Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pet Clams—The Steve Otto Show - Part 1

This is the first part of an article I wrote in the 1970s, when I wrote and worked for the (Lawrence) Public Notice. It was a small alternative tabloid newspaper. The attitude at the Public Notice was to focus on local news only. That was suppose to allow us to focus on issues we could actually work on for change. The paper had a left-wing slant, but was not openly Marxist. It had more of a liberal slant, although some of the supporters and workers on this paper were openly Marxist. I had fun writing this article and although it is somewhat out-dated I decided to run it here for nostalgia reasons.   

My article was simply called:

The Steve Otto Show[1]

If you have an aquarium and have thought of keeping a clam in it, you may have had some trouble finding information on keeping clams (or as some folks call them "fresh water muscles").

Or maybe you never considered owning a clam. If you have, you may have called the nearest pet shop for advice and chances are they didn't know anymore than you. The next place to try is the bookstore or library. When you find an aquarium guide you'll probably find that they advise against it. You may decided the experts don't know any more about it than you do. In that case, here is some advice on caring for your pet clam. Many people use clam shells as house hold ornaments--and others as aquarium ornaments. What could be better than a pet and ornament all in one. After all, some people talk to plants-why not talk to clams. They may not understand what you say, but they'll sure listen.

The best place to keep your clam is in an aquarium or fishbowl. Clams have gills and should always be kept submerged in water.

If you have only one, you may want to keep him with your fish. He'll get along with just about anybody. But never keep more than one calm in with your fish. When clams mate, their offspring go through a parasitic stage and can kill small fish.

You can set up your own aquarium or bowl for clams and keep as many as you like. But be sure to avoid overcrowding them.

You can add other shelled mollusks such as snails. If you like shells, what could be better than a collection of shells as a pet collection?

Beware of certain common pond snails. They adults multiply daily without mating and become a nuisance. There are several species in Kansas, Missouri, and other parts of the U.S. that make more practical and interesting pets.
Clams like to dig. Wherever you keep your clams make sure he has plenty of gravel or sand; at least an inch and a half. Clams have trouble moving on a slick surface.

Clams eat micro-organisms and organic debris in the water. There are several ways to feed a clam. If you keep fish you may feed them brine shrimp. Make sure the fine food particles fall down the clam's mouth. Buy the cheaper brine shrimp. it isn't strained as well which means it has small amounts of algae and plankton which is not only good for clams, but is better for your fish.

You may want to make your own clam food. One way is to boil cabbage in water and sift off the scummy water which is the same food used to feed newly hatched tropical fish. You might want to soak grass in water to revive aquatic micro-organism that hibernate on dry land. You simply take out the grass and 0our in the water. You can also give him fresh river water every other day which is sure to have food in it, although it isn't recommended if your clam lives with tropical fish (because of diseases they're not used to).

If your aquarium or a bowl doesn't have a bubbler or filter system, you will need to change one-third to one-half of the water every 4 to 5 days. If you keep it with plants, you may not need to do this often and if it lives in a large aquarium his gravel should be cleaned or changed once every six months.

To be continued.....>

[1] Steve Otto, "The Steve Otto Show," The Public Notice, February 1977, Vol. II, No. 3, p. 6. 


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