Unhinged Gigas

Troy V

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A couple of months ago I noticed the shells on my Gigas were an entire rib off. So I had an idea to use a 5 gallon container as a cast to hold it together and keep it aligned. It worked for a while but unfortunately it has broken through the container. I've even tried using a different 5 gallon bucket to support the hinge and it still wouldn't work. The buckets would crack under the weight and movement of the clam. But so far it is the only thing I have found to keep the hinge and clam together even if it is temporary. Once the bucket fails the clam's shell fall over and I have to manually realign it again. This is incredibly difficult because the muscle it ridiculously strong! I can't open it to realign it. Its like trying to open a vice with your fingers. Fortunately the clam is surprisingly resilient. Its been like this for 2 months and it is still going strong. I am just out of ideas on what to do with it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind this clam weighs around 150lbs, and the bottom is round so it must be placed in something very sturdy to keep it upright, plus it moves constantly. Thank you!
 
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Troy V

Troy V

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Clam in 5 gallon bucket bottom.

IMG_20210201_192257771.jpg


November 2020 (before broken hinge)
IMG_20201115_181912224.jpg
 
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Troy V

Troy V

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Dang that clam is amazing sorry to hear about the hinge. I did see this video a while back and so far it seems to be the best cure for the issue
Thank you for the video. On a larger scale that could work. Not sure how tight and what gauge wire to give the lateral support it would need. I have several other clams I will archive that one.
 
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Troy V

Troy V

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Something like this?

Excuse my crude drawing...I

Thank you for the video. On a larger scale that could work. Not sure how tight and what gauge wire to give the lateral support it would need. I have several other clams I will archive that one.
That is a fantastic idea! It will need to be several inches bigger (front to back) to allow the clam to open all the way. What kind of mesh would work, and last submerged in saltwater supporting a 150lb clam? I used an automotive cargo net to remove her from my old tank. It is rated at 550lbs but I am not sure how long it will last. How about 550 paracord? The cargo net is made from a similar material.

Looking back now at the end of the video you can see the hinge was weak back in 2016.
 

DaneGer21

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Now that I got a visual of actual size, I would use 2” pvc for the structure, and a nylon netting of some sort, maybe a fishing net that you could repurpose as the hammock.
 

Mcluvin

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Another idea is to look at glueing a heavy duty titanium door hinge to the bottom of shell. Would make great lateral support and allow the clam to open freely. I’m pretty sure titanium won’t degrade.

You could ask a local vet school, marine biology class if they would want to help.

One thing to think about with a hammock is there is lots of outer shell pressure trying to pull the shell closed
 
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Troy V

Troy V

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Here we go again!

The 5 gallon bucket base couldn't support the weight and the clam's valves are even more separated.
IMG_20210710_133418831.jpg


So now I am going with a modified sling design from DaneGer21. Except instead of using mesh to support the weight, I will use the clam's valves. Hopefully the clam survives this ordeal. It is very stressed and has stopped removing nitrates and phosphates so the system's health is declining. I am feeding phyto daily to supplement its diet, so far the clam has been responsive to feedings so it does seem to be helping. Time will tell. It doesn't look very good right now. I hate to say it I've seen it look worse in the almost 14 years I've had it.

This is how it is supposed to look. Valves attached and upright.
20190808_182512~2.jpg


This is how it looked before I added the PVC platform. It's laying on its side with both valves detached.
IMG_20210711_090228.jpg
 
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Troy V

Troy V

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I spoke with several prominent US aquarium curators about this issue, and each one had a different approach to possibly solving the problem. The first ideas that was recommended was to use surgical tubing and epoxy to bind the base of the valves to hopefully regrow a new hinge. The second idea was to epoxy titanium rods to the valves to support the Clam's weight and keep it orientated correctly. Both ideas would work, however this clam is incredibly heavy and not something that is easily removed from the tank to experiment on. Plus they all said they've never seen it done on one this size before.
 
AS

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