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Flame Scallop

(Lima scabra)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Difficult   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 4"
• Diet: Omnivore   • Aquarium Level: Substrate   • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
 • Reef Compatible: Yes   • Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
• Supplements: None   • Coloration: Red
• Origin: Caribbean • Family: Limidae   • Species: Scallops

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Flame Scallop native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Red Flame Scallop, also called the Flame Scallop or Red File Shell Clam, has a bright red mantel with red or white tentacles. It uses its shell for protection, locomotion and feeding. By clamping its shell down it can either protect itself by hiding in the shell or by releasing a jet of water, which along with its tentacles can propel it through the water. The Flame Scallop will "swim" through the water until it finds a suitable rocky area of the aquarium where it can extend and secure its foot.

Flame Scallops are filter feeders and prefer an established aquarium that has sufficient calcium in order to allow their shell to grow. They require specialized feeding and require only the best water conditions, thus making them a difficult species to keep (expert reef keeper only). More than one can be kept in each tank and they will often cluster together in one spot, which add a lot of beauty to any established reef aquarium.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Flame Scallop in the home aquarium.

Red Flame Scallops prefer to be housed in aquariums that contain lots of live rock or rocky areas in which the scallop can nest. It will typically look for a location where it can embed itself between two pieces of rock or coral and where water flow is moderate. In the aquarium environment it is important to be sure that the Flame Scallop is not housed with species that will pick at it or try to eat it.

If attacked or bothered the Red Flame Scallop can move by ejecting water and using its tentacles to propel itself through the water. In general though the Flame Scallop is tolerant of all non-threatening species. As a filter feeder it requires floating micro-plankton or baby brine shrimp to be kept alive in the aquarium, and thus will do best in a mature reef aquarium system. It is also important to provide proper calcium levels and alkalinity. Water conditions must be excellent as this species will not tolerate nitrates or copper-based medications.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Flame Scallop.

Red flame scallops are not photosynthetic and will require supplements be added to the water in order to properly feed this species. Items such as phytoplankton, baby brine shrimp and other organic foods or food mixes should be provided by using either a dropper or pipette.

The food should be placed a few inches away from the scallop where the water current will take it to the scallop. This species feeds by drawing in water and filtering or extracting its food using specialized tentacles. If you have more than one scallop in your tank, each should be fed separately.

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