Re:Anyone have issues with horses and Flame scallops?

Pete Giwojna

Dear Carrie:

I agree with Leslie and Big Kahuna. The flame scallop shouldn’t present a serious threat to your seahorses. It is the giant clams that can be a potential hazard to seahorses if they’re powerful adductor muscles close on them. For this reason, it’s best to avoid Tridacna clams and similar bulky, muscular bivalve mollusks. Sooner or later a seahorse will perch on them with its tail between the valves and the clam’s powerful adductor muscle will clamp down on it like a vise. At best this will be a very stressful experience for the unfortunate seahorse, since it can be the devil’s own business trying to persuade the stubborn mollusk to release its struggling victim! At worst, it can result in serious injury or permanent damage to the seahorses tail.

A flame scallop is much less likely to cause such problems. It’s shell or valves are relatively thin and delicate to facilitate swimming and mobility, and the fringe of tentacles and the eyes on the scallop would detect the approach of the seahorse, whereupon the scallop would either skitter away and swim off or close up before the seahorse could get in any trouble. At least that was the case when I kept a flame scallop in the 30 gallon tank with a Brazilian seahorse (Hippocampus reidi). They both did very well together in my invertebrate tank.

Flame scallops can be a little on the delicate side and are challenging to keep well-fed in the home aquarium, but they do not pose a significant risk to seahorses in my experience.

Best of luck with your new seahorse setup, Carrie! Here’s hoping your beautiful flame scallop (Lima sp.) drives and never becomes a cause for concern.

Happy Trails!
Pete Giwojna

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