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Old 03/06/2011, 10:20 PM   #1
BluScrnOdeth
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Breeding Clams at home

This is an attempt to breed clams at home. I will do everything in my power to NOT harm the clams and try to make this successful.

The one thing that bothers me the most is how to get zooxanthellae without killing or severely hurting another clam, so that has yet to be determined on what to do.... Wondering if i might be able to just "scrape" some off provided i can keep the clams shell open without permanently damaging it.

This will NOT be done only in my display tank. The large clams WILL live in my DT but will NOT be breeding in it.

I will give you just a basic overview of what i plan on doing. I call it basic because I'm sure it will change a thousand times over the process of actually doing it.

Basically:
Let them out of the water for an hour at a time, warm them to about 85 degrees at most and place them back in the DT till they start to get their groove on. If that doesnt work, i'll wait 30min and repeat the process. If 2-3 attempts fail, i'll wait a week and attempt the same but for a longer duration. Maybe 1.5 hrs.

Then IF they start pouring out stuff, i'll shift them to a water container filled with PREMADE, 83 degree water (to help avoid temp shock), NOT tank water. Once the eggs start coming out I will shift it to another bucket. I will do the same for Clam 2.

Since Clams can lay 75% more sperm than eggs, i will dilute it to a 5:1 mixture. Yes i said 5:1. I would rather under fertilize than over fertilize. Then mix (depending on how many are there) then in a 10-20gal tank. Though i do have a spare 55gal i'm not doing anything with....

Then follow the Clam Guide for the rest of the process. Once they are 14-15 days old, i will be putting them in my refuge tank after a 3hr acclimation period. and wait for them to get acclimated to that. Then maybe after a month, if they are over an inch or two, i'll put them in my DT with the LEDs so they can take advantage of the light. My refuge isnt highly lit up (indirect 4 23w(100w eq) 2700k CFL's for my algae scrubber. And then go on from there. Maybe do this twice a year.


BUT first thing is first. Growing some Phytoplankton as a food source for when they are first developing.

There are 3 types of phyto I will be culturing. Nannochloropsis oculata, Isochrysis galbana, and Tetraselmis.

Nanno and Tetra are both green and grow in different sizes. Nano - 2-4 micron, Tetra - 9-14 micron. I was against doing Tetra because of the size, but i figured, the more food types, the better. Plus Tetra, according to Breeders (http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issu...02/breeder.htm) contains antibiotic like compounds. So it couldnt hurt.

Iso G. Its a brown color and is hard to grow, as I'm finding out. First batch is a fail (i dont think that i kept the temp stable enough). It's size is ideal as i'm hoping that Iso G and Nanno are small enough for them to consume on day 2, though feeding is optional.

So with that said, until i get the Iso G growing, I will be holding off on buying any Large Clams for breeding. I'm ordering another couple batches tomorrow and should have plenty of Nanno and Tetra provided i can keep the colonies alive.

I could always buy dead plankton to feed, but whats the fun in that... BTW, i'll get some pics hopefully tomorrow on here. I have finals and junk coming up this week so time is precious right now.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post. Haters, please keep the board civil.


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Old 03/06/2011, 10:45 PM   #2
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My research shows that zooxanthellae can be found in for lack of a better word "clam poop" not sure how long it's viable or how to extract it. Clam larvae in the wild may be able to extract enough zooxanthellae from the excerement of mature clams in the bed.

I'm tagging along and wish you the best in this ventrure.


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Old 03/07/2011, 09:52 AM   #3
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I'll have to take a look into that later this week will46r. Finals for my Environmental class are this week and Java programming is next week i think.

But anyways, i have purchased the rest of my test kits (MAG and PO4) and my Extech RF20 Salinity Refractometer. I looked at the Hanna, but with as much as i love technology, i'd rather have something i can manually adjust and not worry about some eletrical failure.

Last time i checked my water quaity (roughly 6 days ago) it was at:
KH: 11.2
CAL: 420
PH: 8.2
AMONIA: 0
NO2: 0
NO3: looks like maybe 0-2
Salinity (hydrometer) 1.024

Will46r, I was wondering, with our clams being in a closed system (I'm not running a protein skimmer) if there would be enough free floating zoo in the water. Or if like you said, they get it from the poo. If you think about it. The ocean is vast with large currents, whisking away most if not all the zoo. Our systems are small and no where for it to go without water changes.


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Old 03/07/2011, 05:01 PM   #4
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raise yr salinity


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Old 03/07/2011, 05:30 PM   #5
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I will as soon as I get my refractometer which says it just shipped today


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Old 03/07/2011, 05:47 PM   #6
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Here is a pic of my planlton farm. Just split it too.



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Old 03/09/2011, 03:45 PM   #7
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raised my salinity to 1.25, got my refractometer in last night. Should get my other test kits by friday according to the tracking numbers. Having a hard time locating T ISO phytoplankton. FAF was out. Algae Depo wants 30 bucks for 250ml.... Might have to go with them. Ordered some 1 micron mesh netting to filter the phyto when its time to split. I also ordered some 27 micron filter to help separate some of the bigger particles (some kind of buildup) so that should help me keep just the phyto as much as possible. I'll keep you posted as more comes.


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Old 03/10/2011, 01:51 PM   #8
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Waiting on an email from Algae Depot to see if their strain of Iso Galbana plankton is the Tahiti strain. If not, i think i'll just buy 16oz of Iso Galbana from aquacave since its the same volume and cheaper. Density, i'm not sure of. I'd prefer to get it from FAF, so i might wait a little bit longer.


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Old 03/10/2011, 04:17 PM   #9
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Blu: Out of curiosity, have you read any literature from Gerald Heslinga, or Daniel Knop?
I think their research/ books would be quite useful for you on this project.
Much of there work is done at commercial locations, but, I think alot of their work has potential to incorporate into a closed system.


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Old 03/10/2011, 04:18 PM   #10
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Blu: Out of curiosity, have you read any literature from Gerald Heslinga, or Daniel Knop?
I think their research/ books would be quite useful for you on this project.
Much of their work is done at commercial locations, but, I think alot of their work has potential to incorporate into a closed system.


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Old 03/10/2011, 04:32 PM   #11
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Unfortunately no. I have read about everything out there I could find online. And unfortunately there isn't a whole lot out there. But I will look them up for further reading. Thanks.


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Old 03/10/2011, 05:42 PM   #12
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Did a water test today since i added the new clams a week or so ago. I can tell they are in there, adding more chemicals every 3-4 days than i ever have been lol. Realy nice to know that its worth it though.

Salinity 1.25
PH 8.2 (working on getting that up to 8.4, 300g gonna take a little time)
NO2 - 0
NO3 - 0
Amonia- 0
KH - 12.6
Clac- 400 (.16)
temp - 80 (always is)
PO4 - no test kit yet


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Old 03/10/2011, 06:53 PM   #13
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hey, bsod, what chemicals are you adding?
here's my analysis:
Salinity 1.25 HOPE YOU MEAN 1.025
PH 8.2 (working on getting that up to 8.4, 300g gonna take a little time) FINE AT 8.2 BUT WHICH BRAND KIT? I KNOW YOU SAID ON THE OTHER THREAD, BUT WHICH?
NO2 - 0
NO3 - 0
Amonia- 0
THOSE 3 ARE GREAT
KH - 12.6 WHICH BRAND IS ABLE TO GIVE YOU THAT MUCH ACCURACY??
Clac- 400 (.16) WHAT'S THE (.16)
temp - 80 (always is) THERE'S GREAT DEBATE OVER STEADY, ABSOLUTE STEADY, TEMP VS VARYING IT.
PO4 - no test kit yet A CRITICAL NEED


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Current Tank Info: 75 and 65gals plumbed together, clams 12 fish. lps corals/ aquaillumination leds on the 75 and lovin them. t5's
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Old 03/10/2011, 07:11 PM   #14
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yes sorry 1.025 is what i meant.

I like it to be at 8.4, just brought it up yesterday from 8.0. using Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit.

thanks for the 3 greats , I owe it all to my algae scrubber

I use salifert test kits for calc and kh.

the calc 400 (.16) the .16 is the value ml's. .16 is 420 ppm actually, i read the paper wrong so that should be really good then.

80 degrees is steady from what i can tell. Every time i check it day or night, thats the temp its at. Well it may vary +-1 degree.

PO4 test kit is in the mail and should be here tomorrow along with the MAgnesium test kit.

The chemicals i use are B-IONIC calc and alk


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Old 03/10/2011, 07:12 PM   #15
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Forgot to mention that i got my 1 micron and 27 micron mesh in the mail today so most likely tomorrow i'll build those as my plankton is getting pretty deep green again. i'll post pictures in a few.


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Old 03/10/2011, 07:34 PM   #16
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Here is what it looks like 3 days after splitting.


Nonno on the left and Tetra on the right (3 bottles)



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Old 03/10/2011, 08:52 PM   #17
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Blu: To add to Moliken-
1)As to PH, your test kit is a general reference. It's accuracy is limited. Keep in mind you need to always test the same time of day each time, as your PH will increase throughout your photoperiod with oxygen production, and decrease on the opposite cycle with the increase of carbon dioxide.
2)Your nitrates are at zero. Again, your test kit is limited, and nitrates are not totally zero, but low. Keep in mind that as you aquire multiple Tridacna sp. clams, they will appreciate some nitrogen, especially if your tank is to be dominated by them. I'm not going to push the issue yet, but, I will plant the seed in your head that regular ammonium nitrate additions can be beneficial IF, and only IF, the system is heavily stocked with Tridacna sp. clams.
3) Phosphate can inhibit calcification, and could be a major problem if high. Make sure and publish your results when your kit arrives..... and be prepared to add some (GFO) granular ferric oxide.
4)KH (dKH)/ Alkalinity- 12.6. Seems a bit high, which may be if you have relatively freshly mixed seawater, or are checking towards the end of your photoperiod. Keep an eye on this. Levels of 8-10dKH are more common.
Keep up the battle..... you are an ant attempting to climb a mountain!


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Old 03/10/2011, 09:02 PM   #18
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+1 aphenes on your 1,2,3,4, but i'd add that the ant has a healthy gigas it's trying to lug up that mountain. any ph means more than that. those kits are notoriously unreliable


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Old 03/10/2011, 09:10 PM   #19
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Yeah the crappy cards can't be a solid 100% test but I'm sure they are close enough. Inhabitants are ok within a range. But ill keep all that in mind if I feel that its a cause for something to go wrong.


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Old 03/10/2011, 09:11 PM   #20
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12.6 KB is a little higher than the median but hasn't ever effected anything in my tank.


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Old 03/12/2011, 06:47 AM   #21
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Did my other Tests today:

PO4 - 1
MAg - 1200 (going to raise that to between 1300 and 1500 later today.


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Old 03/12/2011, 06:52 AM   #22
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your phosphates at 1 are much too high. any reading at all is too high. mag at 1500 will affect your other chemistry. why not try for mag at nsw levels 1350???


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Old 03/12/2011, 07:16 AM   #23
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I mentioned between 1300 and 1500. my PO4 is high right now because i changed out my algae scrubber screen. within a week it should drop to near 0 as some phosphates are needed in my system for the algae screen to grow. I'm assuming my PO4 is usually at 0 because 6mo ago the local LFS did a PO4 test (stupid strips) and it read 0 and thats when i had my scrubber fully going. But i'm starting over with my algae scrubber (changed screen type). My PO4 "could" be a .5, it wasnt exactly as dark as the 1.0 reeding but darker than the .5 so i just rounded up.

I'll see what the LFS has for Mag treatments within a couple days. Got too much going on to go there atm. Any suggestions on brands, etc? I read about using epsom salt and Mag flakes. But i think that was for more drastic uses.



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Old 03/12/2011, 08:01 AM   #24
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just personally, i'd leave the mag alone, but it seems you like to put chemicals in the water. doing the regular water changes, using a decent salt should eliminate the need for any dosing really. your testing ability [and most hobbyists] just aren't that exact to be constantly trying to keep things "perfect." BUT if you really still wanna use something for upping mag, i can't give you any advice at all. chemistry isn't my strong point.


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Old 03/12/2011, 03:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluScrnOdeth View Post
The one thing that bothers me the most is how to get zooxanthellae without killing or severely hurting another clam, so that has yet to be determined on what to do.... Wondering if i might be able to just "scrape" some off provided i can keep the clams shell open without permanently damaging it.

Then IF they start pouring out stuff, i'll shift them to a water container filled with PREMADE, 83 degree water (to help avoid temp shock), NOT tank water. Once the eggs start coming out I will shift it to another bucket. I will do the same for Clam 2.

Since Clams can lay 75% more sperm than eggs, i will dilute it to a 5:1 mixture. Yes i said 5:1. I would rather under fertilize than over fertilize. Then mix (depending on how many are there) then in a 10-20gal tank. Though i do have a spare 55gal i'm not doing anything with....

Then follow the Clam Guide for the rest of the process. Once they are 14-15 days old, i will be putting them in my refuge tank after a 3hr acclimation period. and wait for them to get acclimated to that. Then maybe after a month, if they are over an inch or two, i'll put them in my DT with the LEDs so they can take advantage of the light. My refuge isnt highly lit up (indirect 4 23w(100w eq) 2700k CFL's for my algae scrubber. And then go on from there. Maybe do this twice a year.
Good luck - this is certainly a lofty project. Having worked on coral and anemone reproduction for the past 5 years, I have a few comments regarding your fertilization and rearing techniques.

You said something about a 5:1 ratio. Ratio of what, exactly? 5 sperms to 1 egg? How are you going to measure that out?

I realize the risks involved with too much sperm concentration (polyspermy), but too dilute and you will not have nearly enough sperm concentration for proper fertilization. Your bucket method might work, but might I suggest that you vary your techniques... It is much easier to dilute sperm concentration than increase it - just add water. Eggs will float, so they can easily be pipetted out or skimmed off the surface. Don't panic, as self fertilization is usually inhibited.


The tricky part will be getting the sperm isolated and concentrated, but the most minimal amount of water you can put the clam in will be key - large petri-style glass dishes work great (we use these for male Fungia corals). You can also try using a baster or pipettes to collect sperm directly from the clam. Then, transfer the sperm to 50mL vials, keeping the most minimal amount possible but leave some of the sperm in your glass dishes. Looking about like a nice glass of lemonade is the best I can describe sperm concentration.

As I said before, collecting eggs is easy - pipette or skim off the surface and transfer to your other clam's spawn. Fertilization will probably take place within an hour, but you can leave the eggs for two, maybe. Now, before you place in a holding tank, you need to rinse the sperm from your eggs. Basically, flush with fresh sea water three or four, maybe five times. When that sperm starts dying off, it can foul the water fast.

Next... let's assume you have fertilized eggs. You have glossed over perhaps the most difficult part of working with broadcast spawning animals - caring for the larvae. You mentioned putting them in a 10-20 gallon tank but list no other details. The next week or so while they develop will arguably be the most difficult and critical time. Fertilization is easy and fun, it's the care involved later that sucks (and I'm not just talking about clams here either!!! sorry, I had too.... ).

You can't just plop them in a tank and expect them to survive. And, no filtration that will suck them through an intake - no HOB filters, no powerheads, no canister filters... nuthin. You need GENTLE aeration, and nothing that will destroy their membranes during the first 12-18 hours of cell division. Not every egg will be fertilized, and after about a day, they will disintegrate to a gross, fatty mess. Water changes, water changes, water changes. Oh yeah... and don't siphon out any of your developing larvae.

Really a kreisel-style tank is best here, something that can keep your larvae gently rotating. When the developing larvae get stuck together, they can and will fuse, resulting in their death.

Now, let's say you get them to the ciliated larval phase - what are they going to settle on? Anemones can and will settle on the glass, and then you can just gently scrape them and move them with your fingernail, razor blade, whatever. Stony corals need actual substrate to settle on, or you will never get them to survive - I assume clams would be similar. And, there are probably settlement cues for clams, but I don't know what that is - you'll need to do some research here.

Now, they need zoox. You might get lucky with enough free-floating zoox in your tank, but if they don't take it up from the water column, then you will need to put them in the most minimal amount of water you can and inoculate them with zoox from the parents. For corals, we sacrifice a branch from an adult colony. With anemones, I cut tentacles off. Then, for either one, I grind them up and centrifuge off the dead tissue, leaving a pellet of zoox at the bottom of a vial (repeating process 5 or 6 times).

But... for the clams, if you don't want to sacrifice the adult, and they are not taking it up from the water column, you *might* be able to take a slice with scissors from the mantle of an adult and grind that up - BUT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT WILL DO TO THE ADULT - never done it. Then, you would probably need to mash that up and put it in your inoculation tank with the juveniles.

Hmmm... how are you going to see if the juveniles are taking up zoox? Do you have a low-power dissecting scope? Zoox is easily seen in larvael corals and anemones - I can't believe clams would be that much different.

As I said, it's a lofty project, but good luck. Warning though... I swear every spawning season takes years off my life with the tremendous amount of work that goes into rearing broadcast spawners. Too bad clams aren't brooders...

Cheers
Mike


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