by Jon Norris
Photo by Kat Dhawan (Metro Kat)
We’ve seen them in tanks, majestic, giant and electric colors of clams sitting on the bottom of one’s tank glowing under the lights. Many hobbyists feel this is one piece of marine life that is really hard to keep. Sometimes we just can't match the beautiful and healthy specimens we see online or in magazines. However, there is a lot of unknowns about the clam that hobbyists don’t understand….so let’s shine a little light on the subject.
Clams are a beautiful addition to any reef system but many feel their requirements surpass the average reefer and either turn away from them, purchase one and slowly watch them perish. With the right care and conditions, clams can be a wonderful, beautiful, and functional aspect of any reef system; large or small.
The majority of clams sold in Live Fish store or online retailers are of the maxima variety. The vast coloration of these bivalves is endless and brings a spark of beauty to the reef system. Other clam species can be found in the hobby under the scientific moniker Tridacna; squamosa, derasa, and crocea, along with the maxima. Now many of these clams are being cultured and bred in facilities to limit their loss of wild populations have made the clam a hardy coral and is well adjusted to the marine system; given the right environment.
Photos by Morgan Kerry Moore of Reefgardener.com (1st 2 pictures) and Kat Dhawan (Metro Kat)
Clams do not have the needy requirements once thought in the early stages of this hobby. Clams do require good water conditions, moderate flow, and moderate lighting to retain their appearance and color. The coolest thing about clams is they are one of the best biological filtration pieces equipment just can’t surpass. Clams have the ability to clean the water of TDS (total dissolved solids), and other gunky skim in the water. This is why I try to have a clam in one of my tanks not only for the beauty, but for their function as well.
Photo by David Caplan
One thing to consider when housing a clam is the other types of fish and inverts that may inflict harm onto the piece. Some fish are known to nibble at the mantle and siphon and there are a majority of tank pests that love to live inside and irritate the clam such as bristleworms and peanut worms.
An interesting note about clams is they can’t be exposed to air so when transporting a clam or putting into one’s tank, it is best to acclimate it with caution and place the bag into the tank when transferring the clam to its permanent residence. Clams have a foot that will anchor into the sand or a rock crevice so the best place is to find a cozy area of the tank that has these environmental necessities. It is also best to not move the clam around once it has found a home as the foot can be easily damaged which will lead to an unsightly death.
Clams are a beautiful addition to any reef given their beauty and glow under lights and their functions are what make them so attractable. Give a clam a shot and shoot for the captive bred ones as you will find them not only hold true beauty, but their hardiness are second to none.
Photo by Morgan Kerry Moore of Reefgardener.com
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