Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides

Oysters & Scallops for the Home Aquarium

Natural Habitat

Indo-Pacific, Atlantic

Tank Temperature




Specific Gravity


Tank Requirements

Requires pristine water conditions; very low nitrates.


Filter-feeder; regular feedings of phytoplankton and zooplankton.


Usually attaches themselves to a rock or substrate; most will tightly close both halves when threatened.


Community, Reef, and Invert Safe. Should NOT be kept with fish or invertebrates that will pick at their sensitive mantle.

Species Overview

Oysters and scallops are beautiful, peaceful, and great additions to a tank. However, they do require some special care. These molluscs are bivalves with two shells, although some clams may fuse their bottom shell into a rock or hard surface so only the top shell moves to open and close. The shells can be smooth and symmetrical, meeting to close into a tight seams, or the shells may be drastically different in shape so as to prevent the animal from closing completely.

Oysters and scallops are generally filter feeders, meaning that they filter phytoplankton and zooplankton from the water column for feeding. They need moderate to high water flow to bring food to them and carry wastes away. They also need a near-constant food source to prevent them from starving to death. Calcium and trace mineral levels must be maintained in the aquarium to encourage healthy shell growth. They are sensitive to water quality and must be kept in pristine conditions.

Oysters should be placed carefully in the aquarium. Their action of opening and closing can sometimes cause them to topple from unsteady positions on rockwork. Some species should be placed on rockwork while others may prefer a place on the substrate; research the preferences of individual species carefully. Scallops can "fly" about the tank by rapidly opening and closing their shells and jetting water to propel themselves. They will settle at a place in the tank that they prefer and may move occasionally.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

Recommended Items

Coral & Invertebrate Food
Calcium & Reef Building Supplements
Power Heads