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Freshwater Clams


  1. Freshwater mussels
    by DIONIGI MALADORNO <> (Wed, 24 Jul 1996)
  2. Clams!!
    by Dwight <boukmn/> (Mon, 25 Oct 1999)
  3. Clams
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/> (Tue, 26 Oct 1999)
  4. Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1352
    by Moontanman/ (Wed, 27 Oct 1999)

Freshwater mussels

Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996

<<<<From: Stephen.Pushak-at-saudan.HAC.COM
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 13:22:16 PDT
Subject: The use of shell fish for green algae control

Has anyone used freshwater clams or mussels in aquariums? These might
be good to help control green water. Are they difficult to keep? How
do you feed them?

Steve in sunny, hot Vancouver>>>>

I have been keeping two freshwater mussels for several months now (5-6) in a
sort of invertebrate freshwater 5 gal. tank I have. I started it a year ago
as a gammarus culture, with lots of hornwort (did I spell it right?) and of
green algae (they look as bunches of green floss). No heat, no artificial
light, close to a window (facing east), bottom of coral gravel, a small
tetra sponge filter, lots of ramshorn and pond snails, few dark daphnia-like
things, many blackworms, few trumpet snails (for some reason I must be the
only person in the world that can't get these Malaysian trumpets to
multiplicate). At some point I stimulated the growth of algae introducing
one Delaware Aquatic Imports fertilizer tablet, but they now seem to have
reached an equilibrium with the hornwort, and there is plenty. When the
gammarus colony started to decrease in numbers (quite normal after a while,
I heard), I decided that it wasn't worth the work of starting a new culture,
and I bought the mussels instead.
Concerning the effect of the mussels on algae growth, I did not notice any
decrease in green thread algae growth, but I guess this is not surprising. I
do not know how effective they would be on green water. The rare times when
you can catch them moving around and digging in the substrate they are quite
amusing , but for the rest of the time they do not do much, even if they
seem to change position every day (when I am not around). 
Every two-three days I introduce in the tank some yeast (the common baking
type that comes in small bags in any food store) and a few drops of a liquid
invertebrate food made by Tetra (but when I finish it I will try not to use
it anymore).

In the past I had another two in a community tank, but they did not do well
and died in a few weeks. I doubt they can sustain tropical temperatures for
long periods of time.



by Dwight <boukmn/>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999

The Moontanman wrote:

>I have always used small clams or mussels. There are species that do not
>big. I currently use a species of freshwater clam that doesn't get much 
>bigger than your thumb (maybe 1 1/2" ) They do well in warm tropical
water. I 
>am big into various crustaceans and mollusks for freshwater, as luck would 
>have it they are seldom for sale where I live. Does anyone know an online 
>service where you can buy freshwater invertebrates?

My reply:

Azgardens sells clams but a warning; I purchased mine from Azgardens but
they suffered HEAVY losses in transit.  Only one in five survived the trip
and long term only one in eight.  Then again, I'm in Florida; Azgardens is
in Arizona somewhere I gather.

Another warning: Some clam species ALLEGEDLY produce zooplanktonic young
who may become lodged in the slime layer of slow moving fish. The zoo-baby
clam burrows into the skin and dies, but causes the fish to surround it
with a white cyst. Now here's the rub; the cyst LOOKS like ICH!

I came across this benign condition at one of our better LFSs that I sell
plants to.  A 15gal long tank with 6 angelfish marked "quarantine"; each
fish had the white spots (far less numerous than what real ich looks like
but VERY visible).  I returned to the shop two weeks later to see the same
6 fish w/ the same white shots in the same places and looking none the less
for ware.  I asked "Why aren't these fish dead?" The dept head then
confided the story about some research he had read about the clam
zooplankton-scaring problem. The quarantine sign was a ruse to fend off
questions from those that wouldn't understand and would think they were
selling "sick fish".  

The fish were expensive gold/marble angels.  I guess they had no heart to
destroy them.  They just couldn't sell them. Their tank was well decorated.
They lost one a month before when they tried to scrape the cysts off.  The
delicate fish could not survive the trauma.

This seems to be a problem that arises under two conditions:
1.	With successful high clam populations.  
2.	Tanks w/ some species of slow-moving fish.

I am no expert on this condition.  I have never faced this problem with my
clams/fish and I don't have many clams. I invite comments from anyone who
has specific knowledge of this syndrome and how it may be prevented.


"Those who know HOW will always have a job...
Working for those who know WHY."

See my Aquariums, Stumps and Plants at;


by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999

On Tue, 26 Oct 1999, Justin Collins wrote:

> They sound like they would be a very interesting addition to the tank.  Are
> they difficult to feed, and do they actually help with filtration of the
> water?  Do they live for a reasonably long time?  The reason I as is that I
> tend to have fair amount of fine suspended particulate matter, and I'd love
> a way to get rid of it naturally.

I keep (or kept, I don't know if I have any at the moment) clams only in
unfiltered tanks.  They feed on plankton and detritus and they seem to be
very good at filtering those things out of the water.  I have never tried
feeding them otherwise and I don't have any reason to believe that they
are starving.

I know that I've had some live for a year and a half or so.  If I have
some still living, then they've been there for longer than that.  You
usually won't see them as long as they're alive.  They (or at least their
shells) appear at the surface after they die.

I've purchased them from my favorite LFS (who probably gets them from
AzAq. Gardens).  I think the LFS sells them mostly as live food for rays.
Sometimes they're in good shape, and sometimes they aren't.  About a third
of the clams die soon after I get them and the rest live on at least
several months.

I've also collected them from the river here, where small clams (thumbnail
size to thumb sized) can be found by the kabillion.  I've had worse
success keeping the ones I collected than the ones I bought.  I think it's
because most of the clams I collect are from wet sand just above the river
level where they've been exposed for a while and probably are stressed
and/or dying to start with.  Liisa Sarakontu once told me that clams need
well aerated water; the river here runs cool or cold, so those little
clams may also be adapted to higher oxygen levels than they can get in my
tropical tanks.

Others (Moon maybe?) keep clams and may have better luck.  I would be a
little more interested in a filter feeding animal that attachs itself
to something in the open, remains visible and doesn't breed too
successfully.  Any ideas?

Roger Miller

Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1352

by Moontanman/
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999

In a message dated 10/26/99 3:53:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< They sound like they would be a very interesting addition to the tank.  Are
 they difficult to feed, and do they actually help with filtration of the
 water?  Do they live for a reasonably long time?  The reason I as is that I
 tend to have fair amount of fine suspended particulate matter, and I'd love
 a way to get rid of it naturally.
 Justin Collins
My clams live for long periods of time (years) and do well in a tank with 
mulm or a high level of one celled organisms. Yes, they do filter 
significantly, you can see the current they stir up in an other wise still 


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