Lets Discuss Ethics in the Hobby

BRS
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i cant think

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I agree with what Jay has said in how if you lose an animal due to laziness that’s when it’s unethical. I mean, if you don’t try to give a fish (or any animal) it’s best life then it’s not a great idea to go for that animal and go for something similar but you know you can give it it’s best life.
 

Mark Goode

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I don't really understand ethics, so I probably haven't got any.

When my wife screams "Spider! Kill it!", I'll pick it up and put it outside. Not because of ethics, just because I don't want to harm it. After all, it hasn't harmed me (England, see? Our spiders don't bite. Much).

Likewise with the hermits in the post that started all this, I would not step on them, I'd find a way to keep them alive, even if I had to set up a small tank just for them. Nothing to do with ethics, I avoid killing most things because it's the way I am.

Wasps? Hate them. No mercy. When I was a kid I'd rear foreign or tropical moths (because our home grown ones are a bit dull). I had a few north american Robin moth larvae on a tree with a section netted to keep birds away, but they kept disappearing. I was down to my last one when I spotted the problem: a wasp was tearing a hole in it. The caterpillar was far too large for the wasp to carry away, but it killed it anyway. I know it was just a wasp doing what wasps do, but I hold a grudge.

Was that off topic? :hushed-face:
 
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Tamberav

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I don't really understand ethics, so I probably haven't got any.

When my wife screams "Spider! Kill it!", I'll pick it up and put it outside. Not because of ethics, just because I don't want to harm it. After all, it hasn't harmed me (England, see? Our spiders don't bite. Much).

Likewise with the hermits in the post that started all this, I would not step on them, I'd find a way to keep them alive, even if I had to set up a small tank just for them. Nothing to do with ethics, I avoid killing most things because it's the way I am.

Wasps? Hate them. No mercy. When I was a kid I'd rear foreign or tropical moths (because our home grown ones are a bit dull). I had a few north american Robin moth larvae on a tree with a section netted to keep birds away, but they kept disappearing. I was down to my last one when I spotted the problem: a wasp was tearing a hole in it. The caterpillar was far too large for the wasp to carry away, but it killed it anyway. I know it was just a wasp doing what wasps do, but I hold a grudge.

Was that off topic? :hushed-face:

House spiders and house centipedes or whatever those things are called eat the other creepy bugs that may actually be harmful to property. I say leave em alive! Maybe they even would east a wasp or a mosquito.
 

doubleshot00

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I only read the first page but will play the true devils advocate.

What's ethical about keeping fish in an enclosed container ethical at all? I mean we snatch these things from the wild where they are supposed to live only to keep them for our viewing pleaser? Just saying.

Sure they live longer in our tanks and are probably healthier but we totally stole Dory from her parents. :oops: :face-with-tears-of-joy:
 

Dburr1014

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Oh boy, ethics.

I try and kill aptaisia because it stings the animals I try and keep. Coral. Aptaisia, if Given the chance, will out number anything else in the tank. It will kill everything. Ethical. Or do I setup another tank to put them in?

I trim coral for the same reason. If it is given the chance to kill another animal, an I bad? I'm saving one life so they can both live. This is ethical, right? Those trimmings, I try to sell/give away, but most of the me they will die in my tank. Ethical?

I've got a few large hermits that knock things over, I let them live.
One just knocked over a brand new frag. I found it and it's fine but should I remove all the hermits? No, they were probably cleaning, that's what they do.

I introduced a Royal Gramma to a tank that already had an established RG. Was that ethical? I read that they would most likely fight but did it anyway. Ethical?
Turns out they swim together all the time but it was a risk. Was I ethical?
Everything is a risk, everything may not be ethical.
But as humans, we play god everyday. We take risks, we do what we want and we sometimes do or don't take in account what life we are killing.

My last ethical question.
That established Royal Gramma I talked about. She is old, coming up on 9 years I've had it. I noticed it's missing a couple scales on the side of her. They have been missing for months and not sure why. Infection? Not sure. No other fish have any signs.
A) do I take her out and treat her? The stress of capturing, quarantining and medicating might kill her.
B) leave her be. Make sure she's fed well, happy and not getting worse. She do not show any signs of discomfort.

Ethnically to me, leave her be. She's old and still active and I'm not sure how long she'll be around anyway.
Am I wrong? Am I right?
Probably both. It's all on how much risk do you take? How much research and planning you do. There will come a time when you question yourself if you think your doing the right thing. What you think is right may not be for someone else.
 
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I've been following along in this conversation and trying to determine the most helpful way to weigh in. I'll give something with a little deeper explanation shortly, but for now, I really concur with the line of thought in this post by @HankstankXXXL750.
Not a bad take, but if it is ok to add animals to eliminate the pests, why would manually doing it be any less ethical.
I bring this only as I have used peppermint shrimp, and copperbanded butterfly for aipstasia control. Also aipstasia-X.
The copperbanded did an outstanding job, yet after the aipstasia were gone he too passed. I was more afraid that he would start in on my corals, so I was going to move him from one reef to the next and end up in one of my fowlers, but he died.
Would love to get another as I still have aipstasia in my other reef, but I feel that it would be wrong (unethical) as even with my experience I’m just not sure I can sustain the fish so my eliminating the larger aipstasia and letting the shrimp manage the smaller ones seems to make sense to me.

I find people throwing away corals away because the grow too much really sad, but if there is no market for them as frags, or no way to get them to a store that needs or wants them, it seems no different than trimming trees or the grass for the overall health of the coral or system.

So I don’t think anything in your list would be considered ethical or unethical.

Now I don’t know for sure but I assume (butt/u/me) that what the Forum Moderators are referencing is gross negligence or intent.
Dumb examples -

Telling someone to add a cup of bleach to their tank to kill algae DON’T DO THIS IT WILL KILL EVERYTHING *disclaimer. This would be unethical.

Starting a thread with the intention of “starting an argument”. Then degrading people who react.

Intentionally lying to someone to create a negative outcome. Would be hard to prove, but say a very experienced reefer (determined by the knowledge in their other posts/threads) then starts telling new reefers, “Sure you can add 15 fish to your 40 gallon breeder as soon as you set it up. Just change 10% of the water and double dose Prime every 12 hours.” Again this would just be wrong as an experienced reefer would know that the fish are going to die.

IMHO the ethical consideration in the TOS have more to do with our communities interaction with each other vs our particular reefing habits. I would also assume that posting about raising fish to kill so you can get new ones, or “bragging” about not maintaining a tank to the point of “harming its inhabitants” would fall in here also.

So follow the golden rule. Do unto others as your would have them do to you.
Like I said, I'll put together a more nuanced answer shortly, but this explanation is a good place to start IMO.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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biggest ethics challenge impacting this board, fish keepers who skip disease protocol and peers who support it. here's my rationale:

imagine if we were a dog forum, and 90% of new posters (equal to the degree of new tankers skipping all disease preps for fish) posted about their dogs who never received one immunization whatsoever. Several peers chime in: I've skipped vet visits on all my dogs for fifty years, they all lived full lives because I feed them never kibble but hand prepared feed.

Not one visit to the vet, over and over for years and we pretty much accept that as a forum as their 'choice' on how to manage dogs. Could you imagine that?

how we care for fish/prep them for obvious disease that is coming for any non preppers is drastically different. its merely your choice to skip preps, and put them into a new white rock reef barely cycled with a bunch of clean up crew members.

we all know good and well your dogs need vet visits, and vaccinations, it's not debatable.


there is a landslide of information between Jay's forum and Humblefish's forum showing the exact need for fish preps.

to the degree it's unethical now to ignore preps and not coach others about preps during any cycling post. even if they aren't asking about it-ammonia is no longer a risk in reefing, it's solely fish disease everyone should focus on per any data you can possibly source between ammonia concerns and fish disease concerns for reefing. Any study ever conducted about ammonia in a reef tank shows total control. only random web posts with api put doubt in ammonia control; any real study including recent ones ALWAYS shows total control over ammonia as the trend in reef cycling, even on day one. check the seneye logs online to see. Disease is the risk in today's new setups, delayed onset fish disease from skipping preps.



I realize not everyone needs fish disease preps, some have the artistic skill and the sourcing ability for materials to skip preps. the problem is, your tank isn't a white rock barely cycled new reef tank like the folks copying methods. they need a tailored approach to disease prep given the data for their segment of the reefing population.

anyone here who starts up a reef tank with no disease preps but keeps their dogs fully vaxxed is in direct conflict with the ethics universe.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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that's not for flaming it's a direct reflection on this data:

all you have to do is spend time in the new tanks forum/cycling challenges/ for one day and you'll see disease preps excluded from just about every single tank-in-prep. ammonia is the focus, not disease. the thing that is self-correcting gets all the worry, and the thing that needs detailed, dayslong preps is completely ignored, go see any new posts today for that trending.


any new cycling post today on the site, see what % is concerning over disease vs ammonia or nitrite.

the data building in the disease forum/the buckets of fish loss to preventable issues, has not been shown to these cyclers and they think ammonia issues are the real loss of fish

there aren't any ammonia issues in today's cycles because everyone uses either bottle bac or rocks that already have bacteria.

I don't recall any cycles excluding bottle bac or ready rocks/ ergo ammonia is not a concern in reefing, disease is, and nobody is telling the droves of new cyclers we turn out about the real way their fish will die in a few months. it's not in cycling articles, false stall fear is what's in cycling articles.

you cannot reduce the incidence of disease expression by waiting arbitrary extra time beyond a tank's ability to control ammonia. for example, disease expression rates are not lower in tanks that do a 4 months wait cycle vs tanks that do fish-in cycles with bottle bac, check the data/plain as day.

we need specific disease preps for fish, as the first teaching in the hobby, just like each of your dogs for readers here already have a parvo shot. you knew that was required when getting your dog; it was always part of all basic training material.
 
BRS

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There seems to be a lot of people in the "Reefkeeping is unethical" side, which is rather surprising for a forum dedicated to, ya know, Reefkeeping. It kinda feels like someone telling you how bad slaughterhouses are while eating a burger. If you think it's immoral or unethical, don't do it. You aren't being honest with yourself if you believe one thing but do another.
 
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Eagle_Steve

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I've been following along in this conversation and trying to determine the most helpful way to weigh in. I'll give something with a little deeper explanation shortly, but for now, I really concur with the line of thought in this post by @HankstankXXXL750.

Like I said, I'll put together a more nuanced answer shortly, but this explanation is a good place to start IMO.
Thx Daniel.

As said before, even though many will not believe it, this is not a troll. Anyone that knows me, knows I am always curious of others thoughts on things. I also like clear definitions on things, so felt this was needed. Now I am not the best with getting things out via text, so sometimes things come off as not what I mean. That is just a fault of mine and I admit to it.

In the end, I was just trying to get input from others and see how much common ground we actually have, but that is fruitless it seems. It just goes to the whole hobby is unethical or I am a troll. Takes me back to the whole copper vs ttm thing and then the hybrid ttm thing. We could never agree on which was "best", but surprisingly we all agreed and proved all of those methods worked effectively. That is what I was aiming for here, but as usual, failed horribly lol.
 

jfoahs04

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As a self-proclaimed animal lover, I've had this internal debate many times over. What I've generally landed on is this:
  • An ethical reefer does whatever they can able to ensure the prolonged health and success of their reef.
It's very general and that's by design. The nature of this hobby involves keeping animals (often wild captured) captive in artificial environments which we control almost every single element of their existence. Not just food and veterinary care, but the temperature, oxygen levels, water parameters, aquascape, and the introduction/removal of other animals into a man-made ecosystem. If you're willing to get into this hobby, you're supporting something that is responsible for the deaths of countless living creatures in order to bring us joy. Most would acknowledge that that's a bit of an ethical compromise in and of itself. So assuming we've all made that compromise, I think it's our ethical responsibility do do whatever we can to make sure to ensure the health of our inhabitants.

For me, that largely means the following obvious things:
  • Buying and maintaining an adequate system for your livestock
  • Researching and planning your stock list for a peaceful, low-stress tank
  • Adding livestock at appropriate times that optimize their chances of survival (i.e. no fish before a cycle, etc.)
  • Proper disease mitigation
  • Plan and prepare for issues (i.e. have medications on hand, backups for critical components, etc.)
  • An ability to acknowledge and learn from mistakes. They're going to happen, they're going to be costly (in terms of lives lost), and they're even more senseless if we don't learn from them.
But I think it also includes these things that are a bit more questionable:
  • Taking a "greater good" approach to maintaining an aquarium. Early on, most of us are in such a rush to fill up the space in our tanks that we don't account for dealing with crowding/culling down the road. Corals will eventually (hopefully) grow to the point they encroach on each other. You can go the "natural" route and let things take their course until you have one or two dominant species (which is questionably ethical since species you placed in the tank will die at the hands of others you placed in the tank), or you can trim/frag. Ideally, you have people who will buy or take frags, but if you don't, that means throwing them away. Nobody wants to do that, but it can actually be the ethical thing to do if you want to maintain a balanced, mixed reef.
  • Occasionally deal with with animals that threaten the existence of others in the tank. Unchecked, aiptasia can takeover a tank and kill coral. Certain critters can suffocate corals, out-compete fish and inverts for food, and more. This often involves manual removal, introduction of new animals, chemical treatements, etc. But ultimately, we're killing creatures to help other creatures.
  • A willingness to quit and re-home when we're not capable of committing the time these tanks need. It happens. Life gets in the way and you can't care for your tank. It's easy to let the maintenance schedule slip a bit. A good owner knows when its time to step away and will put the effort (and sometimes take the financial hit) to make sure that their animals go to a good home.
 
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Bucs20fan

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Thx Daniel.

As said before, even though many will not believe it, this is not a troll. Anyone that knows me, knows I am always curious of others thoughts on things. I also like clear definitions on things, so felt this was needed. Now I am not the best with getting things out via text, so sometimes things come off as not what I mean. That is just a fault of mine and I admit to it.

In the end, I was just trying to get input from others and see how much common ground we actually have, but that is fruitless it seems. It just goes to the whole hobby is unethical or I am a troll. Takes me back to the whole copper vs ttm thing and then the hybrid ttm thing. We could never agree on which was "best", but surprisingly we all agreed and proved all of those methods worked effectively. That is what I was aiming for here, but as usual, failed horribly lol.
Unfortunately I am inclined to agree with you, I am at fault for a lot of the jokes on the other thread, this is because I knew this is a hot topic and no common ground could be found, for many reasons. Location on this fine planet, beliefs, husbandry skills, and many other variables. The fact of the matter is we should try and do what is best for the animal and if it means euthanizing an animal then it should be done with the least amount of pain possible. I truly do appreciate everyone's views on this and think that educating some folks is better than us arguing for the best answer, and I believe this thread has helped that alot.
 
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Eagle_Steve

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Unfortunately I am inclined to agree with you, I am at fault for a lot of the jokes on the other thread, this is because I knew this is a hot topic and no common ground could be found, for many reasons. Location on this fine planet, beliefs, husbandry skills, and many other variables. The fact of the matter is we should try and do what is best for the animal and if it means euthanizing an animal then it should be done with the least amount of pain possible. I truly do appreciate everyone's views on this and think that educating some folks is better than us arguing for the best answer, and I believe this thread has helped that alot.
I do believe we found some common ground though. While as simple as most of us care for the creatures, that is common ground. We also all fell like we should put most of the inhabitants in the best conditions we can. While this can be done in a few different ways, it is still the same end goal. The proper care (no matter the way there) of the critters in our tank.

Hopefully some have stepped back a little and can now see that there are many rods to get to the same result. Again, same thing about copper vs ttm debates years ago. No right or wrong way, just a "different way". But I like hearing the different ways, as one can learn from someone else's "way" or improve on their "way".
 

Bucs20fan

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I do believe we found some common ground though. While as simple as most of us care for the creatures, that is common ground. We also all fell like we should put most of the inhabitants in the best conditions we can. While this can be done in a few different ways, it is still the same end goal. The proper care (no matter the way there) of the critters in our tank.

Hopefully some have stepped back a little and can now see that there are many rods to get to the same result. Again, same thing about copper vs ttm debates years ago. No right or wrong way, just a "different way". But I like hearing the different ways, as one can learn from someone else's "way" or improve on their "way".
You are correct once again old-timer :D

So Im going to go out on a limb here and say we all have had to make a hard decision regarding our reefs/ fowlr tanks, because what we do is hard, and it is not for everyone. We submit ourselves to great financial burden and wonderfully calm talks with our significant others. But we do it because we love it, and we love our little critters, even the hermits. We also love the critters that eat the less loved critters. But I do believe none of us take joy in seeing one laying at the bottom of the tank or have a murderous specimen we have to deal with. Although seeing an arrow crab rip bristleworms to pieces is kinda fun to watch-different topic. I have had to euthanize a fish more than once and its not a fun process, whether I liked the fish or not. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this post and gave their thoughts so we at least had an open discussion and maybe, just maybe we all learned a thing or two, well, because we've seen a thing or two.
 
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Been avoiding this thread but, since I think I was the first to post "don't kill it" in that other thread,,, no judgement passed on all the alternative posts,,, what the heck...

I get the fact that most of us have specific thoughts that contradict each other.

My personal comfort level is:
I don't enjoy killing anything -- ex; when wife/kids find spiders/moths/whatever in the house, I let them go outside.

My contradictory actions are many, like:
-- I don't bother trying to save amphipods/copepods/bristleworms from my water change discard bucket (although I used to but my own "convenience" quickly outweighed any moral concerns)
-- I eat all kinds of animals without worrying about moral implications

One could argue that moral concerns might be better focused, first, on what humans do to each other,,, but I'll leave that alone.

*all that has probably been said already but didn't have the energy to read through all this
 

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As promised, I'm going to try and give as helpful an answer as I can. I don't claim to be the expert on ethics, and this answer is not intended to be a "be all, end all" to this conversation. However, as one member of the R2R staff, hopefully I can provide at least some idea of what our "Ethical Fishkeeping" rule is aiming at. (Btw, if anyone is not familiar with our Terms of Service, here is the link.) One of the reasons we have a team of moderators is that in cases where the ethics of a post or thread is in question, we need a team to weigh in on issues to help us all arrive at some form of consensus. None of us has a corner on ethics, and hearing from multiple voices on the subject is really really helpful. This is actually one of the beautiful things about doing things (like reefkeeping) in community.

Speaking of our "Ethical Fishkeeping" rule, here's what it says:
  • The owners of Reef2Reef adhere to certain standards of ethical fish keeping. We believe that freshwater and saltwater aquarists are directly responsible for the health and well being of any aquatic animals in their care, be they fish or invertebrate. These responsibilities include providing a healthy aquatic environment, humane treatment, humane euthanasia (when required), as well as obtaining and disposing of aquatic animals in such a way that does not damage sensitive local ecosystems. Posts advocating the illegal collection of fish or invertebrates, inhumane treatment, flushing live animals down the toilet, or releasing them into the wild will be removed.
Now, there are a few words in here that are not totally defined. That's by design. This is meant to be a guiding principle to help with day-to-day conversations within our community. Yes, there will be some variance of opinion on specific actions and ideas (i.e. what qualifies as "humane euthanasia"? Is quick and efficient the only qualification?). Some variance is expected on these ideas. After all, we are a global community with lots of people from all kinds of backgrounds. We want there to be discussions...after all, isn't conversation a key component to a community like R2R to begin with? In fact, reasonable disagreements aren't bad on this (or most) topics as it's through attempting new ideas that we as a hobby (and as a society) push forward in many ways. However, I do think there are some helpful guiding principles that we can look to which are helpful. @HankstankXXXL750, @Eagle_Steve, and others have touched on some of these in previous posts.

Ultimately, what I believe this comes down to is the intent and attempt to treat all life within our care with respect and provide the best possible treatment we are capable of. Intentionally ending life of aquarium creatures may at times be reasonable and necessary, but it should not be done without consideration, and in cases where it can reasonably be avoided, it should be. In cases where there is no alternative, euthanasia should be performed in a way that reflects the same consideration as was given for the creature during its life in the tank...in a sense, euthanasia should be a final act of caring for the animal.

In keeping with the above principles, the way in which we advise others should also adhere to these types of ethical principles. Trolling or intentionally leading/encouraging someone to treat the animals in their care contrary to ethical standards is something that should not happen in a community like ours.

Lastly, the "Be Nice" rule in our terms of service also comes into play here. It doesn't directly impact the conduct of "ethical fishkeeping" but it does lean in on this conversation because we ought to be treating one another ethically. In conversations that are sensitive topics (i.e. euthanasia), we ought to be careful of how we address the issue and the words we choose as we encourage others to behave ethically towards their creatures. Remember that it's not just what we say, but also how we say it that conveys kindness and respect toward one another. As has been said at multiple points in this conversation, we all come from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Therefore, we need to consider how we treat one another in regard to the Golden Rule (and I might add that the principle there isn't just to treat others how we want to be treated, but infers that we should treat others also how we think they would want to be treated).

Now, I know this is still going to have people asking questions, and that's ok. That is where we come in as a community. We can discuss these issues and hopefully we all grow in wisdom as we discuss these things. I do hope this post is helpful in this conversation. :) Happy reefkeeping!!
 
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rmorris_14

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Oh man.. I made it to page 4. So not sure if the conversation took a different turn. I have much less experience with all the various creatures in reefing so my practices are still and thoughts of which, are evolving. As usual my response will be wordy with tons of typos lol.

-Killing an unwanted hermit crab= unethical and very hard for me to do. In fact I have one named murder hermit living out his days in solitary confinement in one of my tanks. however I have always been a sucker for all crabs.
-euthanatizing a sick fish- this one is a little more gray. If the fish looks fine physically.. I will keep trying. if the fish has been torn to shred or fin rot has eatien down to the bone, I would consider euthanasia and consider it ethical. probably wouldn't use a hammer though.
-trying to kill flatworms with chemicals= ethical, I guess since I just did this. Although it was unsuccessful so we are going to figure out a way to live in harmony.
-throwing a bristle worm in the trash= ethical, but I think this is a personal issue.
-Removing an anemone that is on its last leg, so it doesn't harm the rest of the livestock=Ethical
-Killing aiptasia by removing the piece an smothering it with kalkwasser paste (seems like a quick death)= ethical
-stocking natural predators to take care of unwanted pests=absolutely ethical and preferred. However sometimes we have tanks that don't allow these methods.
-Ripping, scrubbing and throwing in the trash GSP mat that has become invasive in the tank= ethical and warranted. Although if I had someone that wanted any of the pieces, I would gladly donate.

Thats all I can think of. ;)
 
BRS

Can you identify clams?

  • I can ID most types of clams

    Votes: 28 14.5%
  • I can ID a few types of clams

    Votes: 54 28.0%
  • I can tell it’s a clam, but don’t know what type

    Votes: 109 56.5%
  • Wait, you can put clams in a saltwater aquarium?

    Votes: 2 1.0%
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