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Clam Health Check


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I'm just posting this to get some opinions on the health of my Maxima. She isn't looking quite as open as I'd expect but I don't have enough experience with clams to say what's wrong. Her mantle doesn't look pinched, and she definitely isn't gaping.


I got her from an LFS about a month ago. She was under some fairly dim T5s but looked really healthy and open. They had 3 of them for about 3 weeks before I got this one.


She's currently in a 40B, about 16" under a ReefBreeders Photon running at almost 100%. I know its a bit low but I wanted to light acclimatize a bit. Here are my params for the last couple months. I don't have a phosphate checker, it's on the list. I've been converting from mainly LSP/Softy to mainly SPS, and I've started dosing Ca and Alk.


Date SG Temp NO3 Ca+ Alk(dKH) pH

14/06 1.026 79.5 2.5 440 7.5 7.5

17/06 1.026 80.2 4 410 8.2 8

20/06 1.026 78.6 4 390 8.4 7.5

21/06 1.025 80.8 2.5 420 8.3 7.75

23/06 1.026 77 2.5 415 9.1 7.75

28/06 1.026 79.2 3 435 9.9 8

09/07 1.026 78.4 1 450 9.6 8

18/07 1.026 80.1 0.5 405 9.1 8



Here are some pics of the clam. Excuse the crappy camera.

I don't know for sure that something is wrong, she just isn't as open as id expect. I can barely see the output siphon and the intake is virtually never visible. When I go back to the LFS the other two that were with her are MUCH more open. The foot attached in about 48 hours with a bit of propping up and she hasn't shown any desire to move. Occasionally my skunk cleaner will piss her off a bit but I haven't seen any fish nipping (two clowns, a Bangaii and a prawn goby). She closes up at night and if I move my hand over the tank, but she's just never much more open than these pics.









Anyway I might just be paranoid, or she might be about to die. I really don't know. Help is appreciated.

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How long have you had it, its could be stress from moving, it's secured so it can't be that mad, maybe adjusting to light, you could turn it down and see if it then stretches for more light.

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I just did a bunch of research about the importance of balancing Alk and Ca. It looks to me like your numbers fluctuate and can be stabilized, especially since clams calcify. Also when alkalinity is stable and slightly higher (9-10) pH will increase towards ideal 8.1-8.3 and pH swings should be lessened. Stable pH in range helps keep proteins folded correctly and biochemistry humming along. This post on my thread has more details plus balanced ratios to target via the reef chemistry guru RHF.


PS Is the last nitrate reading correct? If so that could speak to lower food for the clam? I'm working on a hunch that target numbers for a healthy ~mixed~ reef are PO4 0.03-0.05 and NO3 5-8

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Its been in the tank for about a month.


Thanks, I've been trying to move my Alk up, hence the fluctuations.

As for the nitrate, I know its gotten low. Im also battling some GHA right now and I'm trying to keep the NO3 low for a bit to clea rit up

Do you think it looks upset, or is this normal?

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In all honesty clams don't stress over calcium or alk, or mag or nearly any fluctuation besides salinity. Low or fluctuating numbers will slow down the painstakingly slow growth, especially in Maximus. If your clam is only half open it is almost always one of two things. Either your light is stronger then what it was used to, or your water is to clean/ tank is to new and lacking dissolved organics (clam food).

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Thanks Zeph. My light is definitely brighter than what it came from.

The tank is about 4 months old, but everything in it was from a smaller tank that was about a year old.

Would you recommended dimming the lights (may piss off the SPS a bit) or just waiting it out? Once I get the algae under control I will start feeding more heavily

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That light is a ton of PAR... 16" total distance from light to clam? Does it have optics? Clam directly under the light? FWIW when I tested my value reefbreeders unit it was over 450 PAR at 100%, 26" away - 2" air and 24 of water and that was through glass covers and pumps left on. My value does have 90 degree optics.

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16" total height from top of clam to the level of the light. 120 degree optics. Clam is off to the side, in the corner of the tank. Probably close to a foot off the edge of the light. Through glass covers

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My guess is it is acclimating to the new light. Sounds like the LFS didn't have very good lighting.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I noticed the tread is a bit older so i hope the clam is doing well, but I did noticwe that you were not checking Phosphorous levels? Do you have a phosphorous reactor (aka GFO) in use? For Clams, this is important. Maximas tend to be "forgiving" when it comes to ph, Alk, Ca, even salinity (hence you can treat them with a freshwater dip for pinched mantel). However, even low levels of phosphorous can be lethal to a clam (or rather the symbiotic bacteria on the clam).

In short, check you phosphorous if you have not don so already and install a phosphorous reactor (no need to by a pre-made one, they are easy to make).

Good luck with the clam.

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My guess is it is acclimating to the new light. Sounds like the LFS didn't have very good lighting.


Your light is brighter and she is protecting herself from over exposure too fast. She will acclimate in due time. She looks healthy to me.

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