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Tridacna clam breeding in suburbia

By Leonard Ho - Posted Sep 10, 2013 09:00 AM
Australian aquarist "Acro Al" is diving head-first into the fascinating world of Tridacna clam breeding ... not on some tropical island but rather in the suburbia of Perth. He's successfully reared his first batch of T.maxima and shares some amazing photos and video with Advanced Aquarist.
Tridacna clam breeding in suburbia

A four month old baby T.maxima. Awwwww

From Acropora propagation to clams, we asked Acro Al for more details about how he embarked on his new adventures as a suburban clam farmer.

It was only around 4 years ago when I thought of the idea, and then some time later came across some outstanding videos coincidentally just uploaded about giant clam farming from someone called Gerald Heslinga. These videos proved to be the inspiration for me to start the project.

I contacted Gerald, and his comment when I asked whether he thinks [clam breeding in suburbia] is possible still stands with me today: "Don't wait another day!" 

I realized my clams were healthy and were releasing eggs, and I had access to seawater. This is when I thought I would give it a go, so I built a modest raceway style aquaculture setup with the total capacity of about 8000 litres.

So how does a SPS farmer go from simple asexual propagation to the much more complicated science of sexually breeding Tridacnas?

I sought various advice.  I contacted John Clunies-Ross from Cocos Islands Clam Farm, researched heavily into Gerald's MMDC papers and Dr Richard Braley's papers from ACIAR as well as various other scientific papers. With success already showing, it wasn't until I contacted Phil Dor (  ex-Reefarm, Cairns) who lived here in Perth, that it really took off with his outstanding advice and motivation and will to help me overcome the "what ifs."

Now (after about 50 trips to the jetty for 1000 litres of seawater!) I stand looking at my first successful batch of Tridacna maxima, 3.5mm at 4 months old. My intention is to supply the local market with aquacultured clams of most species in the near future!

Al has also amassed a broodstock of gorgeous and huge blue T.squomsa (see photo below).  He plans to start breeding them in March, 2014.  Follow Acro Al's clam breeding progress on his facebook page.  We wish him the best of luck!

Overlooking a vat of big, healthy broodstock Tridacna clams.
Overlooking a vat of big, healthy broodstock Tridacna clams.

Under the microscope ...
Under the microscope ...

The settling of clam larvae
The settling of clam larvae

A clutch of baby Tridacnas!
A clutch of baby Tridacnas!

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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