Horse’s Hoof Clam

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Species group:

Other common names:

Scientific name: Hippopus hippopus

The Basics:
The Horse’s Hoof Clam’s low price often tempts the inexperienced, but they are quite delicate and best left to folks who are prepared for a challenge.

This giant is found throughout the Western Pacific Ocean, where it dwells along shallow reefs on sandy and coral-rubble bottoms.

Appearance / health:
The mantle (visible portion of the body wall) is a subdued light green in color, and marked with thin tan lines. The shell of the Horse’s Hoof Clam may top 30 cm (12 in) in width.

Although it seems not to require overly-powerful lighting or very strong currents, the Horse’s Hoof Clam never-the-less does not fare well unless under the care of an expert.

Behavior / temperament:
This large clam will remain visible if allowed to partially sink into sand and coral bits. It will not harm fellow aquarium animals (plankton excepted!).

The Horse’s Hoof Clam does best under moderate illumination. The water should be well-oxygenated, moved about by mild currents, ammonia and nitrite-free, and in the temperature range of 22-28 C (72-82 F). A crushed coral, aragonite, and sand mix makes an ideal substrate.

The following water quality parameters should be maintained to assure long-term health: Salinity: 1.020-1.025; pH: 8.1-8.4; Alkalinity 8-12 dKH; Calcium 300-480 mg/L. Strontium, iodine and other trace elements should be added as suggested by the product manufacturer.

In addition to the nutrients provided by symbiotic algae, Horse’s Hoof Clams should be offered liquid plankton formulas designed for use with filter-feeding marine invertebrates on a daily basis.

Clam larvae (veligers) are planktonic for several weeks. Captive breeding has not been documented in home aquariums.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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