Freshwater snails make some of the most interesting pets. They are fun to watch, quiet, and easy to care for. What’s more, a simple snail setup is quite inexpensive and it doesn’t take much work to maintain it because these guys do most of the cleaning for you.
Therefore, when it comes to keeping snails, choosing the right species is arguably the trickiest part. Simply because there are so many!
Even so, one of the most popular species among hobbyists is the Marisa Cornuarietis also know as the Giant Ramshorn Snail. People love these snails for their scavenging abilities, beautiful shells, and rarity in the planted aquarium market.
If you’re considering keeping this species of snail, here’s every important thing you need to know:
Marisa Cornuarietis Appearance
In addition to the names Marisa Cornuarietis and Giant Ramshorn Snail, this species is also commonly referred to as Apple snail.
What’s more, many enthusiasts alternatively refer to these snails as “Columbian Ramshorn snail”,’ or simply “Columbian”. Be careful with the names as most pet stores tend to wrongly label this species, confusing it with other Ramshorn snails.
The Marisa Cornuarietis has a beautiful, large shell measuring about 50 mm wide and with 3.5-4 whorls. Adults especially have flattened shells since their apexes don’t extend above their body whorls.
On the other hand, the shells of juvenile Marisa Cornuarietis feature a more spherical shape because their apexes lie well above their body whorls.
It’s important to note that the colours of Giant Ramshorn snails vary greatly; from dark brown to dark yellow tints with black stripes (spiralling).
Even so, unusual mutations exist as there are Marisa snails with no stripes at all or a completely yellow shell. There are also those that feature a white body colour, with grey, yellowish, and patterns on it as well as pigment spots.
Very often the bottom side of a Marisa Cornuarietis is just dark-brown and the upper side beige. What’s more, these air-breathing snails also feature a relatively short breathing tube while their lifespan is about 2 years.
Marisa Cornuarietis Tank Requirements
In the wild, the Marisa Cornuarietis thrive in calm waters with dense vegetation such as rivers, lakes, and swamps. Which is why your tank should feature plenty of hardy live plants unless you’re keeping numerous snails. Remember, the surest way to succeed with snails is mimicking their natural environment.
You can, thus, include plants like Hornwort, Java Fern, Java Moss, and any other hardy species. It’s also important to install a tight-fitting lid to secure your tank as these snails can easily escape.
And limit yourself to only a few snails per tank when starting out considering the Marisa Cornuarietis tend to reproduce rapidly even in poorly maintained tanks.
Your tank should also feature a quality filter and a hard substrate like sand, gravel, and pebbles to ease your snails’ movements. And don’t forget to carry out water changes regularly.
Marisa Cornuarietis Water Conditions
In as much as the Marisa Cornuarietis aren’t demanding, they require fairly stable water conditions to thrive. However, this species can still survive in brackish water with up to 30% salinity and 3 % mineralization. Though it won’t reproduce.
Also, if the tank water doesn’t have any carbonates or is too soft, your snails’ shells will ruin. So avail moderately alkaline and hard water to encourage healthy shell development.
Giant Ramshorn snails are also quite sensitive to temperature changes. To keep your snails healthy, the following conditions should suffice:
- Water Temperature: 75–81 °F (24–27 °C)
- pH: 7.0 – 8.0
- kH: 5 – 30 dKH
- Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
- Ammonia/ Nitrite: Controlled
- Nitrate: <20 ppm
- Calcium levels: 350- 450 ppm
Take note that anything with noxious agents like copper is toxic to these snails.
Marisa Cornuarietis Diet and Feeding
The Marisa snails are omnivorous creatures that consume large amounts of plant matter. They also eat decaying vegetation, dead fish, and animal detritus as well as roots of floating plants.
All the same, you should supplement their diet with vegetables like squashes, cabbage, cucumbers, and fish pellets.
How about the feeding schedule? Some people feed their snails every other day while others feed them every day. It’s best to study your snails to see what they prefer to eat and in what amounts.
Marisa Cornuarietis Tank Mates
Like all other Ramshorn snails, the Marisa snail is entirely unaggressive and won’t attack even the tiniest of creatures.
As such, consider keeping it with other docile, non-aggressive species. Their soft bodies, trailing antennae, as well as lack of defensive operculum, means these snails are vulnerable to attacks.
The most preferred tank mates for Marisa snails include:
- Small Shrimp
With that in mind, avoid keeping this species of snails with crayfish, loaches, pufferfish, cyprinids, and cichlids. Even small cichlids can peck your beloved snails to death. And big fish will swallow them like popcorn.
Marisa Cornuarietis Breeding
Breeding Marisa Cornuarietis is the easiest job imaginable. As long as you have a male and female snail in one tank, expect them to breed.
No, these snails are not hermaphrodites, meaning a single snail doesn’t have both the male and female reproductive organs. Males are light-beige with little brown spots while females have dark chocolate coloured bottom parts.
Once your Marisa snails breed, it shouldn’t take long for you to notice disk-shaped clutches of eggs. Not only that. These snails usually deposit their eggs on the vegetation below the waterline and in a gelatinous matrix. The eggs are orange-coloured and measure around 2-3mm.
What’s more, the gelatinous material is the part that repels predators and protects baby snails. It takes about 8 to 24 days for Marisa snail eggs to hatch. And once they hatch, the baby snails drop to the substrate and hide themselves, emerging only at night to eat detritus.
Marisa Cornuarietis are quite unique snails to keep. They appear different from other common snail species, but are still very alluring. And the best part is that they don’t need a lot to thrive.
In fact, most aquarists recommend keeping Marisa snails in tanks that discourage plant growth because of how much they damage vegetation when housed in large numbers. Keep this in mind when creating a home aquarium for these snails. All the best!