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byssal threads

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wrightme43

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Anthony, I know its not a coral, though I figure you are up on it as well. How to byssal threads work? Do they secrete something into the rock to dissolve it and then attach or just use pressure to secure a foot hold, or am I way off base. Tell us what me what you know about them. I am curious.Thanks alot. and if this thread has to be moved I will understand totally. Steve
 

Anthony Calfo

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neat question, Steve :)

And actually... I enjoy and am versed at chatting about all things aquatic. Before my coral farm, I built a FW discusfish hatchery (wish earned me the money for the coral farm)... and worked for many years professionally installing garden ponds (real garden ponds... like a good Italian ;) ... marvels of stone and tile and granite :D). And of course, it was a number of magnificent freshwater fishes that led me into this delightful hobby. Have also bred birds and kept numerous reptiles... right on up to the 12' burmese python in a walk in terrarium).

The byssus on a bivalve serves different functions in different species. For some, byssal secretions only occur when the specimen is young (as with Tridacna gigas and derasa) until they are large and secure enough otherwise to sit on the reef (or in the lagoon). For other bivalves (scallops) it is an active and lifelong mechanism.

The secretion of byssal threads can be handicapped by collection when a "clam" has what it "feels"sal material, but in fact is not secure at all. In the early days when collectors did not know how to collect them as well (cropping byssal threads short so they secrete fresh in aquaria later)... the byssal threads would be a large, gross and waving chunk of yuck under there. Not good for anybody. Twas/is best to carefully trim them short (manicure scissors) and corral the clam in a place for some weeks (using a rubble wall or the like) until it attaches naturally.

Not knowing what species of bivalve you are referring to, I'm not sure what more to say. :)

kindly,

Anthony
 

wrightme43

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Ok point taken. Thanks for sharing what you have. Say were talking about crocea or maxima or deresa clams. Thats what I see the most of. The way I use to get them to attach is to put a flat shallow tupperware in the tank. I put either a flat rock or a half a dead clam shell in the tupper and cover it with sand. I put the clam in the middle and give it a week or so. Usually but not always it attaches to the rock or shell. HOW in the heck does it do it? Is there a better way to do? Are there some clams that don't use the threads? I am very interested in this subject, I hope you don't mind me picking your brain. Do they really dissolve the rock or shell? I have heard that but don't know for sure. Thanks again. Steve
 

Anthony Calfo

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Crocea are in fact known as the "boring clam" and yes they do issue secretions that dissolve carbonate material over time. This has not been observed in aquaria to any appreciable extent.

Your protocol for securing clams is fine... although the sand is not needed early on.

But it is VERY important to get clams to attach to a hard/flat rock to protect against attacks through the byssal port. The tupperware is fine with the flat rock alone.

To encourage faster settlement, snip any old threads away. If none, then simply corral the clam with rubble around/upon the rock it sits. They will usually attach in 2 weeks or less.

Anthony :)
 
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