Introducing Freshwater Clams To Your Aquarium
Freshwater clams find their homes in freshwater sources such as rivers, lakes and ponds. When kept as a pet, they need to be taken care of properly like any other animal that you would bring into your home or introduce to your tank.
It is important to make the effort to purchase clams that are farm raised rather than take them from their wild habitat. Many clam varieties have been exterminated in some areas because of people collecting them for food, shells and pets. In many locations, portions of the profits from farm raised clams go to aquarium trade to raise awareness on the subject.
Purchasing Freshwater Clams
Since these are not traditionally a pet that you purchase everyday, it is helpful to have an idea of what to look for when you buy one.
- Look For Gaping – If a clam has recently been transported or imported, they may have a gaping behavior. If a clam is gaping, it will have its shell open fully, a poorly extended mantle and a widely stretched inhalant siphon. This behavior should pass unless the clam is damaged, unhealthy or kept under insufficient lighting.
- Check Reactions – Healthy freshwater clams will react to any external stimulus by closing its shell forcefully. If a clam has been newly imported, it may react a little slower however, this will improve once they gain their strength.
- Examine The Mantle – A healthy clam will have no white or clear areas on its mantle. If colorless areas are present it could be due to disease, predators or poor lighting.
- Check The Byssus Gland – It is very important to not be able to see any loose or torn tissue hanging out of the clam's bottom. Some byssus gland damage may not be visible and luckily, it is not always fatal.
- Removing A Clam – Be very careful if you are removing a clam from substrate. Gently lift the shell and use scissors or a razor blade or knife to cut close to the substrate, never close to the clam. If you cut too close to the shell, you run the risk of cutting the extended byssus gland.
Adding Freshwater Clams To Your Tank
When you place your clam in your tank, you need to put them in the perfect spot because it is very difficult for them to move by themselves. If you put them on a hard surface, they cannot shift their position. They should be placed on sand where they can use small movements to shift positions as they please. You should not expect a lot of movement from freshwater clams.
It is also necessary to close your clam's shell prior to putting it in the tank because they can close their shell powerfully and expel a lot of water, both at you and the lighting system. They can also accidentally trap slow moving, small fish that come along and rest on their mantle.
Your clam may fall a few times before it is successful at attaching itself to the substrate. For this reason, you may want to place crushed coral or small rocks around the clam to help it stand up. The clam will usually attach itself within a week.
Keep in mind that clams that have colorful mantles need a lot of light and browner shades need little light. It is also important that they are placed in a position with its mantle facing slightly upward and never between larger rocks that could keep it from opening its shell.
Your freshwater clams should be kept far away from anemone or aggressive coral as they can irritate the mantle and your clam will die quickly.