Giant ramshorn snail care guide

Giant ramshorn snail (lat. Marisa cornuarietis) is a large and good-looking snail, very popular among aquarium husbandry fans. In the wild they are inhabits in lakes, rivers, bogs, however it prefers quiet and thickly planted places. Large snail can inhabit in brackish water, but at that it won’t breed. In some countries marisa snails are put into the waters on purpose – to get rid of invasive plants, since they eagerly feeds on them.

Habitat in the wild

South America is considered to be habitat. Also giant ramshorn snail is widely spread in Brazil, Venezuela, Panama, Honduras and Costa Rica as well as in other tropical areas. In late 40-th giant ramshorn snail was brought to Cuba and a bit later the snail started to expand over Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas.

Scientific NameMarisa cornuarietis
Common NameGiant ramshorn snail, columbian ramshorn snail, marisa snail
Tank size20 gallons (80 L) and more
Temperature75–81 °F (24–27 °C)
pH7.5 – 7.8
Length35–50 mm (2 in)


Giant ramshorn snail shell has about 3.5-4 spiral turns. Max size is 35-50 mm. Lifespan about 2 years. Their coloring varies greatly: from dark yellow to dark brown tints with black spiral stripes.

There can be seen some mutations, when the snail doesn’t have any stripes at all. There are also species with complete yellow shell. Body color can be white with yellowish, gray and black pattern on it, with pigment spots. Very often the upper side is just beige and the bottom one is dark-brown. It has a breathing tube which is not as long as Ampullaria has.

Care and keeping in a tank

Care is rather complicated – they need water of moderate hardness, pH 7.5 – 7.8 and water temperature 21-25 °C. Giant ramshorn snail are quite not demanding as for many things, but nevertheless there are some specific water requirements to be met, so the water would be acceptable for this type of snails.

Firstly, giant ramshorn snail is quite tolerant to saline influences. Even in rather brackish water (according to some references up to 30% salinity) with mineralization up to 3% can live, but it won’t breed.

However, if the water is too soft and without carbonates, than the snail’s shell will start ruining. Water with low pH level is also uncomfortable for these snails inhabitance.

The crucial thing is that for a giant ramshorn snail tank size is of no essential importance. Lange snails can be kept both in open and closed tank. Though they are also not very demanding to water temperature, it’s better to stick to the temperature 75–81 °F (24–27 °C). However, are very sensitive to water and air temperature decrease.


They are hermaphroditic, female has dark chocolate coloring of its leg, however males are light-beige with barely noticeable brownish spots.

They lay the eggs in the water on the bottom side of plants’ leaves. Besides, it’s not essential if the plant’s leave is deep in the water or on its surface. Each egg’s size is about 2-3 mm. After a snail lays its eggs about 2 weeks later, when the eggs become transparent, the small snails appear and they disperse all over the tank.

Though, despite their activity not all juveniles survive.


They are omnivorous and will feed on any type of feed – live, frozen, artificial one. However, tank plants may suffer from these snails, since if they are hungry they start eating tank plants and sometimes totally ruin them, like lawn mower. It’s better to keep giant ramshorn snail in a tank without plants.

Diet should be complemented with vegetables – cucumbers, squashes, cabbage and tablets for catfish, like Hikari Tropical Algae Wafers.

Tank mates

As for these large snails compatibility with other tank inhabitants – there are no reasons to be worried. They are peaceful creatures, which will successfully coexist with the same peaceful fishes. Some kinds of large cichlid fishes are considered to be the only enemies.