Red Sea Maxima Clams are back in the aquarium hobby after a long absence that spanned more than a decade and a half. Wholesaler ACI Aquaculture in Tampa Florida recently landed a batch of just under 300 Red Sea Maxima Clams, Tridacna maxima, which are as beautiful and colorful as they are familiar looking.
Red Sea Maxima clams conjure for us the infancy of our foray into the marine aquarium hobby. When I was 14 or 15, walking around the old Blue Lagoon in Columbia South Carolina, I’ll never forget the time I rounded a corner of the freshwater section and came face to face with the most exquisite animal I had ever seen; it was a clam from the Red Sea. From that day on I had to have a reef tank and my infatuation with giant clams was spurred on with my purchase of Daniel Knop’s Giant Clam book.
Following some political unrest in the Middle East around the early aughts, Red Sea fish and clams totally fell off the availability lists of marine life dealers around the world. Some Red Sea fish such as Sohal tangs and purple tangs continued to make it to our aquariums but the clams were completely off the menu, compounded by their elevated CITES status beginning about 8 or 9 years ago.
With their landmark landing of Red Sea Maxima Clams, ACI Aquaculture has brought back an incredible crop of giant clams whose patterns and appearance will surely appeal to many old salts among us. Even if you haven’t been reefing that long, the appearance of Red Sea Maxima clams will be familiar anyway since these were the most photographed populations of giant clams that were used in the fish and reefing books of the last two decades.
Being the first order of Red Sea Maxima Clams in such a long time, we know that ACI Aquaculture and USFWS had to work really hard to land this shipment in good shape, ACI even drove all the way to Atlanta to pick up the clams, then drove them back to their facility in Tampa. Among the shipment of Red Sea Maxima Clams were some other marisrubri goodies including some Minute Wrasses.
Despite all the work and efforts and the scarcity of these clams, ACI is asking a fair price for the Red Sea Maxima Clams which is equivalent or a little more than what we are currently used to paying for the equally scrumptious Tahitian Maxima clams. This first batch of Maxima Clams is likely to evaporate into the U.S. aquarium market in short order but we expect to see them trickle up to LFS and online retailers really soon, and that more shipments of Tridacna maxima from the Red Sea will continue to land in good shape.