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can a Bolivian Ram eat too many snails and die from them?


Aloha all, I cannot see any other cause of death to my guy??? His color was good, eating but preferred baby snails and cory fry that are hatching constantly..........had recently added ram snails as he was keeping my bladder snails so in ck I needed more fsnails for some of my Anubis leaves. He was about 2 years old.........

I looked him over really good when I took him out and no signs of any disease, all water parameters were good..............he was also being "watched" over by a new baby Angel, but they didn't seem to have any issues................any thoughts??? could it just be too many snail shells????????
When I gravel vac 2 x week I would find so many broken shells from his meals.......almost like a puffer lived in the tank, not a ram.............


Active Member
I suspect maybe just passed from natural causes, 2 years old is getting on for most Rams, and if that's 2 years from purchase then you can add yet more age on, 3 or 4 months minimun.

My main interest in your post though is more to do with snail control. I've never kept Bolivians, but have heard many reports they eat snails. My main interest here is involving German rams, as I can confirm that they are indeed excellent snail control. I noticed many years ago that dispite adding snails to all my Ram grow out tanks, by the time the fry were 3 to 4 months old only a few of the largest snails would remain with absolutely no baby snails in sight. I tested this theory by adding a group of 5 fully grown young male German Rams to a completely pond snail infested Discus tank and within a month I had virtually no young or small snails. I'd like to add that all my Rams are bred in hard water as to be suitable to pass on to local enthusiasts or lfs's that have my same local water, so shell erosion is nothing to do with the disappearing snails! All snails thrive in my water!

I'd be very interested to hear what others have experienced or witnessed with Rams or indeed any other fish not traditionally associated with snail control. I wonder if where Cichlids are concerned, their earth eating reputation may be connected. Surely in the wild snails would be to valuable a food source to passed up. I also wonder if possibly tank raised fish might just get a taste for snails when they spawn, as Rams go absolutely ballistic on any snail that gets close to their eggs or wrigglers! Another possibility is when a snail falls of the tank glass, as in a tank of Rams they literally never let anything get to the bottom without taste testing it first!!

I've also noticed a lack of snails in my Hypancistrus colonies, especially L260 and L46, where only a very few of the largest snails survive. The snail colonies nearly always die out in these tanks over time.



Thanks Ade,
I am glad to hear that you think it maybe natural causes, as in old age, although I have kept Bolivians in the past and seems they lived a bit longer. Maybe the fact that I added a very active baby Koi Angel to the tank just stressed him too much as well. Never had an Angel this active, he eats food even out of the poor cories mouths :O He started being more and more territorial and the ram had to keep him in ck, Before the ram was the top fish.

I am happy the snail eating was normal too, I am just now starting to see some baby snails. I like to have snails in the tank, think the bottom is nicer, I g/v 2-3 times a week, but with snails I think it stays looking cleaner :) I may even start to see some cory fry soon :)

Kinda sad this Ram acted like the protective dad to the cories and even swam with them when they spawned lol.........he gave up cleaning off river rocks and waiting for a female ram to swim bye to mate with, he just started courting cories lol. so funny. I knew though if I added a female for him the cories would have been harassed. All in all it is a happy tank.