10 Fun & Interesting Facts About Freshwater Clams

Freshwater clams are considered as a gourmet delicacy among many international cuisines nowadays. However, many aquarists like keeping them as pets, too. They are actually beneficial to most aquarium settings, and especially if there are some fish around.

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They are not overly interactive with their humans (or with anyone, really) but they still make a popular choice for many modern tanks. If you are among those who are still getting to learn these peculiar creatures, our selection of the 10 most fun and interesting facts about freshwater clams may actually help.

1. Freshwater Clams have None of the Five Senses

You certainly know how a clam looks, but did you know it has absolutely no eyes or ears? Even from the inside. That said, it is logical to conclude that these creatures own no sense of smell, hearing, or even vision. And on top of that, they can neither have a sense of touch or taste. Talking about peculiarity!

What clams do have is kidneys, a heart, a mouth, an anus and a stomach.

2. Even though they have no Legs or Arms, Clams have a Muscular Foot

Obviously, freshwater clams have no legs or arms, so that is probably not such an interesting fact anymore. However, they have some sort of muscular foot. Such foot consists out of two muscles, one anterior and another posterior. This allows for the foot to retract, becoming quite a powerful tool.

Clams use their muscular foot for moving laterally, from one side to the other. However, this only allows for super-slow movements, so freshwater clams generally rely on the water current to move. The main scope of the muscular foot is to make digging easier. Indeed, thanks to it, clams can bury into the sandy substrate quite fast and quite agilely.  

3. They present the Best Natural Water Filtration System

If you are looking for amazing water cleaners, freshwater clams may be the perfect choice for your home tank. These creatures mostly feed on nutritive particles which they collect from the water. Such a particular feeding technique is also known as filter-feeding.   

Clams manage to remove the extra nitrogen from the tank water, and they simply incorporate it into their shells as they grow. This does not mean that water maintenance is not needed if you own clams, but it certainly does contribute greatly into keeping the water in a pristine condition. Moreover, one single clam can filter gallons and gallons of water each day, depending on its shell size.

4. Freshwater Clams have an Open Circulatory System

Freshwater clams have an open circulatory system, meaning that their blood vessels are not able of fully transporting blood to the vital organs. Instead, blood constantly flows around their inner bodies.

Such blood is being oxygenated inside their gills and their mantle. Once this is completed, such oxygenated blood will return to their heart. And their heart, by the way, consists out of three chambers only: one ventricle and two auricles.

5. Clams make the Calmest Pets one Could Ever Own

If you are looking for a calm pet that will never be overly active or aggressive towards its tank mates, freshwater clams may be your ideal solution. Indeed, these creatures barely move at all.

Although they do have the ability to move thanks to their muscular foot, they mostly tend to use it for burrowing deep inside the substrate rather than moving on its surface.

6. Freshwater Clams Have no Brain, but they can still Feel Pain

As you may have already realized until now, the body of a clam is entirely different from most aquatic pet species which are nowadays found across private tanks. On top of having no eyes or legs or even a classic circulatory system, they also have no brain. Or at least, no brain which mammals or fish would usually define as a brain. However, what they do have is a nervous system.

Their nervous system consists out of a bundle of nerves, which control different functions of their body. Plus, they also have a nerve cord, which runs all the way across their body and connects all the organs and nerves. That way, clams can still feel some sensations and respond to them. This includes a sense of pain, too.

7. Freshwater Clams Repordoction Depend on the Water Current

Most of the freshwater clam species reproduce by external fertilization. That means that the male releases its sperm into the water, and this enters the female body thanks to an incurrent siphon.

And since most freshwater clams live around rivers and streams, the success of their reproduction activities will mostly depend on the water current. If this is too strong, the male sperm will simply not find its way into the female body.

8. They Have an Extremely Brief Lifespan

Freshwater clams have an extremely brief lifespan, and they rarely exceed six months of life. However, this can often be even much, much shorter than half a year. If a clam does not acclimate well to its new captive environment, it may die within a couple of days.

9. Clams can Cause Serious Water Pollution

It is of common knowledge that any dead or decaying body can cause water quality disruptions if not immediately removed from the tank. However, this is really enhanced with freshwater clams.

If they happen to die without their human noticing, it may seriously compromise the entire safety of the water. If you keep your clams inside a community tank, it is vitally important to constantly check up on your tank.

10. Freshwater Clams Require Decently Sized Tanks

For creatures that are fairly small and never swim around their tank, freshwater clams require quite a lot of space. A very minimal amount of water for a single clam is 10 gallons. However, 30-gallon tanks are much more recommended in order to keep their water parameters stable.

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