Accumulation rates of cadmium, the amount of food ingested and assimilated, the amount of oxygen consumed and changes in dry flesh weight have been measured in Mytilus edulis L. exposed to 0, 10 and 100 ppb cadmium for 17 d in aquaria with seawater flowing continously and at constant algal concentration. The accumulation rates were linear at 10 and 100 ppb, amounting to 0.58 and 8.89 ppm d-1, respectively. Body loads up to 150 ppm caused no effects on either clearance, ingestion, assimilation, respiration, or growth. High net growth efficiencies between 55-59% were obtained, indicating near optimal experimental conditions. It is suggested that the setup and experimental procedure provide an excellent tool in the study of accumulation and sublethal effects of environmental pollutants in suspension feeding bivalves.