They utilize some dissolved nutrients and particulate matter in the water as food, but are photosynthetic so require intense lighting--the products of photosynthesis provide most of the nutritional requirements of most clams, especially larger clams. Clams smaller than about 1.5 inches can be somewhat difficult to maintain, larger clams are easily maintained with proper water quality and lighting due to the larger mantle and the clam's ability to produce enough food for itself from photosynthesis. All invertebrates, including clams, require full strength natural saltwater parameters. Clams smaller than about 1.5 inches can be more difficult to maintain due to their need for supplemental feeding.
Difference Between Wild and Cultured Clams
Wild clams are collected from the ocean and as such have imperfect shells that may have all sorts of other life growing on them and often mantles are also imperfect, Many wild clams have nips or bites from fish that may or may not be healed. Generally wild collected clams are considered to be difficult to keep and require proper conditions with experienced aquarists. Be aware that we offer a live arrival guarantee and quarantine all clams 2 weeks before sale and all clams are healthy when they leave our facility. If a wild clam does not survive in your system long term it is due to a lack of meeting some critical demand of the clam or from being attacked by pests or other animals in your tank. It is strongly recommended that you quarantine any new stock in a separate tank before adding to your display tank.
Cultured clams are farm raised and have more uniform shells and mantles. Given equally good systems and husbandry, cultured clams are considerably easier to keep and more forgiving of lighting and water conditions. Generally cultured clams are easy to keep under a wide variety of lighting including LED. We do not recommend supplemental feeding. Clams get nutrition from photosynthesis and utilizing dissolved organics not supplemental foods.
Base and Substrate
Clams need a secure firm base to attach their foot. Without a firm substrate such as rock or rock rubble your clam can not attach, a natural and relatively rapid process, and therefore is vulnerable to predators. We keep clams in our system with gravel or rubble so that we can easily handle them and ship them without damaging the foot. Most clams, especially cultured, attach to this rubble very quickly. In your tank you should have some rock or rock rubble under your clams so they can naturally attach, They should never be glued in place or otherwise artificially attached and must have enough room to naturally open and close.
Water Condtions & Lighting
Tridacna Clams need strong lighting to survive long term because they receive most of their nutrition from the products of photosynthesis, we highly recommend 250 or 400 watt metal halide lighting or equivelant, such as intense LEDs. Clams, corals, and all invertebrates require saltwater that has full strength natural saltwater STABLE parameters: Specific Gravity 1.025-1.027, alkalinity 8dKH, calcium 450+, Magnesium 1300+. Clams have a better survival rate in tanks that are not the most nutrient poor. Clams do well in tanks where there is a good fish population that are well fed thus resulting in slightly higher nutrients in the water that clams then utilize.
Coloration in clams is greatly affected by viewing angle. All of our photos are top down shots. Color will vary in your tank especially if viewed from the side and under different lighting. Photos shown are accurate in our tanks photographed under 14K MH lighting. Due to changes in viewing angles and with so many lighting possibilities in different tanks you may see different coloration. We can not guarantee an exact color match from our photos and what you see in your tank due to changes in viewing angle and types of lighting. All photos look like what the clams look like in our system when viewed from directly above.