Keeping Tridacna Clams in a Saltwater Aquarium


Keeping Tridacna Clams in a Saltwater Aquarium

There are numerous different type of Tridacna Clams that are readily accessible in the market, most are aquacultured. They are Maxima, Crocea, Derasa, Squamosa, Hippopus, and Gigas. Our staff at ClickCorals rarely gets in Hippopus or Gigas just because they aren't exactly the most sought after clams in the market. We will not carry Crocea clams at all and believe they should just be left on the reef. Never in decades of business have we every seen a Crocea that's 3-5 years and still has all of it's coloration. We stick to mainly Squamosa, Maxima and Derasa because they are usually they are the most in demand and tend to have very unique color patterns on them. Derasa clams can get quite large though. Here is some information on clams to help even the beginner aquarist keep them successfully.

Clams all need 3 things. They feed of nutrients in the tank, they feed off of plankton, and then also light. They have every organ that we have. Heart, lungs, stomach, etc. The nutrients that they feed off of can be beneficial to any tank because they can utilize nitrates and phosphates as a food source. This in turns lowers then amounts that are in your water. They also can consume plankton, such as phytoplankton. They eat plankton almost identically to how people eat any other food. Then lastly is light. Just like with corals, clams house symbiotic zooxanthellae in their mantle. This unique form of algae feeds off of similar nutrients and then feeds the clams carbs and sugars. 

Zooxanthellae is also what gives clams their unique color patterns.

Tridacna Clams are actually extremely easy to keep and for the most part very hardy. Just give them a good light source and feed them the same things you feed your corals and for the most part they will remain happy and beautiful.

Several issues that clams can have...

Pinched Mantle

Pinched mantle is a protozoa that already resides within every clams mantle. It's exactly as it sounds. The mantle begins to look "pinched" along all the scoots. Good news is the remedy for this is fairly simple. All you have to do is get a bowl of freshwater and make it relatively the same temperature as your tank water. Place the clam in the water for about 25 minutes. This is also known as a freshwater dip. 


Gaping is when the front of the clam that looks like a slit is hanging open and you an see the inside of the clam from the outside. Gaping is a relatively simply issue. It can either be something serious, which will last days, or it may be your clam trying to flush something out of it's system, which only lasts hours. Keep an eye on your clam as there usually is no remedy for gaping.

Mantle Falling Into Shell

When the clam loses its ability to fully extend its mantle and it begins retracting its entire mantle into its shell all you an really do is keep an eye on it and hope that it gets better.

This covers the basics of clams in a short period of time to help you maintain the best possibly health for your Tridacna Clam. If you should have any further questions that we didn't identify you are more than welcome to reach out to us or our livestock company at

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