Do Ramshorn Snails Eat Plants? (Are They Good In Planted Tanks?)

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Ramshorn snails have been known to eat some healthy plant material if they are lacking certain nutrients in their diet. However, if properly fed, ramshorn snails will only target dead or decaying plant matter.

Ramshorn snails will eat plants within an aquarium or pond but mostly go after algae and any unhealthy plant matter, so they can be a benefit for keeping ponds and aquariums clean.

In this article, we will review if ramshorn snails prefer dead or live plants and what kind of plants they may particularly like to eat.

Additionally, we will cover the benefits of ramshorn snails eating plants in your aquarium or pond and whether or not it makes sense to house a lot of these snails in planted habitats.

Do Ramshorn Snails Prefer Dead Or Live Plants In An Aquarium?

Ramshorn snails are more likely to eat dead plants over live ones that are in your aquarium. They will munch off any decaying parts or wholly dead plants and generally tend to leave live plants alone.

Ramshorn snails will also eat most species of algae that grow in your tank with the exception of green spot algae.

However, ramshorn snails have been noted to eat live plants if their diet is lacking in the nutrients that live plants can provide.

Live plants that can be particularly vulnerable to consumption by ramshorn snails are those that are delicate in nature.

To prevent ramshorn snails from eating your live and healthy aquarium plants, you should make sure to give them a well-balanced diet that includes vegetables such as zucchini, lettuce, and cucumbers.

Also, allow your ramshorn snails to clean the algae from your tank since this will provide them with some of their necessary green food requirements.

What Kinds Of Plants Do Ramshorn Snails Prefer?

Plants that are preferable to ramshorn snails include those that they can easily eat.

Plants with delicate stems or foliage are particularly vulnerable to ramshorn snails. They may see them as an easy food source, especially if they are lacking much needed vegetable matter in their diet.

Soft algae species such as wispy brown, green, and red algae are also favorites of ramshorn snails and they will consume these off of every surface in your aquarium including the substrate, filters, and glass walls.

Green spot algae they tend to ignore because it is too tough to eat.

Ramshorn Snails Versus Healthy Plants

Healthy plants often provide too much of a challenge as well since these present tough stems and foliage to chew through which is why ramshorn snails prefer to eat the soft decaying matter of dead plants.

If you want to keep any delicate aquatic vegetation, it may be best not to house it with ramshorn snails just in case they find it an easy snack.

What Are The Benefits Of Ramshorn Snails Eating Plants In An Aquarium Or Pond?

Ramshorn snails can provide a beneficial service to aquariums and ponds. Since they mostly tend to eat dead or decaying plant matter and algae, these snails can help keep your pond or aquarium clean and healthy for all of its inhabitants.

A habitat where decaying plant matter is left to rot can quickly make other tank and pond inhabitants sick and even spread decay and disease to otherwise healthy plants.

  • Ramshorn snails are voracious eaters of detritus and will swarm in packs to devour decaying plant matter and therefore keep the rest of your vegetation healthy.
  • Ramshorn snails will also eat all of the available algae in your aquarium or tank which can help keep both tank or pond fauna and flora healthy and happy.
    • Algae can quickly overrun its habitat, killing off vegetation and even causing sickness in some of the animals that share its territory.

Ramshorn snails are efficient algae cleaners and will eliminate the problem before it has a chance to keep growing.

Does It Make Sense To Have Many Ramshorn Snails In Your Planted Aquarium?

It’s always a good idea to house a healthy community of ramshorn snails in your planted aquarium since they will help keep the healthy plants healthy by eliminating algae and clearing out dead plant matter.

However, it is important to keep in mind that ramshorn snails can easily turn to eating healthy plants if they don’t receive enough nutrients from their diet.

If you have a planted tank that only houses ramshorn snails, you can effectively keep one or two snails per gallon of water. If you have other fauna, you should limit your number of snails to one or two per five gallons of water.

This will ensure that there are enough algae, dead plant matter, and detritus to go around for everyone. Make sure to supplement your ramshorn snails’ diet with extra algae pellets and blanched vegetables.

As long as they are satisfied, they will only protect your aquatic vegetation, but if left hungry, they could wreak havoc!


Ramshorn snails will eat plant matter, but they prefer dead and decaying vegetation over live and healthy plants.

They also love to eat all kinds of soft algal species. If a ramshorn snail is lacking in vegetation in its diet, it may begin to eat healthy vegetation, especially those with delicate stems and foliage.

Ramshorn snails can provide a great service to any pond or aquarium by keeping their habitat free of decaying matter that can make other plants and animals sick.

As long as they are well fed, they are excellent fauna to keep in planted aquariums and ponds.

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