Malaysian Trumpet Snail – Melanoides tuberculata: Care Guide
Malaysian Trumpet Snails are interesting little creatures that more and more aquarists are beginning to intentionally keep in their tanks. While not one of the traditional snail options, this species still has a lot going for it!
This guide will teach you all about these wonderful little creatures and how to successfully keep them in your home aquarium.
Let us begin!
Malaysian trumpet snails (scientific name: Melanoides tuberculata) are a common sight among aquarists around the world. These highly adaptable creatures can thrive in almost any aquarium setting. Hardy and undemanding, they are perfect for novice snail owners or any hobbyist looking for a unique investment to add to their tank.
In the wild, the distribution of the Malaysian trumpet snail is vast. It is found in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and more. While they prefer freshwater environments, these creatures have also been found in brackish environments.
These snails are often viewed by aquarists as stubborn pests. But under the right conditions, they can be a useful pet that benefits your tank.
Why keep them as pets?
It’s not hard to see why many experienced aquarists hate Malaysian trumpet snails. Without proper management, they can overpopulate the tank and create a significant biological load.
So why keep them as pets?
Well, Malaysian trumpet snails can improve the overall quality and condition of the tank. For one thing, they can keep the tank clean. The snail’s natural diet consists of algae, plant debris, and tons of other food sources that can harm water quality.
These aquarium snails burrow into the substrate to feed on everything from decaying plant matter to food scraps. While you can’t rely on snails alone to keep your tank clean, they can make a huge positive impact.
Another great advantage of keeping Malaysian trumpet snails is their ability to keep the substrate aerated. The burrowing behavior prevents gas buildup, which goes a long way toward preventing sudden water toxicity. On top of that, the extra aeration can improve plant growth.
The presence of these trumpet snails can do a lot to improve your freshwater tank. In smaller, more manageable amounts, they can stay out of sight while the rest of your fish benefit from your work!
When you see them, Malaysian trumpet snails are really beautiful! They have a conical casing that can take on a wide range of colors.
Shells are typically shades of brown, gray, and cream. You may see shells in solid colors or unique patterns. These snails have a lot of variety which makes them an interesting addition to the tank.
Author’s note: Conical shells grow in rings from the apex. These rings provide a rougher texture, which is often visible with a unique coloration.
The meat of the snail has as much variety as the shell. The skin is usually lighter in color with patches of brown or gray for accents.
At the opening of the shell, Malaysian trumpet snails have an operculum. It is a small trapdoor that they can use to keep themselves safe from any danger in their environment.
On average, Malaysian trumpet snails only have a lifespan of about one year. They can live longer under the right conditions, but such cases are rare.
Of course, there are no guarantees. Many factors, such as water conditions and the availability of quality food, can have a significant impact on their life expectancy. That said, there is only a limited time for these creatures to live.
Most Malaysian trumpet snails you will see are about a quarter-inch to a half-inch long. However, these inverts are capable of growing up to an inch long in the right conditions.
Author’s Note: Measurements reflect the distance from the apex of the shell to the opening. Females tend to be slightly larger than males. However, this difference is subtle.
Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care
Malaysian Trumpet Snail care is a no-brainer! They are one of the easiest aquatic creatures to own. Thanks to their hardy nature, most have no problem thriving in captivity.
But like any other animal, these snails have optimal conditions that will allow them to thrive. Here are some important care guidelines you should know.
One of the best things about Malaysian trumpet snails is that they don’t need a lot of space. A small group can live in a 5-10 gallon tank just fine!
Author’s note: It is important to be careful with the overpopulation of these snails. Overstocked freshwater aquariums can cause serious problems with ammonia and nitrates.
Malaysian trumpet snails can adapt to a wide range of water conditions. Even in the wild, these snails are not specific to a specific environment. As long as the water is clean, aerated, and warm, they will do just fine!
Follow these parameters for best results.
- Water temperature: 65 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (70 to 78 degrees is best)
- pH levels: 6.5 to 8.0 (aim for neutral water)
- Water hardness: 6 to 15 KH
Author’s Note: Be sure to invest in a high-quality water testing kit to ensure you get accurate readings throughout the week. While these creatures aren’t picky, it’s best if you keep their core water parameters consistent.
What to put in your tank
These snails are more prevalent in bodies of water that are teeming with life. They are attracted to food waste and decaying plants. In captivity, they prefer similar living conditions.
The most important thing you will need is a layer of sand substrate. Malaysian trumpet snails are great burrowers. They use their pointed shells to make their way through the fine sand in search of food.
Gravel, pebbles, or any other hard substrate will not facilitate digging behavior. Instead, those materials will damage the shell and cause injury.
Next, add live plants. these trumpet snails will not harm plants. However, they will consume any bits that fall off and decompose. Avoid the use of fertilizer products or plant nutrients. Chemical additives can harm snails.
In terms of equipment, sponge filters are essential. These snails are small enough to be absorbed by a standard filtration system. You need sponge filters to make sure your snails don’t suffer that fate.
Author’s Note: Also, make sure the filter output is relatively weak. The Malaysian trumpets are not strong enough to fight strong currents!
Common Potential Illnesses
The biggest health problems affecting Malaysian trumpet snails are parasites. They can harbor Centrocestus formosanus, which is a parasitic worm. Although it is unlikely to be transmitted to humans, this parasite can affect birds and small animals.
That said, these snails can also harbor a parasite that will affect humans. They are intermediate hosts for parasitic lungworms that could spread to humans if care is not taken.
Parasites are difficult to treat, so it ‘s important to quarantine any new additions to your tank. This will allow you to quickly identify health issues without negatively affecting the rest of your main tank’s life. Also, avoid buying snails that don’t look good (or that come from inexperienced or unreliable sellers).
Food and Diet
As mentioned above, Malaysian trumpet snails eat a wide variety of foods. These inverts are very opportunistic and will spend most of the day looking for algae to eat, as well as plant debris and other snacks.
During the day, they burrow under the substrate to eat. Once the lights go out, they may emerge to feed on soft algae growing on glass or décor.
You can supplement your natural diet with things like algae wafers and pellets. However, most aquarists don’t go to as much trouble to make sure they are well fed. The snails will find food sources and eat fish scraps that fall to the substrate.
Author’s Note: If you want to make sure your snails are getting all the nutrients they need, provide a couple of vegetables or mineral blocks. They need a good source of calcium to make sure their shells stay strong.
Malaysian trumpet snails are very shy and docile. They will not cause any problems with tankmates. However, the same cannot be said for hungry fish and inverted predators (such as the assassin snail).
If you want your population to thrive, avoid aggressive tankmates.
These snails do well with many other snail species. They also have a symbiotic relationship with many shrimp. The shrimp consume the snail’s waste, reducing the overall biological load in the tank.
Here are some good tank mate options for the Malaysian Trumpet Snail.
- nerite snails
- mysterious snails
- ivory snails
- fresh water clams
- cherry shrimp
- bamboo shrimp
- vampire shrimp
- Amano Shrimp
- Ghost Shrimp
- cory catfish
Breeding is never a problem with Malaysian trumpet snails. In fact, it is one of the biggest disadvantages of this aquatic creature!
Malaysian trumpet snails reproduce quickly and frequently. Overcrowding will often occur if too many food sources are available. Because of this, you must be careful to prevent these snails from taking over them.
Interestingly, these trumpet snails are not hermaphrodites. Males and females will mate to produce offspring. Alternatively, they can reproduce through parthenogenesis, which is when females produce small clones without male fertilization.
These snails are bearers of life. Females can give birth to up to 70 snails at a time. At birth, they are the size of a grain of sand. But, they grow quickly and reach maturity in a matter of months.
While Malaysian trumpet snails may seem like an odd choice for pets, they really do make a lot of sense! As long as you can keep their population in check, these critters will do a great job of cleaning and maintaining your freshwater aquarium.
If you have questions about keeping this species under control (or anything else), feel free to reach out. We love to connect with our readers and lend a helping hand whenever we can!