View Full Version : Normal byssal separation photo

NT Nano
12/02/2015, 12:57 PM
Although I am no expert, I have had a few clams over the years, and have a pretty good feel for what "normal" is. Years ago as a new clam keeper I panicked the first time a clam ditched its foot and I subsequently found it nearby in the tank. I have read many posts over the years of new clam owners in a similar panic, and many misguided predictions of doom from other clam keepers. I finally got some decent photos to document a "normal" separation. (Remember, once the byssal threads "glue" to a rock, it is somewhat permanent. If a clam wants to move, it often has to go through this process. You may or may not ever see the byssal "foot" if you have a good cleanup crew.)
If trying to determine whether your clam is in trouble, there are some important factors.
1. The clam has to do this voluntarily. If you pulled on the clam and tore the foot, that is very different.
2. Clams decide to move for many reasons. The one in this photo is a gold maxima that I inadvertently placed in too bright light. It cut attachment to move to a nicer location. If your clam is moving due to stress over water conditions, parasites, predation, etc, it might still be in trouble.
3. Clam should be otherwise healthy...no gaping, bleaching, pinched mantle, etc.

Please note on the photo, the smooth rounded end is what was attached to the clam. The ragged threads are what attaches to the rock. If the end is not smooth, it was torn, which isn't good.

This clam had formed new byssal attachments in a new lower place within 24 hours, and is now happy and growing.

NT Nano
12/02/2015, 01:09 PM
Sorry Guys. Here are the photos

12/02/2015, 01:10 PM
i can't see the picture, however i was one of those panicked clam keepers when my first clam, a crocea, ditched its byssal threads.

i saw it early morning in the tank, gently wafting around some corals, and assumed it was some kind of deadly yet-to-be-discovered nudibranch, or other insidious pest.


now i can see the pictures, you must have just replied right before me. great shots! thank you for posting them.

NT Nano
12/02/2015, 01:19 PM
Yes, they look pretty creepy without any context. Wonder how many people have mis-identified them over the years? Hee hee

Razor Blade
06/06/2016, 07:52 AM
I know this thread is a bit old, but this happened to my Crocea clam a few days ago. Besides dislodging its foot, it looks very healthy. Fully extended mantle, no gaping "mouth" and reacts well to light and shadows.

It happened about a week after introducing the clam to my tank.

It moved maybe 2 inches from its spot and was tipped on its side. Upon propping it back up on some rubble (to hopefully attach to) I noticed a white-ish blob (exactly the pics as NT Nano posted) and freaked out.

Most of the threads out there say the clam is doomed, but I'm hoping NT is right! Puts me at ease a bit.

Anyone else have experience with this?

06/06/2016, 08:27 AM
my crocea is still doing quite well, despite having ejected that clump of threads well over 2 years ago at this point.