Freshwater Clams

  • Get the NEW AquariaCentral iOS app --> http://itunes.apple.com/app/id1227181058 // Android version will be out soon!

Dwarf Puffers

Registered user
Original poster
Dec 11, 2006
3,978
0
0
NS, Canada
Well, seeing the increase in popularity of freshwater clams lately, I'd just like to warn anyone watching...

Clams need nutrient filled water with lots of small particles of food that they siphon out of the water through their "tongues" and eat. In order to do so, they need a strong current to circulate these particules. Do not attempt to keep freshwater clams or freshwater mussels unless you can provide them proper food.

I would like to add that freshwater clams & mussels spend a lot of their time in the sand with very little of their shell exposed. They do not "clean" your tank of floating debris, and usually don't live for long periods of time. If a clam or mussel dies and goes unnoticed (which is very easy to do), it can destroy a tank and turn it into a graveyard for all other inhabitants. When shellfish rot, it's bad.

As a side note, freshwater clams can breed without doing harm to fish. However, freshwater mussel offspring will clog the gills of fish and become parisitic. I strongly suggest avoiding keeping more than one freshwater mussel.

Although clams & mussels are interesting and impressive at the store, they are hard to maintain and give little back. Unless you have a river tank that is fed specially formulated food for these shellfish, avoid them at all cost. They are not beginner animals and should only be left to people who give them specific care.

Thank you for reading, and please take my post seriously. There are too many dangers & labours involved than most would be willing to perform.

-DP
 

DarrylR

AC Members
Sep 17, 2007
1,403
0
36
29
Maryland
How would they do in a cherry red shrimp tank? The intake filter covered by a filter bag, with the filter flow sucks in and sends everything down into the tank into a loop.

Would they be fine in this tank?
 

Notophthalmus

I put the 'snork' in 'snorkeling'!
Mar 4, 2008
1,977
0
0
Tennessee
Unionid mussels are illegal to keep in most of North America anyways, due to their threatened populations in the wild. Their larvae are hitchhikers, not parasites, on the gills of fish; most mussels are host specific and only cling to one or a few species of fish (or in one case, mudpuppy). However, in a confined space such as an aquarium, a large number of larvae could try to attach themselves to an unsuitable host fish and cause it harm.
 

vampie

AC Members
Oct 25, 2006
2,451
0
0
33
New York, NY
Most if not all of the freshwater clams found in stores are the Asian golden clams, whose life cycle doesn't involve clinging onto fish.

But like the OP said, these clams are just a very, very bad idea for the home aquarium.
 

Dwarf Puffers

Registered user
Original poster
Dec 11, 2006
3,978
0
0
NS, Canada
How would they do in a cherry red shrimp tank? The intake filter covered by a filter bag, with the filter flow sucks in and sends everything down into the tank into a loop.

Would they be fine in this tank?
It does not sound like you have adequate flow for freshwater clams. Consider also that they are filter feeders themselves, and need lots of tiny, living organisms in the water to sustain themselves.

Unionid mussels are illegal to keep in most of North America anyways, due to their threatened populations in the wild. Their larvae are hitchhikers, not parasites, on the gills of fish; most mussels are host specific and only cling to one or a few species of fish (or in one case, mudpuppy). However, in a confined space such as an aquarium, a large number of larvae could try to attach themselves to an unsuitable host fish and cause it harm.
I guess parasite wasn't quite the right word, although how the mussels do damage is by interfeering with the gills. Not exactly parasitic, but hitchhiking to the point of damage, as you stated.

Most if not all of the freshwater clams found in stores are the Asian golden clams, whose life cycle doesn't involve clinging onto fish.

But like the OP said, these clams are just a very, very bad idea for the home aquarium.
I was referring to freshwater mussels, of which some of the more common species' offspring will clog a fishes gills.
 

DarrylR

AC Members
Sep 17, 2007
1,403
0
36
29
Maryland
It does not sound like you have adequate flow for freshwater clams. Consider also that they are filter feeders themselves, and need lots of tiny, living organisms in the water to sustain themselves.
My shrimp tanks has alot of debris, that is why I said with my filter flow, the filter sucks in food and waste, and through the flow the clams can feed from it when it goes back into the tank.

Filter-> sucks in food-> gets sucked into the filter-> go back out into the flow back into the tank

With that cycle, wouldn't the filter flow itself travel food the the clams constantly?
 

Dwarf Puffers

Registered user
Original poster
Dec 11, 2006
3,978
0
0
NS, Canada
It would, but I'm not sure it would be enough. In the wild, there is enough silt and tiny live creatures that they're fine, but it's hard to immitate that in the home aquarium. I wouldn't know enough about them to properly anwser this question, although it would be safe to say that they might not get enough to eat.
 

SpitRhyma

AC Members
Oct 16, 2007
17
0
0
34
My shrimp tanks has alot of debris, that is why I said with my filter flow, the filter sucks in food and waste, and through the flow the clams can feed from it when it goes back into the tank.

Filter-> sucks in food-> gets sucked into the filter-> go back out into the flow back into the tank

With that cycle, wouldn't the filter flow itself travel food the the clams constantly?
I've only had my clams for a few months but they do fine as long as the bottom of the tank is dirty. Don't vacuum your gravel, take out your biowheel and take out your filter. Your shrimp should appreciate a little dirty water as well however shrimp are mor adaptable.

I have a very small bowl (about 2 gallons) with 3 danios, an otocinclus, 1 amano shrimp, 1 cherry shrimp and 2 clams but the bowl is also filled with plants. The plants/clams compete but the other inhabitants provide plenty of waste. I grow under a very close 9W flouresecent light bulb/reflector so I get something like 4.5W per gallon. That makes a lot hair algae and soft spot algae on the glass... so there's always plenty of food in the tank. I also feed the danios daily and they leave leftovers for the other fish... The bowl is too small to use a gravel vac. so I just do water changes from the surface using a cup on rare occasions. Other than that there's no filtration/cleaning of the tank.

I recently took everything out, cleaned the hell out of the gravel, pruned the plants, and put everything back in. The 1st night the clams were moving around and one of them even opened a bit giving me a scare. But later that night they both moved partially into the gravel and have been breathing like normal.

I also have a CO2 trap in a empty saltwater clam shell in the tank and so I have a bubbler in the back that circulates the water. But I set up a by-pass valve for it so only about 10% of the air goes into the bowl from a 15G petco air-pump.

Great things come in small packages, and my 2G tank is one of my favorite setups.
 
zoomed.com
hikariusa.com
aqaimports.com
Store