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Thread: Warning: Cleaner Clams

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    Grand Master Reefer JustDavidP's Avatar
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    Warning: Cleaner Clams

    Folks,

    I just want to bring something to light questions that I've been asked more than three times in the last month...

    Q - Can I keep these "Cleaner Clams" in my system?

    Q - Do these "Cleaner Clams" help filter a reef tank?

    Q - I bought some "Cleaner Clams" and put them in my tank and now I can't find them...where did they go?

    What the HECK is a "Cleaner Clam" I asked myself... so I did some legwork...

    There are some saltwater vendor sites (dot com) that sell these things as the next best thing for nitrate reduction in your systems. What makes them more attractive is that they are relatively inexpensive. BUT... here's the real problem...

    The scientific name for these "Cleaner Clams" is Mercenaria mercenaria or, as we "New Enlgandahs" call them.. a Quahog!!!

    Answer to Q1... Yes you can keep them, they are quite hearty, IF YOU KEEP YOUR TEMPERATURES EQUAL TO THAT OF THE NORTHERN ATLANTIC OCEAN! Honestly, at what we call "reef temperatures" they will not fare well. Sure, they will stay alive for some time, but their metabolism will rocket, and stress will settle in and then, BAM.. some kind of illness, etc. and their dead. If anyone has ever had a tridacnid clam die in their system, they know what the results are for water chemistry.

    Answer to Q2... Yes, clams "filter" and some folks use tropical clams as nitrate reduction tools in their systems. Some pretty, like the tridacnids, some .. not soo pretty. But, again, in a tropical system, these clams are NOT the answer.

    Answer to Q3.... These clams are burrowing clams. You put them in your tank, and they immediately start foot rooting and dig themselves in, and under your substrate. You MAY, from time to time, see their neck at the top of the substrate, but that's it folks. If you thought you had acquired another "pretty" for your system, you have not. Another possible adverse situation is when these clams burrow down into a captive, deep sand bed. We all know that you really don't want to disturb these beds more than a bit on the topside. Imagine all the nasties released when these things get into areas that have been untouched, in some cases for years, that contain large pockets of NO. *shudder* You could quite possibly gas yer fishies! While it is important for your bed to release the NO byproduct, it is typically done in slow increments, naturally. A friend of mine, and seasoned Boston Reefer, JUST disturbed his DSB a couple months ago, which resulted in the loss of his entire system! Link below...

    Disaster - Boston Reefers Society Online Community

    In any case, If you are looking into a natural way to reduce nitrates, there are many options, that include the use of clams. If you take this route, why not get a beautiful squamosa, maxima, crocea, etc. If you use the new fad "Cleaner Clams", best of luck, and you've been warned by JustDavidP

    Dislcaimer: Keep in mind that there are some folks selling Tropical Cleaner Clams. I know nothing about them, but could look some more into their actual identification and report back. What I'm talking about above, is the rash of Atlantic Quahogs showing up on auction boards and some E-tailers.

    PS... if you want to dismiss my information, and are interested in purchasing some of these "Cleaner Clams", please contact me. I get them by the bushel in the warmer months and before turning them in to "Clams Casino" or "Dave's Famous New England Clam Chowder", I'll put some aside for you

    ><((((>`..`..`...><((((>
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    "Fins to the left...Fins to the Right, I'm going home to play with my reef tonight..."

    If you're looking for me, and I'm MIA from the board, email me at JustDavidP (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Experience in aquaria, 37 years. Experience in marine, 22+ years. Experience in Reef Keeping, 8 years. Always a newbie!

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    Grand Master Reefer JustDavidP's Avatar
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    Oh oh oh...and I forgot to mention.. these clams do NOT thrive in full strength salt water. They prefer more or less, salinity between 18 and 26 ppt. As a reference, Natural Salt Water (NSW) in the North American Atlantic is in and around 35 ppt.
    ><((((>`..`..`...><((((>
    `.. , . .`.. >((((>

    "Fins to the left...Fins to the Right, I'm going home to play with my reef tonight..."

    If you're looking for me, and I'm MIA from the board, email me at JustDavidP (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Experience in aquaria, 37 years. Experience in marine, 22+ years. Experience in Reef Keeping, 8 years. Always a newbie!

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    Apprentice graveyardworm's Avatar
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    I would like to add that these clams do not directly take nitrates from the water. They indirectly help lower nitrates by removing Dissolved Organics, and other small particulate matter from the water column. They are filter feeders, and in a typical reef aquarium their feeding requirements are unlikely to be met. Causing them to starve. So if the warmer temps, and higher salinity doesnt get them, then starvation most likely will.
    ~David~

    300+gal multitank, seagrass, mixed reef, clown anemone, refugium, and sump.

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    Insightful Reefer PreauxPhoto's Avatar
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    See!!! This is what it’s all about!!! David you have done it again. Great information, this is a great example of what a forum is supposed to be about. This is why in my opinion this is the best saltwater and reef forum on the net! Keep it up Guys and Girls!

    P.S. David keep the seahorse info coming I was planning on starting a SH only tank last month but I decided to wait till the podcast series is finished before I try. Nothing like being informed BEFORE you start a project instead of when it fails.

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    Grand Master Reefer JustDavidP's Avatar
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    Okay... another note. If you DO have Tridacnids in your system, and introduce other "unknown" clams, you may also be passing parasites into your system that your tropicals can NOT fend against.

    If you got just a couple of marine nematodes in your system, you'd be pretty sorry.

    D
    Last edited by JustDavidP; 03-24-2008 at 03:42 PM.
    ><((((>`..`..`...><((((>
    `.. , . .`.. >((((>

    "Fins to the left...Fins to the Right, I'm going home to play with my reef tonight..."

    If you're looking for me, and I'm MIA from the board, email me at JustDavidP (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Experience in aquaria, 37 years. Experience in marine, 22+ years. Experience in Reef Keeping, 8 years. Always a newbie!

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    Grand Master Reefer JustDavidP's Avatar
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    Scott,

    Thanks for the kind words I do, from time to time, get swamped with "Similar" questions. When I do, I know it's time to put my thoughts "out there".

    Did you like the last seahorse podcast? The next will be good as well

    Dave
    ><((((>`..`..`...><((((>
    `.. , . .`.. >((((>

    "Fins to the left...Fins to the Right, I'm going home to play with my reef tonight..."

    If you're looking for me, and I'm MIA from the board, email me at JustDavidP (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Experience in aquaria, 37 years. Experience in marine, 22+ years. Experience in Reef Keeping, 8 years. Always a newbie!

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    Rob
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    great info dave..

    thanks for all the effort here..


    this thread has been STUCK!!
    Show people you appreciate there advice, click the icon under there name and give them Reputation points



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    Grand Master Reefer JustDavidP's Avatar
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    Why are y'all thanking me? For rambling? Dave is as Dave does For passing on information or, perhaps, just opinion? Effort? Ha ha ha Rob... can ya feel it Brother... the project (as I said in my FIRST conversation with you more than a year ago) is taking on a life of its own. We are all part of it.. we are all "vested" and we are all taking care of this baby...The Talking Reef.

    D
    ><((((>`..`..`...><((((>
    `.. , . .`.. >((((>

    "Fins to the left...Fins to the Right, I'm going home to play with my reef tonight..."

    If you're looking for me, and I'm MIA from the board, email me at JustDavidP (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Experience in aquaria, 37 years. Experience in marine, 22+ years. Experience in Reef Keeping, 8 years. Always a newbie!

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    Grand Master Reefer JustDavidP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graveyardworm View Post
    I would like to add that these clams do not directly take nitrates from the water. They indirectly help lower nitrates by removing Dissolved Organics, and other small particulate matter from the water column.
    Sorry for bringing this thread back to life, but was referring it to another and wanted to add to this....

    What you say above is true, the clams do take in the dissolved organics by way of filtration. However, they also take up and utilize Ammonia (easily), and Nitrate (somewhat hesitantly), phosphate, etc. and use Ammonium Nitrate (along with phosphates, sulfates etc.) and convert into amino acids (alanine for instance) and other good stuff. This happens right at "absorption zero", the mantle.

    Well.. to be honest, the zooxanthellae do the work, but, you get the drift. The quick uptake of ammonia is very much involved in the reduction of total nitrates, but again, the clam will take in nitrates (especially if ammonia is low).

    When this process happens, it happens both utilizing surrounding nitrogen sources, and those created as a byproduct of the clams "biological activity". The clam, in turn, benefits from the passing of said compounds because the zooxanthellae then utilizes and passes along its waste, in the form of carbohydrates (i.e. glucose, glutimate, aspartate, etc.) to the clam.

    Nice agreement eh? No wonder they are "happy as a clam".

    Dave
    ><((((>`..`..`...><((((>
    `.. , . .`.. >((((>

    "Fins to the left...Fins to the Right, I'm going home to play with my reef tonight..."

    If you're looking for me, and I'm MIA from the board, email me at JustDavidP (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Experience in aquaria, 37 years. Experience in marine, 22+ years. Experience in Reef Keeping, 8 years. Always a newbie!


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