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FAQs about Bivalve Mollusks, the Clams, Mussels, Oysters... 1

Related Articles: Tridacnids, Bivalves, Mollusks,

Related FAQs:  Bivalves 2, & Bivalve Identification, Bivalve Behavior, Bivalve Compatibility, Bivalve Selection, Bivalve Systems, Bivalve Feeding, Bivalve Disease, Bivalve Reproduction, Tridacnids, Tridacnid Clam BusinessTridacnid Identification, Tridacnid Selection, Tridacnid Compatibility, Tridacnid Systems, Tridacnid Lighting, Tridacnid Placement, Tridacnid Feeding, Tridacnid Disease, Tridacnid Reproduction, Flame Scallops,

Lima Scabra, sold as "Flame Scallops". Most starve to death in captivity.

Culturing the Thorny Oyster? How about Keeping it Alive? 7/18/04 Hi, great site.  I read everything you had about the thorny oyster, and have been searching the internet with only limited success.   <there is not much info known/published on them for aquarium use... they are extremely difficult to keep alive and most responsible aquarists leave them in the ocean, or at least don't buy them> I have become a great fan of the thorny oyster and have decided I would like to have a crack at spawning and/or culturing the animal.   <keeping them alive for even a year would be a great feat in itself. Most hang in for some months (a few over 6 months) before finally succumbing to attrition/starvation> I was hoping to find a source of spat or small oyster seed and/or instructions on how to induce spawning.   <do look into the fisheries data (use university libraries/databases for this) on Tridacnid clams and other better studies bivalves. There is much info there to be assimilated I'm sure. Gerry Heslinga is a pioneer here and did some great papers on the sub-family Tridacnidae. Temperature, salinity shock were used at times... also serotonin infections as well as other hormonal treatments. Some bivalves will simply spawn just by the sensation of an egg in the water (sacrificing a ripe specimen for eggs top disburse). This all presumes that you can even rear your oysters to be sexually ripe/ready, and frankly... no-one can clearly say what it is that they eat in captivity or how to provide it. Bottled phytoplankton is unlikely to be a solely adequate staple> I have three oysters from local fish stores.  I have read everything I can find on Husbandry of the Giant Clam, and a bit on Cultivating popular eating oysters.  Can you direct me to a source of oyster spat/seed for the Thorny Oyster, and/or groups doing oyster raising locally in the US. Thanks, Kevin Meade <I share your admiration for this animals... but as my third query of the hour from a person that bought an animal that they do not know how to keep (what they even eat or if they can provide it), you have honestly bummed me out mate. No hard feelings. but please do consider the seriousness of the matter. If you are the one man that knows how to feed and keep Thorny Oysters in captivity for a full lifespan and not just a few weeks/months from purchase, then you need to do the industry and science a favor by telling us how (with all due respect here, sincerely). If not, I assure you that yours will be dead inside of 12 months. I have no wisdom to share other than above here. Anthony>

Oyster Drill snail? 7/18/04 Hello all, I was reading thru your site (one of my favorite things to do in my spare time :)  and I came across some pictures on this page:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/swsnailfaq3.htm , the comments state that it is an Oyster Drill (Cymatium aquatile) ..... Well, I have searched, your site and all over, and I am not finding any good information on these creatures.   <they are not used in the aquarium trade for this very reason (hence the void in literature on their husbandry). Tridacnid clams and numerous other desirable bivalves are in greater favor than drab predatory snails <G>> The few pictures I could find of living Oyster Drills do not look like the pictures on the above linked page, and the only other pics I could find are of empty shells, which tells me nothing at all about the creature. <there can be considerable variety in form among members of the same family... even in the same genus> The reason I am asking is because I have one of these things, it was sold to me as "some kind of conch".  I found the hairy shell and spotted body very attractive, so I bought it.   <this (buying live animals with unknown needs) combined with neglecting to quarantine new specimens is a recipe for disaster in your tank in the long run (introduction of a pest, predator or disease). Please do resist.> Now, I am wondering, if it is not a conch, and IS an oyster drill, what can I/should I feed it?   Do I need to buy oysters?  Do they have to be live?  Are there other foods it might accept?  What kind of conditions does it need?  It's been in my tank for nearly two weeks, always moving around and active, but I'm worried that maybe it is starving.  Where can I find more/better information on this creature?  Any help is greatly appreciated!  Barb <the first step is a correct ID of what you have. Without any picture or description of your snail other than general resemblance, it would be unfair and unrealistic for me to speculate. Ask your retailer for more info about where it came from. They should know or their collector/wholesaler at least will know what waters it was collected from. Then take that info and use it to refine your search among the many shell collecting sites. They are your best option in the absence of extensive ID and husbandry info for aquarium use. Anthony>

Bad decisions... wrong species, right admiration 5/27/04 Well, I'm not sure what sea this cowry comes from. I got it from a friend's tank because I'm an invert lover and I think cowries are really cool. ;]  <fascinating yes. Do check out our coverage of gastropods in "Reef Invertebrates" by Calfo and Fenner too> I can give you a basic description and see if you can make anything of it. <nearly impossible from a text description. A photo at least would be helpful> It's about an inch long, the shell is creamy white w/out any visible markings. The mantle is white w/ dark purple circular spots all over it. The foot is white/translucent w/ the outer perimeter being purple/dark magenta colored. I'm not too sure what it eats, maybe algae maybe snails. Who knows? ;] It is nocturnal for sure. <It never ceases to amaze and disappoint me that people bring pets into their home without knowing what they eat/need to survive> Thanks for any info you can give. Morgan Mok ps: Do you know where a person can get electric scallops? ;]  <they are near impossible to keep for anything that approaches a natural lifespan in captivity... unless you have figured out a way to magically culture bacteria, nanoplankton and other necessary plankters> Also, do spiny scallops/oysters (can't remember the name) need temperate waters in order to survive? Thanks! <Ughhh... if you are referring to Thorny Oysters... they are near impossible just the same. These azooxanthellate bivalves are some of the most difficult reef invertebrates to keep alive in aquaria. They slowly starve over a period of weeks to months categorically (very few exceptions). Please be a responsible aquarist and avoid these specimens. Read more about why on our free content website, wetwebmedia.com, or our last book if its handy. Anthony>

Flame Still Burning! (Flame Scallop Longevity) Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. with you today> Here is a picture of my flame scallop, 'Scooter'. Since purchasing him about four months. He has grown since then, he is about 3 inches from tentacle to tentacle and still has his flame color. He's found a place of refuge in my tank, even though no one bothers him (one small red clown, his refuge is on the other side of the tank, and one turbo snail, friend has the small crab now, about 30 pounds of live rock) I feed him DT's and Micro Vert every other day. He doesn't seem as bright as he was before. Not that big of a difference, but his tentacles are more orange than red now. He still opens up and acts the same. I do 30% water changes weekly on my tank (25gal) tests all come out great. Anything I can do? <Well, these are among the most difficult animals that you can keep in aquaria. They require large quantities of very fine plankton, which are pretty difficult to come by in aquaria. In the long run, they are best avoided... In your case, it's good that you've been continuously feeding this animal while maintaining good water quality. You really cannot be sure that the animal will make it for the long run (like years, not months) yet, but keep doing what you're doing.> Everything else is healthy and bright. Since purchasing him, I have talked to the LFS where I bought him from and expressed my concern for the Flame Scallops. They haven't sold them since. <Glad to hear that!> I thought that you would like this story, since you were the ones that educated me on this delicate species. This site is amazing, it really is a wonder for the public. Thanks! Justine <We're happy to be hear for you...Best of luck with this beautiful, but difficult animal. Regards, Scott F>

Lima sp.  Lima scabra I have looked at all of the links and info you have provided on Lima scabra. I was researching them for a possible tank candidate. Thanks to your info and a long exhausting internet search lima scabra will definitely not be added. I was wondering though, are lima sp. and lima scabra one in the same or a closely related species? <Mmm, well, Lima (or Limaria) spp. includes all species, Lima sp. any particular species of the genus Lima... Lima scabra is certainly the most commonly offered species of Lima in the pet trade> I keep seeing both of them being sold at the same place under these two names. One is labeled Electric Eye Scallop (lima sp.) and the other as Fire Scallop (lima scabra). The electric had fewer (or maybe just less dense) tentacles than the Fire. Unfortunately for the scallops and customers the description of the scallops said they were both easy to keep, and better yet they were part of their "Hugh Blow Out Sale". Hmmmm, I wonder why? <I share your skepticism/cynicism... likely "blown out" before they croak!> The Electric was the same size as the Fire but more expensive. Just curious. Thanks for your time,  Shauna <There seems to be a general trend that Pacific species are sold as Lima sp. and the Atlantic as Lima scabra... Bob Fenner>

White crab inside scallop 2/14/04 Recently I've noticed that the orange on this inside of my electric flame scallop was deteriorating. <regardless, this is a very poor specimen for captivity... most slowly die within one year of purchase. Please do resist buying another> I thought that it was either normal or maybe the scallop was dying. Well today my scallop turned around so now I can see the complete inside. But I found a crab inside! Can you identify this crab and tell me some more about it? <not really without a picture or detailed scientific description. Else you are asking us to name a faceless creature <G>. Kinda tough> I think my scallop may be doomed, but this is a cool looking crab. <the crab may be commensal, obligate (if so he will die soon too) or simply a hitchhiker. Hard to say. Agreed though... fascinating> Thanks so much and I love your site! -John <best regards, Anthony>

Littleneck clam compatibility 1/20/04 Hi there, <Hi Ryan!  Adam here today.> I'm afraid I'm going to ask what could be a silly question. I was at my local fish market buying some fresh shrimp for my aquarium, when it occurred to me that a littleneck clam might find a home in one of my saltwater tanks.  I bought one that probably had been sitting on ice for a long time, and acclimated him to my quarantine tank, where he quickly started to burrow and  make a home. Question: Is there any danger in keeping this clam in my tank? Is there anything in particular that these clams might need? <Wow!  You have proven just how hardy these animals are!  Despite it's hardiness, your little neck is doomed to die.  The first problem is that little necks are temperate.  The second is that they require large amounts of micro (probably phyto) planktonic food.  The only real danger is the pollution that the rotting animal will cause.  You can avert that danger by removing the clam.  It will make great fish food!> Thanks so much, Ryan PS: I promised my wife that I wouldn't try to rescue the lobsters too.<I know you are kidding, but please don't!  Most food lobsters are from very cold water.  Best regards!  Adam>

Flaming New Inhabitant <Hello, Ryan with you today> Hello! Numerous thanks for this website!! I have first searched with google but couldn't find my exact problem, I apologize if their is a post that already exists)<No worries> As it may happen all so often I bought a flame scallop from a pet store. I asked the man working there how to care for it and he said 'oh they eat just about anything, Dt's phytoplankton is good' <Sigh> Well thanks to your website and further research I now know that is not true. I am feeding it DTs through a pipette 2x a week. <If it's eating, that's half the battle> It is in a peaceful environment, healthy live rock, one clown who does not bother it and a little crab who also leaves it alone. <Keep your eye on that crab...> I test my water quality once a week and all of my nitrates/nitrites ammonia etc... are all great. <A little vague> My salinity is at .20 which seems to be  good for the fish and the scallop. <I prefer to keep mine a little closer to ocean levels> What else should I feed it? <With a refugium is ideal.  Other than that, the finer you can get the better.  Perhaps a product called Cyclop-eeze would be useful.  Bivalves consume very small particles.  The smaller the particles you feed, the more the animal will be able to consume.> Since he is a little jumpy how can I perform a water change and not stress the little guy out? <Turn out the lights first, move very slowly.  Lima scabra, sold as a flame scallop, has a dismal survival rate, so please research as much as possible: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvia.htm> I appreciate all the help and I have learned my lesson about trusting the advice of the pet store!! <Sadly, they're still in the business of making money.  Have a good day, Ryan> Sincerely, Justine p.s. I recently wrote in about a fire worm problem but just caught 3 last night with the plastic trap) <Great news!>

-Photosynthetic clams on Caribbean aquacultured rock!?- Hello, I have received some live rock from the great Gulf-view. Once again they have come through and wonderfully I might add. <So I've heard> I am just wondering about some turkey wing clams I got with them.  I heard clams need strong amounts of light, as well as very tiny food. <Well, Tridacnid clams (aka giant clams from the Pacific, NOT the Atlantic where this rock is from) require intense lighting because they are also photosynthetic. The mollusks you have are simply filter feeders that will eat tiny suspended foods like phytoplankton. I would suggest purchasing a few different brands of phyto if you plan on keeping this critter alive.> I was wondering if I could just use water changes of natural sea water to get the phytoplankton they need to eat rather than having to either throw em to the fishes before they die. <Pick up some DT's live phyto, ESV's spray dried phyto, and liquid life USA's Bio-plankton as some examples.> and what type of light would they need? thank you for your help. <Good luck! -Kevin>  Anthony

Arca Turkey Wing Bivalve 12/9/03 <howdy, Charles> I have an identification question for the Gods of Bi-valves. <I'm sure there is a witty retort to that somewhere... it slips me right now <G>> My 7 year old grandson spotted a shell that moved in my 55 G reef tank. Sure that he mistook a leftover that was being moved by random currents I stuck my hand into the tank to demonstrate that it was empty by wiggling the shell. Understand, I know that I haven't purposefully added any such class of animal to the tank. And, the shell that moved was heavily encrusted with coralline algae. <nifty!> Plus, my system has gone through a long period of less than benign neglect. That guy has been there for a while and is quite a survivor. <some bivalves indeed are enduring. Think of the trip that the zebra mussel made to get into the great lakes> At any rate, as my hand got within a few inches of the critter when he slammed his shell shut. Firmly. I've since glimpsed a little of him and watched as sudden shadows trigger the critter to "clam" up. The angle to the front of the tank isn't the greatest and I hate to move rock around unless there is a real need, so this shot is as good as it is going to get in a while. In the attached photo, the critter in question is about one inch below the scale, straight down from the 10 1/8 inch mark. Hinging seems to be along the top, tilted a little away from the camera and the back side shell is firmly anchored to the rock beneath him. The scale had been there, shading him a little for a few minutes before the shot so the shell is as open as it gets. <it appears to be an Arca Turkey wing bivalve or Tree Oyster (Isognomon)... the former (Arca) being famously hardy and long-lived in aquaria> You can also see patches of red and purple coralline algae as well as small "cacti gardens" of some kind of filter feeders (ID?). This shot is the best my digital camera can manage so I cannot get a better shot of them either. <no worries... clear enough> So, what is the mystery bi-valve, if you could hazard a guess? BTW, I understand that Anthony is going to be at Aquatic Gallery in Milpitas, Ca. on the 17th. Since I bought a copy of his and Fenner's book, can I get that autographed? <it would be my pleasure!> Regards, Charlie H. <be seeing you in the Bay Area soon :) Anthony>

Her Flame Scallop Is Happy As A Clam! Hi guys! <Hey there! Scott F. your guy tonight!> I hope you had a good Thanksgiving and didn't put on too much weight.  Remember you have to save some room for Christmas food too! ;] <Yikes! And I still haven't finished my shopping, either!> Well I haven't written in quite a long time (that's what happens when you become an educated reefer).  hehe   I wrote back in March about a Flame Scallop I collected while snorkeling.  It took a few days to settle in and did a very funny scallop jig around my tank in the process.  It finally found a secluded spot (kind of cavey) on the back of one of my rocks (a miracle that I can actually see it!).  I don't want to jinx it, but I am happy to say that it is December now and my scallop is still as happy as a clam. hehe <Glad to hear that it is doing well. We usually tend to discourage the keeping of these guys in most aquaria. As you are probably aware, Flame Scallops have an absolutely dismal survival record in captivity, starving to death over the course of a few months, so keep doing what you're doing!> It extends all of its tentacles (?) and its filters are nice and pillowy looking.  I feed a mixture of 3 tsps Dt's, 1 chunk blood worms, and a chunk of red frozen food via turkey baster to everyone once a week.   <Glad to hear that you are feeding...Usually, most hobbyists don't seem to have luck using bottled phytoplankton, as these animals feed on some of the most minute-sized plankton, which is usually hard to come buy in captive culture...Keep giving it your best!> My flower anemone is gorgeous and my open brains look like meat corals the morning after.  So I will report later on down the road and hope my success continues.  (Of course there are other factors: 58 and 75gal running on the same sump, running a refugium for a few months, Nerites and Ceriths love to make it on the glass adding to the zooplankton population, well established tanks with 3+" sandbed, etc, etc)  ;] <There you go! Having a healthy refugium is one of the best things we can do to assure success with delicate animals. You're right on the mark regarding the natural zooplankton production occurring in the 'fuge!> Okay one question,  Do you know of anything that would make an open brain (red rim green middle) that is 5+ years old rip open from the mouth, then fix itself?  This went on for several months then it finally got so bad (couldn't repair itself anymore) that it kicked it.  My four other open brains (I have a thing for them) never had this problem.  We figured that the brain in question might have had a microscopic algae problem that caused this.  Sad because it had a true RED rim figure eight shape. <Well, it's hard to say what this was. Could have been anything from a localized trauma to some sort of malady...Don't really have an answer for you on that one..> Drats!  I have another small question.  I have these little algae eating guys in my tank.  They're under half an inch and have a shell like a limpet crossed with an abalone.  My husband says they're limpets, but here's why I'm not so sure.  They have a head like a snail and if you touch one it zips away as fast as a sea slug.  These guys really move!  Thank goodness they eat diatoms or I might have problems!  If this doesn't help I'll try and get a pic to you sometime. <Yep- a pic would really help...I'd like to see what it is before making a guess!> Love you guys, take care! I hope everyone has a fine holiday and happy new year! Goodnight! <Thanks for the kind words, and happy Holidays to you, too! I hope you have continued success with your Flame Scallop! You're doing the best that can be done in captive husbandry- keep it up! Regards, Scott F>  

Jewel box clam 10/16/03 Hello, I just recently got some live rock from Tampa bay saltwater, When I was observing the rock in a quarantine tank I noticed what looks like siphons coming out of a few rocks, they told me these were Jewel box clams? <very common... actually fairly hardy for being non-photosynthetic> I have not been able to find out much about these as far as care and requirements. <they are obligate filter-feeders. You will want/need to have a fishless refugium plumbed inline to the display and/or have a deep sand bed for producing plankton and nutrients to sustain them. Most bottled supplements will not adequately feed them. You might try DTs phytoplankton though> I have placed the rock in my refugium and all appears to be fine. Do you know anything about these or where I can find more info. As always thanks. <we do have a solid chapter on care for bivalves in our new book Reef Invertebrates (Calfo and Fenner). I would also suggest you explore the message boards for fellow enthusiasts of filter-feeders. Many such folks there. Best regards, Anthony>

- Feeding a Flame Scallop - Hello, hope you're doing well. <Hello, JasonC here...> Before I start, yes I read all of the FAQs about flame scallops kind of after the fact.... <Ok...> I collected a small flame scallop when I was snorkeling the other day and its now trying to find a suitable perch to feed from.  It is my understanding that they need zoo-plankton in order to survive for any period of time.  I read the FAQs and came away a bit confused and frustrated. <Ok...> So please enlighten me, do flame scallops need to be fed with blenderized plankton or can they also feed on baby brine shrimp? <Either/or... baby brine shrimp are smaller than zooplankton, hence the need for the blender. It's all about particle size.> These were both listed as food items and I thought they were a little contrary since one says that the plankton needs to be "whisked in a blender" or it will be too large for the scallop to feed on.  Another article says you can feed them baby brine shrimp (which you can see with your naked eye), so I'm confused.  ??? <Zooplankton is likewise visible, plankton is not.> I have been dosing my tank every other day with DT's concentrated, refrigerated plankton.  My open brains and other things love me for it.  My tank is very well established and full of filter feeding critters including some sponge-like tunicates.   Also how do scallops reproduce in the wild? <Sexually, by releasing sperm and eggs into the water.> Side question:  Do you think blue/red-legged hermit crabs would feed on delicate colonial tunicates (grow of Florida turtle grass, bright orange, yellow, etc)? <Hard to predict but a possibility if it runs out of other things to eat. There's not a crab on the planet that isn't opportunistic.> Thanks so much. Hope you can clear this up for me. Morgan
<Cheers, J -- >

Something in my liverock >Hello. >>Greetings!  Marina this afternoon. >I am new to your site  and it was recommended to me by Mike at FFExpress. >>Excellent, our thanks to Mike, though I was under the impression that FFExpress is now defunct/bought out by the Dr.'s (Foster & Smith).  In any event.. >My name is Tom and I have just recently (in my 4th week) set up a 65 gal salt water tank. I have Live rock, mushrooms, green stars, green polyps, green bubble, leather coral, a cleaner shrimp, algae eating snails, and two clowns. I plan on getting a little more live rock and in time more coral and a couple more fish and crustaceans. >>Right, just be sure to go very slowly, and quarantine ALL new additions, 30 days is protocol. >MY QUESTION is a center live rock piece I use for a shelf has some organism that emits a little cloudy substance about every 20 minutes or so. >>Boring clam.  No, not uninteresting, boring as in mining.  Completely harmless and nothing to worry about.  Actually, it means that your conditions make it quite happy. >it has done this for about two weeks now and although it doesn't seem to be hurting anything I am just curious about what it could be and if it could hurt my tank down the road. I paid close attention to where this little cloud came from and it appeared to come from either the red growth in the rock or something underneath it. It must be something small as I tried to use the turkey baster to suck it out or remove it and nothing would budge. The cloud is a quick short burst as if being blown out. It appears almost like a little slimy and milky emission that disperses in the water then dissolves away. I cant explain it any better than that. >>You've explained it very well.  You have one of the goodies people hope for with good quality live rock, and hope not to lose during the curing process. >Like I said it has done this for a couple weeks now and I have tested my water taken my water in to be tested and so far so good. What do you think about this or do you know what it could possibly be. Thanks for your time.  Sincerely Thomas East   >>Right, I really think it's a boring clam, and certainly nothing to worry about.  Have fun with him, they're odd little beasts!  Best of luck with your new endeavor, it appears that your setup is looking very good (a bit unusual for many newcomers AND such new setups).  Marina

Bivalve ID 3/18/03 Howdy! Dave here from Sydney, <cheers, mate... Anthony Calfo in your service> brilliant site, have not made a purchase without looking here first since two months in from setting up my tank ( running now for 18 months) and have not lost a life since. That included a bout of Whitespot which I didn't beat till I found this site <outstanding to hear!... wishing you continued success in your endeavors :)>       I recently purchased a T. Squamosa from my LFS and after 2 weeks of QT is now in my display tank. I did notice what looks like  a clam of some sort, it's the hairy thing partially open in the bottom left of the picture below. <indeed... it is a small oyster. Tough to ID from the photo... perhaps a little Chama sp. from my refs/perspective> I haven't removed it not wanting to kill something unnecessarily but would like some reassurance. <it is completely harmless (non-burrowing) and incidental. Enjoy it my friend> Thanks in advanced. Thanks from my fish and soft corals as well. <kind regards, Anthony>

Bivalve ID- Turkey Wing- Arca species To Anthony - what is this? Howdy Anthony! I've attached a picture of something that is growing near the bottom of one of my live rocks. <very cool... a Turkey Wing bivalve (Arca species)> Looks sort of like a furry clam, but is long and skinny, and looks as if the shell had formed around a pencil, near the bottom, then the pencil was taken away. (This is where the red spot is, with the shell forming two "hooks".) Hope the pic is clear enough - <fine enough> as the critter is near the bottom of the tank, tis hard to get a good angle without taking the rock out of the tank! Is the pic and description good enough for you to tell me what this is? Does it need a special diet? <it is a filter feeder. Variable success in captivity. Would likely do best in a fishless refugium. Occasional feedings with meaty juices (small amount) from thawed foods may help.> (Or, do I need a better picture? - lol) THANK YOU! >>-Cathy in Texas <>< <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Blue Sponge & Flame Scallops-up - 2/16/03 Thanks for the prompt response. I have power compacts 50/50's (10K and blue actinic) Yes I had read about not exposing them to air. OK so since I don't have metal halides I should not get one. <Truthfully, the lack of halides doesn't totally exclude you fro keeping blue sponge. Under fluorescents, if you can get the sponge within the top 10" of water with mostly daylight lamps and not so much actinic blue (just like you will have to do for SPS corals)... this sponge can live well. Be sure to change your lamps every 6-10 months. Definitely an expense/bummer about PCs/VHOs. Halides though are a much better value (cost of light produced, PAR per watts, life of bulbs at 2-5 years each!, etc) and they would be better for growth in this sponge> I don't have the coral yet in my 90 gal reef getting one on Tuesday. But I plan to have mostly LPS and SPS and a few fish... <try to go with mostly LPS or mostly SPS... the two together are incongruous (low vs. high light and heavy vs. no-target feedings... not to mention heavy chemical warfare in the long run... post 1 year)> Right now I have a Regal Tang, Domino Damsel, Cleaner Shrimp, Flame Scallop,1 hermit crab and some snails...I plan to get a few more fish (On Tuesday getting 2 Perculas and a bubble coral) Let me know what you think. <I think you should find the jerk that sold you the flame scallop and kick him in the jimmy <G>. Poor bugger (the Fileclam- AKA "scallop") is doomed to die of starvation within a year if it even gets that far. Unless you have a live phytoplankton reactor... seriously. A very difficult animal and most starve to death slowly. Sorry to be a buzz kill, my friend. But you needed to know/asked <G>. Best of luck. Anthony>

Flame Scallop (Fileclam) care - 2/16/03 OK thanks for the info on the blue sponge... We will see... I don't want it to just die on me... So we will see... but thanks for the info. <No worries... and it may be a fair indicator of readiness for SPS (which we do not recommend you start with if they are your first corals... soft corals instead, and definitely not LPS for their single or few-polyp vulnerable structures)> OK...now you have me wondering about the scallop. I feed it phytoplankton 3 times a week...I also have 2 mussels and lots of feather dusters that came on my live rocks. Is this enough to keep him alive? <mussels are variable in captivity... many feather dusters will do well (although phyto is not needed... they feed more on dissolved organics and by mucus strategies) [fanworms specifically do well in contrast to the large Hawaiian feather dusters can starve in a year or two]... As far as the scallops, I do believe the will be dead within 4-6 months of your purchase. The bottled phyto is a precarious product to use... great idea... marginal benefits in my opinion. A seagrass refugium would produce far more food and of far better quality and size for these creatures. All of these subjects have been covered in detail in the FAQs if you care to read more about them. Popular creatures/subjects (including bottled phyto issues). Do use the google search tool for keyword searches at the bottom of the wetwebmedia.com homepage> He seems very happy right now. <No slight... but I'm guessing "happy" means you've had it for less than 2 months but it still opens up each day and looks good. Do understand... we get this question a lot (keeping flame scallops)> Thanks for any info you can give me. <Not much to say... we almost never recommend these creatures for captivity... even rare for species specific displays for their short captive lives. Read a bit here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvmarfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvia.htm Best regards, Anthony>

Re: flame scallop foods Hey folks, if I sent my old emails with this it would be huge, but, I'm the kid who writes in about running a 75 marine tank at Roanoke College. We've had great success for the past 18 months. I just found out our colt coral is splitting itself into about 4 pieces- a very healthy animal so far, I'm hoping this is a good sign.  the new care taker just bought a flame scallop...ugh, I know. we have good water chem- as in zero's across the board, so I'm not worried too much about that. I've searched and read and again, actually I've read all of the daily faq's for about 3-4 months now with the rest of my email) but what do these things eat?  I'm really hoping we can keep this guy alive. thanks, mike Barrett <Fine plankton (zoo mainly) of nano to about 10 micron size. The few folks I've seen keep them for any period of time (rather than the weeks to a couple of months it takes for simple starvation), have had good (relative) size refugiums with well-established DSBs. Bob Fenner>

- Clam Selection - <Greetings, JasonC here...> I have a 120 gal. reef tank that I'm in the process of getting up and running. I had to take it down when I moved, and put as much stuff as I could into a 29 gal. tank. I resold a lot of rock and soft corals, and now only have a clownfish (I can't remember what kind, but it is orange with banded white stripes and a yellow tail), a 8" bubble anemone, a small cluster of Derasa mushrooms (12 to 16 polyps), several clusters of unidentified (as yet) polyps, and about 35 lbs. of live rock. The substrate consists of 30 lbs. of sugar size Aragamax sand, 20 lbs. of Arag-Alive special grade reef sand, and around 35 lbs. of crushed coral from my old tank, some of which I rinsed with the water in my old tank to avoid killing bacteria, the rest was soaked in freshwater and rinsed thoroughly to avoid waste transfer. If that sentence was unclear, the Aragamax and Arag-Alive are new, the crushed coral is "recycled". I utilize a sump with a Little Giant pump for the return. I have a Red Sea Berlin skimmer, which I just upgraded to "Turbo" (my Mag-Drive pump died). My next purchase will be a 100 lb. box of live rock. Please forgive me if this e-mail is too long, but I have several questions, and I know you'll need the background info. <No worries.> My goal is to have a tank that is very healthy for soft corals and anemones. <Please read/study more on anemones before you place them... they are best left in the ocean, but if you insist then they should be placed in their own tank.> I also want a couple of clams later. <Hmm, well... for either the anemone or the clams you will need [most likely] to upgrade your lighting if you haven't already to something in the neighborhood of the intensity of Metal Halide lamps.> I have been reading a good bit about the benefits of a refugium and will add one soon. I was wondering if you had any recommendations for plants to go in it? <Just macro algae - Caulerpa works very well, but there are other alternatives.> I want it to be a source of nutrition for my soft corals, how can I achieve that best? <By taking your time and allowing the tank to mature for about a year... it can take a while.> What is your opinion on using a mud type substrate in the refugium? <Many people have had great success with this method. I myself have not used it.> Have you ever used a product called Spectra-Vital? <No.> Does it live up to its claims? <I doubt it... many of the Marc Weiss products are just simple sugars which provide only a modicum of nutrition, but are really just 'one more thing' for you to spend your money on. There are better, more natural ways... the refugium for instance.> To have something to experiment with in my tank while I get the expensive stuff together, I bought 6 oysters from a local restaurant. The were on ice, so I put them in chilled seawater and allowed them to come to room temperature overnight in a bucket with an airstone for aeration. That morning I checked to see if they were still alive, and they were. I put them in my sump for two days (for easy access in case they died) to make sure they would survive. They did, so I moved them to the main tank, where I'm sure 5 of 6 are still kicking. Three close in response to shadows, two close when poked at, and I haven't noticed the last open yet, but I can't open it by hand so I think it may still be alive. Now that it seems like they'll make it, i need to know what to feed them, but I can't seem to find much on oysters. <I can't honestly encourage this... most all food-oysters come from waters that are less tropical than most reef tanks are set up for. Especially considering that these were on ice, their health is likely compromised. Unless you run a chiller, or leave your heaters unplugged, these oysters aren't going to live for very long. Additionally, it's just not wise to put things in your tank before you know how to care for them. Please learn to reverse this trend before you place anything else. Research - then obtain.> Would some sort of phytoplankton preparation work? <It might.> What do you recommend? <Removing the oysters, perhaps make some butter sauce and eat them?> Any help would be greatly appreciated. John Jordan <Cheers, J -- >

- More on Oysters, lighting, etc. - Jason C: <Howdy.> As far as lighting, I have 2 110 watt VHO Actinic 03 lights, and one 175 watt 10K MH. Should that do? <That will work for the Tridacnid clams, yes.> The oysters are from the Gulf of Mexico, where can I find info on water temps there? <I would use your favorite search engine.> I did do some research on bivalves, just not specifically oysters because most of the info I found on the web was related to captive culture of oysters in the ocean. Would food preparations for recommended for flame scallops, etc. work on oysters also? <Hard to say, all bivalves are filter feeders so those preparations should work better than nothing.> If not I guess I could always try the butter sauce. <This is really the route I would go.> Thanks, John Jordan <Cheers, J -- >

Limpet Attacking a Flame Scallop? Last night I saw a Limpet attached to the bottom of my Flame Scallop and I didn't think anything of it until I looked at my Scallop this afternoon and when I tried to get the Limpet off of my Flame Scallop he felt like he was locked on my Scallop, and I had to actually pry him off. <Yes, it is very difficult to remove a Limpet from any surface. They have an incredible suction power.> My Scallop looks like he was dying. <Agreed> He is shrinking up on the inside and I don't know what is wrong with him. <Please perform a search of Flame Scallops on www.WetWebMedia.com for the reasons.> He is not responding to touch like he used to, his shell does not close right away when he is touched, and when you try to close him it feels like he is almost locked in the open position. I did some research on Limpet's this evening and I didn't like what I read on some of them. <Perhaps do some research on Flame Scallops. I am positive you will not like what you find about them.> Is it possible the Limpet was boring a hole in him and getting ready to eat him? <Nope, your scallop is and has been starving to death.> My scallop was fine for months until now. <No, you just did not notice its duress.> Please give me your suggestions on what could have happened to him <It is starving just like almost all do.> and what his chances of survival are. <Next to none.> Thank you for you great expertise! Connie <Please research your animals and their care prior to all purchases. -Steven Pro>

Limpet Attacking a Flame Scallop? Follow Up Wow, now I really feel bad after having received your answer that my Flame Scallop starved to death. I've only had my reef tank set up for 5 months and now I am so discouraged that I don't know if I want to pursue this hobby or not. <Hold on. This was not my intention. You merely need to be aware that not everything offered for sale is appropriate for captivity or for every aquarium. If you just research your intended purchases prior to buying them, you can avoid these types of complications. An educated consumer is the best hobbyist.> I will take your advice and search your web site for information from now on before I purchase anything. <Great!> Thank you so much. Have a good day. Connie <You too! -Steven Pro>

What is it? Hello; How are you? <hungry and sleepy but still happy. Thanks for asking... I hope you are well too:) > I was wondering if you could help me identify something on my live rock.  <I can and will or I'll make up something very convincing> I have a 29 gallon tank, with 25 lbs of live rock. It is hard to describe in words but I will try. Last night, my emerald crab was eating stuff off the top of one of the live rocks. As I watched him move around, he touched the top most part of the rock with his claw. (it is kind of a pointed section on top of the rock.) When he touched this part, it sank down into the rest of the rock. When this happened, it scared him, and he ran down off the rock. After about a minute the pointed section rose back up to where it was before he touched it. Is this some type of bi-valve such as a clam or oyster.  <Where is the rock from? If Atlantic, reference the Turkey Wing (Arca zebra) ... quite common> It just looks like the rest of the rock to me, and I had no idea there was something living there. After searching my tank, I found a couple other places where the rock is moving. (I guess another reason to call it live rock!!!) <bingo... hand that man a stinky Kewpie doll> If they are bi-valves, will they survive by adding phyto plankton to the water? <yes... but bottled phyto must be whisked in a blender before every use to reduce particle size or it is hardly useful. Hmmm... don't read that on all the bottles do you :) Research shows...> Thanks for all your help (both now and my past questions), Kevin <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Arca zebra Thanks Anthony, on the speedy reply. <my great pleasure> What you wrote was right along my thinking.  <are you sure that you just aren't feeling gassy instead?> These guys really aren't going to like burst of water from a turkey baster. They close up when a shadow passes.  <exactly> Not that I blame them. <yep... the shadow or unnatural and "large" burst of water indicate a potential predator> I have a degree in biology (wanted to be a marine biologist...sometimes life just doesn't work out)  <I understand... and Mariah Carrey wanted to be a singer> so I figured that phytoplankton would be my best bet. <agreed> Right now I have a bloom of diatom algae so they are probably ok for now. <helpful> Naturally, I'd like to rid myself of the algal bloom and then will have to actually feed them. These guys are pretty cool and I'd hate to lose them, especially since that end will probably wipe out my tank. <indeed a significant mass to be rotting suddenly> I plan on adding a refugium to my setup anyway, so I'm glad that you think this will help.  <very much so with the right plants... do avoid Caulerpa for this purpose at least> But, in the meantime, I may buy some phyto and blenderize it. I'm looking forward to you being at That Fish Place in Lancaster, PA later this month. Perhaps we'll get any opportunity to chat there. <Looking forward to it!> Thanks again, Mike <with kind regards, Anthony>

Arca zebra- Turkey Wing Bivalve Hello to whomever is answering mail today, <cheers> I've read over the mollusk/bivalve section and various FAQs but I can't find anything on the maintenance of Arca zebra.  <like most aposymbiotic reef animals they are very challenging in captivity in most tanks due to their obligate filter feeding habits> I have four of them that hitched a ride with my live rock.  <yes... commonly imported on rock from the Atlantic> Should I feed them via a turkey baster arrangement or will they get along by filtering the water in the tank as is?  <neither. Target feeding is too large (particle size) and too frightful (they will pull in before accept the unnatural burst of water). They also will not survive without feeding although many live in reef tanks for even a year or more unassisted (most however do not). They feed on nanoplankton and perhaps mostly phytoplankton. Aquaria that grow a lot of microalgae (plagued tanks) can usually keep these animals well! (spores, epiphytic material floating around, etc). You can help this animal by having a seagrass refugium or other type of phyto reactor. Bottled phyto products are only suitable if you run them through an electric blender with every feeding to get particle size down (no fun)> BTW, I had no idea that they are mobile critters. One of mine decided it liked a spot about 6" away from where I originally put it. It did this overnight. Just what I need...an insomniac bivalve.<G> Thanks, Mike <do enjoy this fascinating creature. Best regards in your endeavors. Anthony>

Flaming Red Sea Scallop Hello wanted to ask a few questions, purchased a beautiful flaming red sea scallop to put in our existing established 75 gallon saltwater tank. <Did you look into the care and historically poor survival rate for this creature first?> Could you please go into detail for me about any special care and feeding? <Daily feedings of rotifers and baby brine shrimp maybe enough to get this creature to survive.> Also would like to know how they breed, was thinking of getting another... <Please don't. There is no record of breeding these in captivity that I am aware of because they all die prematurely from starvation.> Also any special care or feeding I should know for the small spiny urchin? <Do please see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/urchins.htm regarding and follow on through the linked FAQ file.> Thank you, Tawny <You are welcome.> Hope you can answer me privately and not on the website :) <We reply to all the emails, plus post and archive them on the website to enlighten others.> Also my fish store does not sell coral sand for my smaller tank which houses the seahorses. My husband wanted me to ask, if he could gather sand from the lakeshore here in Canada, and wash it with boiling water, if it would be safe to use in the seahorse tank. <I would not do it.> It would be fresh water sand that he would be gathering. <It is the potential for metal contamination or residues that I would be most concerned about. At the very least, it is silica sand and a calcium based product would be best. I would peruse the links page of www.WetWebMedia.com for e-tailers selling sand or possibly go to the ESV and CaribSea pages looking for links to companies that sell their sand. -Steven Pro>

Mussels Hi Bob, I was wondering if adding New Jersey sea animals to my aquarium is a good idea. (Your thinking probably not???)  <Depends... on whether they're physiologically, physically, behaviorally compatible... to what you can offer> My aquarium is a 30 gallon fish and hardy invert tank set up for a few months. Its got a Prism skimmer and a Marineland Emperor filter, and 20 lbs of live rock and 3 lbs of live sand. It contains 4 blue leg hermit crabs, a damselfish, and 2 porcelain crabs. I was thinking of adding mussels, crabs of different sorts, and maybe a few other bivalves. I see many butterfly clams (Donax variabilis) on the shore especially at low tide. Is it wise to include them into my tank, or should I just find other things to put in it? Thanks much for putting up with me, Jen. <Well, this is really a small volume of water... what will you do when it's the equivalent time of winter there? Return the native animals? Get a chilling mechanism and remove the tropical animals? I encourage you to study what the shore there has to offer (much, have been to NJ numerous times), and perhaps put up a specialty tank that mimics the conditions (thermal, current, lighting...) of some part of the offshore environment and attempt to keep a few types of organisms you have a desire to study further. Bob Fenner>

Flame "Scallop" hello Mr. Fenner, I've been getting lots of information from your web site that has been very helpful. I have several questions for you... I have a flame scallop via my boyfriend, whom I told was hard to keep,  <Put a tether on him. Oh, you mean the Lima scabra> but he thought it was neat) <Mmm, what do you think, feel?> how do I keep it alive. I was told they only live for six months. <Most, a much shorter time> can I feed it and my other salt water fish blood worms? do I squirt the food into the scallops opening? does it need plankton? when I buy fish from the market should I be concerned about hormones and other stuff injected into them. I think that's it for now. thanks in advance Jennifer <No worries re hormones. Please use the Google search feature on the homepage of www.WetWebMedia.com (on the bottom of the page), looking for input on "Flame Scallop" or the scientific name of this Pen Shell above. Much to consider as humans, consumers re how we "cast our votes". Bob Fenner>

Flame Scallops that aren't Mr. Fenner, just wanted to say thanks for your prompt answer to my flame scallops question. this saltwater thing is much harder than I thought. but what really frustrates me is the fish stores. sales people are selling fish, left and right not informing people properly of the fishes needs, I think to myself, poor fish its doomed..... I've learned a couple important things from you, the number one thing being research, research, research.... thanks for your expertise...Jennifer <A privilege and honor my friend. Bob Fenner>

Flame Scallops that aren't II/Crew Mr. Fenner, just wanted to say thanks for your prompt answer to my flame scallops question. this saltwater thing is much harder than I thought.  <naw... you just lucked out on the steep end of a learning curve. It all gets better and easier in time> but what really frustrates me is the fish stores. sales people are selling fish, left and right not informing people properly of the fishes needs, I think to myself, poor fish its doomed.....  <lesson here: the informed consumer has no worries on this matter> I've learned a couple important things from you, the number one thing being research, research, research.... thanks for your expertise...Jennifer <always welcome... keep learning, sharing and growing. Best regards>

Rubble to Be Used for Oyster Reef (washingtonpost.com) I thought this may be of some interest to you and others. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5147-2002Apr6.html <Neat. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Bob Fenner> The Associated Press Saturday, April 6, 2002; 4:07 AM  BALTIMORE -- Concrete rubble from Memorial Stadium, the former home of baseball's Baltimore Orioles and football's Baltimore Colts, will be used to create an artificial oyster reef in the Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources plans to plant more than 4 million baby oysters on the reef off the mouth of the Patapsco River. "We're using one cultural icon to rejuvenate another," said Bill Goldsborough, senior fisheries scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, one of several conservation and sportsmen's groups helping build the reef. Not everyone sees it that way. "It's the last straw," said state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, who fought unsuccessfully last year to stop the demolition of the downtown stadium, built in 1954 to honor World War II veterans. "It's just saying to the veterans, 'We don't care about you. Let's throw 'em in the ocean.'" DNR officials say the stadium's remains will be respectfully treated. The 8,000-cubic-yard reef will be an oyster sanctuary, off limits to harvesting, said Eric Schwaab, DNR's fisheries director. Oyster diseases thrive in the saltiest parts of the bay. Fishery managers hope the reef's site in fresher water will make it a good home for disease-free oysters raised in a University of Maryland hatchery. The proposal is expected to get a permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment. Construction should begin in the summer, Schwaab said. 

Re: thank you (Flame Scallop, challenging marine livestock, life) Anthony, Thank you and of course I agree with you....about the animals sent..... <thank you for understanding... as we (WWM crew) answer e-mails and share opinions in somewhat of a mentoring fashion, it seems necessary to step up on a soapbox a little bit at times for the greater good of the many other aquarists that browse these posted FAQs. Diligent and sincere folks such as yourself are the best place for challenging animals. But not all aquarists have the time or heart to dedicate to animals such as flame scallops and various anemones, for example. As such, they need to know that it is not OK to just accept them into their tank when a dealer pushes them and just hope for the best> it did send me into a learning frenzy but I know that it was not a good idea..... <I'm very grateful and delighted that you were inspired so urgently to want to learn about the needs of these animals> I am enjoying this tank so much....I joked with Bob F on a previous email and wondered when the reduced heart rate thing was going to happen and actually a few times I have sat with my new tank and husband and boy and really enjoyed just watching....relaxing....not feeling that I have to run and do an ammonia test.....it is a wonderful little metaphor for many things. <yes... truly a wonderful hobby for all the right reasons> Thanks for the help. I'm ordering some phytoplankton for the Flame......dig ya later.....Helene <very good, and do learn about the feeding technique of the phyto substitute from past FAQ/message board posts, etc. (keep refrigerated, buy and use fresh only <6 months old, and whisk in a blender or like device before feeding. Best regards, Anthony>

Mussel on Rock Hello and thank you for hours of study on the ol' internet....not to mention your book which is now totally unbound and carried around with a big rubber band around it....think we read it a lot? <Yikes, more than I!> Anyway to the point, I have received some live rock and am busily checking ammonia levels and chasing mantis shrimp....but those are pretty standard. What I am worried about is a large (to me) 4" mussel looking critter who is attached to my rock....He or she seemed to move quite a bit in the beginning but not so much now and I am a little scared that it has died. How can I tell? should I just assume its demise and take it out? <In your size, type tank... should be okay... and you will likely know as it will gape pretty good, may cause the water to go cloudy and smell a bit...> Any help would be appreciated...I am worrying my way through this process of changing from my fish only tank to my new 75 gallon, hopefully someday reef tank...It's very fun.....but I am waiting for the restful heart rate thing that is supposed to happen when you gaze calmly into your tank....Isn't that why it's a tax write-off if it's at your place of business? <You're cracking me up... yes to all> ...(right now I'm paying people to help me do water changes and catch shrimp...we got one too!!!) Thank you so much. I look forward to your reply. Helene <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: What can you do... (Daily Email image from WWM) Nice photo. Question, I just received some Acros from Fiji, and one head has two quarter sized oysters/clams imbedded in the head. Do I need to feed them? Are they photosynthetic? <Likely not photosynthetic... and wouldn't do much to feed them... other foods... flake, phytoplankton if you feed it, will get to them... as well as materials produced endogenously in your system. If enough, they will live. Bob Fenner> Thanks Bob, Todd

Keeping Thorny Oysters Dear Mr. Fenner, I am interested in getting a thorny oyster from my aquarium but I can't seem to be able to find much if any information about them. Your site was one of the few that had any information about them. I need to know how to go about caring for them. I know they are filter feeders, but other than that that's all I know.  <Mmm, there are species of thorny oysters that are cultured, used for scientific study... What types are you considering? Species, tropical, cool water? What sort of system? Desires? What other organisms do you intend to keep in the same system? Bob Fenner>  Thanks for your time, Wally
Re: Keeping Thorny Oysters
Thanks for your quick reply! I am talking about "Spondylus americanus" <Genus Spondylus. You need the correct spelling to find much in books, the Net... We have S. princeps off our neighbors coast (Baja California)> or the American Thorny Oyster. I am in the planning stages of my new tank and I am researching everything that will go into it.  This tank is going to be something a little different. I am calling it a "rocky reef". I have been in the aquarium hobby for a long time (longer than I like to admit, this will be my first salt-water tank) and I am wanting to create a tank in which inverts (but not corals) are the primary focus. I am going to be setting this up in a 55 gallon. I have 50 lbs of dry aragonite rocks that will be set up in two rock piles on either side of the tank I will seed the piles with a few lbs of "live rock" from my LFS. This will also give me a large sand area in the middle. I plan on having a 4 inch deep sand bed. As for tank inhabitants, I plan on keeping the fish load light. I will get a pair of False Perc Clownfish (tank raised), and perhaps another small fish or two. (not sure about what type leaning towards a flame angel, and an orchid Dottyback.) <I see> But then I want lots of inverts. I have been in love with snails for quite some time (both land and water) and have kept them for years. It is this love of snails that is driving me to start this tank (ok I know I am weird just ask my wife). I plan on getting some of the aquacultured conch's, an abalone, as well as the typical cleanup crew type snails. I am not going to put any hermits into this tank, I have heard to many horror stories about them killing snails. <Yes, this happens with many species.> I also want to get several of the shrimp species and perhaps a starfish. <Mmm, do research here... some of these are avid mollusk eaters as well> I figure that the two large rock piles on either side will facilitate the species that like rocks and the open area will be good for the fish to swim in and provide a lot of sandy area for the fighting conchs, and Nassarius snails to plow through. I thought about the thorny oyster to have yet another type of invert for my system. I thought about flame scallops but I know they are very hard to keep and thought the oyster would be better. When I was a kid I lived in Maryland, we kept oysters from the Chesapeake Bay in our classroom tank. They were pretty cool and lived the whole year so they must have been pretty hardy. Of course that was over 20 years ago but I still remember it. <They are still there> Also as for lighting the tank I am just going to use a standard strip light with a 40watt 50/50 bulb. Since I am not going to have corals I don't really need all the light. <Correct>  Thank you again for your time, I appreciate any info you can give me on the oyster, and any comments on my planned tank. <Rather than relate my limited knowledge, I encourage you to peruse the literature. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm Bob Fenner> Thanks Again, Wally

Perry, with Clams, Dollars in His Eyes Hi Bob Will be sending u a copy of Asian Geographic. What is your latest mailing address? <8586 Menkar Rd. San Diego, CA 92126> Have a question for you. Are cockles and clams popular in the marine hobby? <Only Tridacnid/Giant Clams really> Know someone who brings in such stuff from Indonesia and sells it to supermarkets for about US10 cents per 100 grams. Singaporeans like to cook them in chili sauce. <Deelish! Bob Fenner, who wonders if you'd like to join our entourage at Kungkungan Beach Resort, Slaws in January. Think we may be able to get a favorable rate, great diving... Or back to Taveuni in May?> Perry

Not A Flame Scallop Again! >Ok first I have had a flame scallop for a week or so and it now does not inflate its little tentacles and generally looks like its is withering. I was told it was a filter feeder and didn't have to feed it. It is not bothered by any other of my tanks fish....and the water quality is great...what is happening? also Is there a mail-order fish place like FFExpress closer to my home state of Michigan that you know of? thank you for the help, Adam C >> Yikes... well, sorry to state, but these pen shells, (Lima scabra only looks like a scallop) rarely live in captivity for any length of time... because as you state, they're filter feeders and there's simply not enough to keep them alive in the way of food in captive settings... Some folks have success occasionally spritzing them with blended food materials or moving them to more "cultured" settings where they can "beef up"... And don't know about the other mail-order places... but you should be able to find out where they're located through contacting them... finding their URL's by way of Freshwater and Marine Aquarium magazine ads... maybe also the various Search Engines on the Net... Bob Fenner

Bivalves i have a serpent starfish and i really would like to feed it live food.  after billions of years of evolution i think its a shame that i have to hand feed them. i don't mind spending 5 bucks every week or so for a peppermint shrimp/camelback shrimp for my lionfish to hunt around for (i inject the live food with multivitamins). ill also feed him a vitamin injected goldfish/damsel every other shrimp. back to the question... do you know of anywhere i can get my hands on some small bivalves that i can set in my main tank for the starfish to eat? i have a refugium and a 10 gal hospital tank always running. right now the hospital tank is growing Caulerpa. if i have to luck out with uncured liverock do you know any way to breed the little bivalves? call me crazy but i think that the livestock are better off hunting their own food, after all a hunt would be a good way to entertain oneself in a 55gal aquarium. Jon Trowbridge  >> Be careful on the live bivalves question... for them getting loose (esp. ones that are capable of tolerating freshwater, and pollution, and disease reasons... but you can probably get someone (local) to collect and ship you Mytilus/mussels from a seashore (don't say this ten times fast)... Or, look into the "Green Lip" ones that are sold, cleaned, even-halved, frozen, up from Kiwi Land/Zealand... they're really cheap here at the oriental food superstores (two pounds for five bucks... how's that prepare to Tetra Min?). Bob Fenner

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