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Ramshorn Snails

21st Nov 2019

The name Rams Horn or Ramshorn Snail is used in two different ways, in the Aquarium trade it refers to a collection of freshwater snails. They group together snails whose shells are plan spiral, which means the shell is a flat coil.

However, the Ramshorn Snails that we have in ponds, rivers etc have been around much longer. These are more precisely known to mean ‘aquatic pulmonate gastropod mollusks which come under the family planorbidae’ a snail that have planispiral coiled shells.

There are two colour formations for the generic Ramshorn Snail - black or red. The red ones lack the dark skin pigment melanin, and this means they will have a bright red skin, which is the colour of their blood as it contains haemoglobin. This differs from other snails whose blood would contain hemocyanin which is a greenish colour.

Ramshorn snails do actually breathe air even though they spend much of their time under water. They’re usually a fairly small snail, so watch what fish you have with them in your pond! Maximum size is roughly around two and a half centimetres. As we touched on before the colour does vary, from brown/red through to dark black (black is more common in ponds) which seems to come from the snail’s diet.

Breeding wise, they are hermaphroditic which means that any two snails regardless of sex have the ability to breed with each other. The Ramshorn Snail will lay eggs in what’s called globules, these tend to be a light brown colour containing a dozen or more eggs. What’s pretty cool in an aquarium is that you can actually see the snails developing in their translucent globules, however they do reproduce at an alarming rate! This is one of the reasons why we would advise keeping the ones we sell in an outdoor pond, unless you have plenty of snail eating fish to thin them out in your aquarium.

Why would you want them in your pond then? Well they eat a diet of mainly algae, uneaten fish food and dead fish, so they act as a cleaner for a pond, so they are perfect for most ponds, however bigger fish will see them as a rather expensive tasty snack!