Sick Clam!!!!

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jul 13, 2011
Hey All,

So my tank is about 8 months along and a friend of mine just gave me this blue maxima clam. I acclimated him for over 2 hours as well as 'burped' him. I placed him in the bottom because I have seen them there in the lfs. I noticed his mouth gaping open and I placed him more near the top figuring it was a light issue. But now...he looks horrible! And the cleaner shrimp is all over him so much and he just snaps right up. I'm worried about him! I know nothing about clams. Any help would be great guys! Thanks!


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The LfS said that to get all the tank water out your supposed to take him out of the water, have him release it, place him back in the water and then place him in your tank at a 45 degree angle for an hour than place him normally.

I did this and he was fine and then bam, morning time came and his mouth is wide open. Thats when I placed him on the rocks closer to the light and now he's looking pretty poor. And the cleaner shrimp was all over him and he snaps shut very fast.

I tested the water multiple times today and everything is as it should be. I dont know what I could do for him, my knowledge of clams is in the negatives sadly.
I've kept and sold a decent amount of clams, and i've never heard or done anything like that before. I don't think that had much to do with it failing, but it's pretty ridiculous.
So, how long did your friend have it? Did it look good in his tank? What size tank is this and what are the parameters? How about flow? How are you accomplishing that?
It sounded weird to me when I heard it but who was I to argue with someone when I knew less than them, lol.

My friend had it for about 4 months and he was fine and looked great. They just dismantled their tank because they were moving. In the tank he was high up on the rocks in the light with moderate flow.

When I placed him in my tank he started at the bottom and then placed him near the top where he would get lots of light and moderate flow, not too much. My tank is a 29 gallon thats been with fish and coral for 8 months now. I know its a bit under the age it should be for housing a clam but I didnt think it would effect him too much if the water is always stable. The nitrates, nitrites, ammonia are all at 0.
That all sounds good. Do you see any clear mucous around the clam? Maybe down towards the bottom of it's shell? I know of a clam predator worm that is pretty common. he would have attacked it at night.
Nope, nothing like that. The only thing I could see wrong with him at first was just his mouth open and now hes just sinking further and further into his shell. I can tell he's still alive because he keeps snapping shut but I think it's just adding more stress on him from the cleaner shrimp. I just moved him to a breeder hang on side container because he just looks so awful and I cant stand watching the cleaner shrimp try and do whatever he was doing.
The shrimp is trying to capitalize on a meal. I'm sorry, but I don't have a solution. The underside of the clam, where the 2 halves meet, any cone shaped snails attached?
The little beast, I figured he was trying to do as much.

On the bottom there is something white, looks cone shaped, I just assumed that it was his foot or whatever it is that he uses to attach to the rock.
Does it looks like a snail shell?

I picked him up and it's not actually a shell but it is where the two shells come together. I took a picture of it, it's not the greatest pic though but it's the best I could do on the iphone.


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I never thought of that so i just called and he said he didnt rip him off the rock. He thinks it could be stress but i think its way past that. I have been looking all iver online and cant find anything yet thats like him.
It's a type of parasite called Pyramidellid snails. They puncture the tissue near the joint and go all vampire on the clam's rear. But if you're not seeing them (generally less than 1 cm long) then I wouldn't worry about it.
MacDracor said:
It's a type of parasite called Pyramidellid snails. They puncture the tissue near the joint and go all vampire on the clam's rear. But if you're not seeing them (generally less than 1 cm long) then I wouldn't worry about it.

Good to know. Thanks!
So I set up a sick tank for him with the tank water so not to shock him too much and placed him on his rock last night. I figured this way the cleaner beast wouldnt pick him to death. This morning he was totally open and smelling pretty bad so I'm assuming the poor fellow died. I'm not sure what happened to him but i dont think i'll be taking anymore clams from anyone. To stressfull!!! :facepalm: Thanks all for the help, not sure if i could have done anything to help him because he went so fast. Poor little guy.
Sorry to hear that. Hard to say for sure what killed him. I doubt the shrimp killed him, but it certainly didn't help.
Thanks. I agree it was not the shrimp because he looked bad before he got near him. Just didnt help at all by picking him in his distress. Im just assuming that he was already sick and the move probably did him in. Im just sorry there was nothing i could do. Probably wont be taking clams off anyones hands again, i feel so guilty now, the poor thing. Thanks guys for trying to help! Was def. a learning exp.
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