Ramshorn Snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus)

Ramshorn Snails

An overview of the Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus)

Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus) belong to the genus of water pulmonate snails (Basommatophora). This belongs to the family of poppy snails (Planorbidae). The species Planorbella duryi (American ramshorn snail) and the Planorbarius corneus, which is native to our latitudes, are widespread in the aquarium hobby. Housing, care and social behavior are very similar in both species.

Ramshorn snails owe their name to their unmistakable shell, which is curved in the shape of an old ram horn. The housing can reach a diameter of up to four centimeters, is made up of four to five windings, is solid and has a very thick wall. It is also quite flat, unlike snails. Usually the house of the ramshorn snail has a brownish color. Deviations can tend towards black or red-black. Black spots on the case are not uncommon. In addition, growth streaks and more or less pronounced constrictions can be observed.

In the aquarium hobby, blue and pink colored Ramshorn snails are also available. The colorful coloring is the result of targeted breeding and only occurs in aquariums. The body of the Ramshorn snail is almost black, but breeding and selection have also produced other body colors. As the only European snail species, its blood has the pigment hemoglobin, which is why the blood is colored red, similar to that of humans. In the occasional non-pigmented specimen, the body of the snail appears bright red thanks to the hemoglobin, for example in the pink or orange Ramshorn snail. Thanks to their hemoglobin, Ramshorn snails can easily live in very low-oxygen water.

Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus): Quick Facts

Common nameRamshorn snail
Latin namePlanorbella duryi, Planorbarius corneus
Level of difficultyBeginner
FamilyPlate snails (Planorbidae)
OriginEurope, America and Asia
Life expectancyup to 4 years
Sizeup to 3 cm
Gender differencesHermaphrodite
Social behaviorpeaceful
breedOffspring easy. Reproduces very strongly with good feeding.
Pelvic areawhole pool
minimum aquarium size12 liters (30x20x20 cm)
FoodOmnivores, growth, algae, leftover food
OverviewAs with all snails, the water shouldn’t be too soft.
Water temperature15 – 28 ° C
PH valueadaptable
Total hardness (GH)> 5 ° dH
Carbonate hardness (KH)> 2 ° dH

Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus): Species Profile

Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus): Occurrence and Habitat

In the wild, Ramshorn snails prefer slowly flowing or stagnant fresh water rich in plants. Their occurrence extends across Europe, to Siberia, Norway and Finland. The diurnal snail is often found in shallow water, which makes it good for observation. The snail hides in the bottom mud to hibernate.

Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus): Care and maintenance

The Ramshorn snail is suitable for keeping in the pond as well as in the home aquarium. They are uncomplicated, contemporary and as such extremely peaceful. Ramshorn snails show no aggressiveness towards other animals. 

The ramshorn snail is also extremely peaceful towards juveniles and its own offspring. 

The ramshorn snail can socialize with numerous shrimps, dwarf shrimps and fish. Even against larger snail species, it can usually prevail peacefully. 

Ramshorn snails like pH values ​​in water between 6.5 and 8.5. The temperature can range from 12 degrees to 30 degrees. The aquarium should have a volume of 10-12 liters, although some aquarists keep Ramshorn snails in non-technical vases with less volume. 

The Ramshorn snail is also popular among aquarium owners because of its clean nature. They reliably plaster leftover food and thus prevent it from decaying in the aquarium or forming rotten spots. In addition, the beautiful snails do not eat water plants and are ideal for aquariums equipped with many plants.

ramshorn snail
Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus)

Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus): Food and feeding

Ramshorn snails are omnivores. As such, they feed primarily on algae, dead plant debris and the remains of other water dwellers. The frugal snails can also be fed various types of vegetables, such as peppers, cucumber or lettuce. Ideally, the vegetables are briefly pre-cooked. When feeding vegetables, however, it should not be left in the tank for too long, as vegetables put a lot of pressure on the water values. Scalded nettle leaves have got around as an insider tip among snail keepers. The snails also consume food tablets, frozen food and commercially available fish food.

The feeding behavior has a direct impact on the activity of the Ramshorn snail. If the feeding is low, the snails show a rather sluggish behavior. By adding food, the snails immediately become more active and at the same time more reproductive. In this way, a snail plague can be brought under control by feeding.

Ramshorn snails (Planorbella duryi and Planorbarius corneus): Propagation and breeding

Ramshorn snails are extremely reproductive animals. They reproduce rapidly under good housing conditions. This should definitely be considered before purchasing this pretty snail. Ramshorn snails are hermaphrodites and usually reproduce in pairs. They can mutually sexually fertilize each other in both directions. 

Each snail can appear both as a female and as a male during the mating process. Usually both partners fertilize each other during a mating process. A less viable variant of reproduction is self-fertilization (without sexual partner). In most cases, only 3% of the offspring survive.

They lay flat, gelatinous spawning balls on preferably smooth subsoil. The undersides of leaves are particularly popular, which is why emphasis should be placed on generously equipped with aquatic plants. Depending on the water temperature, the time until the young snails hatch can range from several days to weeks. 

The juvenile snails are completely independent immediately after hatching. When kept in a species-appropriate manner, Ramshorn snails have a life expectancy of up to 4 years. If the population of Ramhorn snails is to be contained, socialization with smaller crabs is suitable. These have the property of eating the offspring and thus minimizing the population. Predatory snails also help to reduce the population.

In aquarium forums one often reads the advice that a snail plague can be countered by reduced feeding. This is usually only partly true. In a well-established aquarium, snails can find so much food, even without additional feeding, that they multiply strongly up to a certain point.

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