Life Cycle of the Ramshorn Snail
The female who is pregnant usually will go up to the surface of the aquarium to lay eggs. The rams-horn snail eggs do not hatch and become babies, as you can see in the picture to the right. If this is the case the egg cluster will simply look empty or jumbled up. Unfortunately, sometimes things just are not meant to be.
Rams-horn snails are hermaphrodites, which mean they carry both male and female sex cells in which to create offspring. They can’t do this alone though so they will have to find another one who is willing to exchange cells with to reproduce and have offspring with successfully.
The species changes between sexes when they are mating; this is the ultimate form of equality in my opinion. They can also auto-fertilize themselves since they carry both cells. If this occurs they will be clones or look a likes of their parent. You will want to be careful of this as it can cause defects as it does with human in-bred breeding. The wild usually tends to save this type of defects from occurring mostly because other adults will come into contact with them and breed. In your aquarium they will not have this advantage.
The chances of this occurring with a purchased rams-horn snail may still occur even without a mate even if you get only one snail. This is because of auto-fertilization and the probability that the snail has been in contact with many other snails already is very high. Rams-horn snails are quite small, hence they are hard to handle when they are too young to mate. The larger snails are usually sold when they reach the mating age. That means, unless it is too young to mate, then it probably has mated and it can lay fertile eggs. When there has been an overabundance of food in the tank the rams-horn snail’s reproduction rate increase. Rams-horn snails will then start to overpopulate the tank at this point. This is because the extra food encourages them to reproduce more. They will reproduce more with this so do not let yourself be fooled otherwise.
They will lay their eggs just about anywhere in your aquarium where they can. This even includes on the backs of other adult snails. The eggs are covered in a tough jelly like substance which protects them. The fertilized parent usually lays them below the waterline. Depending on the water temperature and conditions they will usually hatch between 12 and 40 days.
At the end of the life cycle you may wonder if they have passed on and the easiest way is to smell them. If there is bad odor coming out of their shell then you will know they have died. You should do this regularly because any dead animal in a tank will start to make the tank toxic for other animals and fish.