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SuncrestReef

Need advice on adding my first clam

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I’m looking for some advice on adding the first clam to my aquarium.  I’m still relatively new to reefing with my tank only up and running for 3 months now, but I’ve read a lot of articles and forum posts warning that clams should not be added until a tank is at least a year old.  What isn’t clear is whether that advice is to ensure the tank has matured to a certain level, or whether they are saying the aquarist needs to take that long to learn how to maintain a stable system.   

I have a Reefer XL 425 with about 35 small corals (mostly SPS and a few LPS), a small bio load with only 6 small fish and 2 shrimp, one BTA, and a good sized cleanup crew of snails and hermit crabs.  Since I’m retired, I spend a lot of time maintaining my system, routinely test water parameters daily, and I’m meticulous about keeping records of everything so I can analyze data trends over time.  I have most things automated with my Apex and have alerts set up so I know right away if something is out of line.  I also keep a stock of spare parts (return pump, powerheads, heaters, etc) so I can quickly address most system failures.

Here are my water parameters:

  • Temp: 78 F
  • Salinity: 1.026, using Red Sea Coral Pro salt
  • pH: 8.1 - 8.2
  • Alk: 9.0
  • Ca: 420
  • Mg: 1350
  • PO4:  < 0.03
  • NO3:  < 1

For lighting I’m using two Radion XR30 Pro’s, with PAR of 350 at the top of the rocks and 150 - 200 on the sand bottom.  My Apex does small water changes of 1.5 gallons per day, and controls dosing BRS 2 part.  I run carbon and GFO reactors, a UV sterilizer, and grow chaeto in my refugium with the grow light on opposite schedule of my Radions.  I haven’t had any algae problems since the end of month 1 after finishing cycling the tank.

All of my corals are healthy, and I’ve seen good growth on both SPS and LPS.  All the fish are healthy and I feed them LRS frozen twice per day.  I also target feet corals Reef Roids once per week.

So, with all that said, is there any reason I should not add a clam at this time and wait until the tank is more mature?

Any first-hand experience and guidance would be appreciated!

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My only advice is don’t ever get a sand sifting goby. Those dumb fish will burry your clam every time you look away! 😡

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5 minutes ago, Blue Z Reef said:

My only advice is don’t ever get a sand sifting goby. Those dumb fish will burry your clam every time you look away! 😡

Well, I already have a pistol shrimp that is constantly building new burrows and creating piles of sand outside each one.  I'm hoping I can keep a clam on the sand in an area that's not too close to the rocks so the shrimp won't bother it, or perhaps put it on one of the lower rocks.

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This first comment is not related to the clam. If you are dosing BRS two-part, you should run your alk no higher than 8. If you run it higher than that you will start to battle with pumps seizing up all of the time. I run my alk 7.7-8.

As for the clam, as long as your parameters are stable, it should do fine in a 3 month old system. The one thing I see that you’ll want to correct for the clam is the low nutrients. I think that your nitrate should be a little higher. 2-5 is ideal in my experience. I also like my phosphate to be around .08, but .03 is probably ok.

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I think you should be fine. I added some clams in a system that young about 2 years ago and I still have them today.

I think the time frames deal allot with tank stability and too a larger extent, dealing with inexperience in terms of controlling and dealing with variables.

I think that your levels are fine, you can always feed them directly if you want.

if you but a big clam you may have to increase your alk and cal dosing just a hair...depending on how big your system volume is.



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Watch out for pyramid snails. They are very small and are white in color. They will eat you clam to death. That is how my clam died. I thought I gave my clam a good look over and found no snails. Months later my clam falls off it's rock. The next day my clam was died. I could not figured why till I saw a pyramid snail. Keep checking the clam for those snails.

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12 hours ago, eclipse522 said:

Watch out for pyramid snails. They are very small and are white in color. They will eat you clam to death. That is how my clam died. I thought I gave my clam a good look over and found no snails. Months later my clam falls off it's rock. The next day my clam was died. I could not figured why till I saw a pyramid snail. Keep checking the clam for those snails.

Look at all the scutes under magnification and around the byssus. Also look for gelatinous egg masses near the mantle and byssus. Zero tolerance on these snails. They'll kill the clam and start working on your janitorial snails.

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10 hours ago, IntoTheMystic said:

Look at all the scutes under magnification and around the byssus. Also look for gelatinous egg masses near the mantle and byssus. Zero tolerance on these snails. They'll kill the clam and start working on your janitorial snails.

Good advice as always Sid!

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Clams need a lot more light than sps corals.  Once acclimated to your light spectrum, place it as close to the lights as possible. 

Always give a new clam a good scrub with toothbrush to remove any pests.  I would not place any new clams directly on live rock because few weeks later if you discover your clam have pyramid snails, you'll need to be able to remove the clam to give it another scrub, possibly monthly.  My experience is these pyramid snails can survive about 2 weeks without a host.  It takes about 2-4 weeks for pyramid eggs to develop into easily visible snails.  After you're sure your tank is free of pyramid snails, then I would place the clam directly on live rock.

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You should be fine. A solid tank with good parameters what matters most. Watch for pests. My first 3 clams were killed by pyramid snails.


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