Colombian Ramshorn Snails
There are some smaller trapdoors also, but they go by other sobriquets
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Name Origin, etc? If these cool looking little plant eaters come from Colombia, how’d they get the “Columbian” name. We’re “Columbia, gem of the ocean” aren’t we. At least we were when we learned that song back in fourth grade. Let’s call the little raspers ColOmbian ramshorns. Okay? And “ramshorn” comes from the shape of those horns you saw in last year’s Mountain Dew commercials and you still see in Dodge commercials.
Not Your Normal Ramshorns. The Colombian name also distinguishes them from the harmless brown/black/red (or in the pic above, albino) ramshorn snails that magically appear in our aquaria. The latter are relatively harmless to plants. Not so the former.
Water Conditions. If you drop your ramshorn in the tank and it closes up, keep your eye (both if you have the time) on it. If it (the snail) stays closed more than 24 hours, move it to another tank. Something in the water (or a tank mate) does not agree with your new guest. Water or pest? Machts nichts which. Move it.
Pesterers. Lots of critters bug snails. Cichlids like the crunch -- and probably the taste. Clown loaches shuck them like oysters. Livebearers pick at their edges -- even under one inch guppies. Turtles and crayfish also eat them. Life ain’t easy for a Colombian ramshorn snail.
Soft Water. Snails have a common problem in soft water. Their mostly lime shells dissolve. They have no way to stop this. Remember: Only you can prevent forest fires and shell erosion. Drop in one of those vacation fish feeder blocks. The plaster of Paris in them might do the trick. But probably not.
Temperature. Colombian ramshorns come from warm waters. They like tropical temperature. They breed better at 80+ degrees.
Another sobriquet for your Colombian ramshorn is the white sidewall
ramshorn -- so named for the stripe along usually just one side. Not
a bad name. Some are right-handed, some ...
Algae Eaters? Yes, but ... Colombian ramshorns eat algae and any other green plants in your aquaria (other than plastic, of course). The hungry little devils even eat duckweed. See the pics below.
Breeding. By now, you’re probably old enough to handle the fact that many snails are hermaphroditic. They just swap sperm with a fellow Colombian ramshorn. Some food and time later and voilá, as the French say, you have zee oeuf, er, zee eggs.
Zee Eggs. Colombian ramshorn snails lay their eggs in a blob often larger than the snail that produced it. Evidently the gelatinous blob absorbs water as the eggs are expelled by the snail. The blob protects the eggs from most predators -- including other snails. Snails are great egg eaters. However, not many critters want to mess with these unappealing blobs. Crayfish might be the one exception. As time and a half passes, you can see the little snails developing within the eggs. If you want to rear your babies away from their parents (good idea), move them in the blob. Newly hatched snails have fragile shells which makes them difficult to round up and herd together.
Plant Eaters? You betchum, Red Ryder. If given no choice, all snails will eat plants. So will you. Colombian ramshorn snails even eat sponge filters. They much prefer fish food. In the absence of fish food, they will eat algae AND plants. Colombian ramshorns devour plants regardless of the food supply. Do not put Colombian ramshorns with any plant you want to survive. These devoted plant eaters will even eat water hyacinths.
Not Air Breathers. Apple snails (including mystery snails) run a snorkel up to the surface to suck in atmospheric O2. Colombian ramshorns get all the O2 they need from their water -- just like the trapdoors.
Great Scavengers. Lots of hobbyists hate snails. They fail to recognize their tremendous value as tank cleaners. Snails convert excess food (even decaying food) to less toxic substances easily converted to ash, water, and carbon dioxide by the bacteria in your aquarium. Tarzan (Johnny Weismueller) say, “Snails good.”
Last Words. We like all snails. They prevent many problems in overfed aquaria. If you want to maximize your herd, separate your adults from their progeny. LA.
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