Acropora Gemmifera

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Crocea Clam (Tridacna crocea): among the most colorful of the tridacnids.

they will not come into contact with the anemone's tentacles, or nettling is possible. Including a Six-Line Wrasse, Pseudocheilinus hexa-taenia, will help protect the giant clams from parasitic snails they may be harboring. A coral goby, such as Gobiodon citrinus, will makes its home in the branches of the SPS corals if placed in this tank. Schools of Orange-lined Cardinal-fish, Apogon cyanosoma, emerge from hiding to feed in the open at night. Their inclusion would also be appropriate.

AN INSHORE AQUARIUM FOR CLOWN-FISH. For a smaller system than the one just described, a suitable clownfish/host combination might be the host anemone Macrodactyla doreensis with tank-raised Amphiprion clarkii clownfish. Intense lighting, but moderate current, are the basic environmental prerequisites, along with a suitable layer of fine, soft sand for the anemone to bury in. A Monaco-style sand bed would be a natural choice. This habitat would also be home to the Mandarinfish, Synchiropus splendidus, and its cousin, the Spotted Mandarin, Synchiropuspicturatus. (The latter requires a well-established system with good natural opportunities to forage over live rock and gravel for small live foods.)

Because many of the soft corals and other cnidarians found in the lagoon might nettle a clownfish host anemone, one must choose from other invertebrate groups to create a diverse community in this aquarium design. Sabellid worms are commonplace in this habitat, and several species of giant clams might be found here. Tridacna squamosa would be the most likely choice, since it prefers sheltered shallows.

Chapter Eight 215

Giant Clam Aquaria

Maxima or Great Clam (Tridacna maxima)

Derasa or Smooth Giant Clam (Tridacna derasa)

Giant Clam

Green Crocea (Tridacna crocea)

Blue Maxima CTridacna maxima)

T. gigas, T. crocea, Hippopus hippopus, and H. porcellanus the eight species of giant clams found in the Indo-Pacific re-

would also be appropriate, with Hippopus often found sim- gion, seven are available from hatcheries. These are Tridacna ply lying on the substrate. T. gigas and T. crocea are typically derasa, T. crocea, T. squamosa, T. gigas, T. maxima, Hippopus attached to a hard surface. The latter species frequently hippopus, and the recently described H.porcellanus. Another bores into coral heads, for example.

recently discovered species, T. tevora, has not yet appeared

Overcollecting for food use has reduced the numbers on the aquarium market as of the date of this writing.

of giant clams in the wild, and some are now protected

Tridacnids are conveniently undemanding as reef in-

throughout much of their natural range. Fortunately, hatch- vertebrates go, requiring primarily good lighting, sufficient ery-raised giant clams have become widely available. Of calcium and the absence of predators. These clams have

216 Natural Reef Aquariums been shown to thrive on nitrate, and in well-aged, nutri-

Other fishes for a tank featuring tridacnid clams would ent-poor systems with efficient protein skimming, the clams be grazing tangs and mid-water planktivores like anthias, may actually need supplementation in order to grow. If there cardinals, damsels, or others mentioned in this chapter. An-

are fish in the tank, their feeding regimen will likely pro- gelfishes (and other omnivorous foragers that spend the vide sufficient waste to supply tridacnids with the inorganic day picking at the reefscape) are not recommended as they ions they need.

will nip at the delectable tridacnid flesh. Even the seemingly harmless Centropyge species of dwarf angels will often nibble at a clams mantle, causing it to retract and even tually wither and die. Stinging Aipta-sia anemones can be troublesome; either move the clam or kill the Aip-tasia (sealing each under a patch of aquarium epoxy putty can be effective if there are just a small number of these pests to subdue).

The mantle of Tridacna is filled with zooxanthellae, which form interesting patterns that no doubt account for their appeal to aquarists. Coloration of the mantle ranges from bright green to blue and purple. Each individual clam looks different, and many are quite beautiful.

The aquarium husbandry of all species of giant clams is the same. The clam relies upon its zooxanthellae for food. It absorbs both inorganic and

Many aquarists who set up giant-clam microhabitats in- organic nutrients from the water, probably for the primary elude a Hawaiian Neon or Four-Line Wrasse (Pseudocheil- benefit of the zooxanthellae. Such nutrients include both inus tetrataenia) or a Six-Line Wrasse (P. hexataenia) for ammonia and nitrate. Nitrate removal can be dramatic, if control of tiny molluscan parasites that frequently hitchhike large numbers of clams are introduced into the aquarium, into the aquarium along with the tridacnid. These para- Phosphates are also absorbed. Thus, Tridacna actually en-sites resemble small grains of rice and are most frequently joys levels of nitrate and phosphate that would be consid-observed on the bottom of the clam near the byssal opening. ered unsuitable for a coral reef aquarium in general.

Orange Lined Cardinalfish

Startlingly pigmented black and white Maxima Clam (Tridacna maxima) in the wild.

They can and will kill clams if left unchecked.

Nevertheless, attention should be paid to water quality for

Chapter Eight 217

Acropora Gemmifera

Stag horn Coral <Acropora sp.)

Stag Horn Reef Tank

Encrusting Stony Coral (Pontes sp.)

Stag Horn Reef Tank
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Stag Horn Reef Tank

Stag horn Coral (Acropora gemmifera)

Captive-grown Acropora fragment

Stag Horn Reef Tank

Closed Brain Coral (Favites sp.)

these clams, which require sufficient oxygen, a high, stable pH, and an alkalinity of 3.5 milliequivalents per liter (meq/L) or more. High-intensity lighting is also necessary. In addition, these clams need protection from irritants and parasites. The latter can be controlled, as mentioned above, by keeping a Six-Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) in the tank. All of the shallow-water clams are frequently encrusted with coralline algae, sponges, and other small invertebrates. Live rock organisms may establish themselves on the shells of clams, helping to create a natural look.

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