I have had a lot of people ask me lately about clams. So I decided why not post a thread on some general information on these critters. I think a clam is a beautifull show piece for your tank! That is what I get most of the ooohhs and aaaaahhs about when people see my tanks.
Before I bought my first clam I did ALOT of research on them.
I will cover what to look for when buying a clam which types of clams there are and the difficulty in keeping them. Lighting and food for your clam and a few other topics.
First off when selecting a clam there are a few things you want to make sure and look for one that is alert and responsive. the best way to do this is to put something between the light and the tank and when it gets dark the clam should close quickly. You do not want one that reacts slow or is sluggish. Also when inspecting your clam make sure it has a clean bassal (this is the muscle or tendon that attaches the clam to the rock or sand) turn him over and make sure that it is not torn or ripped. It should look clean and white and smooth.
While inspecting the bassal make sure there are no snails attached to the bassal. these snails are about the size of a grain of rice you want to make sure your clam is free of these they will literally eat your clam from the bottom up.
You want the mantle to extend past the shell and be full of color. You do not want one that has any clear spots or a washed look to them. and the mantle should be full and no tears or rips should be present.
Now when you get your clam picked out and get him home you want to make sure and acclimate your clam nice and slow. I do a drip with my clams for about an hour. Clams are very sensetive to swings in the water conditions. so a slow introduction will ensure a safe transfer. they are also very sensetive to lighting changes as well for example if you buy a clam that has been kept under PC lighting and put it in your tank with 250 W of metal halide lighting you are going to burn that clam. You should use the screen method and slowly acclimate him to the lighting.
Lighting is one of the most important things for keeping a happy clam. Alot of people think you cannot keep a clam under PC lighting. This is not true, I have friends that have derasa clams with PC lighting. This is a good rule of thumb to follow. the brighter the color the clam the more lighting it needs. Like a derasa clam, they are brown in color and can be kept in PC lighting. I would not recommend this with a crocea or maxima these clams do need intense lighting.
Now picking a good spot for your clam is a very important part. Some clams prefer rock work while others prefer sand. Derasa,Gigas prefer a sandy bottom to rest on while Crocea and Maxima prefer a rocky place to attach.You want to make sure that your clam is place facing up. If you do place your clam at an angle make sure thatthe inhalant siphon is on the lowest portion of the slope. The reason for htis is that is the side that the bassal is on and as the clam grows you will not run the risk of the bassal tearing because of the weight of the clam.
You do not want to put your clam in a direct current your clam is able to pull the water in itself without current.
Now that your clam is in his spot and is happy you want to make sure he stays that way. A clam does not need to be directly fed. He will pull all he needs out of the columm himself. The #1 building block for a clam is calcium you want to make sure your right at 420. Strontium is also incorporated in the shell of clams as well. And dosing iodine will greatly enhance the color of the mantle of your clam.
Those are the basics to a healthy happy clam. If I left something out I apologize. If you have any questions please let me know by this thread or drop me a PM.
I think Clams are one of the most beautifull things you can put in your tank. And with good water and lighting they will live for a very very long time and can grow quite quick and quite large. Gigas clams have been know to get 54" across and weigh 400 lbs!!! where as a crocea will grow to about 7" across.
I hope I did not bore you all with such a long post