Species group: Clams, Scallops and other Bivalves
Other common names: Great Clam, Rugosa Clam
Scientific name: Tridacna maxima
The large, brilliantly-colored Maxima Clam is a great favorite among Mollusc fans and public aquarium visitors alike. Although it has very specific needs, serious aquarists often find it to be quite hardy.
The Maxima Clam is found throughout the Indo-Pacific region, where it inhabits shallow, sunlit waters on and near coral reefs.
Appearance / health:
The mantle (visible portion of the body wall) colors are brilliant and varied, with blue, black, purple, gold, green and others usually in evidence. The shell of the Maxima Clam may top 30 cm (12 in) in width.
The Maxima Clam will lose its brilliant coloration and fare poorly if not provided with excellent water quality and exposure to powerful lights.
Behavior / temperament:
This large clam can attach to coral or burrow into the substrate, and feeds often, so the brilliant mantle is often visible. It will not trouble fellow aquarium dwellers.
The Maxima Clam requires powerful, marine-specific lighting (Halide bulbs are often the best option), as it relies heavily upon nutrients produced by symbiotic algae. The water should be well-oxygenated, with moderate to strong currents, ammonia and nitrite-free, and in the temperature range of 22-25.5 C (72-78 F). Crushed coral, sand, or aragonite may be used as the substrate, or the clams may be allowed to attach themselves to coral.
The following water quality parameters should be maintained to assure your Maxima Clam’s 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, Maxima Clams should be given 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