i recently got an order of golden clams. they looked fine for couple of weeks, but they all seem to have taken a bad turn. they withdrew their siphons, so i guess they aren't feeding anymore, and they always have their feet protruding from their shells. when handled they seem unable to withdraw the foot.
i think that they are going to die if i can't turn this around. any ideas? the only thing i can guess is water params. i use hard tap water with high pH (~8). the tan water is oherwise clean. do these animals need a specific water chemistry?
I have some ~ ph 7.4 and I don't know about the hardness ~ zero nitrates, nitrites and ammonia.
Are these the golden clams from AZGardens, aka Asian clams? If so, they do need to be fed despite what AZGardens' website says. But they shouldn't be doing what you're describing after just a few weeks ~ it should take months for them to starve. I'm still wondering if the really are starving, not because YOU did it but because they weren't fed at all for a looooong time before you got them (if you got them from AZGardens, then it wouldn't be surprising that they didn't feed them, given what they say on their site). Unless your aquarium water is green a lot of the time (as in green water, the type of algae that's suspended in the water, not the kind that clings and grows ON things), there simply isn't enough food in there for them.
I've been feeding mine Kent Marine Micro-Vert filter feeder food for three or four months now and they seem to take it fine and are healthy from what I can tell. Green water is another good food source, but can be a pita to culture if you don't have the room. I keep my clams in a small pot with substrate in it so I can move them from tank to tank and into a smaller tank when I want to feed them a lot and don't want to cloud the main tank's water (about once or twice a month).
I'd take them out of your tank and put them in some clean water of their own, even in a big bowl or jar if you have to. That'll make it easier to watch them and see whether they're eating or not. Retracting their siphons doesn't sound good ~ they might not eat at all now. But it wouldn't hurt to try feeding them. I'd do that ~ put them in a separate container and feed them (OVERfeed them even, making the water cloudy enough you can barely see four inches into it), doing water changes every few days to make sure the water is clear of any excess, rotting food. I'd check each one every time you change the water, making sure they're all still alive. A dead one can foul the water and affect the other ones.
Don't get too worried if you don't see the water clearing very fast. Mine came from my creek so were very healthy when I first got them, and a dozen of them cleared about three gallons of slightly green water in a couple days. But I've seen them take longer than that to clear a similar amount of water, probably because they weren't so hungry after that.
What are your water parameters? Everyone's right that they're touchy when it comes to ammonia. I haven't had mine long (less than six months), so I don't know a LOT about them from experience, but have read extensively (atleast as extensively as what's on the 'net, which isn't a whole lot regarding keeping them in an aquarium). What I've read leads me to believe they like similar conditions to cherry and ghost shrimp.
Are you using any dechlor? If so, what kind? Some kinds can kill shrimp, so I'd think those kinds aren't really good for clams either. There's a kind that's safe for shrimp and I'd suggest you using that same kind. Not sure which it is ~ I'll go start a thread in the shrimp forum asking about it.
I didn't have to start a thread asking about the dechlor ~ here's one where they're talking about it: CRS deaths due to Kordon Amoquel? They say that Seachem Prime is the best one. What are you using, if any?
BTW, Wood replied on that thread and I'd go by what he says ~ he has extensive experience with keeping inverts. I've bought shrimp from him before and can attest to the quality and health of his animals, so he must be doing something right.
thanks so much. i think that these indivuduals might be un-saveable--still no feeding and the oddly-extruded foot is starting to fall apart on a couple of them. i might try again if i can get a hold of some more. i will consider your points and report again later.
thanks again for researching this for me. the clams are now all officially dead. i think it must have indeed been Kordon Amquel that did it. i had used it with them a couple of times. i wouldn't normally worry about ammonia, but i had the clams by themselves in a five-gallon pail. it wasn't much of a set-up--just a bubbler and some aquarium sand--and i wasn't giving them much attention. so, i used Amquel because i had also been giving them some food. i also worried that if i had a casualty i might not notice it right away and it would foul the water. whoops!
maybe i'll try again some time if i can find some more. they will be handy for my fifty gallon set-up becuase i am using a natural river sand that really needs some kind of infauna to keep it from compacting and developing anoxia problems and the like. now i'll know to use additives more cautiously. thanks again!