Help! Rescue operation


Premium Member
Crap, I had to get a whisky to settle down and write this.

Okay, so I just did something really stupid. A guy in the area got himself a maxima he realized he didn't know how to care for (let's not judge). Its about 3.5" attached to a largish piece of LR. He's had it about 10 days. He said he hasn't seen its mantle expand and doesn't even remember seeing it when he got it. I forgot to ask how he acclimated. When I looked in the parking lot I saw hints of a beautiful blue mantle and said I'd try to save him.

After I got it home I instantly realized a big problem, aiptasia! Darn suckers were retracted when I was looking but they were as clear as day when I was floating the bag. There were 2-3 coming straight out from is bysal gland! :eek1: So I nuked them with boiling water in the bag before realizing the many baby aiptasias all over the rock.

So screw this, there was no way I could introduce that to my tank nor could I take it back. So I had no choice but to... deep breath... cut the bysal threads. I got out my pocket knife with blade scraping against the rock. I think I did a pretty good job, I saw a nice white bysal with no cuts moving wondering what it was doing out of water.

I ran to the kitchen sink and with a toothbrush removed the aiptasia which were right against the gland and then ran it to the tank.

God damn I like to think I know what I'm doing but feel like I blew it on this one. (A) I shouldn't have taken him, (B) I exposed it to unnecessary stress by injecting the aiptasia even though I (C) cut the bysal gland.


Okay, now tell me what I did wrong. And what can I do, if anything, but wait?
Okay, mantel is out a bit although not fully. The guy mentioned at the time something about white spots but I couldn't see them as he was closed up to know what he meant. Now I can see them, but I still don't know what they are. Expulsion of zooxanthellae due to inadequate lighting? Tissue damage seems unlikely due to distribution is almost like a pattern and anylsis of the flesh with a magnifying glass shows no rough edges. Possibly part of the mantel design???? I'm a little stumped.

One encouraging sign is that he is semi-responsive to passing fish and retracts some.

Why are you feeling guilty? I think you did the right thing. You improved the clam's condition. Cutting the byssal threads is not exactly open heart surgery - like you said, you cut as close to the rock as possible, no problem right? Many clams that find their way into an aquarium have had their byssal threads cut at some point. You scrubbed the rock and removed the aiptasia, yes?

By white spots you mean large patches of white and not ich like grains? Perhaps it's bleached. Just feed phyto and it'll recover.
I've never cut bysal threads before, I've read about it but wasn't comfortable having to do it.

I threw the LR out, that's why I removed the clam... too many aptasia. I noticed later that there were over a dozen attached to the clam shell as well so I had to remove the clam from water to scrub the shell. It burped air for a while but has opened back up.

Looking at it it seems as though the light patches could be part of the mantel's patern but I need to ask the guy if this is a new development or not. At the moment it is opening decently and it starting to react better to fish swiming overhead. Perhaps there is a chance...

GREAT job! I think its on the way to recovery. When replace a clam after taking it out of the water,I turn it upside/down to burp it. FWIW, it was quick thinking on your part that might save this clam :),so do not feel guilty(someone could just chuck the whole thing in a garbage can,including the clam).You wouldn't happen to have a closer shot of those lighter spots?
Thanks for the reply. Last night I had to shift the clam a little to kill a couple more aiptasia on the shell. I stared at all the scutes for 30 minutes through a magnifying glass and couldn't find any more so lets hope its done so I can leave the poor fella alone.

It does seem to be expanding almost like a healthy clam at this point and is reacting fairly normally I'd say to changes in light and fish swimming by. Its currently in a mesh "cage" which I'm using (A) so nothing harasses it, even as simple as a scarlet hermit cleaning the shell but mainly (B) to acclimate it from my 400W halides after being under NO or PC lighting for a couple of weeks.

Keeping fingers crossed! I'll remove the cage this weekend and take another pic.
newkie said:

(B) to acclimate it from my 400W halides after being under NO or PC lighting for a couple of weeks.
Keeping fingers crossed! I'll remove the cage this weekend and take another pic.

Exellent thinking,Newkie. Most of the problems arise when people don't take the time to acclimate properly to the lighting intensity/regime. The fact that it reacts to changes in light when fish swims over it is a good sign and a hope that it will continue to improve. I have some aiptasia growing on my Gigas as well and take it out to clean it once a week atleast. One extra chore that I don't need for sure:(
Good luck with it,it looks like a very pretty T.maxima(just wait till it colors up in your tank;) )

PS. I think as well that those lighter color patches are part of the mantle pattern and might color up upon acclimation and increase in photosynthesis of the zooxanthellae. Do post pic please, when you remove the mesh cage.
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As promised here is an updated pic. I have removed the screen so he is receiving full lighting, although he is still under the center brace (on the sandbed) so its not too intense. I also suspect the white spots are simply part of the mantel pattern which will color up. The reason I was paranoid was because the guy I got it from mentioned them as if they weren't there when he got the clam, which would have been cause for concern. He is expanding fully and responding very well to external stimulii. One aiptasia somehow made it and I nuked it yesterday. I also believe he has attached to the clam shell he is sitting in.


The clam looks really nice. I wouldn't be surprized at all if those spots turn into nice brown/orange color. Fantastic job

I'm sure it had no chance in the other guys tank under NO bulbs. Keep watch on that Aiptasia as it may show up again(you know how hard it is to really kill them :( )