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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Filtration is an ongoing issue with my turtle tank. Am in the process of adding more filtration and aeration. I was wondering if mussels or clams can survive in dirty turtle water. And whether or not the clams/mussels, if large enough, can avoid being eaten by the turtles. If anyone has experience with this, I'd appreciate it.

 

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Hmm I wonder if the issues is total nutrient management. Are you overfeeding the turtles? is that something that can be cut back without impacting their growth?

what about a larger system? it'll help dilute things a bit better if they have a larger tank.

I think the clams/mussels may be more of a band aid instead of fixing the root cause and they may pose their own issues/needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't think I'm overfeeding them. The problem is they produce so much waste. Any amount of food will result in overwhelming waste lol

A larger system currently isn't an option. I am thinking of making a pond for them. They do need more space. So that is part of that problem.

Mussels/clams would be a bandaid yes, but I am adding more filtration. I just thought it'd be nice if they did thrive alongside the turtles, and their filtration of waste would be a small bonus. Though, would be cool if they thrived to the degree that their numbers would actually contribute to filtration.

I mostly want to know if turtle water is too dirty for them. Or if they'd love it lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I thought pristine water will starve them to death? I'm guessing turtle water is too dirty, but don't they need some measure of dirtiness?
 

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I thought pristine water will starve them to death? I'm guessing turtle water is too dirty, but don't they need some measure of dirtiness?
Turbid/muddy water and dirty water are two different things. When there are heavy rains and high flow of water there might be sediments, vegetation, microorganisms, infusoria etc suspended in water that will be used by clams. How ever they cannot consume uneaten food or filter water in a turtle tank.

Turtles are messy and poop a lot. This can dramatically raise the Ammonia and Nitrates and the clams will not survive this.
 

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^^. Clams need pristine water in terms of nitrogenous waste products. But they like dirty water in terms of water filled with lots of microorganisms for them to feed on (unless they're tridacnids, but those are saltwater photosynthetic exceptions).

Have you tried using a plant filter, specifically something like a Pothos? I've heard good things about Pothos plants just sucking up all the waste products (but not the detritus) in monster fish tanks.

However, if you were to seed the water with a freshwater microalgae species, like Nannochloris or Scenedesmus, and you had a resultant green water bloom....you might (heavy, heavy emphasis on might), be able to keep one clam/mussel. It would most likely not work, and would probably only work for a very large system and one clam/mussel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the clarification. I'm wondering if nitrogenous waste products aren't an issue (like with the pothos plant solution) then I wonder if they'll eat the detritus.

Not for the turtle tank yet, but I do make use of pothos in other aquariums.



^ This is an old pic, but you can see the roots in the bottle as part of powerhead filter. Now the roots are much bigger, and overflows out of a 2 liter bottle.



^ I like to think that the lights being on fuels nitrate absorption, but, can't really be measured. Though, filtration in that tank is excellent.

I'd like to do more research before just buying some clams/mussels and experimenting, but there doesn't seem to be that much info about the particular question of whether or not they can coexist with turtles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Update: Pothos has grown around the area, rooted in the HOB filter, but seems to aid filtration only marginally.

Have tried adding small freshwater mussels and clams acquired through eBay, but they all died pretty quickly. (the mussels and clams are doing fine in my other tanks)
 

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I realize that I never asked this, but were you wondering about nitrogenous waste reduction, or mechanical waste reduction? You never really clarified which one you were going after...Filter socks/cups are amazing at removing the latter, but the downside is you need a sump. Give the pothos some time to get even more established. Also, floating plants like duckweed, water lettuce, and (if it's legal) water hyacinth would do amazing at sucking the nitrogenous waste out.

Also uhhh....just realized that it miiiiiiight be problematic if you add freshwater bivalves, given the whole Marimo/zebra mussel stufff happening right now. Try to get species native to your water ways, and bleach the heck out of wc water prior to dumping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I wasn't sure if the problem would be biological or mechanical filtration, but i think it's largely a biological filtration problem. It's just hard to keep up with turtles lol.

I often add extra plants from other tanks, like duckweed, water lettuce, hornwort, elodea, cabomba, and vallisneria, but the turtles just consume everything haha

another solution i'm thinking of pursuing is to add anoxic filtration to the undergravel filter.

something else i tried was adding freshwater worms to overstock the undergravel filter, which was going strong for a while, until the tank got too dirty and everything died.

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Perhaps they would survive in the presence of an anoxic filter. Perhaps if the nitrate problem is solved, mussels and clams can survive too?

I had wondered if something as robust as zebra mussels could survive in a turtle tank, but i'm not sure it'd be ultimately worth it, even if they can survive and contribute to filtration. and it seems like the next logical step is to try anoxic filtration.
 

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IMO for your purpose anoxic filtration is your better option. Eventually (a few weeks) the mussels are going to die. If your turtle is anything like the ones I've had they'll dig. A mussel dug out and in open turtle water isn't going to survive and will most likely add more to the waste in your tank. Oversized (think rigged pond filters) work really well with turtles. My smaller turtle set up has an ornamental waterfall filters along with an internal and a canister plus a healthy colony of guppies to help with the messy eating. My hubby maintains the turtle tanks and part of this job as removing poop and uneaten food first thing in the morning. This has become a standard. Turtles are a lot of work lol.
 
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