March 23, 2023

Don’t Clam Up: Open Your Tank to Clams

Clams could truly be the treasures of your saltwater aquarium. Available in a wide array of colors and sizes, clams can be the centerpiece of your tank.

When some people think of a clam, they think of a dull brown or black shell that they sometimes see in the local pond or river bed. But in the world of saltwater, clams are much more interesting than that.

Saltwater clams come in a variety of vibrant colors that would make any black light enthusiast fall to their knees. In fact, I think that every saltwater keeper should have at least one clam in their tank, for beauty and for interest.

Related: Top 5 Invertebrates to Hire For Your Freshwater Cleanup Crew

 But clams aren’t all about looks – they’re also practical. Did you know that clams offer natural filtration? Thanks to their superior filtering capabilities, clams offer stability and nutrient control in an aquarium. Clams work 24/7 to filter nutrients such as ammonia and nitrate from the tank water. By lowering nitrate levels and reducing the biological load, water conditions in your aquarium in peak performance.

Before you add any clam to your aquarium, here are a few of the basics you’ll need to know about.


Clams are filter feeders, which make them a beneficial inhabitant of the aquarium, as they pull waste from the waters. Tridacna clams, or Giant clams, have algae cells within their mantle that photosynthesize and create energy. The clams use this energy to grow and remain healthy. Because of this, clams need fairly good lighting for the algae to grow.

Related: Why You’ll Want to Add Mystery Snails to Your Aquarium


Clams are fairly easy to please. Their main requirements are to be in a well-lit area of the tank, with ample lighting available. They need to remain upright with their mantle facing the light, or they will in turn starve.  They need to be able to open their shell, and shouldn’t be sandwiched in any strange places that may inhibit their ability to do so.

Special requirements

Clams require several trace elements to be present in the water, so supplementation may be required depending on the amount of filtration on the aquarium. The elements that they need to have present are calcium, iodine, and strontium.


The appearance of saltwater clams is almost surreal with their intricate patterns, and vivid bright and neon coloration of their mantle. They come in a broad array of colors from green, blue, black, yellow, purple and just about everything in between.  They add a magnificent aesthetic quality to any saltwater tank.

summerSummer Davis is the mom of three kids, four dogs, and several tanks of fish. She boasts a passion for all animals, whether they are in the water or on land. This fish aficionado has kept many different species in her time, but holds a special place in her heart for wild and domestic bettas. When she’s not talking about fish, Summer “spins” her extra time as the director of a baton twirling organization.