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Old 02-11-2013, 01:11 AM   #16
Nubster
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Good luck with that. Report back when you figure it out. You can be the resident clam guru
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:46 AM   #17
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I also think the home aquarium is just not a suitable environment for clams (or other filter feeders, for that matter). Clams basically spend all day buried in the substrate, pumping water into one tube, and out another. then they digest whatever happens to stick to their insides.

Maybe you can feed them with some sort of suspended food mix, but it sounds like a lot of effort. I'd suggest looking on various reef forums, as they tend to deal with a lot more invertebrates then freshwater folk, and I imagine there is more of a chance of people having experience raising obligate filterfeeders.

As to the death-bomb bit, I don't think people are saying 'it will definitely kill everything, all the time, no exceptions' as much as they are trying to express 'it's pretty risky, and usually ends badly'.

I think this is a combination of several factors:

1. clams aren't terribly active. They don't up and jog around the tank much. For a lot of people, that's how they distinguish twixt dead and living. It just makes it a bit more difficult to notice if a clam dies - you have to be specifically paying attention and looking for signs of life (or lack thereof).

2. They tend to be buried in the substrate. This compounds the above problem.

3. Clams have a pretty significant mass of flesh/tissue for their 'size'. - they aren't quite spherical, but pretty close. a clam 1" wide/long probably has quite a bit more flesh then a fish that's 1" long.

4. And I suspect their shells may make it more difficult for potential scavengers (snails) to take care of them before they decompose.

Anyways, I'm not saying it's impossible to keep them, I just think it's pretty risky, and the typical home aquarium isn't the right setup for them. On the other hand, I have a vague memory of someone 'finding' a living clam in their aquarium during some rescaping or something. I can't remember where I had seen it, I wish I could...
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:01 PM   #18
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Sounds like they have affected your tank or your tank has other issues after you say this:

"Four died in total. One very shortly after arrival. I assume it may have been near death from transport since that sort of thing is not uncommon. Our parameters have been stable since the tank finished cycling. Ammonia stays at or very near zero. Same with nitrites. Nitrates were fairly high before we added Nitra-Zorb to the filter."

A properly functioning tank or cycled one will have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites, and 20PPM maybe a little higher. If your shrimp (RCS) are dying as well, it is because when the clam dies it cause a ammonia spike and your shrimp die. Ghost shrimp may not be effected because they can live in anything.

Like stated above and in other post we are trying to help you not have experiences we have had. We are also looking out for the other critters in your tank you keep, as well as you spending money on something not suited really for fish tank. If you want to keep doing trial and error experiments go for it, but be polite and just put the clams in the tank and spare all else from your experiments. Trying to keep something that ends up killing others is torment to the other critters while this happens.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbarbee54 View Post
A properly functioning tank or cycled one will have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites, and 20PPM maybe a little higher. If your shrimp (RCS) are dying as well, it is because when the clam dies it cause a ammonia spike and your shrimp die. Ghost shrimp may not be effected because they can live in anything.

Like stated above and in other post we are trying to help you not have experiences we have had. We are also looking out for the other critters in your tank you keep, as well as you spending money on something not suited really for fish tank. If you want to keep doing trial and error experiments go for it, but be polite and just put the clams in the tank and spare all else from your experiments. Trying to keep something that ends up killing others is torment to the other critters while this happens.
Nothing else has died as a result of the clam deaths. We had RCS at one time. But they all died before I bought the clams. The otos died while the clams were all accounted for. The betta and ghost shrimp haven't been bothered in the least despite being present for all the clam deaths.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lochaber
I think this is a combination of several factors:

1. clams aren't terribly active. They don't up and jog around the tank much. For a lot of people, that's how they distinguish twixt dead and living. It just makes it a bit more difficult to notice if a clam dies - you have to be specifically paying attention and looking for signs of life (or lack thereof).

2. They tend to be buried in the substrate. This compounds the above problem.

3. Clams have a pretty significant mass of flesh/tissue for their 'size'. - they aren't quite spherical, but pretty close. a clam 1" wide/long probably has quite a bit more flesh then a fish that's 1" long.

4. And I suspect their shells may make it more difficult for potential scavengers (snails) to take care of them before they decompose.

Anyways, I'm not saying it's impossible to keep them, I just think it's pretty risky, and the typical home aquarium isn't the right setup for them. On the other hand, I have a vague memory of someone 'finding' a living clam in their aquarium during some rescaping or something. I can't remember where I had seen it, I wish I could...
1. My experience is that it is rather simple to tell when a clam is dead. They only open their shells to feed. Even then the shells only open slightly. Clams have to work to keep their shell closed. So a shell that's open wider than usual is a sign of trouble. If you poke it and it doesn't "clam up" (the origin of the expression) then you know for certain it is dead.

2. They don't bury themselves completely out of sight. They have to stay slightly exposed in order to feed. Only one of our six clams even bothered to bury itself at all. A clam that has fully buried itself has only done so out of stress. It is hiding from something. Even slightly exposed they are definitely difficult to spot. But they don't move much at all. So once you've found them in a certain location you can be fairly certain it is still in that area even if you don't actually see it. Having a densely planted tank also makes them a bit harder to find. I'll agree that you do have to strain a bit initially to locate them. But after a while you just know where they are.

3. I think I agree with this. Having seen a few dead clams now they do seem as though they might be a bit more fleshy than a fish. I don't think it's a huge difference though.

4. Going back to point number one, a dead clam will have an open shell. It is a simple matter for smaller shrimp to crawl in and do their thing. I saw a video of exactly that somewhere while I was researching the idea. I have yet to see our shrimp scavenging a clam. But I haven't left a dead clam in the tank long enough for them to notice yet. That's the latest experiment. Clam #5 died this morning. I fully opened the shell to see if the shrimp and cories would find it appetizing.

I'm not trying to be difficult about this. The one thing that annoys me about this hobby is that it is rife with folklore and hearsay. The epitome of this is a post I read the other day in which the commenter warned people that dirt is a bad substrate choice because it releases "toxious" gasses that could cause serious health problems if you happened to be leaning over the tank at the time a bubble of these gasses was released. Clams just aren't common enough that a lot of people have experience with them. So when I repeatedly read the same comments about them I have to wonder where the information comes from. And when the comments don't jive with what I've seen firsthand I have to question the validity of them.

In the interest of science I just set up a 1.5-gallon desktop tank. Its primary purpose is to house daphnia as a treat for our betta. But I also plan to use it to see what I can do with clams. Once the tank is cycled and stabilized I will move our remaining clam to it. Then I'll begin experimenting with foods and studying the clam's behavior to see what I can learn. I'm doing this mainly to satisfy my own curiosity. But I also want to get away from the folklore and see what the truth is. If that ends up making me a guru, so be it.

At this moment I have no plans to add clams to future tanks. I need to gather information from the research tank first. And I've found a much more intriguing filter feeder to help clean up our betta tank, bamboo shrimp. As I type this, one of our new bamboo shrimp is downstream of the dead clam happily filtering detritus out of the current.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:16 PM   #20
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I for one commend your efforts in trying to keep clams. I think they're neat and would love to have them too but all I've read is the "folklore and hearsay". I tend to agree with you on that. Seems like many people respond to questions about clams with "i've heard" and "i've read" but not much real life experience.\

It is people like you that help expand this hobby. Long ago people thought discus were nearly impossible to keep and yet today they are pretty common and it was mostly due to people like you who put in the time and effort to figure out how to properly keep them healthy and thriving.
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:37 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by thelub View Post
I for one commend your efforts in trying to keep clams. I think they're neat and would love to have them too but all I've read is the "folklore and hearsay". I tend to agree with you on that. Seems like many people respond to questions about clams with "i've heard" and "i've read" but not much real life experience.\

It is people like you that help expand this hobby. Long ago people thought discus were nearly impossible to keep and yet today they are pretty common and it was mostly due to people like you who put in the time and effort to figure out how to properly keep them healthy and thriving.
Thanks. The encouragement really does mean a lot. It's also good to know I'm not the only person interested in seeing what the facts are.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:45 PM   #22
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I"ve never kept clams before, but I wonder how they would do in a green water environment.....

Next step would be to see what the concentration of green water would have to be to keep them healthy and thriving and not have a green DT. I think what somebody previously mentioned about researching reef forums to find out how their clams thrive might help you gain some answers. There are many differences, but there are also many similarities.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:53 PM   #23
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Clams are cool. But they're hard to keep. I appreciate what you are doing but you seem to have some fundamental problems. You have lost some hardy RCS and 4 clams already in this tank. You have also stated that your ammonia and nitrite were NEAR 0. They have to be AT 0 or your tank isn't ready for livestock. It seems like you should look into this tank a little more and why you are having problems.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:19 AM   #24
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I hate to say it but this thread doesn't make sense to me at all. Everyone who offered advice that was not supporting keeping clams you rebuked as being untrue. Honestly not sure why you even started this thread if you weren't going to take advice of experienced aquarist ( is that a word). Based on what I have read here the best option would be to keep each clam in a separate container or a shallow substrate so you can make sure they stay alive and be able to spot feed them.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:22 AM   #25
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Clams are cool. But they're hard to keep. I appreciate what you are doing but you seem to have some fundamental problems. You have lost some hardy RCS and 4 clams already in this tank. You have also stated that your ammonia and nitrite were NEAR 0. They have to be AT 0 or your tank isn't ready for livestock. It seems like you should look into this tank a little more and why you are having problems.
I said "near 0" because the test kits aren't exactly precise. The color seems to indicate zero. But it's entirely possible it's higher. I don't believe there's a problem with the tank because nothing else is showing signs of stress. The betta is happy and all the other inverts are thriving. Plants are growing. If there is a serious problem with the tank it seems odd it would only affect RCS and not ghost shrimp. Or that it would affect clams but not snails.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougolasjr
I hate to say it but this thread doesn't make sense to me at all. Everyone who offered advice that was not supporting keeping clams you rebuked as being untrue. Honestly not sure why you even started this thread if you weren't going to take advice of experienced aquarist ( is that a word). Based on what I have read here the best option would be to keep each clam in a separate container or a shallow substrate so you can make sure they stay alive and be able to spot feed them.
What doesn't make sense to me is how everybody ignored the original post in this thread and, therefore, the entire point of the thread. I wasn't asking people whether or not I should keep clams. That decision had already been made. I started this thread because I was looking for advice from people who had successfully kept clams. I was trying to find out what I was doing wrong so I could fix it. Instead, most people simply told me not to do it. The only positive responses have been from people who have not yet done it but would like to see if it can be done. I rebuked the naysayers because they weren't answering my question. It's the same as if I had asked a question about sponge filters and they posted about how canisters were better. If people can't be bothered answering the question I asked then I don't see why I should bother listening to the answer they give to whatever question they are answering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thelub
I"ve never kept clams before, but I wonder how they would do in a green water environment.....

Next step would be to see what the concentration of green water would have to be to keep them healthy and thriving and not have a green DT. I think what somebody previously mentioned about researching reef forums to find out how their clams thrive might help you gain some answers. There are many differences, but there are also many similarities.
There is a video on Youtube that shows green water should be a boon to clams. It's a time-lapse showing what a few clams did for a small, cloudy tank over a 24-hour span. If that's what it takes to keep clams happy though then there's no way I'd keep them in an aquarium.

Searching the reef forums is the best idea to come out of this. I'm already target feeding with marine plankton. But the reef guys should know something about keeping them healthy without needing a cloudy tank.

The bottom line is that clams have been used in ponds for a long time. So there's no real reason they can't be kept in an aquarium. And reef guys keep clams in tanks that are a lot cleaner than mine. So I don't see why they can't be kept successfully in a freshwater aquarium.

And I know I come across as a bit feisty. I'm just tired of people telling me "can't", "shouldn't", or whatever instead of trying to solve the problems. It can be done. I know it HAS been done.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:09 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by SouthernGorilla View Post
I said "near 0" because the test kits aren't exactly precise. The color seems to indicate zero. But it's entirely possible it's higher. I don't believe there's a problem with the tank because nothing else is showing signs of stress. The betta is happy and all the other inverts are thriving. Plants are growing. If there is a serious problem with the tank it seems odd it would only affect RCS and not ghost shrimp. Or that it would affect clams but not snails.
Except for the fact that snails and ghost shrimp can survive almost anything, while RCS and clams actually need clean, cycled water. And the fact that plants are growing has absolutely no relationship to having good water quality. Most people put plants in their tanks actually during the cycling process because they help pull nitrates and ammonia out of the water.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:24 PM   #27
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Except for the fact that snails and ghost shrimp can survive almost anything, while RCS and clams actually need clean, cycled water.
Our first batch of ghost shrimp sure didn't survive everything. We lost seven overnight. That was definitely a water issue. And that's why I don't believe these deaths are a water issue. Bad water causes mass death. If the water was bad enough to kill one clam or one RCS it would have killed all or most of them at once. I suspect the betta in the RCS deaths. We still have one clam left. He's been in there for a few weeks now. And he's still alive and as active as a clam is likely to get. I'm certain the others have starved to death. And from what I've seen on the reef sites now I'm confident that the phytoplankton I bought is not what they need.

To revisit the dead clam ammonia spike issue-- I deliberately left the last dead clam in the tank overnight. I pulled it out this morning and none of the other critters were worse off for the experience. If a dead clam doesn't cause a lethal ammonia spike in twenty-four hours in a ten-gallon tank I'm not sure what it would take to do it.
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