Anyone keep a clam-only tank?

Miami Reef

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If you asked me what my favorite invert was in the world…I would say a clam. They are so fricking cute and I don’t even know why! Maybe it’s because they look so squishy and the way their “mouths” suck nutrients and the way they close up when startled. Gosh…I can’t! ;Shamefullyembarrased

I am not in the right time now for this project (my main tank is now a FOWLR and all the extra space and time is for the fish QT). In a few years from now I’m definitely planning to keep a clam-only tank. It might sound so weird to even consider this.

I was thinking of a rather short tank but very long. Probably 40 gallons max size. This is because clams need a lot of light and cannot grow on top of each other as they will shadow.

The clams will be mainly maxima clams (my favorite). But derasa clams are good too…but they get kind of big!

I do have experience with keeping clams (derasa). I was able to grow them but today I rehomed them because I really need to focus on my FOWLR and the fish QT systems. :(

I just felt like sharing this idea. Has anyone ever kept a clam-only tank before? :)
 
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hart24601

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I tried but found it pretty tough. I had around 50 clams, was dosing ammonia, trace elements, phosphate, gallons of kalk and all for reef.

I added a new clam and It spread disease and killed them all.

later I tried a clam heavy system but with some coral but it was too hard keeping nutrient levels up. I gave the large clams (hippos, derasas, squammys, gigas) to the local zoo and kept only a couple maxima, teardrop and crocea.

it was much harder than I anticipated
 
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Miami Reef

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I tried but found it pretty tough. I had around 50 clams, was dosing ammonia, trace elements, phosphate, gallons of kalk and all for reef.

I added a new clam and It spread disease and killed them all.

later I tried a clam heavy system but with some coral but it was too hard keeping nutrient levels up. I gave the large clams (hippos, derasas, squammys, gigas) to the local zoo and kept only a couple maxima, teardrop and crocea.

it was much harder than I anticipated
Do you have pictures of any of the systems?

Now you’re making me want to try them even more! :)
 
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hart24601

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I don’t have a whole lot of photos, after you loose 10 grand of clams give or take, you don’t keep the photos, ha. What stinks is unlike coral of course, no fragging for backups. Need a good supplier, full QT.

this is just part of the system close ups. I really must have deleted the others. I will say you will want a low stand and low surface flow and led with optics to mount very high but with a lot of power - otherwise you miss out in the best clam view, top down!

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flagg37

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There was a local reefer that kept a small tank with no filtration on their system because they had so many clams that they would filter the water for him. I don’t think it was a clam only tank but there were a lot of them.
 

hart24601

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There was a local reefer that kept a small tank with no filtration on their system because they had so many clams that they would filter the water for him. I don’t think it was a clam only tank but there were a lot of them.
That’s even harder, after I went from all clams to sps and clams they pulled nutrients so fast they bottomed out phosphate and nitrate. Never thought it possible to bottom out phosphate but after couple weeks experimenting that was the issue I had. So phosphate went on a doser along with ammonia too. Otherwise the sps paled out really fast from lack of nutrients.

It’s a bit of a double edge sword, one can think of it as filtering out, but on the other hand it’s feeding the clams and not optional, the clams and coral with die if not supplemented. Of course if not to extreme one can find a balance, but more clams it gets harder and harder especially if not a huge volume. If the clams get upset, which they do from time to time, they stop pulling nutrients and calcium and alk and those then spike, and it can be a huge spike. Just something for people to be aware of. I can be done but has challenges to watch.
 
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My favorite article written about clams because it debunks the theory of clams requiring phytoplankton: https://reefs.com/magazine/aquarium...lams-usually-don-t-need-to-be-fed-in-aquaria/

I would argue if anything this article supports the overall premise that clams use and require nutrients in addition yo their lighting. Sure it does not have to be phyto....but it has to be something because multiple clams in a small tank will strip a tank bare of nutrients. To quote the article below though it seems the author goes out of the way to call out the myth that phyto must be fed but ignores why that myth got started..which is because clams easily starve without supplemental nutrient/phyto feedings in many tanks.



"As stated above, they require nitrogen, phosphorus, etc., as well, which are not provided by their population of zooxanthellae. This is why tridacnids either have to eat some type of nutritious planktonic/particulate food by filtering it from the surrounding waters and/or absorb nutrients directly from the surrounding waters and/or digest some of their own population of zooxanthellae, which are their other three means of nutrient acquisition."
 

mdb_talon

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this is a great article, worth having a look at.


Ya thats the same one miami posted. Dont think it has much relevance to a small clam only tank. Clams have yo have nutrients. Either directly through water column or through feeding. A clam in a full reef tank with fish and/or coral being fed may be fine. Several clams in a small clam only tank are most certainly going to need a lot of feeding.
 
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Ya thats the same one miami posted. Dont think it has much relevance to a small clam only tank. Clams have yo have nutrients. Either directly through water column or through feeding. A clam in a full reef tank with fish and/or coral being fed may be fine. Several clams in a small clam only tank are most certainly going to need a lot of feeding.
I agree with you. If I ever decide to keep a clam only tank (looking less and less desirable now.) I would definitely test nitrates and phosphates on a schedule and ensure I keep fish inside to encourage me to feed more.

Thank you so much for your knowledge!
 

hart24601

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Ya thats the same one miami posted. Dont think it has much relevance to a small clam only tank. Clams have yo have nutrients. Either directly through water column or through feeding. A clam in a full reef tank with fish and/or coral being fed may be fine. Several clams in a small clam only tank are most certainly going to need a lot of feeding.
100% spot on. A clam or 2 in a typical reef tank or a few 2” clams, no problem. But dozens of clams with only a few, or no fish? They need feeding. However as in my case I didn’t feed phyto, I dosed ammonia and phosphate for food. I did grow my own phyto culture for a while, but it was a pain and based off alk consumption (no change) I didn’t see any benefits over dosing the former. I did keep a few fish for fertilizer, amino acids and such, and auto fed them, but the vast majority came from ammonia and phosphate. Nitrate is a bit easier to dose as I tried both nitrate and ammonia, I didn’t see a whole lot of difference despite ammonia being easier for them to use.

a clam only system was my dream for about 10 years and then when I finally got it going it was so much harder than I anticipated. I have a 150g Rubbermaid sump to support the system, which now is sps and only a few clams, but if I would try it again I would have even more volume for the clams I had. Maybe 500g or more for stabilization. I won’t try it again though. I keep a post it note with how many I lost to that mystery disease in my cabinet so I see it every time I open the door to remind me! The price of a used car is no joke.
 
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This was my current system with the most clams I've ever had at once (15) but I do have this system plumbed into the rest of my 6 tank 500g system with a heavy fish bioload and I'm still dosing NO3 to try to get it closer to 5ppm. Feeding Reef Roids Polyp booster and RN Oyster Feasts seems to get a feeding reaction. Also maintaining proper trace elements seems to be key too since they will consume that as well.
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I originally tried to make an inline Clam filter system in a small 12g Mr. Aqua but they seemed to filter faster than what nutrients are coming into the system.
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But to keep me humble through the 25+ years in the hobby I keep this shell collection as reminder to remember what worked and what didn't. Maximas are my nemesis yet I can keep any of the other types fine. They are more sensitive than Acros with respect to water parameters and the viruses (PERKINSUS SP. PROTOZOA) are still not well understood among the hobby to have 100% detection and cure. Typically if you spot pinched mantles sometimes it's too late for freshwater dip since they are already stressed out.

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i cant think

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I don’t have a whole lot of photos, after you loose 10 grand of clams give or take, you don’t keep the photos, ha. What stinks is unlike coral of course, no fragging for backups. Need a good supplier, full QT.

this is just part of the system close ups. I really must have deleted the others. I will say you will want a low stand and low surface flow and led with optics to mount very high but with a lot of power - otherwise you miss out in the best clam view, top down!

1FC3E3D2-BDFB-436C-B0BA-7FCC4333E477.jpeg
EAB68716-2200-4909-91F1-99D69FAD88CA.jpeg
I know this is a rather dead thread however, what species of clam is the one above the green mantled one in the bottom pick (Orange and blue ringed looking one) and the one on the right in the top pic?? I love the looks of them and have been planning an SPS and Clam 20g tank (A crocea clam preferably).
 

hart24601

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I know this is a rather dead thread however, what species of clam is the one above the green mantled one in the bottom pick (Orange and blue ringed looking one) and the one on the right in the top pic?? I love the looks of them and have been planning an SPS and Clam 20g tank (A crocea clam preferably).
Those two pics are all maxima!
 

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