Snails make an excellent addition to an aquarium enthusiast’s tank, and Marisa snails is no exception. This peaceful breed, scientifically known as Marisa cornuarietis, is lovely to look at and easy to care for.
If you are interested in owning Marisa snails, (more commonly known as Giant Ramshorn Snails) this article will give you an in-depth look at the care and maintenance required for keeping these snails comfortable in their new environment.
The Giant Ramshorn snail has a large shell with a maximum size of 35 to 50 mm in diameter, or about 2 inches. While they are similar in name to true Ramshorn snails, such as the Great Ramshorn snail, they are not related. The Giant Ramshorn snail comes from the family Ampullariidae, while true Ramshorn snails are from the family Planorbidae.
Aside from being quite large, Giant Ramshorn snails also have a striking appearance. They can come in a wide variety of colors, ranging from pale to dark yellows, reds, and browns. While some snails can have duller colors, others may come in more vibrant shades of the colors listed. The underside of their shell is usually paler in color than the top. They typically have three to six dark and uneven spiral stripes, although, in some mutations, the snail’s shell may have no stripes at all.
Unlike some species of snails, the Giant Ramshorn snail is not hermaphroditic. Males can be differentiated from females by their operculum, which is rounder.
In the wild, Giant Ramshorn snails originated in South America, and can be found in freshwater areas such as lakes, rivers, and ponds. Today, the Giant Ramshorn has expanded to other tropical regions, including parts of Florida and Texas. This snail prefers warm water temperatures, and as such, it cannot tolerate the colder temperatures of upper North America. While omnivorous, this species of snail loves to eat lots of vegetation, and they prefer areas with dense underwater foliage, as well as water that is slow-moving.
When caring for Giant Ramshorn snails, you need to make sure your aquarium is equipped to handle all of their needs. Their water has to be moderately hard with a good amount of calcium to ensure proper shell growth. Water whose hardness is too low can ruin your snail’s shell.
Giant Ramshorn snails prefer slightly alkaline waters, so the pH of your aquarium should be between 7.5 to 7.8. Your aquarium’s temperature range should be 75 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit, although they can tolerate temperatures as low as 64 degrees. While owners typically keep Giant Ramshorn snails in freshwater, they can tolerate brackish water with up to 30% salinity. However, if they are living in brackish water, these snails will not breed.
If you intend to keep Giant Ramshorn snails, you will need an aquarium of at least 20 gallons to prevent your snails from becoming overcrowded.
They prefer slow-moving water, so a tank with a high amount of current is not well suited to this particular species. Live plants are also good for keeping Giant Ramshorn snails, so long as they are not intended for decorative purposes. These snails will happily devour the foliage with surprising speed.
As these snails may sometimes want to breathe above water, it is a good idea to leave a bit of air space at the top of your tank. Furthermore, make sure the lid of your tank is sealed so that heat cannot escape; these snails prefer warm and humid conditions.
Giant Ramshorn snails are peaceful and can happily coexist with nearly any other breed of fish. The only possible danger comes from large and aggressive species of fish, such as loaches and cichlids, who may try and turn your snails into a quick lunch.
Care and Feeding
Giant Ramshorn snails are omnivorous. You can feed them live or frozen food, including pellets and flakes, and you should also consider supplementing any carnivorously-based diet with plant matter such as cucumbers, cabbages, and algae wafers.
They love to munch on aquatic vegetation, so if you are trying to encourage full and beautiful plant growth in your aquarium, Giant Ramshorn snails may not make the best addition to your tank. If you’re not too worried about the destruction, however, your snails would greatly appreciate any live plants as a supplement to their diet.
Breeding Giant Ramshorn snails is incredibly easy, as most of the process will take place without any intervention. The only step you can take to encourage breeding is by ensuring that your tank has freshwater; Giant Ramshorn snails can live in brackish water, but they will not breed in it.
They lay their eggs in disc-shaped clumps of goo, which can cling to virtually any surface within a tank. These snails typically choose to lay their eggs against the aquarium glass, so keep a careful eye out for a cluster of white eggs between two and three millimeters in diameter. The eggs will become larger and more transparent over time, before eventually hatching (which usually occurs within two weeks). After hatching, the baby snails will hide amongst your tank’s gravel. You won’t have to do anything to help raise them, as these baby snails are quite independent.
The only real difficult part of breeding is that these snails can quickly overrun your tank if you aren’t careful! Giant Ramshorn snails can lay up to 200 eggs in a single clutch, and you might find yourself with a tank full of snails within a few months. If this is something you’re worried about, you can always increase the salinity of your tank to discourage breeding.
Due to its peaceful nature and striking appearance, the Giant Ramshorn snail makes a wonderful addition to many freshwater aquariums. While slow-moving, these voracious eaters are fun to watch, and they are also incredibly easy to care for. So long as you keep them in a tank of at least 20 gallons, and make sure that your water conditions are favorable, you can expect your Giant Ramshorn snails to thrive in your aquarium’s ecosystem.
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