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Squamosa Clams

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The Squamosa Clam (Tradacna squamosa) is considered by many aquarists to be the most adaptive species of clam, in regards to aquarium life.


Squamosa Clams are not as demanding of the intense light levels as many other Giant Clams. This generally makes them more suitable for life in captivity than many species with high light requirements. Because they are photosynthetic, light is extremely important to the survival of Squamosa Clams. In their natural environment, Squamosa Clams live in deeper areas of reefs at 30 to 50 feet. They are often found low on a reef wall or at the reef bottom, usually in a protected area. Generally, these clams should be placed in areas of the aquarium with low turbidity, since they normally live in calm waters in the wild.


Squamosa Clams are characterized by the fluted characteristics of their shells. The shells are in fact made of hard, projecting scales or flutes, which cover both the top and bottom surfaces. The scales are sharp enough to protect the clam from certain fish bites, and large enough to harbor various organisms. The shell is symmetrical, and by the time the fluted clam is mature, measures up to 16 inches. Shell color, though usually white, may be yellow, pink, or orange. The mantle of the Squamosa Clam is normally beige, brown, or gold. Some blue or green blotches may be present, and some specimens have stripes running parallel to the shell. The middle, or mantle, of a fluted clam is normally quite wide. The intake siphon is covered in large tentacles.


Squamosa Clams may be maintained under Power Compact or Metal Halide lighting. Like most Giant Clams, the Squamosa Clam will do well in temperatures remaining 74-80 F. The pH should remain at 8.0 to 8.4, and the specific gravity should be constant, around 1.023. Supplimental feedings are required in the care of this species. Calcium levels should be above 400 p.p.m. The shell rim should exhibit a clean white line of growth at all times, and if this is not present, the growth of your Squamosa Clam may be inhibited. Check light and water conditions to ensure that the environment is perfect for your clam.

UVB Lighting, Calcium & Vitamin D3

Most diurnal lizards that do not consume animals with whole bone matter(mice, rats, etc.) need to synthesize vitamin D3 in their skin for healthy growth. Ultraviolet B light (UVB) (290-320nm), is required. UVB is not present in significant quantities in normal fluorescent or incandescent bulbs in that they are designed to illuminate an area, not to provide UVB. Also, glass in windows and aquariums filter ultraviolet rays out of sunlight.


Vitamin D3 is necessary for the metabolism of calcium, which aids in strong bone development. A deficiency often results in Metabolic Bone Disease in reptiles. The calcium in the proper supplements also help to balance the phosphorous / calcium ratio in reptiles that eat large quantities of insects.



Supplements of Calcium and Vitamin D3 along with a proper UVB light will help insure the health of you diurnal lizards for years to come.

Maxima Clams

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The Maxima Clam (Tridacna maxima) is one of the more beautiful species of Giant Clam. The impressive coloring seen in some of these clams makes them one of the most desired in the home aquarium.


Wild Maxima Clams live in shallow water, near the top of a reef and have been known to bore slightly into the rock they are attached to. They attach themselves firmly to their chosen area, using their byssal glands. Maxima Clams may be kept in groups; in fact, in their natural habitats, they are often found in densely packed colonies, while some solitary specimens are found in deeper waters. In the aquarium, you should place your Maxima Clam in the place where you want it to stay. Because Maxima Clams anchor themselves tightly to one spot, it is important not to move your clam. Pulling on an attached clam can seriously injure the byssal gland and any surrounding tissues. Unlike many Giant Clams, Maxima Clams are somewhat able to tolerate fluctuations in environmental condition. For this reason, some captive specimens can tolerate gentle water currents. However, water quality must be kept very high, as these clams cannot tolerate a large sediment load in the water column.


The Maxima Clam is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Blue, purple, gray, brown, and yellow are commonly seen on the mantles of Maxima Clams. Patterns of the mantles include spots, stripes, or blotches. However, patches of solid color are more characteristic than multi-colored patterns. Some Maxima Clams have black eye spots that decorate the edge of the mantle. Fine tentacles cover the Maxima Clam's intake siphon, and tubercles may be present over the mantle. By the time it reaches maturity, the Maxima Clam can reach lengths of 12 inches or so.

 

Maxima Clams should have intense lighting. Brightly colored specimens require brighter lighting, but brown specimens may be shocked by strong lights. Brown specimens should be placed lower in an aquarium, further from light, and gradually acclimated. Most healthy Maxima Clams will need to be placed quite close to the surface of your aquarium. Like most Giant Clams, the Maxima Clam will do well in temperatures from 74-80 F, with a pH of 8.0 to 8.4, and a specific gravity of 1.023. A gentle water current may be tolerated, but strong water motion should be avoided. Maxima Clams do need very clear water, as particles or sediment in the water can clog their gills. They may not do well in an aquarium with a high level of turbidity. As with all giant clams, they do need supplemental feedings, although they do create most of their food through photosynthetic processes accomplished by symbiotic zooxanthellae living in the tissues of the clam.



 

Hippopus Clams

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Hippopus Clams (Hippopus hippopus) , though generally less popular among marine aquarists than more brightly colored species of Giant Clam, are quite impressive nonetheless. These clams, given correct conditions, are rather easy to care for.


Hippopus Clams are often found on sandy substrates once they have matured enough to lose their byssal glands. In captivity, Hippopus Clams are generally quite hardy when kept under appropriate conditions. They require sufficient levels of trace elements and very clean water. Bright lighting is not as essential as some of the Tridacna spp. Though the coloration of Hippopus Clams may be less impressive than that of many other species, these clams are valued for their hardiness. As with all giant clams, they do need supplemental feedings, though they do produce most of their food through photosynthetic processes accomplished by symbiotic zooxanthellae living in the tissues of the clam.


The Hippopus Clam has a rather plain and heavy shell. These clams generally reach a maximum length of 12 inches. Some have reddish splotches on their shells. The mantle is a dull green-brown or yellow-green, and often has wavy golden lines. Specimens kept under insufficient lighting generally lose their golden color. Their mantle, apart from most giant clams, does not reach over the edge of the shell. As the clam ages and gains weight through a thickening of its shell, it loses its byssal gland.

 

Hippopus Clams usually do best when placed in the lower third of an aquarium with direct lighting. Like most tropical invertebrates, Giant Clams will do well in temperatures ranging from 74-80 F, with a pH of 8.0 to 8.4. The specific gravity should remain around 1.024. It is important to maintain proper levels of calcium, around 400 p.p.m. or higher. High water quality is particularly important with these clams.

 

Gigas Clams

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Gigas Clams (Tridacna gigas) are the largest of the Giant Clams, with individuals reported at over 4 feet, weighing in at 650 pounds! This is uncommon, however, witlh most growing to two feet.  The mantles are blue, green, golden-brown, or yellow in color, and the shells are quite heavy and thick. About the mantle, a number of irridescent spots may be present, particularly near the edges of the mantle. Clear spots concentrated near the center of the mantle are also present, and are known as windows. Although juvenile Gigas Clams have some flutes on their shells, adults lack these structures. There are no tentacles on the inhalant siphon.


In the wild, Gigas Clams normally embed themselves in the substrate. Although juvenile Giant Clams attach themselves using a gland in the foot known as the byssal gland, which keeps them in place, adults lose their byssal glands. Adult Giant Clams are generally heavy enough that they will not move. Giant Clams have a symbiotic relationship with tiny algae called zooxanthellae that produce food for their hosts. This means that Giant Clams can produce their own food photosynthetically in addition to supplemental feedings. It also means that Giant Clams require bright light to ensure sufficient light reaches them.


Intense lighting is generally best for keeping Gigas Clams. However, specimens that have been kept in insufficient lighting may be shocked by strong light, and should be gradually acclimated to light. Like most Giant Clams, the Gigas Clam will normally do well with temperatures ranging from 74-80 F. The pH level should be 8.0 to 8.4 and the specific gravity should remain steady around 1.023. Gigas Clams are generally unable to tolerate fluctuations in water quality. Calcium and strontium are generally added to an aquarium where Gigas Clams are kept. These clams should have calcium levels of at least 400 p.p.m. Once your Giant Clam has been placed, it should not be moved, particularly if it is still young enough to use its byssal gland. Clams that are ripped from the area where they are attached may suffer extensive tissue damage.

 

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