Caring for Ramshorn Snails

Caring for Ramshorn Snails

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Ramshorn Snails are known as 'pest' snails along with many other similar freshwater aquatic snails, but, for some people, such as myself, Ramshorn Snails are just as cool to us as our fish, they are also very good at cleaning up the bottom of your tank of any uneaten food, algae, or other decaying matter.

Ramshorns are named for their shell resembling a literal Ramshorn. They come in many colors and variations, Dark Brown, Spotted, Golden, and Red, and some colorations, such as Blue, are rare.

Some pet shops and fish stores may sell a Snail called a 'Giant' or 'Colombian' Ramshorn which are much bigger than your actual Ramshorn Snail, these Snails are not Ramshorns but actually a type of Apple Snail.

Now for those of you who want to keep Ramshorn Snails correctly and properly, then please keep reading.

Basic Water Parameters
Just like all fish, Ramshorn Snails have a general rage of likened Water Parameters, they are not very picky about them though, but for the best life for your Ramshorns (They live for around a year or so.) you should try to provide them with the below parameters.

pH - 6.0 - 7.6

If you have soft water, you should consider using a calcium treatment for their shell health, they need lots of calcium either in the water or added to keep their shells nice and strong. One method of treatment I love is using Wonder Shells by Weco. They are available on Amazon and are lots of natural minerals as well as calcium packed into the shape of an oyster shell that will add calcium to the water.

Nitrate - Below 20ppm

Water Temp - 60-80 Degrees Fahrenheit, They're good for Coldwater and Warmwater aquariums.
At higher temperatures, their metabolism will speed up and their lifespan will be reduced.

And that's basically it! I did say they aren't picky after all :D.

Tankmates
Ramshorn Snails are perfect for Betta tanks but you must closely watch your Betta as they're prone to nipping the eyestalks of the Ramshorns, which the snails do not appreciate!
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You should also be careful when introducing other fish to a tank with Ramshorns or really any snails in them, most Loaches (Yoyo Loaches, Clown Loaches, Skunk Botia Loaches, etc.) will outright suck a snail right out of its shell.

Puffers also love munching on snails. Gouramis, Bala Sharks, Plecos, and Cory Catfish may harm your snails. You also do not want to add a snail known as an 'Assassin Snail'! They will KILL any other snail(s) in your tank.

You should also be careful with other snails or shrimp that are in with your Ramshorns, Ghost Shrimp like to snack on Baby Ramshorns, Other snails may also like to eat the baby Ramshorns aswell.
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When in doubt, always keep an eye on both your fish and your Ramshorns.

Preferred Habitat and Decorations
I personally believe Ramshorns do best in tanks that hold 10 U.S. Gallons and above due to their very prolific breeding (More on breeding below), 10 Gallons will allow them to not overcrowd themselves too much.

Ramshorns love to also hang out on plants, Plastic, Silk, or Live. There is a big misconception that snails will eat your live plants, this is simply NOT true, they are detrivores, which means they will eat anything decaying or dead, such as dead fish or decaying/uneaten fish food if they're eating your plants, then they are either decaying or dead.

Ramshorns also love a type of wood called Cholla Wood, it usually comes in small logs and can be sanitized and prepped for life underwater via boiling (Boil in water for 10-15 minutes, let cool, and plop in the tank.), they love to hang all over it and baby Ramshorns will hide in the crevices of the log.

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They will also love any type of Driftwood.

A lid should always be on with Ramshorns in your tank, sometimes they will get very ambitious and try and get out of your tank, they love to also slide/crawl all over your glass, filter, and decorations!

They aren't picky about substrate either, sand, gravel, stones, bare-bottom, they don't mind!

Breeding
Whether you buy 5 Ramshorns or 30 Ramshorns, they WILL breed, and they will breed a lot! They reach sexual maturity very quickly and are also hermaphroditic, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs.

For Off-Spring, they will lay eggs in clutches (A tough jelly-like substance covering the eggs for safety) usually on Decorations, The Glass, Filter Housing, really anywhere.

They will hatch within 12 - 30 days and sometimes may take longer.

A good way to control Breeding is to limit their added supplement of food, they will only breed as much as there is food available to them.

Feeding and Diet
Despite what many people and untrained pet store employees say, Ramshorns will need something in addition to their normal clean up meal. Since Ramshorns can't go up and eat flaked food like your other fish, they will need something meant for them.

Normal Algae Wafers are perfect and I personally like Tetras Pro Pleco wafers. An Algae Wafer every week will keep their population fairly low, if you still are having a large amount of reproduction from your Ramshorns, you can break the Algae Wafer in half or feed more sparingly, but they should get a chance to eat. Some good supplemental food for Ramshorn snails are:
  • Tetra PlecoWafers (Pro version contains cellulose as Plecos need cellulose for digestion.)
  • Tetra Bottom Feeder Tablets (As of November 2019, these specific tablets have caused algae to bloom in one of my 10g Communities, feed at your own discretion.)
  • Hikari Algae Wafers
  • TopFin Algae Thins
You can also buy mixed bags of food for your Ramshorns and other snails on eBay and Amazon, sold by aquaticfoods_blackworm_co, the mixed bags will contain usually Algae Wafers and Micro Sticks, here's a personal favorite of mine from them that my Ramshorns love! 4-Type Veggie Blend for Snails
Ramshorns and many other Snails will also love some type of vegetable or fruit, in my experience with them, they like blanched slices/cubes of the following:
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Pepper
  • Potato
  • Watermelon
  • Green Beans
  • Banana (I don't recommend blanching Banana, so you may need to weigh it down with a thoroughly rinsed fork.)
A good way to prepare them is through blanching to make them soft and usually sink so you won't need a vegetable clip or fork to hold them down, a good blanching tutorial is here.

A WARNING ON FOOD When you get any fish food for your Snails or Shrimp, read the ingredients and make sure it doesn't contain any form of Copper! This will KILL your Snails or Shrimp!
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API Shrimp Pellets contain Copper, don't feed them to Snails or Shrimp!

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On the other hand, Tetra PlecoWafers don't contain Copper and my Ramshorns love them! Also, be sure to make sure any medications or chemicals you add are Snail safe!

And that's the basic care guide for Ramshorn Snails!

This is my first article so any tips or suggestions are welcome! If you have any information or pictures (That are YOURS) you think I should add here (With credit to you) Please let me know!

Thanks so much for reading!

©JJfishes 2019, All Photos watermarked with my username are my property and were taken by me.

Thanks to the following people who also contributed information to this article:

MissNoodle
LMO

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