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FAQs about Bivalve Mollusk Behavior

Related Articles: Tridacnids, Bivalves, Mollusks,

Related FAQs:  Bivalves 1, Bivalves 2, Bivalve Identification, 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,

Turkey Wing Bivalve fell off the rock!     2/19/19
<Morning. Mandy>
I have some man made live rock from Florida,....and it is as the gentleman told me when we spoke, all covered in filter feeders.
I am having a wonderful time looking very very close and seeing all the fan worms and other filter feeders on it. Some are so tiny!
Like this hydroid colony. Some are bigger....and the clams are huge!
It also came with 4 clams. I believe they are Turkey Wings....there are two huge ones, one middle size one and one tiny one.
<Yes, they are Ark clams>
I feed Coral Frenzy coral food 2 times a week,...with the power head on and the filter off for about 1/2 an hour.
I never see any of these clams open, I see a little white tube sticking out of one of the big ones all the time and they do shift their positions sometimes. But other than that, they don't seem to ever open up. Maybe Turkey Wings don't open?
<They do, when feeding or moving but remain most of the time closed>
I am worried that the one that fell off the rock might die and kill off my tank......how can I tell if he's dead or alive?
<When they die, they get loose/opened>
He's very heavy, if that helps, and he's very tightly close up. I can't even see where the foot fell off!
Here are pictures, let me know what you think, I don't want to take him out if he's not dead, but don't want him to die in the tank either.
< Take it out of the water for a moment and do a simple “smell test”, it should have a fresh ocean smell.>
Hope these help,....the other clams look just about the same. Are they supposed to OPEN up? They do react when I get close to them,....but I never see any sign of them opening up any appreciable amount. }
<As long as they react when you touch them, they are likely fine.>
Thank you very much again,
Mandy <Welcome. Wil.>

Re: Turkey Wing Bivalve fell off the rock!     2/19/19
Thank you, Wil,!!
<You’re welcome!>
I just went over and reached up over the clam to check his smell, and he moved! He saw me coming!
<Ahh… great!>
They don't even have eyes, do they??????
<They don’t have eyes, but photoreceptor cells… that’s why it “saw you coming”>
So, I guess he's ok. I put him up in the middle of some rock where there is a nice soft flow of water.
Will he make a new foot?
<Did you actually saw the foot fall? >
<Cheers. Wil.>
Re: Turkey Wing Bivalve fell off the rock!     2/19/19

I don't know, I saw the part that was attached to the rock,...I sent you a picture. It's still there.
<Mmm… that looks like something else, I'd try to remove it with tweezers...I think your bivalve is fine. please keep me/us posted. Wil.>
Re: Turkey Wing Bivalve fell off the rock!     2/19/19

But the clam was attached to that! Wasn't he? How else did he hand onto the rock?
<I see;….as long as the clam looks fine I wouldn't worry, if it has lost part of the appendage,
it will heal on its own in a few days; just keep an eye on it and if possible remove the remains on the rock. Wil.>
Re: Turkey Wing Bivalve fell off the rock!     2/19/19

I looked bivalves up on Google and the Encyclopedia Britannica had a really good article on them,....it said that some like to live in the sand, others like the rocks and some of those that choose rocks make themselves a kind of shoe with glands on their foot....to hold on. I think what I see is what is left on the rock, It's a hollow shoe that's attached to the rock by some fibers. I tried to remove it, but it's really on there tight, and it really is just a sheath. The inside is empty. Like an empty shoe. How awesome is that!
Here, I copied the important part for you.
"A triangular form, ventral flattening, and secure attachment to firm substrates by byssal threads (byssus; proteinaceous threads secreted by a gland on the foot) have allowed certain bivalves to colonize hard surfaces on wave-swept shores. The byssus is a larval feature that is retained by adults of some bivalve groups, such as the true mussels (family Mytilidae) of marine and estuarine shores and the family Dreissenidae of fresh and estuarine waters. Such a shell form and habit evolved first within sediments
(endobyssate), where the byssus serves for anchorage and protection when formed into an enclosing nest. "
https://www.britannica.com/animal/bivalve here is the link to the article.
I think this article is saying that his foot secreted a fiber which they use to make a safe enclosed space for their "foot", so the foot is safe from predators and held firmly to the rock.
I guess he just decided to move and that was him letting go of the shoe he made for himself. I never realized how much the Encyclopedia helped with research. It's so "Old school", but the article was great.
I guess we both learned something new tonight!
Have a good night and thanks for trying to help.
<Thanks to you for sharing, Mandy! Wil.>

Clam question.. And Valenciennea nutrition  -- 11/12/09
Salutations to those who worship at the Marine Altar,
<Heeeee! All bow down>
First I would like to give you an earnest thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do in educating the masses.
<Am frequently wondering what/where the reward is otherwise... Keep looking for that paycheck!>
I only wish the
LFS's in my area followed your advice as gospel like I do.
<Mmm, collectively we have MUCH more experience than "they". Even just I myself have been involved more than full time actively involved in the trade for more than 40 years>
They currently have a 14" nurse shark in a 55 gallon tank-
enough to lose my business forever I am afraid. My question is simple enough, but I will give you some background on my setup.
75 gallon marine running for 2.5 months
7" DSB
120 lbs. live rock
79 degrees
PH 8.3, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate all 0.0
calcium 450. I dose the tank with Iodine and chelated Iron for my bumper crop of Gracilaria. (Side question- when I add these supplements after a water change do I dose based on total tank volume, or based on the new water added to system?
<The calculated, best guess as to total actual water volume; i.e., deduct for displacement by the DSB et al.>
I have been dosing based on new water only....)
<Likely this is fine as well>
Eheim magnum
<Mmm, Eheim and Magnum (MarineLand) are too different companies>
canister filter with carbon and filter floss (Changed and cleaned weekly for water polishing purposes only)
Remora C protein skimmer cleaned daily removing 3/4 of a cup of tea colored skimmate each day that I attribute to light bio-load
3 Maxi-Jet 1200 powerheads
Cora-Life Power compact hood with (2) 96watt 10,000K bulbs on a 12/12 light cycle
Livestock is as follows- (2) 1" Tomato clowns, (1) 1 1/2" Coral Beauty and 1 4" *Valenciennea strigata** *(I will explain later)
Colony of fast spreading Star polyps,
<Do keep these steadily trimmed back>
various sponges and feather dusters growing and spreading like wildflower,
<Neat literary device, metaphor>
number of clams and scallops that came encrusted on liverock, 5 snails, 5 hermits, and a few different types of yet unidentified macro-algae growing on rock.
<Great diversity!>
My question concerns one of the larger clams that came on the liverock.
This clam was extremely active as far as opening and closing went, but differed in the respect that it was attached to the rock seemingly from the front inside of the clam, instead of the side of the shell being attached to the rock like the other clams. I feed the clams and feather dusters every few days with Phyto-Feast, which is 1- 15 micron concentrated live micro algae food. A few days ago I adjusted a power head from the back of the tank to the front, so the visible parts of the rock would get better flow, and it was in a position where the clam could barely feel it, as opposed to not feeling it all before moving. The next day i noticed the clam was missing, and all that remained was a grey colored "foot" where the opening to the clam was previously attached. I looked high and low for the shell, and then noticed the clam had moved directly into the blast zone of the power head! I was unaware it could move like that,
<Some bivalves are very mobile indeed>
and wondered if that foot was integral to the clams heath in any way, and should I be concerned that the clam is directly in the flow of the power head?
<Mmm, no>
Or does the clam know what is best for itself and I should leave well enough alone?
<If it can move...>
I also want to explain that your site is my home page, and I often spend time reading about various species and have done so for years.
Unfortunately before finding your site and Mr. Fenner's CMS and Mr. Calfo's RI I was victim to poor advice coupled with lack of research- much to the dismay and demise of previous livestock.... Enter my desire to own some sort of Gobioid creature for my underwater utopia. I swear I researched each and every specie only to purchase a *Valenciennea strigata*, and upon quarantining the fish and logging on to Wet Web Media I realized my serious error in research. I felt like someone with a Black Tipped reef shark in a 20 gallon tank with a dozen Cleaner Wrasses for food.
<Heeee! Not that bad!>
Fast forward to me feeding him all sorts of standard aquarium fare- Mysis, pellets, and after reading that they fed on pods I bought Arcti pods- only even after watching him feed on all the above with enthusiasm he was still wasting away. I thought he was done for and went on fishbase.org and saw they also fed on nano plankton as well. My last ditch effort was mixing Mysis, Phyto-Plex, Arcti- pods, spectrum pellets, Oyster Feast, and Spirulina together and freezing it. I then chopped it into cubes and lightly covered it with sand in his favorite forage zone. He is now filling out at an incredible rate, and is a completely different fish- color wise, not hiding all the time and returns to the spot with ferociousness every time i stick the frozen goods there.
<Ah good>
I think adding the micro organisms was essential to his health and wanted to share that information- freezing was an important part as there was no other way to get oyster eggs and micro algae to settle in one place in the substrate to ensure he ingested them.
<I will share/post your statements. You have saved many animals through your investigation, efforts and sharing>
Sorry for such a long winded email, but it is the first time I wrote after years of admiring.... I also wanted to ask if a 30% water change a week is too much?
<Not too much; particularly if the water is pre-made, assured of consistency ahead of use>
Thank you very much for all you do in tolerating the ignorant masses like myself who think they know everything only to find the error of their ways at the expense of a fish's life- and here's to not making those mistakes ever again! 'ciao!
<Thank you Leon, mi bello. Bob Fenner> 

Re: native marines, art. by NealeM  2/9/08 It'll be the usual 2500 words, plus or minus. I think I wrote it for PFK, but they've pretty much dropped coldwater stuff apart from  goldfish/koi. Because, I think, the recent laws to stop the spread of exotic species to the UK. Anyway, I can't find the damn thing, but will look. Yes, I have photos. <Ahh, very good indeed!> By the way, I attach a photo of a pearl I found in the Perna viridis I had for my lunch the other day. Might amuse. Have no idea if Perna  often make pearls; they're not native to the UK so I haven't really looked at them much. <Have seen such encrustations in many bivalves... and a few gastropods>  Cheers, Neale <Are you keen to come out with us for Interzoo and/or diving in Jordan and Egypt in May? BobF>

Old Clam 10/29/07 Bob, Crew, <Neale> An interesting news item on the BBC. World's oldest animal is a marine clam (apparently Arctica islandica though it doesn't say). Probably says a lot about the way the world works that we are fishing for these clams in the North Atlantic to chop up and use in seafood soups. Surely, no fishery that demands 400-year old livestock can possibly be sustainable? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7066389.stm <Interesting> I do wonder whether corals get older than this; I always assumed colonial corals lived a very long time. <Me too... depends on the criteria used to measure, discern for sure... What is the age for instance or our individual cells? Tissues, organ systems? Aren't we as old as our mothers, and their mothers into the past ova?> Cheers, Neale <And to you, BobF>

Oh No! Another Flame Scallop Question! Fdg., beh.   3/16/07 Hi Guys and Gals, <Marti> I have been reading (a lot) over the past year and a half, before finally starting my salt water tank in January.  Included in the reading list was The Conscientious Marine Aquarist (of course!) and Aquarium Corals by Borneman, among many others. I have also spent many (happy) hours researching specific topics on your wonderful web site. OK, enough with the praises, now on to my question.  After my aquarium had been running with live sand and live rock for about two months, I was given a Flame Scallop as a "present". I never would have bought one, or even patronized a LFS that sells them. But there he is, sitting in my tank. I have been feeding him a mixture of DT's live phytoplankton and Cyclop-eeze (per recommendations I found on this site) with a turkey baster, leaving the filter and powerhead off for 1/2 hour while doing so.  My question is, How do you know if they are eating? <Mmm... principally behavior/appearances... that the animals stays open, colored... and alive> Do they move their jaws (shell) up and down? <Sometimes... in reaction to shadows, animal movement near by> Do they suck in all their tentacles like little hungry hands? <Mmm, no> Please pardon me for sounding so stupid, but I really appreciate all the helpful advice you have given everyone, and I know you can answer a "simple" question like this. Best Regards, Marti <Adding a good sized refugium... in addition to your current feeding efforts... is about "it". Bob Fenner>

Flame Scallop creating electricity? - 1/19/05 Hello from the "Blue Tarp State"! <Hello from the Sunshine State!> I am totally in  love with your website ... refer to it almost everyday.  :o)  <Great to hear, Lisa> After surviving four hurricanes, and almost a month without electricity, I am ecstatic to say that I lost NOTHING in my tank, thanks in part to you guys (and my handy generator!). <Awesome> I have a question about my 8-month old flame scallop ... he's very content and looks healthy. <Cool. This animal tends to be on the difficult side of pet fish keeping. Here is an excellent article written by a friend of mine: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/july2002/toonen.htm> I noticed the other day that part of his fleshy, red mantle "flashes" constantly. It's a very thin area, almost the width of a needle, and it changes from bright red to white in a matter of a nanosecond, and back again. <This seems to be fairly hard to explain as there is not much in writing that I could find, but I do know that in past discussions it has been stated that this is a flap of tissue (membrane) that is moved back and forth. It may actually reflect or refract a portion of light which may give it this glow or look like a quick electric arc. My feeling is that it is not electrical in any way.> Have any of you seen this reaction? <I have> If so, do you know why they do this? <Oh many possible reasons. Simple anatomical structure (just happens), food attraction ( planktonic animals are attracted to light), possible a deterrent to fish predators....these would be my guess but again, very likely just a result of respiration or a feeding.> It doesn't seem to be a problem, but I was curious as to what it means, if anything. <Not hurting the animal at all. I have seen this done in the wild by this species ~Paul> Thanks for everything! Lisa C.

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