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Old 12-08-2014, 08:43 PM   #1
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Building Freshwater Clam and Rice Pond

Hello! I am planning on buying a large pot (probably about 17 inches high and 17 inches in diameter) and seal the bottom to make a mini rice paddie. I plan to fill the pot halfway with dirt and after topping it with sand, grow rice in the pot. It will be placed somewhere with more than enough sunlight so light isn't an issue. It will be stocked with trapdoor snails and malaysian trumpet snails since they burrow and can turn the dirt. I also want to keep some freshwater clam to keep the water less green and mosquito fish to stop the mosquitoes from breeding there. I also plan on eating the clams (they are golden asian clams, btw) The idea is that the fish/clam will provide the rice nutrient and rice will clean the water so I won't have to do frequent water changes. I am aiming for a no tech pond. The problem is, I am keeping it in my sun room and I live in Chicago. The winter here is very bitter and I am afraid that the clams and fish will not survive winter. It is in my sun room so it probably will not freeze solid, but will be very cold. The rice will not be growing during winter since it is seasonal, so the water won't be filtered. Is there anyway to keep the inhabitants alive during the winter? Will mosquito fish/clam die in such a cold weather? What is a better alternative?
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:24 AM   #2
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Mosquitofish are fairly cold tolerant, they seem to be ok as long as the water doesn't get down around freezing. I would keep a small heater in it during the cold times, and some kind of aeration.
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Old 12-09-2014, 03:46 AM   #3
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Very interesting, but for a bunch of clams, you would probably need quite a bit of mud. Like a plastic pond. There will need to be some serious research for that, and I don't think a little amount of rice plants will clean the water / mud that much. The thing about clams is that they have water movement in the "lake", pretty clean.

Do you know if clams are raised in rice paddys? I don't think that would work on a small scale like a pot. Clams would likely not make more clams if the water wasn't fairly "clean" or not the right temp and good flow/circulation.

Check into how the clams create more clams. I am not sure if they are all the same way but when I was researching them, they do a interesting thing by squirting out the eggs into the current and then the larva or what ever they are called attach to a host, in fish it is possibly in the gills... I never figured it would happen in my tank so I didn't pay too close of attention to the details, just the big picture.
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:35 PM   #4
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Asian clam's larvae are not parasitic. They reproduce by squirting out little clams, who will fall to the bottom and feed like their parents. Mud is not really an issue because I am going to have 1 foot of my pot to be filled with it for the rice. I am also kind of concerned about water quality. If a few rice doesn't work, maybe I can throw some duckweed/ hornwort in or hang some mint over it. How clean does the water have to be (nitrate level, etc.) My problem is that my pond wouldn't be able to have all the plants during winter because they die off. I also would not be able to do water changes since it is outdoor and freezing. How do you pond people solve that problem? Oh, by the way, yes, Asian clams are kept in rice paddies. My grandma use to look for them in rice paddies and cook them. Since the pond is kept under full sun, will there be enough green water for the clam? I really doesn't about what the water look like, but how much green water is required so the clam won't die off?
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:07 PM   #5
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All the info you know already is a great start! One of my favorite things to do is prove the standard line of thinking is flexible. I like to do things out of the ordinary, and I will be rooting for you. But there will need to be quite a bit more learning to do.

The freezing temp where you are won't likely work for a tropical type clam you might try heat tape which is used for plumbing pipes or the kind used to keep gutters ice free. The cost of the electricity for the project would be highly cost inefficient.

I still think the plastic pond liner idea would be more efficient for an amount of rice and clams, as there wouldn't be very many clams for you to eat.

What is / are the main objective(s) of you wanting to do this project? Food, an experiment, keeping clams...?

Here is a pic of my little clam, RIP. I would like another couple of them though. I enjoyed watching him.

Do you have a pic or name of the kind of clams you are interested in keeping?



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Old 12-10-2014, 11:20 AM   #6
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I would be most worried about the water volume keeping the clams fed. They can filter a HUGE amount of water and need quite a bit of food to stay happy. I honestly have doubts that they would live very long in an environment like this.
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Old 12-10-2014, 04:45 PM   #7
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What is the "plastic pond liner idea"? I am not sure what you are talking about. Also, why wouldn't it work? They are being housed in a 30 gallon container with 20 gallon of water in it and dirt in the rest. It will be sitting right under the sun so I see no difference from that and an actual pond. Asian clam are invasive here and can live well in cold water as long as it is above 2 degree Celsius. I see them thriving in lakes and river all the time, so as long as I can find a good insulator to cover the pond with I think temperature wouldn't be a problem.
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWormy View Post
What is the "plastic pond liner idea"? I am not sure what you are talking about. Also, why wouldn't it work? They are being housed in a 30 gallon container with 20 gallon of water in it and dirt in the rest. It will be sitting right under the sun so I see no difference from that and an actual pond. Asian clam are invasive here and can live well in cold water as long as it is above 2 degree Celsius. I see them thriving in lakes and river all the time, so as long as I can find a good insulator to cover the pond with I think temperature wouldn't be a problem.
The problem isn't soo much the environment, but a lack of food. It's very common for clams to die in aquariums because there simply isn't enough food to keep them alive.
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:11 PM   #9
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The biggest issue is volume and stability. It's not easy to maintain stable temps, water quality, and ample food supply in that size container.
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Old 12-10-2014, 05:24 PM   #10
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What is the "plastic pond liner idea"? I am not sure what you are talking about. Also, why wouldn't it work? They are being housed in a 30 gallon container with 20 gallon of water in it and dirt in the rest. It will be sitting right under the sun so I see no difference from that and an actual pond. Asian clam are invasive here and can live well in cold water as long as it is above 2 degree Celsius. I see them thriving in lakes and river all the time, so as long as I can find a good insulator to cover the pond with I think temperature wouldn't be a problem.
There a a lot of options on sizes and shapes for these and you can put cement blocks around it for support if it isn't going to go in ground.

Shop smartpond 218-Gallon Polyethylene Pond Liner at Lowes.com
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:46 PM   #11
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Any idea regarding how I can keep a stable water chemistry and ample food supply in my pond?
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:04 PM   #12
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You can do a trash can filter. Literally a filter made with a trash can. It will add an additional 45G to your pond and let you be able to turn over a large amount of water depending on your pump size.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:49 PM   #13
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How does that help with the food problem? Also, how do I make one and what kind of trash can can I use?
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:17 PM   #14
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How does that help with the food problem? Also, how do I make one and what kind of trash can can I use?
I am not sure about feeding, I don't know everything, lol. As for the food problem, though, more water equals more area available for food to filter through for the clams health.

A few years ago I made a trash can filter. And there was a thread with the info in it.

Basically the idea is a pump in the pond pumping water into the can, then a waterfall effect maybe even through tubing, back into the pond like a jumbo HOB filter, the trash can a new plastic, brand name which is sturdy and has a lid, filled with "media".
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:30 PM   #15
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The problem is, I don't have a lot of space. Plus, I am living with my parents now since I am 14. Therefore, I do not think that they will be happy to have a trash can right in their sun room. I am not so enthusiastic about having a trash can either. Is there a more attractive or smaller alternative to that? I am aiming for low cost and low to no tech since I am trying to build a "natural" pond.
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:36 PM   #16
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I put a cover around the one I had and it was pretty much an experiment, but worked so well I kept it til I moved!

Understand about the space and others not caring for it.

I will let others give a hand to help if they can. I am not sure I can add too much more than that, other than a cabinet for it.
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:49 PM   #17
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A good alternative would be to find a clean (preferably food grade) 35 or 55 gallon drum. Some of them come in white, which would be nice as it would let light in to help grow algae.

At this point to be honest I think your best bet is to try to get the system set up to grow the rice happily. I kept madras rice in my front pond for a while this year and it did well till my turtles found it.

Once you get the system set up right for the rice to grow, then start experimenting and trying stuff. Although I don't think the clams are going to do all that well in that small of a system. Either way, if you want to maximize their survival, get the system up and running and put some age on it first, it makes all the difference. sometimes.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:48 AM   #18
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Ok, thanks guys!
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