Sea Scallops: Aquarium Sea Scallops Flame Scallops Thorny Oysters
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Scallops: Electric Flame Scallops, Thorny Oysters

Flame scallops are specialist filter feeders that require a lot of plankton base food of the correct particle size designed for Marine Bivalve Mollusc invertebrates. Unlike the genus Tridacna, Flame and flashing scallops lack any photosynthetic symbionts to help out with providing nutrition to the animal. The brilliant red color of the tissue and long tentacles of these animals is due instead to an unusually high concentration of caroteinods in their tissues. Without the aid of photosynthesis from which to draw some nutritional support, flame scallops rely solely on the ability to filter particles of the correct type and size from the water column to collect and ingest the particles. It feeds by drawing in water and extracting its food using specialized tentacles. If you have more than one scallop in your tank, each should be fed separately. To feed scallops we recommend Two Little Fishes Marine Snow, AlgaGen PhycoPureT Reef Blend, AlgaGen Rotifers and Seachem Reef Phytoplankton.

Flame Scallop
Lima scabra
Picture of Flame Scallop


Description: Flame Scallops are usually found wedged in shady rocky crevices amongst the shallows, with just their long sensory tentacles extended out into the water column. The tentacles may be red, orange or white. Water is continuously siphoned in through the fleshy mantle where any edible particulate matter is filtered out and consumed and the remaining water pumped back out. This filter feeding takes places constantly; these creatures are incapable of processing large quantities of food all at once, such as when target feeding with a pipette. It is this reason that makes them require multiple feedings a day if they are to fare well. An established refugium will help to provide this, but the aquarist must be prepared to add supplemental planktonic foods to the tank throughout the day. Once it finds a preferred place to reside the Flame Scallop will attach itself with its byssal foot. However, should it feel at all threatened, it is capable of detaching and propelling itself in a jerky fashion at lightning speed, quickly snapping its shell together to propel itself. Tank mates must be chosen very carefully as the wrong saltwater fish will try and pick at the tentacles, and certain inverts will attack them.

Diet and Feeding: Because flame scallops have no photosynthetic properties, the flame scallops eat only phytoplankton filtered from the ocean water. During the consumption process, flame scallops sift and sort through the phytoplankton with their gills to determine what is appropriate for ingestion. For foods we recommend Two Little Fishes Marine Snow, AlgaGen PhycoPureT Reef Blend, AlgaGen Rotifers and Seachem Reef Phytoplankton.

Reef Compatibility: Excellent will not harm inverts or corals

Level of Care: Difficult because of the need for multiple feedings per day

Approximate Purchase Size: 2" to 3"




$8.99 each
Pack of 3 $25.99



Electric Flame Scallop
Lima Sp.
Picture of Electric Flame Scallop

Description: The Electric Flame Scallop, inhabits the waters of the Indo-Pacific, ranges in size from 1 inch to 3 inches and is instantly recognizable by its soft parts being a flame red color, with several bright red tentacles protruding from the open valves shell. What makes this Bivalve even more fascinating is that it seems to create bluish white electricity which can be seen shooting across the mantel like lightning bolts quite visibly in the dark. While the purpose of the Electricity generated by this species is unknown you can see the flicker of bluish electricity bolts flowing through the scallop's filaments.

The electricity (which is actually a form of bioluminescence) is not known to be harmful to other sea life, and especially since the electric flame scallop is a filter feeder and feeds off of microscopic phytoplankton and bacterioplankton (omnivorous) it is curious why it possesses such a brilliant ability. Marine Biologists answer this question by suggesting that the light generated by the electric scallop attracts plankton to its filament like moths to a flame, then the tentacles help it feed from its fixed location.

Often the Electric Flame Scallop is confused with its parent species the Flame Scallop or Lima Scabra which is also similar in appearance, with a red fleshy mantle covered with tentacles, except for the absence of the strip of bio-luminescent tissue on its mantle that sends a flash of color back and forth over the mantle.


Diet and Feeding: Because flame scallops have no photosynthetic properties, the flame scallops eat only phytoplankton filtered from the ocean water. During the consumption process, flame scallops sift and sort through the phytoplankton with their gills to determine what is appropriate for ingestion. For foods we recommend Two Little Fishes Marine Snow, AlgaGen PhycoPureT Reef Blend, AlgaGen Rotifers and Seachem Reef Phytoplankton.

Reef Compatibility: Excellent will not harm inverts or corals

Level of Care: Difficult because of the need for multiple feedings per day

Approximate Purchase Size: 2" to 3"




$19.99 each
Pack of 3 $57.99



Thorny Oyster
Spondyllus americanus
Picture of Thorny Oyster


Description: The Thorny Oyster is a beautiful addition to a reef aquarium. They can be found from 3 to 6 inches in size, are totally reef safe and will stay where placed in the aquarium. Despite the similar common name, the thorny oyster mollusc is more closely related to the scallop. Like scallops and file clams, they have a well developed middle mantle that carries sensory tentacles with multiple eyes around the shell edges. A unique clam found in the Caribbean Ocean are seen at depths of around 50 to 100 feet. With numerous spines which can grow up to 2 inches in length. Thorny Oysters come in a variety of colors (white, yellow, red and purple) which normally depends on the encrusting sponges and other marine life surrounding it.

Thorny Oyster are filter feeders which means that they have to be fed multiple times a day with planktonic foods. Even though they are in the scallop and clam family, they don't move around like flame scallops and stay at the selected spot. They like strong currents but are very sensitive to changes in salinity which requires a very slow drip acclimation. Thorny Oysters like lower light levels because of the depth in which they have been found. If all the conditions are right, they cement themselves to a rock and they can grow up to approximately 6 inches.


Diet and Feeding: Because flame scallops have no photosynthetic properties, the flame scallops eat only phytoplankton filtered from the ocean water. During the consumption process, flame scallops sift and sort through the phytoplankton with their gills to determine what is appropriate for ingestion. For foods we recommend Two Little Fishes Marine Snow, AlgaGen PhycoPureT Reef Blend,and Seachem Reef Phytoplankton. Provide calcium and alkalinity for best health.

Reef Compatibility: Excellent will not harm inverts or corals

Level of Care: Difficult because of the need for multiple feedings per day

Approximate Purchase Size: Medium 3" to 4" Large 4" to 5" XLarge 5" to 6"




Medium $59.99
Large $69.99 XLarge $84.99



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