Golden Clam Care: Lifespan, Size, Food, Tank Mates

Asian Gold Clams are the most popular freshwater clams found in pet stores. The golden clam is calm and gets along with most tank mates. However, they do need some added attention to survive in a fish tank. Here’s everything you need to know about Asian Golden Clam care.

Other Names:Golden clam, prosperity clam, or good luck clam.
Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Gold, Yellow, Brown
Lifespan:1-5 Years
Size:1-2 inches
Minimum Tank Size:20 Gallons
Tank Set-Up:Sandy Substrates, Adaptable
Compatibility:Community Aquarium
Species Overview

Table of Contents:

Behavior In The Tank

They spend most of their life buried in the substrate of the aquarium. Often, the clam buries itself, leaving enough room to expose its siphon (with which it eats).

Clams do move, and some may slowly move around the tank while others prefer to stay in one spot. When clams move, you may see the substrate moving. Sometimes, the clams can uproot plants when burrowing or moving. Some clams will bury themselves partially while others bury themselves completely.


The average size that an Asian gold clam grows is up to 2 inches in length. They have gold or light brown oval shells. As the Asian clam grows, they develop rings on their shells. These rings give the shell a rigid texture.

Asian Gold Clam
Asian Gold Clam

Water comes into the clam through the incurrent siphon and leaves through the excurrent siphon. The clam remains buried in sediment and sticks the siphons up into the water above so that it can suck in and spit out water. The water that the clam sucks in through the incurrent siphon contains oxygen and food.

Clam Dissection

To care for Asian gold clams you need ideal water parameters and proper water flow. You must also choose the right tank size, tank mates, and food.

Tank Size

If possible, keep Asian gold clams in tanks with live plants. Plants can provide food for clams as they shed their leaves in the water. But, clams can uproot plants when moving about or burrowing. So, prepare to replant uprooted plants.

Water Parameters

Keep Asian gold clams in a nitrogen-cycled aquarium that already has an established ecosystem. Water conditions should be:

  • Aquarium pH: 7.0 – 8.0
  • Water Temperature: 70 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Hard water
  • Lighting: Simple tank lighting

Keep ammonia and nitrites at 0ppm. Also, keep nitrate levels low by doing routine partial water changes. You can use tools to measure ammonia and nitrites.

Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: 0ppm, 0ppm, and <5ppm! This is very important! They naturally live in clean water, free of excessive nitrogenous waste, so the water must be very clean.

Be careful when using plant fertilizers and medications. Some ingredients can kill clams. For example, copper, even a little bit, can kill Asian clams.


Asian gold clams feed by siphoning water in the tank. Without enough plant matter, algae, microorganisms in the water column, the clam starves.

Asian clams prefer calcium-rich fish flakes or pellets. Algae wafers are also suitable for feeding clams. Grind large food particles into smaller bits before adding them to the aquarium.


An adult Asian gold clam lives 1-5 years in the wild. In an aquarium, expect the clam to live for about one year. Tank conditions will affect how long the clam lives. With better care, the clam lives longer.

Always check the water quality when keeping clams. Things to look for are spikes in ammonia, dead tank mates, cloudy or foul-smelling tank water. All these are signs that the clam may be dead or dying.

Tank Mates For Asian Gold Clams

Asian gold clams are calm and non-aggressive animals. They are filter-feeders which means that they get their food from the water column. Never house Asian clams with any fish that eat invertebrates like freshwater puffers. Here are some peaceful Asian clam tank mates:

Things To Consider

Buying Healthy Asian Gold Clams

Buy Asian gold clams that are on the tank bottom. A healthy clam should not have cracks or signs of wear and tear on their shells. Their shells should be open a little, but only so much that you can see their siphons and soft tissue. If the shell isn’t open a bit, it should be closed completely. Never buy a clam with its shell wide open, or you can’t see the internal tissues when it’s slightly ajar. It’s ok if the shell has algae growth.

If the clam is floating, do not buy it. If the clam’s shell is open more than a slither, do not buy the clam. If you see the insides of the clam, more than the siphons and a bit of tissue, do not buy it.

Do not buy clams that you find living in poor water conditions in the fish store. Signs of poor water conditions include cloudy water or dead tank mates.

When buying a clam, be sure that the shell is not empty. Empty shells are light, and you can see water draining from the shell when removing it from the tank. A healthy clam can keep their shells secure, and there will be no leakage of water.


Sometimes, when Asain gold clams don’t acclimate to their new tank, they die. Remove the dead clams before it affects the water quality. For instance, it can cause ammonia spikes, which can then kill tank mates. Always check on clams as they may die while buried in the substrate.