This beautiful, large snail is a popular addition to freshwater tanks in which plants are not considered a prized centrepiece. In the wild, the Colombian Giant Ramshorn Snail lives in lakes, rivers, and swamps, preferring calm areas with dense vegetation. It is known to withstand lightly brackish conditions, but will not reproduce in saline waters. In some countries, this species was deliberately released to help control certain invasive aquatic plants, such is its penchant for munching through most things green and leafy. These snails are great for peaceful community tanks and often breed if conditions are to their liking (see below). Avoid keeping them in aquaria that contain loaches, pufferfish or any large/aggressive species. The water should be moderately hard and alkaline to allow for healthy shell development. In softer water, where the calcium concentration will be lower, the snails will be very prone deterioration of the shell. It is best to maintain a slightly dropped water line so that the snails may use their breathing siphon if they choose to – this resembles a little snorkel. However, do ensure that the coverslides are kept tightly shut to create a space with warm humid air, and this also serves to eliminate any escape holes. Ensure the tank is well filtered and that regular partial water changes are carried out, at the same time vacuuming the substrate to ensure that the mulm that can accumulate from the snail’s waste products is removed. Never use treatments containing copper in the snail aquarium. The majority of Colombian Giant Ramshorns bear the typical striking striped pattern. The large shell is relatively flat, the underside being a light beige or yellow colour, and the upper side a contrasting shade of darkest brown, sometimes with a reddish tint. A plain yellow colour variant does exist.