How to Keep a Clam in a Tank

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

A tridacnid clam or giant clam can make a gorgeous addition to a saltwater aquarium. They have vibrant colors, distinctive patterns and make great conversation pieces. They do have demanding requirements, but nothing beyond other reef tank invertebrates.

Step 1

Research your species. Giant clam species range in size from 4 inches to 4 feet. Additionally, varieties of clams have very different requirements. Know what you're buying before you buy it.

Step 2

Cycle your aquarium. Clams are sensitive to water quality. Do not introduce them until the fish tank has become stable.

Step 3

Select a healthy clam. A healthy clam will have rich color and close up slightly in response to changes in light. Avoid clams that have visible tissue damage, refuse to open, have bleaching or visible snail parasites.

Step 4

Provide correct lighting for your clam. Many giant clams have zooxanthellae, a symbiotic algae that keeps them alive. Aquarium stores have appropriate lighting. Any lighting designed for coral will work for a clam; only lighting marketed for corals have the correct spectrum and intensity.

Step 5

Place your clam properly. You should place your clam on a solid, rocky surface with moderate water flow. Make sure your clam has room to open and close, and that it's not shaded.

Step 6

Feed your clam. Even though the zooxanthellae can provide some nutrition from light, supplemental feedings of brine shrimp can help your clam thrive.

Step 7

Keep water conditions constant. Giant clams do their best at 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The salinity should be around 1.025 -- when measured as specific gravity. The pH should be around 8 to 8.4. You should add calcium supplements to the water to help the clam maintain its shell.

Items you will need

  • Aquarium lights
  • Calcium supplement -- available at pet shops or online

Tip

  • Research tank mates to ensure compatibility.

Warnings

  • Never collect from the wild as these clams are protected in most areas.
  • Be cautious with aquarium technology. Electronics and saltwater don't always work well together.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images