Instead we are looking for stress or disease here. Perhaps a new fish or coral added recently without QT brought in a pathogen> Any suggestions? thanks, tom <watch nightly for predators, but otherwise do not disturb while evaluating water quality. A water change is usually helpful too (dilution of the unknown). Anthony>
Stressed no more... better Tridacna days 3/28/03
Anthony, Sorry to have raised the alarm.. My otherwise beautiful, talented and intelligent wife mistook the golden mantle highlights as "bleaching".   <Ahh... no worries. An easy mistake to make under the circumstances. Kudos for her attentiveness indeed> The clam did put off some brown strands of material, which I was earlier asking you about.  I had gone out of town, though, and I asked her how the clam was doing and whether there was any bleaching.  She reported back, and I emailed you again.  Ah well. <better days ahead for sure> Thanks for your very prompt, thoughtful and caring response.  You are a credit to the hobby! tom <its truly redeeming to hear you say so, my friend. Thanks kindly and best regards! Anthony>

Clams Hi Bob, Want to pass something by you. You may or may not be aware that a lot of people are losing clams after buy clam/s that are coming from Pohnpei so I have been told.  <Have heard this from others> The people that have contacted me are saying that once they placed this clam in their tank with a day or so the clam dies and then a chain reaction starts, some have lost clams that they have had for several months or years. Some think it is a bacteria infection. My question is, if indeed this is correct will the bacteria infection remain the tank or even stay in the LR or substrate. Some people have reported good luck using Doxycycline as a treatment. <Have also heard this> Do you have any information or suggestion on this subject? <Will send to others here> All is going well on this end. Thanks for you help in the past and yes ClamsDirect is doing well thanks to some of your help. :) <Very good to hear/read of your success. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Best Regards, Barry

Derasa Clam Problem Bob, I have about a 5 inch derasa clam and a 2 1/2 in maxima clam. I have had the derasa for over a year and it has been doing very well. I just recently added the maxima about 3 months ago. To give you some info on my system, I have a 125 gallon reef tank with a mixture of hard and soft corals. I have VHO lights. All of the necessary parameters for good water quality are where they should be. Both of my clams are on the floor of my tank. About two days ago I noticed my derasa clam was leaning to one side, which I didn't think much of because it sometimes would tip over because a fish would swim by and spook it. I went to straighten it up with a little stick I have like I have done hundreds of times before and noticed that the clam didn't close right away from the contact. As a matter of fact, it almost seemed like the two halves of the shells were not aligned anymore either. When I tried straightening the clam by lifting the one half of the shell it sort of moved independently of the other one. This seems to have gotten worse over the last few days. The mantle is not receded or anything and still has good color. The clam just isn't opening up fully like it used to and the what holds the two halves together seems to have lost the strength to hold itself together and close fully. The clam is showing no signs at all of being attacked by anything. I see no holes from worms. There were a couple of those supposedly reef safe snail with the small, flat, purple and brown shell that only come out at night hiding underneath the shell but I'm pretty sure these are not doing anything to the clam. <if you are referring to Stomatella "paper-shell" snails then I agree> I know it may be hard to determine the cause of the problem but do you have any idea what would cause this?  <I'm concerned if the clams were kept on the sand bottom without a rock buried underneath them. Attachment to a small rock is critical... it prevents snails, worms and crabs from preying from below through the vulnerable abductor port/muscle. Pyramidellid snails are very tiny (like grains of rice as adults!) and very damaging over time. Another concern I have is the lack of light at depth... I fear the clam has been starving from inadequate light. As bright as VHO lamps seem to be... they are very weak at depth: they are only good for the top 12" of water and degrade rapidly below that. So if the clams are at the bottom of an 18-24" deep tank... they are not getting enough light. Starvation may be an issue here> Is there anything I can do to reverse whatever is happening to the clam. If not, should I immediately remove it from my tank before it maybe spreads to my other clam which sits right next to it?  <unlikely to be contagious... look for Pyram snails and other predators (crabs, bristle worms) and move the clams to within the top 12" of the surface> I appreciate any help or advice you may offer on this problem. Thank you, Gianluca Carpinelli <best regards, Anthony>

Clam Bob, Wanted to share something with you that I was thinking about while I was sleeping. <We've got to stop eating licorice and pepperoni pizzas before dossing down> Had a Black Maxima that I placed in a tank and one of my fish attacked him several times and after the third attach the clam gave up and gapped the size of a quarter. Not knowing what to do, took the clam out and placed him in a quarantine tank with minimal light, no substrate and did some feeding. After 8 days the clam recovered fully. I will just about guarantee that if I had left him in the main tank being so stressed that the critters would have finished him off. So my observation is that if you have a clam in distress and place him in a stress free environment so that he can recover he will most likely do so but leaving him in a stressed situation no chance of recovery. Have done this several times with 98 % success. <Thanks for this... you gapper, gipper> Thought this observation was worth passing on. Not a writer but I think you get my point. :) <Yes... will fwd to the fellow-writing boys. Bob> Regards, Barry, www.clamsdirect.com

Clam Disease? Anthony, I recently lost 2 gold Maximas to what I have been told is Clam Disease. Several people tell that where I purchased them has had tanks that are infected. What is this mysterious clam disease and just how can I eliminate it from my system. Should clams be freshwater dipped? Thanks Mark <I would almost never recommend FW dipping clams. I am also quite doubtful that whoever suggested your clams had "clam disease" has a clue (however well intended they might be). The higher rates of mortality from select clam shipments recently have been limited more to batches rather than a locale/source or specific pathogen (despite folks in the industry looking for an excuse for their poor husbandry as retailers or wholesalers). We have seen this many times with other animals. There is likely no new disease... just poor handling by at least one of the bigger players in the chain of custody (importer, LA wholesaler, etc). If a LFS has a "clam problem" then they simply have water quality issues. To answer you question, bud... there is no definitive ID of a specific pathogen for this recent "condition". Preventing and eliminating it is simple: QT all livestock for 4 or more weeks first. Containment and control. Never add any fish, coral, other invertebrate or plant to your tank without a 4 week QT. It's Russian roulette if you skip QT. No meds here... simply good water quality! See the references to feeding ammonium or nitrate to clams in my coral prop book or better (!) Daniel Knop's Giant Clams book. Do this in QT to power feed the clams. Natural resistance is better than anything we can offer Tridacnids. Medicating invertebrates is still in the dark ages. With kind regards, Anthony>

Tridacnid Hi, I have a 5" crocea that hasn't opened for a little over a week. I was going to be getting a rose leather, a green bubble and a Galaxea on Friday. My flame angel and my yellow tang, I just noticed, have been picking at the clam when it tries to open a half inch. I need to put the clam in the quarantine that I was going to use for the corals when they came in. I e-mailed the sender to delay shipment so I can use the QT for the clam. Is there any type of food that I need to feed the clam while in the QT? <Phytoplankton could be helpful, although I have heard that feedings are particularly important for juvenile clams. Your 5" Crocea is near full size and could probably live on very little food.> Or should I just let if feed off the light in the QT while it recuperates? <Depending on how long it is there will determine if additions are needed. Daily, small water changes from the main display could provide the clam dissolved organics to filter feed.> How long do I need to put it in the QT to bring it back to health before I put it back in the main tank? <You cannot put it back in the main tank until after the Flame Angel and Yellow Tang have been removed.> Thanks for all the help, Jeff <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

I Have a Question About a Clam Hi Bob or whoever is taking your place if your not there; <Steven Pro right now.> I've never had a clam before but I'm curious about something I saw on all the clams I have been looking at in the local stores. I believe based on research that these clams are Tridacna derasa. I understand that each has its "mouth" but I'm curious because most of them seem to have a split on the other side of the clam. Is this normal? <Yes, clams have both an inhalant siphon and an exhalent siphon.> Are these clams in distress? <Nope> Do they all get this split? <Yes, what goes in must come out.> Are they forming another mouth? <No> Are these specimens to get or to avoid? <There are other factors to consider. Daniel Knop has written an excellent book, "Giant Clams". Please pick up a copy for your education prior to purchasing any clams.> Thanks, Mac <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Quarantine Clams Good morning/evening Steven, <Good afternoon.> If I was only to keep one clam, would that reduce the need for quarantine? <Reduce but not eliminate. Always best to follow good husbandry practices.> Does this creature carry organisms which may also be dangerous for fish/corals? <Possible infectious agents in the shipping water.> Having read quite a bit about clams/care/diseases and predators on your site and others, how would I know if some predator snail/worms which are not commonly visible (remain hidden in attached rock) were present, short of seeing the clam die? <See if you cannot find Daniel Knop's excellent book "Giant Clams". He has written an extensive section on identifying and treating various "diseases" of clams. -Steven Pro>

What Needs Quarantined? Greetings, Do you need to quarantine a maxima clam? <Best to quarantine anything.> If so, why and for how long? <Generally two weeks minimum with one month being best. Clams sometimes carry parasitic snails that can attack and kill clams in the confines of aquariums.> How do you get around the need for metal halides in a quarantine situation? <You really can't. Again, it is a matter of investment. Clams are not cheap and if you have several, bring in a new one that is infected, and then lose all your clams, you will wish you had quarantined. It is actually a quite frequent story that you hear.> Do you need to quarantine soft/hard corals? <Yes, and live rock too.> Many thanks, Michael <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Stressed Out Clams? Dear WWM Crew, Gentlemen, how are you?  <very well with thanks!> I need your professional advice once more; I hope you don't mind as I truly appreciate all your efforts/inputs to improve this hobby.  <thanks again... but it is not entirely altruistic: Bob pays us handsomely in chocolate malt balls> I have a few questions regarding my recently purchased squamosa clam and maxima clam. First, let me preface by giving you the conditions of my 90 gallon reef tank: lightning--powered by 2x-175 watt 10,000K metal halides and 130 watts of actinic PC, and water parameters--pH @ 8.3, carbonate hardness @ 10.5 dKH, salinity @ 1.025, calcium @ 400ppm, temperature is constant @ 78 degree, magnesium @ 1300ppm, ammonia @ 0ppm, nitrite @ 0ppm, and nitrates @ 2ppm. Fishes included are: yellow and purple tangs, and 3 flame wrasses. The two clams were purchased 3 days ago and they are both about 3.5 inches. They are placed at the bottom being acclimated to my lightning system.  <excellent... that was my first question in mind... Good move> I plan to move the maxima clam towards the middle of the tank at the end of this week and leave the squamosa clam at the bottom. Would this be a wise decision?  <because of adult sizes and likely light requirements, I would agree that this is reasonable> My concern with both of these clams is the wide opening of their incurrent siphon. It is more pronounced with the squamosa than the maxima and this occurrence only happens when the metal halides are on. <many theorizes for this...not all bad. Have you read Daniel Knop's Giant Clams book? Excellent!!!> When the metal halides are off and only the actinic PCs are on or the lights are completely off, the incurrent siphon is completely closed. Is this normal behavior?  <the predictability of it is reassuring but categorically it may not happen with all> Or should I be concern with predation, sickness, and/or accumulated stress from shipping?  <do examine closely (and periodically 4-6 times yearly or better) for tiny Pyramidellid snails> I performed the shading test, and the maxima is very responsive to blockage of light and the squamosa is less responsive.  < an unreliable test. Some like T. gigas hardly respond at all> This has led me to wonder about the correlation between the squamosa having a wider incurrent siphon opening and its slower response rate to the shading test as not being in good health.  <not necessarily> I have also checked for predation with a flashlight at night and I did not see any snails on the mantles.  <excellent> I feed DT's twice a week.  <hmmm... do read in Knop's book about feeding protocols and foodstuffs. Also, review past FAQs and archives on how best to feed such phytoplankton supplements unless you are already using a blender> Is there anything I do to help them? Any comments and/or input is greatly appreciated. <unfortunately the clam is not exhibiting any symptom that we may fairly act upon. Your system is very fine, and acclimation procedures quite considerate. It may simply be acclimation/adaptation or even nothing at all. Do not be attempted to move the clams at all for at least 2 weeks. Observe their behavior and follow up here if necessary. I suspect at the end of two weeks there will be no new news <wink> and all will be fine. Best regards, Anthony> Thank you, Dan

Is my clam doomed I have recently acquired a 2" derasa clam. He was 10" under 200 watts of SmartLight. Last night he jumped down a step on my live rock, but he left behind some white tissue still attached to the rock above (byssal (sp) tissue?). <correct> Is there anything I can do or anything I should look for Thanks Jeremy PS other than this he appears to be in good health <no worries at all... clams commonly abort old byssal tissue. It is generate new at the new point of attachment. Freshly imported/disturbed clams will often do this. Probably just fine. Make sure it attaches soon for its own good (protection of byssal port from crabs, worms, etc. Anthony>

Derasa Clam problem.. Hello again, I am writing to you this time about one my Derasa Clams. I have had them both over 1 month and they have been looking fine. Both have been placed on the substrate in the middle of the tank. Today, I noticed that this one in particular, had receded it mantel way back into its shell and the mantle has started to separate from the shell. It does open and close occasionally. The other clam is doing well. I am using 96W PC lights from Custom Sealife(8800k daylight and 6700k actinic). I have plenty of water movement 1 Rio800, 2 Rio 180 and water moment from an AquaClear 300 and HOT magnum (both about 300g.p.h.). Water levels are temp = 76.6, PH = 8.1, Ammonia and Nitrite =0, nitrate = 2.2, dKH = 9.14, Calcium = 490, Phosphate = 0.  <Mmm, your calcium is a bit high...> All of my corals Euphyllia sp., leathers and plate corals are thriving. I have read through the FAQ's section on www.wetwebmedia.com <http://www.wetwebmedia.com/> and did not see any similar instances of this happening. Am I losing a clam or is there something I can do to save him?? <Even after a month, this specimen may simply be "settling in"... Do take a close look (especially at night with a flashlight) to ascertain whether "somebody" is bothering this clam... worms, snails... can be trouble. Bob Fenner> Regards, Keith Broadbent
Re: Derasa Clam problem..
Do you think he may not be getting enough light and to try moving him up higher on the reef?? <Hmm, possibly... worth trying. Bob Fenner> Regards, Keith Broadbent

Clam questions Bob, Thanks for you response. I have some additional questions though, - You mentioned it might be a lack of light, but I didn't think this was the case because the clams didn't overextend their mantle (as described in Knop's Giant Clams book), and they didn't show any bleaching that I would expect. I also tried a variety of placements in the tank - including placing small Maximas/Croceas (1") within 4 inches of the surface.  <Mmm, the placement is a valid indication, the non-extended mantles, bleaching not necessarily so> Also, the demise is sudden - the clams usually look healthy for 1 month or more, and then die within a week (usually within 5 days). Am I missing something in regard to light? <Not likely if the losses were rapid onset... more likely something amiss with chemistry (mis-supplementation in most cases) or an undiscovered parasite load of consequence (like Pyramidellid snails)> - You asked how I maintain water chem. I use SeaChem's Reef builder and Reef Advantage Calcium. I also use instant ocean salt. (I am in the process of converting one tank to a calcium reactor - Korallin). Is my use of SeaChem's products potentially involved in the demise of my clams? <Doubtful. No other additions?> - You discounted my thoughts on predation. The one thing that keeps pointing me in this direction is that I NEVER loose multiple clams at once. It's always one at a time. And then shortly (within 1-2 wks) after one dies, another one starts to show symptoms. Again, can you expand one why you don't think its predation? <Could be... In accounting for how many specimens lost this is just historically about third, fourth in line as common causes/categories of loss> - Do you have any idea of what the normal survival rates for maxima/crocea clams are when they are purchased from good mail-order firms (FFExpress, and others): <Just guesses... such data are rarely recorded, never shared in the trade> 1) the small ones (1" and under) 2) medium (1 - 3") 3) large (3+ inches) <Hmm, I would state with certainty that "larger ones live longer"... And guess that one inchers on mean/average probably only make it a month, 1-3" probably 2-3 months (most are "killed off"), 3" ones probably 4-6 months... Some folks do keep any/all sizes for years... but most "don't make it"> The reason I ask is I'm trying to get an idea of what constitutes 'Success'. <My friend this is beyond us! "Smiles per hour"? Reproducing? Closing the loop, having tank bred young grow up, in turn producing viable young? A subjective measure, the affective domain... "how you feel"?> I haven't had much luck with long term clam survival (except for my large and indestructible derasa), but from what I've seen, the LFS's don't seem to have much luck either. <Some sources, lines are decidedly much better than others... Much has to do with how these animals are kept, treated "intermediately" going from almost wild culture facilities through holding/shipping... Need TLC at this crucial junction... intense lighting (likely MH), foods, feeding, addition of biomineral, alkaline materials... Only know of three outfits out of dozens that provide this level of care... their clams are healthier, on "average" live longer/better> - You mentioned phosphates (and Knop indicates nitrates are needed) for clam health.  <Yes, actually for all life on this planet.> My kits have always registered 0 phos/nitrate. Should I be 'injecting' phosphates/nitrates into my tank (gosh - this is tough to swallow, given the effort I went to eliminate them). <Mmm, regularly exogenous (outside, provided) feeding of your livestock should present enough of these... do you have too vigorous "other" transport mechanisms? Like chemical filtration, too much macro-algal growth...?> I have Red-Sea Berlin classic skimmers running on both 75 gal tanks, with 100+ lbs of Fiji LR and planted/lit sumps.  <Might try trimming back the macrophytes in the sump> This combo seems to bring nitrates/phosphates to immeasurable levels, at least with my test kits (nitrates under 2.5 ppm, phosphates under 0.05 mg/l). I'm sure there are some levels of nitrates/phosphates though, because the macro algae - Caulerpa - in my sump grows well. - any other suggestions on what I could try to increase my survival rates, or what could be the cause? Thanks again - and apologies for the long note. <We will be discussing this... nature further. Bob Fenner>

Clam question Bob, I'm back with additional questions. I have 2 75 gallon tanks both with PC (4 55 watt -7100/6700K on one tank and 4 65 watt - 8800K/7100K on the other tank). I'm having problems keeping clams for long periods of time. (Nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, phosphates are 0, ph 7.9 - 8.4, Calcium is 400-450, alk 9-10, salinity 1.023 - 1.024, oxygen is at saturation, temp 78 - 80). <Mmm, could be a few things... including a need for more light (or moving the animals up in the water column), foods/feeding of the clams, a lack of phosphate... got to have some> I've had one derasa clam (4 in shell) that has survived for 2 years now and has always looked like it was thriving and continues to do so - its added 1 - 2 inches in shell growth since I purchased it. I've had a maxima (3 in shell) that thrived for about 8 mo.s, and then suddenly died. I've also had several baby Maximas (1in) - roughly a dozen - and around another dozen or so small crocea/Maximas/squamosa/derasa (2 in) that have also died. Basically, they appear to thrive for several weeks, and then they all appear to become ill and die within 1 week: - initially, they fail to extend their mantle much past the shell edge. - then they start to show 'gaping' on their inlet siphon. (within 1 -2 days) - then (within 1-2 days of the 'gaping') they suddenly die.  <How are you modifying your water chemistry? Doesn't sound like predation, parasitism...> Usually their is very little flesh left by this time - my reef hermits will consume what's left within 24 hrs. I suspected the hermits, but they seem to ignore the clams until the very last stage - when its obvious that the clam has died. Also, if I have multiple clams in a tank, they never show illness all at once - its always a one by one demise. I've also tried a variety of positioning of the clams (bottom, middle, top) to no avail. I've suspected a predator, but the shells don't show signs of a boring sponge (or any bore holes from snails). The remaining flesh also appears free of predators. Any ideas what could be causing this - and why my 1 derasa has never shown a day of 'weakness'?  <A tougher species, individual for aquarium use> Are small clams inherently more susceptible to illness? <Yes, more> I also had a few additional questions: - are you familiar with the AquaLogic cyclone titanium drop in chillers?  <Yes, some> If so, are their titanium coils fairly safe (in terms of poisoning tanks)? <Yes> - What is your opinion on the Tunze skimmers and the ETSS skimmers?  <Tunze products are excellent, though pricey. ETSS skimmers are great technology for very large (hundreds of gallons), "messy" systems, in situations where folks don't mind spending the money on high volume pumping. Needle wheel technology is superior to downdraft. My opinions are posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com skimmer sections> The Tunze claims to be completely plankton safe (I've heard the ETSS marketed as plankton friendly).  <Mmm, the Tunze much more so> Are these top notch skimmers?  <Top notch?... for the types of skimmers they are... Tunze particularly for size, cost of operation are very well designed, engineered, built... ETSS are more garage/chop shop put together> Is their 'plankton' spin true, or just marketing? <For Tunze more true> - The ETSS website claims that skimmer throughput (gals of water/hr) is a very good measure of a skimmer's ability. Is this a good measure to compare different brands of skimmers? <No, ridiculous... what does flow rate have to do with removal of unwanted materials. Removal per kilowatt energy consumed, per pass... these are measures of efficiency. Look at the Euroreef line for a paragon of excellence... their link can be found on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Just lost a Derasa and a Maxima Hi Bob, <Yikes, what happened?> I feel so sad that I just lost two / all of my clams, one Derasa and one Maxima. I have had them for 9 months and a year respectively .. both died within a week apart. I first notice something is wrong when they wouldn't open that much, tried to adjust lighting, but the shrinking continued and then both were in some sort of "gaping" position until I removed them. I noticed they both seem to have lost their legs and that it looked very hollow bottom up. <Hmm> I am a little puzzled and very concerned with the clam losses. If you remember, I am in the middle of battling Cyano and looking up my log, I setup a refugium with macro algae and took out the HOT with AC and phosphate sponge 2 weeks ago. Other than that, everything else have remained the same. Do you think they died from poisoning from the macroalgae (there has been no dying though)? <Doubtful> Or is there some sort of a "predator"?  <If they were "hollow" inside it may be so... Pyramidellid snails, some Polychaete worms can eat Tridacnid clams quickly in numbers> I added the Kent buffer to boost alkalinity over the last 2 weeks, from 6.8 to 11.2 then 12.5 over 2 weeks. <Mmm> My parameters are: 60G reef, Ph 8.0, NO3 2.5, PO4 <0.03, Alk 12, Ca 400, temp 80-82F, 45lbs LR, 1-2inch sand. Livestock: flame angel, yellow tang, damsel, goby, bubble corral, frogspawn, flowerpot, mushrooms, sun corals (all arranged at a distance from one another), cleaner shrimp, Astrea and hermits. Thanks. Brian <There was nothing left of the clams? Very strange, as in disturbing. Bob Fenner>

Clam Questions! Hi Bob, How are you these days!  <Fine> I have these weird encounters between my 4.5 inches clam that I bought last week who is moving and getting rid of the poor thing. Anyway! two days after I got the clam he was happy, in fact still is under the metal halide about 9-10 inches below the 175watt MH, lying between 3 rocks. The strange thing I saw was the snail (which I believe a somewhat related or maybe it is a turbo grazer type) (this snail also runs across the algae and suck on them clean), was attached to the clam. I decided to pick the snail and pull him off the side of the clam, man! I had to pull him really hard, which I thought what a good suction!  <Yes... good designs...> Today! I went home and saw the snail attached again, I pulled him off and it's even harder to pull this time, but the strange thing I noticed was the hard shell part of the clam had hole as if someone tried to drill a perfect hole.  <Perhaps "they" did> I know the darn thing is really hard, and can't imagine the snail would do this kind of thing! I'm afraid that the clam might die from this situation, because a year ago, I used to have 5 of those regular looking (round shape) turbo grazer snail, until I bought this strange looking one which he did the same thing attached to these snails, and died few days later. As a result I have tons of small snails (baby ones). I have 2 theory, 1 good and one bad. Lets start with the good one first, which is he thinks his trying to mate with his own kind!  <Nah> 2 his feeding on the clam, but how can that be if the snail feeds on the algae AKA vegetarians type.  <Things are not always as they seem... this animal may have a wider food preference than you assume> The mysterious part is how the heck did he put the hole through the hard shell of the clam? <A radula, odontophore... specialized structures like a rasping tongue and muscular apparatus for such boring... and secretions to aid in melting the non-living matrix of the shell... There are several groups of invertebrates with species that do this...> I thought I would go directly to the expert, thank you in advance, hope you have a good one. RL <You as well my friend. I would surely remove this snail. Bob Fenner>

Clams Hello Bob, I have Derasa, Maxima and Ultra Crocea clams, and they seem to be growing and doing fine. Although I notice there not at all as bright and detailed in color as they were the first few months I owned them. Now the colors aren't that brilliant and they look blurred vs. detailed. What could be the cause of this? I have these clams in a 30g reef with two 36in VHO (one blue, one white) that run nine hours a day, and I replace them every 8 months. Iodine 0.04, Calcium 425, alkalinity 3.5 phosphates low and can never get PH above 7.9, (even using buffers daily PH will rise to the 8's, but fall within 15-20min back to 7.9, 7.8). Any information you can give me is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Rob Rob cook <Hmm, could be a few things contributing to your Tridacnids lack of apparent color/vigor... Most all to do with the small size/inherent instability of your system... Congratulations are due you for your success with a thirty... as you have found out, it's hard to keep stable and optimized... If it were my clam tank, I would do a few things... For one, I'd increase your lighting... you could easily stand to double the intensity you list... best by adding, switching to compact fluorescents... And I encourage you to add a sump/refugium with live rock, macroalgae and its own lighting, leaving it on continuously or alternating the cycle with your main tank...this will do several things for you and your clams... increasing pH, making water chemistry more stable/optimized... provide more food for their filter feeding... Otherwise, I might well add a vitamin, nutriment solution like Micro-Vit or Selcon to the system... and some small fishes to add their bit as well in the way of "processed nutrients". Bob Fenner>

Critters on Tridacnid clams... Bob, I have a question that I was unable to find in your book. Or any books I my library for that matter. After a recent outbreak of what I think was velvet, I removed all of the fish from my pseudo reef display tank, and put them in quarantine with some medication. The fish seem fine, but have one week of the recommended four left to let the velvet die in the main tank.  <A month at the minimum... two if all can stand it... and hope you have availed yourself of raising temperature and lowering spg... mid eighties and 1.018 or so respectively... to reduce virulence, speed the demise of the parasite(s)> I'm still in search of the source of the infection since we have not added a fish to the tank in 3 months, and yes we dip and quarantine all new members of the community! <Maybe the food? Contamination brought in from another system via a net, specimen container...?> The issue is the display tank. It is being over run by critters. Some are nearly shell less snails. "Limpets" or something like that. Others are small fast moving guys that skim across the sand and rocks. I assume they are Mysis shrimp or something like them. I have been "feeding" the two cleaner shrimp and soft corals to keep the biofilter running. <Don't sweat these... very likely innocuous, maybe helpful, and likely transient... especially with the reintroduction of fish livestock> None of the critter sightings bothered us much, we figured they had been there for a while and the fish had been feeding on them, particularly the six-line wrasse, P. springeri, P. fridmani, and neon gobies. We just figured the fish would have a feast when they returned to the tank. <Yep> Today, however, we found one of our clams closed up, when I picked it up, about 50 of the shrimp like critters scampered  away, and several of the limpets were on the shell. This leads to a chicken and egg question. Is the clam sick and the critters were attracted to the dying clam, or are the critters killing the clam?  <Hmm, too much likelihood of the latter to suit me... may be time to expedite the return of your fishes... at least the six-line wrasse.> We have two other clams in the tank, and while they seem to be irritated on occasion, they are open. The rest of the corals & polyps seem fine. I'm sure the fish will have a field day when they return next week, but I wonder if we should do something for the clam? Also, how do coral only tanks survive with all these critters? Are they a problem? Should we be concerned, or just marvel at the diversity of life in the sea? <By exclusion, through lucky mixes of other factors... I wouldn't marvel... I'd replace the wrasse.> On a lighter note, I love our tank so much, that I went and got scuba certified. We are thinking of going to Cozumel. Any suggestions? >> <A great place for new scuba experiences... fabulous clarity (regularly 100-200 feet) and the easiest drifting dive wall diving on the planet... lots of good operators there... Only real suggestion is to GO! Bob Fenner, just back from the Cook Islands and out to Mexico himself next week>

Baby maxima clams Hi Bob, I've been reading in the web searching for answers, and many times I end up reading you. I'm so happy I found this web site.... <And we're very happy it is being found... and useful> I had a baby maxima clam about 1". It died 4 days after arrived. It was doing well and I could find no parasites. The only thing I can think of is it had a very frayed foot and 2 days after arrival it lost it. I thought it was going to regrew it. Anyway, I constantly kept turning it up in the morning and afternoon, It was getting on its side every time, but I assure you it did not spent 1 hr. that way during the light hours at least. I have a 120 gal tank, with 120 lbs of LR, 60# of sugar sized aragonite, 5 small peaceful fish: 1 " in average gobies and one 2" Cirrhilabrus. I use Wet/Dry and big skimmer in a sump, and my main pump is 1200 GPH. Ammonia/Nitrites/Nitrates: 0, PH:8.2, Alk:5meql, temp: 81, and 300 ppm of calcium (I drip Kalkwasser at night 1 drop every 5-8 seconds). My lighting is 2 175W MH 5500K, and 2 Actinic FL ( I'm not if sure they are VHO). My tank is a 120 but is only 4 foot long: 2'W,2'H, 4'Long. So it is wide, not too deep, and the lights are more concentrated over the area. I want to keep Clams in the sand bottom. My questions are: What do you think happened to my clam, and Will I be able to keep clams in the sand bottom? Thanks a lot, Norberto. >> <Hmm hard to say with any degree of certainty what went wrong with this one specimen... but I suspect it was something(s) that occurred in advance of your receiving this animal that led to its demise... That is, cumulative insults from handling, poor water quality... led to its subsequent death. Reading through what you've listed as gear, water quality, I see nothing overtly wrong (Your lighting, calcium and alkalinity could be "higher", but they alone would not account for the loss), and would be inclined to try another specimen. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby maxima clams
I thought the Alkalinity was on the high side: 5 meq/L?... and the PH on the low side 8.2... I've been battling out to push the PH up... with no success... I've tried buffers, and Baking powder. The Buffer (Kent Marine) just dropped my Calcium, and the backing soda helped too little. I got the PH in 8.2 and don't want to risk months of dosing Kalkwasser on another addition... Maybe my kits are bad. They are SeaChem... look pretty good to me, but they are the only thing I've tried so far... >> <Not necessarily on the first two measures... 3 meq/l is what many folks consider reasonable for captive systems... but... I would cut back on the baking soda (not powder I hope/trust, unless you're cooking:))... doubt if you're kits are bad, but not too much trouble to test the testers... look into the Salifert, Hach products. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby maxima clams
Yes about 1 drop every 6 seconds from around 10 PM until 8 AM. (10 Hours) I have a 2 Gal doser that empties every 2 weeks... My Calcium is around 300 ppm. Do you think I should keep dosing that way, cut back (and how much should I cut back?), or dose more?... >> <Hmm, have you considered another form of calcium... like Calcium chloride? Maybe take a read through Bob Goemans last few months of TFH articles where he gives about the best recent rendition of how else to boost biomineral content and preserve alkalinity. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby maxima clams
What's TFH?... Where can I find those articles?... >> Tropical Fish Hobbyist magazine... Out of Neptune City, NJ. Maybe a store carries them or a library... where are you on the planet? Bob Fenner
Re: Baby maxima clams
I'm in Atlanta GA, how about you? don't tell me you are in some nice beach please... >> <Hey, Atlanta's a nice town (though growing too fast, big for me...) am in San Diego (but out to the Cook Islands next week, don't scream), but a large library near you (like a college) will likely have TFH in their stacks...call, look around... and maybe subscribe. Bob Fenner>

Pyramidellid snail concerns I received my first clam last Friday (3" Samoan Blue Rim Derasa Clam). I have 4 96 watt PC's 2blue 2dl over a 150gal. reef w/250lbs. lv. & a Berlin Classic everything else is fine. You had stated Pyramidellid snails can kill clams. Are these those 1/2 shelled night critters? What do they look like? Are there any other articles on keeping clams out there? I want to keep some clams but refuse to have another perish in six days before finding out just cause for this failed attempt. >> Pyramidellid snails are generally tan to whitish (to match the internal mantle color of their hosts) of much smaller size (1/4 inch are large), and come out, though hard to see, during light and dark hours (typically only found in/on the giant clam itself, not outside). They're shaped something like little pyramids, with a high mid-shell area, but you have to look really close to make this out. In a system such as yours I'd like to suggest placing the new clam(s) low/deeper in the tank the first few days, but ultimately (within a week), moving it/them up to shallower, brighter lit environs to sustain their symbiotic algae. These species need intense lighting. Much has been written about the giant clams of the family Tridacnidae, and their captive husbandry. Try using your computer's search engines for both terms, and also looking through the "marine aquarium clubs" (as a search term) as well. Many people have links to the information on care of these animals. Bob Fenner

Maxima clam "freshwater dip" I recently purchased a maxima clam. It had two things attached to it. One had a shell like the clam it was attached to, it attached to the clam with fibers that ripped when I pulled it off. The other was sponge like. I didn't know if these were parasites but I didn't want to take any chances.  My question is, I know that parasites can kill clams, can I do your recommended freshwater dip for my clam to rid it of any parasites that I might not find? Thanks, Jared  >> Hmm, probably a good idea to do as you did with the likely innocuous "hitchhikers"... and no to the freshwater dips for Tridacnids... as a means of controlling parasites... but yes to the use of animals like Pseudocheilinus wrasses for eradicating many Clam enemies... like Pyramidellid snails. Bob Fenner

Clam sick I have a derasa clam that is about 8 months old and had grown about 3/4 inch with good mantle extension. Two days ago I performed a routine 15% water change and removed some old accumulated brown algae from the back of the 75 g tank (physically removed most, but much was simply scrubbed off into the tank). I use the Aquarium Pharmaceutical, Inc. resin filter. Since that maintenance, my clam has looked 'sick' -poor mantle extension on 1/2 his body and he/she is not fully opened. No bleaching is present. Although I have occasionally had problems with brown algae, my overall water parameters have been good (including Ca). Other livestock looks fine, but I did lose a flame angel to ich 1 month ago. Something happened with that maintenance period but I am not sure; could removing the accumulated brown algae release toxins into the water. Is there anything I can do, or is demise certain? >> Yes to the release of toxins from the Brown algae removal... not likely to the clams certain demise. Do consider increasing your lighting to change the brown types of algae over to more light-favoring greens... either by adding more watts, increasing light period or both. Bob Fenner

Tridacna clams I have a 125g reef that has been going for one year. The six fish all seem healthy along with an extremely large and happy bubble coral I've had for four years. I have numerous other corals that are in good shape also. I have two 175w halide lights. In the last four weeks all three of my Tridacna sp. have died. They looked good for a few months then started to gape. My nitrates are high (greater than 10ppm nitrate nitrogen). Is this the problem? Thanks, George >> Wow, and sorry to hear of your clam losses... I doubt if the nitrates had much to do with their demise. Some folks who culture them have much, much more nitrate in their water... some on purpose/by design. So what does account for their deaths? Not much clues in this email... the Plerogyra (Bubble Coral) is doing fine... enough light... Are you "supplementing" your system chemically? This is the usual, or most common cause of Tridacnid loss... Any chance a predator is involved? Did you note any "chew" marks on the clams mantles or other soft body parts? Do you know what Pyramidellid snails look like? How long were the clams "gaping" before perishing? Did they go all at once? Which died first, largest, smallest, species... Bob Fenner

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