Ramshorn snail in the aquarium trade is used to describe a snail breed with planispiral shells. Most of the snails are classified in the Planorbidae family.
Ramshorn snails are popular among aquarists because of their stunning appearance and cleaning abilities. They will forage around your aquarium for dead plant leaves, algae, fish waste, and leftover food.
Ramshorn Snail Appearance
Ramshorn snails exhibit a wide variety in appearance. The skin of the snails is typically red or black. The black snails have melanin pigment while the red ones take on their color because ramshorn snails have blood with red hemoglobin.
Shell colors include brown, blue, red, or spotted. The shell takes on a spiral shape, and it grows as the snail gets bigger. There is a hole at the center of the spiral through which you can sometimes see some skin poke out.
When buying a ramshorn snail, look out for species that are affixed to hard surfaces and appear active. The shell on juveniles is transparent and thin but it will harden and become opaque with a proper diet.
A healthy shell resembles a flat coil. Avoid snails that lay motionless at the bottom of the aquarium.
Ramshorn Snail Tank Requirements
Ramhorn snails are pretty sturdy creatures, however they have some basic requirements you should consider:
Ramshorn snails are about one inch in diameter, and they will thrive in any aquarium size. They are often kept in 5 to 10-gallon tanks and larger.
Most aquarists do not set up their tanks specifically for the snails, which is why there is no recommended size for them.
A 10-gallon tank will however provide enough room for the snail to roam around. They can be housed in any kind of set up, as long as it is adequately filtered and heated.
Ramshorn snails are not destructive to live plants as other pest snails. If you keep them with soft-leaved varieties like water sprite and anacharis, however, you can expect to see some damage.
The snails will mostly leave plants alone if they are getting enough food.
Ramshorn snails thrive among live plants, and they are often seen hanging out on leaves. The snails will also feed on any decaying matter in the tank.
The snails do not demand any special decorations or substrates but you can keep caves and rocks for them to explore.
Ramshorn Snail Water Conditions
The ramshorn snail has adapted to a range of aquarium conditions. They prefer a well-established set up with well-aerated and oxygenated water.
The snails have been successfully kept in murky and clear water. Avoid sudden changes in water parameters since the snail likes stable parameters.
Ramshorn snails will be fine in a wide temperature range of 65-80 °F, and they have become tolerant of higher and lower temperatures. The ideal PH range is 7.0-7.5.
Keep them in neutral to alkaline conditions as acidic water will corrode their shells. The water hardness should also be elevated to protect the shells.
It is vital to keep testing the water in a ramshorn snail tank. The nitrite and ammonia levels should be at 0ppm at all times. Control nitrate levels and ensure that there is not too much decaying matter.
Ramshorn snails can survive in poor quality water because they can breathe air directly. It is, however, advisable to house them in a suitable environment so that they can thrive.
The snails will also grow shells quickly in proper conditions.
Ramshorn Snail Diet and Feeding
Ramshorn snails spend most of their time rummaging around for food. They will snack on soft algae, dead leaves, uneaten food, and even dead tankmates. When kept in a group, you can often see all the snails huddled around one area as they feed.
The snails will feed on the soft algae on glass, decorations, filter intakes, and substrate. You can provide your ramshorn snails with blanched vegetables like cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, and zucchini.
Experiment with a variety of vegetables to determine what your snails like, and remove any uneaten vegetables after 24 hours to maintain water quality.
The best ramshorn snail food includes high-quality fish pellets, flakes, and algae wafers. Provide calcium fish supplements to strengthen their shells. Offer meals that they can eat in five minutes and avoid overfeeding since they will keep foraging around for food.
The ramshorn snail has been known to feed on dead shrimp, fish, and snails. They also eat molted Amano and Bamboo shrimp shells. Do not leave the molted shells and dead tank mates for too long to avoid ammonia spikes.
Ramshorn Snail Tank Mates
When kept in an aquarium, ramshorn snails mostly keep to themselves. They are peaceful but are active in nature. The snails will often be seen climbing on the aquarium glass or hanging out on leaves.
The main concern with keeping ramshorn snails in community tanks is choosing tank mates that will not eat them. Several species will target ramshorn snails if given an opportunity.
The snails are especially susceptible to predation because they do not hide in the substrate and they do not breed as quickly as pond snails. Avoid keeping them with species like assassin snails, dwarf pufferfish, and bettas.
You can keep ramshorn snails with freshwater shrimp like bamboo shrimp, blue tiger shrimp, ghost shrimp, red cherry shrimp, and amano shrimp.
Ramshorn snails will also do well with other peaceful snails like the Japanese trapdoor snails, nerite snails, mystery snails, rabbit snails, and Malaysian trumpet snails.
Ramshorn snails will thrive in a community tank with rasboras, danios, gourami, tetras, cory catfish, otocinclus catfish, and guppies.
Ramshorn Snail Breeding
Breeding the ramshorn snail is easy and straightforward. They are hermaphrodites, meaning that each snail has female and male organs. Ramshorn snails can produce eggs on their own or breed with a partner.
You can easily spot small clusters of white embryos that are protected by a tough gelatinous material. Each mass has around 12 eggs, which can take 10-40 days to develop depending on the species and environment.
You can see the shape of each little snail as the eggs become less and less clear. The translucent young ones emerge from the eggs, and they start looking for food.
Ramshorn snails can quickly overrun an aquarium because of how easily they breed. To control their population, aquarists will ration their food since the more food you give them, the faster they reproduce.
Ramshorn snails are active aquarium cleaners, and they will feed on algae, decaying plant matter, and dead tank mates.
They are adaptable to a range of parameters, but they thrive in stable and well-aerated water. Do not keep ramshorn snails with tankmates that will prey on them.