Species Profile Sections: Info, Discussions & Photos
Info  Quick Care, Species Info, Aquarium Care & Photos
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Description
Thorny Oyster
(Spondylus americanus)
Quick Care FactsCare Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Maximum Size: 12"
Diet: Filter Feeder
Aquarium Level: Substrate
Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Reef Compatible: Yes
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4
Supplements: Calcium
Coloration: Red, White, Yellow
Origin: Caribbean
Family: Spondylidae
Species: Scallops
Species Information
The Thorny Oyster is a member of the clam family. They are large sessile invertebrates with very colorful mantles. The Thorny Oyster's shell is shaped much like a scallop's shell, but the Thorny Oyster remains securely attached to the substrate on the aquarium floor, and does not wander. In the wild Thorny Oysters are commonly found on rocks, coral reefs, submerged wrecks, and sea walls, in water 1-150' (0.3-46 m) deep, with a distribution from the Carolinas to Brazil (most of the Caribbean).
Their exterior is whitish, yellow, or orange to reddish-brown; early part of left valve often lighter or reddish and spotted; ribs and riblets on left valve with erect spines; right valve may have dense, leafy concentric ridges. The interior is smooth, whitish, light brown or reddish on ears, with finely grooved margin often purple, brownish, orange, or yellowish.
Aquarium Care
The Thorny Oyster is a reef safe invertebrate that is most often kept by the home aquarist as an ornamental element in the aquarium. The shell has many ridges and spines giving the Thorny Oyster an unusual, unique appearance. It is always best to quarantine the Thorny Oyster to be sure that you do not introduce any protozoan diseases they may have.
Hobbyists will want to maintain stable water parameters, as the Thorny Oyster is very sensitive to changes in specific gravity, and requires strong water currents. Thorny Oysters require good water conditions with moderate to strong water currents. They are sessile and are of no harm to either fish or other invertebrates in the aquarium.
Feeding & Nutrition
Thorny Oysters are filter feeders that use the water currents to deliver its food. In the aquarium environment it is necessary to provide moderate to strong water currents along with dissolved particulate organic substances like marine snow, bacteria and phytoplankton. Calcium supplements are also necessary for ongoing growth of the Thorny Oysters shell. Calcium supplementation is necessary for most all invertebrates as it is a crucial part of their ongoing growth and development.
Additional Photos