View Full Version : Mollusk of the week: Flame Scallop (Libra scabra)

01/31/2001, 08:26 AM
Every week I will be posting a new mollusk for discussion. Please post everything you know about this week's mollusk, to include pics, care and feeding habits, optimal environment, common names, and anything else you can think of.

This week's mollusk is the Flame Scallop, also known as a File Shell. The scientific name is Lima scabra. It is not actually a scallop, it is classified with the file shells. The mantle and tentacles are bright red, with tiny blue eyespots.

The Flame scallop is a filter feeder, and requires a lot of planktonic food to survive in captivity. Unlike a lot of bivalves, the flame scallop does not attach to the substrate, and can travel freely about the tank. When threatened or disturbed, it will retreat at speed in reverse by jetting water from its shell.

Most captive flame scallops do not survive long in captivity, and can be unsatisfying tank inhabitants, as they often end up hiding in a back corner.

Please post any info you might have on the flame scallop.

[Edited by herefishiefishie on 01-31-2001 at 10:05 AM]

01/31/2001, 08:55 AM
Here is a VERY detailed thread on Flame Scallop or File Clams with some specific info by Rob Toonen.


I responded in the thread concerning my flame scallop that I was attempting to keep. I have since lost it after almost a full year in my tank. It was after a power outage and a rearrangement of the tank and I don't think it liked either of those very much and together they killed it.

My suggestion to anyone wanting to keep one would be to have your tank up for a long time so you wouldn't have to rearrange anything (I redirected some powerheads and it was VERY unhappy and ended up moving). Also target feeding with golden pearls at a minimum of every other day and having a refugium or other source of natural zooplankton. Feeding phytoplankton either alive or cryopreserved is also a nessesity. Don't expecting anyone else but you to even know you have one because you will be the only person willing to get down on your knees and crank your neck around the side of the tank to get a glimpse of it! ;)

01/31/2001, 09:35 AM
Cheap cam but here is a pic. It has been in the tank for 4 months now I do not direct feed him.
Tank is lighted by 768w of PC. He will move around from time to time. Tank is kept at 78 degrees, i do feed DT's twice per week. skim 24/7

01/31/2001, 10:03 AM
Whoops. The scientific name of the Flame Scallop is Lima scabra, not "Libra."

Serves me right for trying to do this from memory, without a book. Heh heh.

Alex Carciofi
01/31/2001, 10:05 AM
My especimen is in the tank for almost 1 year and a half.
It looks very healthy.



Sea Dragon
01/31/2001, 09:13 PM
Hmm let me check....mine's waaay in the back. Still appears to be doing pretty well, tho' I'm sure he'd like some plankton. I've only had it about 3 months and has been fed phytoplankton only about once a week...definitely need to start doing it more often.

Northern Reef
02/01/2001, 12:57 AM
HFF--I might be a tad off base here, but I have to wonder.....what is the purpose of featuring a mollusk on an aquarium-related board, when it is not suitable for captivity? It seems to me like this is defeating the purpose of why we have these boards in the first place.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

02/01/2001, 07:49 AM
Northern Reef,

I was hoping actually to make that one of the main points of this thread. If you read my original message, I make it clear that this creature does not survive long in captivity.

I may have been mistaken... I didn't know that the "creature of the week" series was supposed to feature only recommended species. I think information is power, and one should know about even those creatures that should not be kept.

Besides, you have a whole forum for anemones (and clownfish). In my opinion, anemones should not be collected from the wild. Yet there is a forum for them here at Reef Central. Note also the forum called "the next level." Would it be inappropriate to talk about flame scallops on that forum?

One final note: every single thread in this new forum has been about tridacnid clams. I was trying to emphasize the "And Other Mollusks" part of the forum. I was going to do a thread on Nassarius snails instead, but I didn't have any materials on hand and could not find the full scientific name for it. I guess I should have waited until I got home.

Alex Carciofi
02/01/2001, 07:56 AM
Do you know how long a flame scallop lives in the wild?
I have one for 1 year and a half and this seems good for me. But if you say a FS should live for decades, then...


02/01/2001, 07:59 AM
I do not know how long a flame scallop lives in the wild. I would look it up, but I've lent out my Baensch Marine Atlases.

I just re-read the thread on this by Biogeek, and he mentions about 3 years for the lifespan of the flame scallop.

Northern Reef
02/01/2001, 12:20 PM
HFF--My wife and I had a long discussion about this, and she has convinced me of the error of my thinking. ;) Making some of the same points you did, of course.
My initial fear is someone might see the critter for the first time and say "cool!! I need one of those in my tanks!"
But as they say, knowledge is power and I am sorry for interrupting here. :)

02/01/2001, 12:56 PM
I think this was a good topic as it is one that hits the boards way to often as I just bought this flame scallop at the LFS, any general care requirements on them?
With a thread on a forum maybe someone will read it before the go out and buy one on a whim.

I would be curious to see a thread on abalones. They seem like they would be good for eating diatoms in our tanks, but I am not sure if they are tropical or temperate and wouldn't like the temps we are running? Of course I just went out and bought a couple anyway so here I am - the pot calling the kettle black!

FWIW, Nathan

02/01/2001, 01:24 PM
Northern Reef,

No apology is necessary, and your posts are in no way an interruption. Friendly debate and disagreement can be the parents of discovery. :D

npaden, I will put abalones on the list as a future mollusk of the week.

02/04/2001, 09:52 AM
I just wanted to thank everyone for all the info. I read and research rather than post most of the time.

Today I am off to the new LFS, I plan on bringing home a few "goodies". I was looking through my books and saw the flame scallop, needless to say, I do not plan on bringing one home. THe information I find here is extremly valuable, you can not get it any book... Just wanted to say thanks.