Ramshorn Snail: A Comprehensive Care Guide

Meet the ramshorn snail, a small but captivating freshwater species from the Planorbidae family. With its distinct coiled shell and skin in shades of black or red, these little creatures can easily become a fascinating addition to your aquarium. They are not only easy to care for, but they provide entertainment as you watch them diligently explore your tank in search of algae.

As you venture further into the world of ramshorn snails, you’ll find that they have unique characteristics like lung breathing and laying eggs in globules. But, be cautious, as these snails are known to have fast-growing populations, which need proper management to prevent undesired imbalances in your aquarium.

Species Overview

The Ramshorn snail is an intriguing freshwater species that can be a valuable addition to your aquarium. These snails contribute to the overall health of the ecosystem by consuming organic waste and algae. They can also be fascinating to observe, as they effortlessly glide along the surfaces of your tank.

Property Information
Scientific name Planorbidae family
Common names Ramshorn snails
Distribution Freshwater aquariums
Size 1/4″ – 1″
Lifespan 1-2 years
Diet Algae, organic waste
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 5 gallons
Temperature 70°F – 80°F (21°C-27°C)
pH 7.0 to 7.5
Water hardness 8 to 12 dGH
Care level Easy
Filtration/Water Flow Medium
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Hermaphrodites, lay egg clusters
Breeding difficulty Easy
Compatibility Peaceful community

You’ll find that maintaining a stable environment for your Ramshorn snails is fairly straightforward, thanks to their adaptability and resilience. They can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, which makes them suitable for both beginner and experienced aquarists. Remember to keep your tank’s water parameters within the recommended ranges and make sure they have plenty of access to their preferred food sources, such as algae and aquatic plants. Enjoy witnessing these fascinating creatures thrive in your aquarium and contribute to its overall health.

Ramshorn Snail Basics

Origins and Natural Habitat

Ramshorn Snails are from the family Planorbidae and can be found on most continents throughout the world. They inhabit freshwater environments, such as ponds, lakes, and rivers, where they feed on algae and other organic materials.

Size and Shape

As you keep ramshorn snails, you’ll observe that they measure around 1 inch in diameter, with size being dependent on the quality of care they receive. They have a unique, flat coil-shaped shell, enabling them to move and bend their rubber-like bodies around thin plant leaves and hard surfaces with ease.

Color and Markings

The color of your ramshorn snail’s shell can vary from a translucent light brown to a dark, almost black shade. Some may exhibit red, blue, or other vibrant colors, often with interesting stripe patterns and markings.


With proper care, ramshorn snails can live a relatively long life, reaching up to two years. Providing them with a clean, stable environment and a balanced diet will help ensure your snails thrive and reach their full potential

Diet and Feeding

Ramshorn snails play a vital role in keeping your aquarium clean, as they consume dead or decaying plant matter, soft algae, uneaten food, and even fallen tank mates. Enhance their diet by providing fish flakes, pellets, bottom feeder tablets, algae wafers, and calcium-rich supplements to ensure healthy shell growth.

You might observe your snails feasting on both soft green algae on hard surfaces like glass, gravel, and decorations, and soft brown algae just below the substrate line. They’re also particularly interested in consuming molted shrimp shells for the minerals they contain.

Incorporating fresh vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and zucchini into their diet benefits them, but remember to blanch these veggies before feeding and remove any uneaten food after 24 hours to avoid water quality issues.

While your Ramshorn snails primarily eat algae and can be seen climbing your aquarium glass to feed on it, they also consume decaying plant matter and won’t hesitate to eat dead fish and shrimp if the opportunity arises. However, it’s best to remove deceased tank mates to maintain water quality. Don’t forget to give them commercial foods as supplements, ensuring their well-being in your tank.

Behavior and Temperament

Ramshorn snails are peaceful creatures that coexist harmoniously with other fish in your aquarium. They are active during both day and night, constantly exploring the tank in search of food. You’ll often see them climbing the glass walls or gracefully hanging from plant leaves.

These snails display an interesting quirk in their behavior – group feeding. Whenever one snail finds a food source, others will soon gather to share the meal. In fact, Ramshorn snails are quite social when it comes to feeding, often forming communal groups to devour food together.

While watching them interact with each other during mealtime, you’ll notice their ability to communicate and cooperate in finding sustenance. This intriguing aspect of Ramshorn snail behavior adds an extra layer of fascination to your aquarium experience, showcasing their friendly and cooperative nature.

Care and Tank Requirements

Tank Size

Ramshorn Snails can thrive in a variety of tank sizes, from small setups to larger ones. Just make sure to follow fish count rules and always cover the tank.

Water Parameters

Your Ramshorn Snails are adaptable to a range of water conditions, but they do well in established tanks with clear, moderately moving water and stable parameters. Maintain ideal water conditions with a pH of 7.0-7.5, harder water for their shells, a temperature range of 70-78 degrees Fahrenheit, and normal community tank lighting. Regular testing of water parameters is crucial. Keep ammonia and nitrite levels at 0 ppm and control nitrate levels and organic matter accumulation through partial water changes. Be cautious about using medications and plant fertilizers with harmful ingredients, especially copper, as it can be fatal to your Ramshorn Snails.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Your Ramshorn Snails will enjoy tanks with live plants and appreciate the presence of rocks, caves, and other interesting spots to explore. They don’t require specific decorations but benefit from having plenty of live plants in the tank, as they enjoy hanging out on plant leaves. There is some debate about whether Ramshorn Snails eat live plants, but with a sufficient diet, they are unlikely to consume plants and will leave them alone.

Filtration and Aeration

Standard filtration, such as canister or HOB filters, is suitable for maintaining water quality and cycling efficiently to prevent high nitrate and ammonia levels. Proper care and maintenance, including water testing, a suitable diet, and appropriate filtration, can help keep your Ramshorn Snails healthy and thriving in the tank.

Suitable Tank Mates

As you plan your aquarium, it’s important to know that Ramshorn Snails are often targeted by aggressive fish species that will eat them. To maintain a healthy snail population, it is recommended to keep non-aggressive fish as tank mates.

Other peaceful snails (such as Mystery snails), clams, and peaceful shrimp can also be introduced to the tank. Here is a list of suitable tank mates for your Ramshorn Snails:

  • Cory Catfish
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Guppies
  • Chili Rasbora
  • Honey Gourami
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Pearl Gourami
  • Cherry Shrimp

Since Ramshorn Snails can quickly multiply, it’s important to control their population. Some aquarists introduce fish species or predatory snails like the Assassin Snail to keep the snail numbers in check.

Keep in mind that Ramshorn Snails are non-aggressive and have no means of defending themselves, making them vulnerable. Your tank mates should be calm and peaceful community fish like Cory Catfish and Otocinclus Catfish.

Suitable tank mates can also include freshwater shrimp, other peaceful snail species, and even freshwater clams, depending on the conditions. Aggressive fish species like cichlids, goldfish, and aquarium crayfish should not be kept as tank mates since they can harm or prey on Ramshorn Snails.


Ramshorn Snails are known for their frequent reproduction and ability to quickly increase their population in your tank. Being hermaphrodites, they possess both male and female organs, allowing them to breed with any other snail. This means that you should be prepared for a growing snail family when adding them to your aquarium.

When it comes to breeding, you’ll notice that these snails lay numerous egg clusters throughout your tank. These clusters can be hidden or visible on plant stems, tank walls, and leaves. Each cluster typically contains about 12 clear eggs.

Within a few days, you will see baby snails inside the eggs, growing and preparing to emerge. Once they emerge, they will immediately start searching for food. Baby Ramshorn Snails are quite independent and do not require additional feeding, as they can find soft algae in your tank by themselves.

After being introduced to your tank, Ramshorn Snails start laying eggs fairly quickly. Their eggs appear as transparent nodes with round-looking cells. In about 2 to 3 weeks, the baby snails grow and become independent, contributing to the overall population of your tank.

Keep in mind that the rate of reproduction can be influenced by the snails’ food intake. Higher food consumption can lead to more frequent breeding. So, if you want to control their breeding rate, you can consider limiting their food supply.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Although Ramshorn Snails are quite resilient to major diseases, they can still introduce illnesses to the tank they inhabit. When you purchase them from a store, they might carry parasitic skin flukes that can be difficult to detect. These parasites can latch onto other fish, causing stress and health complications.

To prevent risks to the larger fish community, it’s recommended that you quarantine your new Ramshorn Snails for about a month. When treating the tank with medication, opt for copper-free alternatives, as copper can be harmful to snails and may even result in their death. If copper medication is necessary, consider transferring your Ramshorn Snails to a separate tank with matching water conditions until the medication is completely removed.

Remember, Ramshorn Snails are more likely to bring diseases into the tank rather than suffer from major diseases themselves. Therefore, monitoring and taking preventative measures are crucial to minimize the risk of introducing diseases through these snails. By being cautious and attentive to potential disease risks associated with Ramshorn Snails, you can help maintain the overall well-being of your tank and its inhabitants. Proper quarantine and medication selection play important roles in keeping a healthy tank environment for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do ramshorn snails eat?

Ramshorn snails are primarily algae eaters, making them a great addition to your aquarium to help keep it clean. They will also feed on leftover food and decaying plant matter, making them efficient scavengers.

Are ramshorn snails good for aquariums?

Yes, ramshorn snails can be a beneficial addition to your aquarium. They help to keep the tank clean by feeding on algae and waste materials. Additionally, they are peaceful creatures that coexist well with most fish and other inhabitants.

How fast do ramshorn snails reproduce?

Ramshorn snails are known for their rapid reproduction rate. As hermaphrodites, two snails can breed quickly and lay numerous egg clusters. However, their population growth can be controlled with certain methods.

How to control ramshorn snail population?

To control the population of ramshorn snails in your aquarium, you can:

  1. Limit food supply by avoiding overfeeding the fish, thus reducing the waste that snails feed on.
  2. Introduce snail-eating fish or creatures, such as assassin snails or loaches.
  3. Manually remove snails and their egg clusters from the aquarium.

What are the downsides of keeping ramshorn snails?

Some downsides of keeping ramshorn snails include:

  1. Overpopulation: Their rapid reproduction can lead to overcrowding in your aquarium.
  2. Over-consumption of live plants: While they usually feed on algae and waste, ramshorn snails may sometimes eat live aquarium plants.
  3. Potential pests: If they manage to escape the aquarium, ramshorn snails can potentially become a pest in your home.

Overall, ramshorn snails can be a beneficial addition to your aquarium, but make sure to monitor their population and take necessary steps to prevent any issues.