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How Do I Make My Ramshorn Snails Healthy


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It has been a while since I posted last asking for some water chemistry advice. Since then I have managed to get my water parameters fairly stable at 0 ammonia and nitrite, 10 - 30 nitrate (depending on fertilization and water changes), 7 PH (up from 6.6 avg a few months back), 6dgh and 2dkh. I had some hair algae issues but got that under control as I was dosing too much fertilizer/too much light.

One issue I still have however is that my ramshorn snails have all but gone extinct, the only ones that are still around are all tiny (< 3mm diameter), and their shells look stunted. The pond snails are also looking a bit ragged and their population has declined. The Malaysian trumpet snails however seem to be doing great and have a large stable population.

What am I doing wrong here, a few questions I have:

  • Are the ramshorn and pond snails just getting out competed by the trumpet snails?
  • Are the ramshorn and pond snails malnourished because I am not explicitly feeding them anything regularly?
  • Why are the ramshorn snails shells so wonky, am I missing certain trace minerals in the water column? I put a miracle shell in and it did not seem to help the snails that much other than making my dGH around 12.

My current running theory is that my PH was too low for the snails I bought initially, which caused the first generation of them to get holes in their shell and eventually die off. The baby ramshorn snails, now that the PH is better, are getting out competed for food by the trumpet snails, they are malnourished and dying off before they reach maturity.

Pond snails hitched a ride on a plant and took over for a bit but then also started dying off, the shells of the baby snails never get path the transparent stage. I think these are now also getting out competed by the trumpet snails.


I have included some pictures, all taken today. I can send links to larger resolution images if requested. Any suggestions/advice anyone has as to why my ramshorn snails are not thriving would be greatly appreciated.








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Hmm...the ramshorns are looking pretty normal for babies. What are you feeding them and do you have any other animals in there? Is there a fish or another animal preying on them? Have you dosed the tank with anything with copper in it? My first suspicion is there's something actively killing them off and the MTS are safer since they stay burrowed half the day.

But assuming it's just snails in there and you've dosed nothing but easy green and wonder shells, you could feed heavier, and in the morning, so the above-ground snails have more time to eat. Leaving the lights on longer will help keep the MTS stay in bed a little longer and get some algae growth.

Or you could do a rescue mission, scoop out as many ramshorns and pond snails as you can and put them in their own tank with a seasoned sponge filter, keep them fed and let their numbers increase.

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You can put a cuttlefish bone (a plain one, the type you find in the bird section of a pet store), into your tank, held down by a rock until it sinks on its own. As it collects food on it and grows algae, the snails will graze on it, getting more calcium into their diet. I also agree that adding crushed coral to the filter can help boost the Kh, and help the snails grow stronger shells. And as mentioned, you can add a Tums to the tank. They love the fruity flavored ones. It can be messy though; I like to crush them up into a powder and mix with Repashy food and then give it to the snails. Seems to be a bit neater. 

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Thanks everyone for your replies.

@ChefConfit Since the wonder shell I have done water changes, but I also added dolomite rock to the tank which leeches calcium and magnesium into the tank. the GH has not dropped below 6dgh. Also some water sprays onto the lid and when the water evaporates I still get some white powder left over, it's a safe bet that is is calcium.

@Kirsten I have a betta in the tank, I did see him pecking at some of the larger ramshorns, but I've never seen him bother pond snails. I might try moving the ramshorns to another tank and just have that be a snail tank. It's funny, I added cherry shrimp to the tank on a whim to see if the Pete (the betta) would go after them, and he seems totally apathetic to their presence

@H.K.Luterman thanks for the food suggestions, I'm going to look into something to feed them specifically. I also added some shrimp and I bet they would also appreciate the algae and calcium.

@Dawn T Initially, 100% a calcium deficiency. My tank had 0 gh and 0 kh. I think that's what killed off the big ones, now I think it may just be a lack of me feeding them and possibly my betta attacking the ramshorns.

Edited by cupanoodle
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