Reef Central Online Community
Live Aquaria

Home Forum Here you can view your subscribed threads, work with private messages and edit your profile and preferences View New Posts View Today's Posts

Find other members Frequently Asked Questions Search Reefkeeping ...an online magazine for marine aquarists Support our sponsors and mention Reef Central

Go Back   Reef Central Online Community Archives > Invert and Plant Forums > Tridacnid Clams and other Mollusks

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12/27/2007, 12:17 AM
TWallace TWallace is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,050
Clamtastrophe

I've been keeping clams in my tank for about a year and a half. In that time, I never had one die until 2 months ago when my newest maxima died. I only had it about a month and a half and in that time it usually was gaping and never really looked fantastic. It was pretty small, around 2.5" and I attributed its death to not adapting well to my system and possibly needing food (I wasn't feeding it).

Then, about a week and a half later my other small maxima died. I had that one for about 5 months and it looked fine until the day it died. Again it was a small clam and I figured maybe it was a food issue.

But then a week or so later my favorite crocea died. I had this one for 15 months and it was always healthy and well beyond the size where some people say food is required (it was about 4"). It's the one that is in my avatar.

Now I start thinking maybe I introduced a predator. So I checked my clams for pyramidellid snails and found none. A couple days go by and my largest crocea (5") starts looking bad, kinda like pinched mantle, not expanding properly. I've read that most people do FW dips for pinched mantle and since my clams were dying, I thought nothing to lose. Well, it never recovered from the 20 minute FW dip and died a day later.

A couple days later my last crocea starts looking bad. Again I checked for pyramidellid snails and found none. It dies the next day.

Now I'm down to 1 clam, a derasa which is the first clam I bought. It's about 6-7". The mantle isn't expanding all the way and the inside of the shell is visible above the edge of the mantle at times. In desperation, I removed it from the tank and put it in my QT which was filled with newly mixed Instant Ocean. As a side note, my QT is running at all times with live rock, a couple snails, emerald crabs and a hermit. I do this to promote breeding of live food (copepods, amphipods, mysis shrimp) so that when I add a new fish to it, there's plenty of live food for them to eat. So, my QT is a very stable environment, as far as QTs go. Within half an hour of adding the derasa to the QT, it looks magnificent. Full expansion, and "happy as a clam" as they say. It's hours later now, and it still looks great.

My conclusion at this point is that there must be a contaminant in the water in the main system, like a heavy metal perhaps. Thing is, I have lots of corals and inverts in there and none of them have been dying or looking unhealthy. All my acros still have great polyp expansion and color. LPS and softies all look great, too. I have 5 shrimp, tons of snails and hermit crabs and I haven't seen any of them die.

Two days ago I started running carbon (I don't normally run it), but it didn't seem to help the clam. I've left it running anyway, and have changed out the carbon today. I'm not sure how often you're supposed to change it (I think 2-4 weeks?).

At this point I'm happy that I've apparently saved the clam, but I can't keep it in the main system. Luckily it's a derasa, so it should be ok with the PC lights in the QT for a while. Obviously a crocea or maxima wouldn't tolerate that for long.

Here are my parameters in the main system:
Alk 7.0 dKH
pH 8.19
Temp 80 F
Nitrates 0.25ppm
Magnesium 1230ppm
Calcium 395ppm

Weeks ago I started adding epsom salt to increase magnesium in an attempt to kill off remnants of bryopsis. When the clams started going south, I started doing frequent large water changes (50% every couple of days) in an attempt to remove the epsom salt from the water. I don't think the epsom salt had anything to do with it, though, now.

Here's a pic of the underside of the derasa I took today before moving it to the QT. There's a tiny snail in the "hinge" but I don't think it's a pyramidellid. I think it's a collonista that was just hiding from the light in the daytime. Pardon the large image size, but it's a tiny snail. I've included an astrea in the pic for comparison.

http://tom-wallace.com/images/reef/122007/derasa.jpg

A few months ago I fashioned a lid to prevent jumping fish. It's got a stainless steel frame, with aluminum window screen tied to it for a fish barrier. I have noticed some rush on parts of the stainless steel frame and am now worried that it's leaching bad metals into my tank. But still, I would have thought it would be more than clams dying if that was the case. I will look into alternatives to this lid, but I can't remove it now. I've got a few firefish, a fairy wrasse and a gold diamond goby, all of which are known to be jumpers.

Lighting on my tank is 2 x 250w 12k Reeflux (bulbs are about 2 months old) with 2 x 54w T5 actinic supplementation. I've also added a new 33g sump (custom made from a local craftsman) and a Euro-Reef RS100 skimmer at the same time. I was previously running skimmerless.
  #2  
Old 12/27/2007, 11:47 AM
ezcompany ezcompany is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,290
Send a message via AIM to ezcompany
can you list ALL your livestock, including inverts and such?
if its not on your list of livestock, it may be a hidden predator such as a flatworm or a whelk.
__________________
less is more
  #3  
Old 12/27/2007, 12:39 PM
nietzsche nietzsche is offline
w3rd
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Mcallen, TX
Posts: 569
hope you find out what it is. similar thing happened to two of my clams. to this day i still dont know what happened to them. my other two are fine though
  #4  
Old 12/27/2007, 01:41 PM
TWallace TWallace is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,050
I've posted this on Reef Frontiers as well and have heard that others in my area are experiencing similar issues. I think for now I'll leave the derasa in the QT, perform several more water changes over the next few weeks, then try reintroducing the derasa to the display and see how it goes. At least now it looks like I can save it simply by removing it to the QT if it starts to look bad.

This all started after I bought a maxima from a LFS (that was the first to die, and last to be purchased). I don't want to point fingers though. It's a fantastic store, easily the best in my area with very knowledgable and helpful employees. I will have no issue at all with continuing to shop there (I'll probably avoid their clams, though for some time). I've had great luck with Clams Direct clams, and my surviving derasa is from Live Aquaria.
  #5  
Old 12/27/2007, 04:15 PM
ezcompany ezcompany is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,290
Send a message via AIM to ezcompany
Quote:
Originally posted by ezcompany
can you list ALL your livestock, including inverts and such?
if its not on your list of livestock, it may be a hidden predator such as a flatworm or a whelk.
__________________
less is more
  #6  
Old 12/27/2007, 06:12 PM
skinz78 skinz78 is offline
Keeper of the clams!!!
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: north west washington
Posts: 579
sounds like a fish, shrimp or whelk picking at your clams to me.
__________________
Well, I'm off to give my reef a 30 min freshwater dip!!

That should fix it everything right???
  #7  
Old 12/27/2007, 06:46 PM
TWallace TWallace is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,050
Quote:
Originally posted by ezcompany
Fish:
  • Flame Angel
  • Coral Beauty
  • 1 Lyretail Anthias
  • 2 Percula Clowns
  • 1 Purple Firefish
  • 3 Firefish
  • 1 Gold Diamond Goby

Inverts:
  • 3 Cleaner Shrimp
  • 2 Fire Shrimp
  • 60ish Astrea Snails
  • 2 Emerald Crabs
  • 40ish Dwarf Blue Leg Hermits
  • 10 Scarlet Hermits
  • 10 Tonga Nassarius Snails
  • Unknown quantities of various other snails including cerith, margarita, bumblebee, collonista, strombus

The coral beauty is the newest fish, most of the clams had already died before I added him. The flame angel has been in the tank a year and a half and I never see him peck at the clams anymore. One day about a year ago he bothered my croceas all day long, but left them alone the next day and ever since. So I'd find it highly unlikely (bordering on ludicrous) if someone were to suggest it was one of those two fish.
  #8  
Old 12/27/2007, 06:59 PM
skinz78 skinz78 is offline
Keeper of the clams!!!
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: north west washington
Posts: 579
It is either your angels, emrald crabs or cleaner shrimp.

I would bet that it is your angels, you have seen one peck before. I gaurantee it hasn't stopped. Most times when clams are being picked on by fish the reefkeeper never see's it happening.

They know when you are watching.

You have a choice, clams or angels.
__________________
Well, I'm off to give my reef a 30 min freshwater dip!!

That should fix it everything right???
  #9  
Old 12/27/2007, 07:09 PM
ezcompany ezcompany is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,290
Send a message via AIM to ezcompany
what skinz said.
__________________
less is more
  #10  
Old 12/27/2007, 07:39 PM
TWallace TWallace is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,050
Thanks for the replies, but I find the suggestion very difficult to believe. Like I said, the flame angel did peck at the croceas for a day around a year ago, but never touched them after that. When he was bothering them, he did it in plain sight, didn't care if I was nearby to see it. I don't think that he would become secretive about it and start doing it again a year later. He'd surely do it in plain sight again.
  #11  
Old 12/27/2007, 08:47 PM
skinz78 skinz78 is offline
Keeper of the clams!!!
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: north west washington
Posts: 579
Do yourself a favor and try proove yourself, or us wrong. Take a clear plastic bottle preferrably 2 litre. Cut it in half, fill it with 1/4" holes for water circulation. Put your derasa back into your display tank. Place the clam in an open spot in the sand. Then put the bottle over the clam to shield it from your angels. If the clam opens up and stays open you then know it is your angels or at least something else nipping at your clams.
__________________
Well, I'm off to give my reef a 30 min freshwater dip!!

That should fix it everything right???
  #12  
Old 12/27/2007, 08:48 PM
skinz78 skinz78 is offline
Keeper of the clams!!!
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: north west washington
Posts: 579
Also if you could post some pic's that may help us help you diagnose any problems.
__________________
Well, I'm off to give my reef a 30 min freshwater dip!!

That should fix it everything right???
  #13  
Old 12/28/2007, 01:15 PM
TWallace TWallace is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,050
The clam is still looking great in the QT, so posting a pic of it now won't help with a diagnosis. You'd just see a healthy clam. I don't have pics of when it or the others were hurting. However, when it was struggling, the shell was not closing up like clams do when a fish pecks at them. It was still open, the mantle wasn't extending up to or beyond the edge of the shell. Like I mentioned, you could see the inside of the shell above the mantle's edge. I've seen clams that are upset by fish, and they usually close up their shell and pull their mantle into it. This was not how my clams looked, too bad I don't have pics of it .

Also, I have lots of rock in my display tank and very little room on the sand. As a result, there's no room for my clam to be on the sand with some sort of transparent barrier around it to block out fish. This clam is too big to fit a 2 litre bottle around, so I'd have to find something bigger than that.

I'm hearing from local people that several people are having this problem. Unexplained clam deaths in healthy, stable systems.
  #14  
Old 12/28/2007, 03:49 PM
ezcompany ezcompany is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,290
Send a message via AIM to ezcompany
it is likely that your local people are also misinformed with compatible livestock.
__________________
less is more
  #15  
Old 12/28/2007, 04:33 PM
TWallace TWallace is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,050
Quote:
Originally posted by ezcompany
it is likely that your local people are also misinformed with compatible livestock.
Yeah, that's probably it
  #16  
Old 12/28/2007, 05:16 PM
ezcompany ezcompany is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,290
Send a message via AIM to ezcompany
you and your locals are the ones losing clams, not us~
__________________
less is more
  #17  
Old 12/28/2007, 06:17 PM
skinz78 skinz78 is offline
Keeper of the clams!!!
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: north west washington
Posts: 579
Should I start to worry then as I am local to you. I haven't lost any clams mysteriously lately. Knock on wood.
__________________
Well, I'm off to give my reef a 30 min freshwater dip!!

That should fix it everything right???
  #18  
Old 12/28/2007, 07:39 PM
nietzsche nietzsche is offline
w3rd
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Mcallen, TX
Posts: 569
in my situation i only have 3 fish in a 28, 1 blue damsel yellow tail, 1 ywg, and 1 royal gramma. i have very few cerith snails and thats it. when my clams died everything was within the ranges. 9dkH, am, nitrites, nitrites 0, calcium on the high side (500ppm elos test kit) but was going down (no dosing--just rc salt), magnesium 1300ppm (elos test kit), metal halide 250w 14k bulb with 65w pc actinics, salinity 1.026 etc etc

my two clams died within 3-4 days of each other (deresa, maxima), whole time i checked them at night and day and never found anything. i have a 3-4" maxima and a 5"~ crocea left that i've had since the early summer that have been doing well

i would just keep checking them and your tank and look around inside of there and try to think of anything new you may have introduced to your tank.. equipment, maybe some new salt, frags with water from a fellow reefer's tank, just anything. it seems like that DT of yours has something you might be overlooking..

it could be your fish, it might not be. we all know that with the pygmy angels it may be a 50/50. sometimes its not easy as just blaming fish-- when you're not in the situation its pretty easy to just blame the obvious things
  #19  
Old 12/28/2007, 09:14 PM
ezcompany ezcompany is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 3,290
Send a message via AIM to ezcompany
its not just the fish. there are 3 suspects in this case,
the flame angel, the skunk cleaners, and the emerald crabs.
__________________
less is more
  #20  
Old 12/28/2007, 09:26 PM
nietzsche nietzsche is offline
w3rd
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Mcallen, TX
Posts: 569
i know, but i'm just saying it could be something else that we dont know about. if it were me i would suspect them all too first before thinking it could be something in the water
  #21  
Old 12/28/2007, 10:09 PM
skinz78 skinz78 is offline
Keeper of the clams!!!
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: north west washington
Posts: 579
TWallace,

Would it be possible of you to be able to capture the two angels, shrimp, and mithrax and then swap the clam with them in to the qt tank? I know it sounds impossible with the rock. But if you can I think it would help greatly in solving your problems. Once you do the swap and if the clam still looks good you can then start slowly re-adding the suspect livestock. Start with the crab then shrimp and finally the angels. Just know you will have to re-catch wich ever critter is the problem.

Or another solution is go to the lfs and buy a smaller "guinnea pig" clam and add it to your tank and see what happens. So you can try the bottle method.
__________________
Well, I'm off to give my reef a 30 min freshwater dip!!

That should fix it everything right???
  #22  
Old 12/28/2007, 10:34 PM
TWallace TWallace is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,050
Instead of that, I've moved the clam into the refugium of the display tank to see if it starts to look bad again. It's been in there about an hour now and it looks so-so. Mantle is extended, but not completely. The only livestock in the refugium is one astrea snail and one scarlet hermit. I'll leave it in there a couple days, or until it starts to look bad. The lighting in the refugium is definitely sub par, though, even for a derasa. It's just a flourescent bulb, the one Melev uses and recommends on his site for refugiums.

I could probably catch the flame angel without too much hassle. I have a trap that I used for a flame hawk not long ago. The flame angel entered the trap many times before the flame hawk was finally caught. I'm not sure about the coral beauty, but I think that's irrelevant. The coral beauty was added to the system after a few of the clams had already died. I never saw the crabs or shrimp bother any of the clams, but perhaps they adapted ninja skills from the flame angel who, rumor has it, only pecks at clams when no one's looking.
  #23  
Old 12/28/2007, 11:43 PM
skinz78 skinz78 is offline
Keeper of the clams!!!
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: north west washington
Posts: 579
If your refugium still is a hang on it should be getting some of your display lighting indirectly too. it sounds like you use water from your display to fill your qt. If this is true I find it impossible to be a param problem since the clam was doing great in the qt. It may retracted from all the movement lately. Give it time.

Have you done any research on flatworms? That is another possibility. Reading up on the other forum it sounds like alot of other customers from the particular lfs are haveing troubles too. Possibly an outbreak of baby flatworms. I have never shopped there but want too soon, it sound like a great store. But I have wonder if the problem stems back to them since it is so widespread locally?

On a side note I feel the comment you made on the other fourum about us isn't too cool. Myself and ez are 2 of the 4 or 5 people on this forum that check the threads dayly and try to help others out. We see your problem almost weekly. This thread isn't getting alot of responses because I think the others of the 4 or 5 are away on holidays. I am sure they would agree with myself and ez.

The other thread is saying pm, I think from your expierience you have the ability to diagnose pm and from what you are saying it doesn't sound like pm.
__________________
Well, I'm off to give my reef a 30 min freshwater dip!!

That should fix it everything right???
  #24  
Old 12/29/2007, 09:25 AM
Big load Big load is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Pekin ILL.
Posts: 7
It sounds like TWallace is getting a little defensive, not getting the answers he wants to here!
__________________
Tom Giddens
  #25  
Old 12/30/2007, 11:20 AM
rydr119 rydr119 is offline
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Lake Worth, Fl
Posts: 111
I had the same thing happen with my 7 clams. It started with 1 crocea then a week later another and so on. I couldn't find anything eating them, none of my fish were bothering them and all my prams were normal. I even sent one off to pathology to see if it was something microscopic causing the problem and nothing but normal findings. I have not had a clam in my tank for 3 months now and I am afraid to try one ad have the same thing happen again.
__________________
Life is short live for the moment.
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Use of this web site is subject to the terms and conditions described in the user agreement.
Reef Central Reef Central, LLC. Copyright 1999-2009