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Re: Clams

On Tue, 26 Oct 1999, Justin Collins wrote:

> They sound like they would be a very interesting addition to the tank.  Are
> they difficult to feed, and do they actually help with filtration of the
> water?  Do they live for a reasonably long time?  The reason I as is that I
> tend to have fair amount of fine suspended particulate matter, and I'd love
> a way to get rid of it naturally.

I keep (or kept, I don't know if I have any at the moment) clams only in
unfiltered tanks.  They feed on plankton and detritus and they seem to be
very good at filtering those things out of the water.  I have never tried
feeding them otherwise and I don't have any reason to believe that they
are starving.

I know that I've had some live for a year and a half or so.  If I have
some still living, then they've been there for longer than that.  You
usually won't see them as long as they're alive.  They (or at least their
shells) appear at the surface after they die.

I've purchased them from my favorite LFS (who probably gets them from
AzAq. Gardens).  I think the LFS sells them mostly as live food for rays.
Sometimes they're in good shape, and sometimes they aren't.  About a third
of the clams die soon after I get them and the rest live on at least
several months.

I've also collected them from the river here, where small clams (thumbnail
size to thumb sized) can be found by the kabillion.  I've had worse
success keeping the ones I collected than the ones I bought.  I think it's
because most of the clams I collect are from wet sand just above the river
level where they've been exposed for a while and probably are stressed
and/or dying to start with.  Liisa Sarakontu once told me that clams need
well aerated water; the river here runs cool or cold, so those little
clams may also be adapted to higher oxygen levels than they can get in my
tropical tanks.

Others (Moon maybe?) keep clams and may have better luck.  I would be a
little more interested in a filter feeding animal that attachs itself
to something in the open, remains visible and doesn't breed too
successfully.  Any ideas?

Roger Miller