How To Succeed With Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides)

March 26, 2024

If you look in the aquatic section of any pet store, you’ll probably come across Malaysian Trumpet snails, otherwise known as Malanoides. 

There’s no denying that Malaysian trumpet snails are beautiful and fascinating creatures, and they’re not too difficult to care for, but if you don’t closely monitor their behavior, they can quickly start to cause problems in your aquarium.

This is why many aquarists have come to regard them as pests.

How To Succeed With Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides)

Nonetheless, aquarists of all experience levels have continued to keep Malaysian Trumpet snails, and in today’s guide, we’re going to teach you how to do it, too! 

This guide will cover everything you need to know before you bring home Malaysian Trumpet snails, from diet to breeding tendencies.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of whether these snails will make suitable pets for you and what you need to do to take care of them. 

Malaysian Trumpet Snails: Introductory Information

If kept correctly, Malaysian Trumpet snails can massively benefit the conditions in your aquarium.

You don’t need to be a snail-keeping expert to achieve success with these snails, but you do need to know which potential problems to look out for so that you can avoid the drawbacks. 

Malaysian Trumpet snails are part of the family Thiaridae, which comprises multiple species of Trumpet snails.

Other names for the Malaysian Trumpet snail include ‘Malaysian Burrowing snail,’ ‘Melanoides tuberculata,’ ‘Malaysian Live Bearing Snail’, or ‘Redrimmed Melania’. 

Malaysian Trumpets can be found in Turkey, Asia, South Africa, and North Africa. Their populations spread at impressive rates because they are an invasive species. 

Why Keep Malaysian Trumpet Snails?

Many people who originally consider keeping Malaysian Trumpet snails are put off by this snail’s reputation as a pest.

The species earned this reputation because of the fact that Malaysian Trumpet snails are able to creep into aquariums undetected and eventually take over the tank. 

However, there are many benefits to keeping these snails if you can control your population.

For one thing, a small population of Malaysian Trumpets is a great natural method of improving the quality of the water in your aquarium.

They dig through the substrate in the aquarium, remaining mostly hidden, and clean the water and the tank itself by consuming wasted food, algae, and other unwanted plant material that would otherwise pollute the water.

While digging, these snails also help to aerate the material at the bottom of the tank, so any plants growing in your aquarium will benefit, too.

This is an example of how the Malaysian Trumpet snail’s scavenger nature can be put to good use!

What’s more, Malaysian Trumpet snails are not expensive to purchase, so if you’re looking for a fairly cheap and low-maintenance aquatic pet to try your hand as an aquarist, these snails are perfect. 

What Do Malaysian Trumpet Snails Look Like?

Thes Trumpet snails are not always easy to spot because they like to stay at the bottom of the tank, amongst the substrate for the most part.

Despite this, the beauty of the Malaysian Trumpet snail is one of the main reasons for their popularity. 

Malaysian Trumpet snails are conical snails, meaning that their shells are shaped like cones.

The whorls on the Malaysian Trumpet’s shell give it a striking, textured appearance, and can also be used to tell how old the nail is because more whorls appear as the snail gets older. 

There is a lot of variety in shell color. Some have cream shells, while others have brown or gray shells.

Some Malaysian Trumpet snails have shells in just one block color whereas others can be identified by interesting patterns. Sometimes, the whorls are encircled by red dots.

Even the flesh of Malaysian Trumpet snails can be of different colors. Typically, the flesh is lighter than the shell and sports brown or gray spots. 

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Life Expectancy

New aquarists who aren’t ready to make a long-term commitment may wish to choose Malaysian Trumpet snails because they only live for around a year on average. 

These snails can have longer lifespans if the conditions of their aquarium are optimal, and in some cases, they may live for up to 5 years. 

How Large Do Malaysian Trumpets Grow?

Another reason why Malaysian Trumpet snails make convenient additions to aquariums is that they don’t grow to large sizes.

In fact, these snails are very small, typically growing to just half an inch in length when kept in captivity. 

When housed in a large enough tank with the proper conditions, however, it’s possible for Malaysian Trumpets to grow up to a full inch in length. 

Female Malaysian Trumpet snails are slightly larger than males, but this size difference is so subtle that it’s often difficult to tell the sexes apart.

As we’ll discuss later, however, these snails don’t necessarily need to reproduce sexually, so determining the sex of each snail isn’t overly important. 

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care

The Ideal Malaysian Trumpet Snail Tank

If you’re planning to house some Malaysian Trumpet snails, the first thing you will need to do is ensure that you have (or can purchase) a tank of the right size. 

Because Malaysian Trumpet snails are not large snails, they will only need a tank with a capacity of between 5 and 10 gallons, provided that they are not sharing an aquarium with larger fish.

Approximately 5 to 10 Malaysian Trumpet snails can be housed in a 5-gallon tank, but it’s not advisable to keep any more than this even if you have a larger tank because they breed fast and can easily overrun the aquarium. 

The tank that you choose to accommodate your Malaysian Trumpet snails should be large enough to fit sponge water filters.

The filters should not be too powerful, and ideally, they should be covered to prevent these tiny snails from getting sucked in. 

Optimal Water Parameters

Malaysian Trumpet snails are hardy little creatures, but they still need certain water parameters to ensure optimal health. 

The water temperature should be kept between 65 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The water hardness should not be below 6 KH, but it should also not exceed 15 KH.

Ideally, the pH should fall within the range of 6.5 and 8.0, so it should be around the neutral range. 

Obviously, in order to ensure that all the water parameters are within the correct range, you’ll need some monitoring tools.

We recommend investing in a water test kit that measures hardness and pH, as well as an aquarium thermometer. 

The water test kit should also be able to measure the levels of Nitrite and Ammonia levels, which will need to be kept at 0 along with the copper levels.

Copper is very dangerous for snails, so there should never be any copper in your aquarium’s water.

The good news is that you won’t need to get a water pump or an air pump for the aquarium because these snails like slow-moving water, and they don’t need any special lighting. 

Substrate For Malaysian Trumpet Snails

Because Malaysian Trumpet snails spend so much time digging through the substrate at the bottom of their environment, the substrate you choose for your tank will be one of the most important decisions you make. 

It’s best to use fine, soft sand as the substrate in your aquarium if you’re keeping Malaysian Trumpets.

The softer and lighter the sand is, the easier it will be for your snails to dig, which is crucial for their ability to find food. 

Never use hard, abrasive substrates such as gravel for your Malaysian Trumpet snail tank.

Sharp stones or rocks can make it difficult for the snails to dig, and in the worst-case scenario, they could cause damage to the shell. 

Decorations For Malaysian Trumpet Snail Tank

There’s no harm in adding some decorative items to your Malaysian Trumpet snails’ tank.

In fact, the more surfaces there are inside the tank, the more places will be available to your snails for food hunting. 

The most important decoration you can add to your snail tank, however, is live plant matter. Snails can hide amongst the leaves of plants while benefiting from their water purifying properties.

We recommend adding Java Moss to your tank because this plant is tough enough to withstand being snacked on occasionally. 

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Diet

Despite being so small, Malaysian Trumpet snails have big appetites. This is because their ultimate goal is to breed, which requires more energy, and they can only get energy from food. 

Luckily, these snails are not fussy eaters and will feed on pretty much any organic matter they can find in the substrate at the bottom of the tank.

This means that feeding Malaysian Trumpets is a fairly low-effort process.

Microbial films and algae make up most of the Malaysian Trumpet snail’s natural diet.

These are naturally occurring substances in aquariums, so you don’t need to worry about providing these foods for your snails. 

However, you will also want to put some vegetables in your tank for your snails to derive calcium from. Calcium is an essential nutrient for snails because it helps to keep their shells strong.

Broccoli, cucumber, spinach, and lettuce are all good choices for Malaysian Trumpet snails. 

Tank Mates For Malaysian Trumpets

Malaysian Trumpet snails are not social creatures. While they can be kept with other Malaysian Trumpets, the snails will largely ignore one another because they are so focused on digging and finding food. 

If you’re going to keep groups of Malaysian Trumpets together, please ensure that the population doesn’t get too large.

These snails breed very quickly, and before you know it, you could end up with more Malaysian Trumpets than you know what to do with. 

Malaysian Trumpet snails can also be kept with other species. Smaller fish are the best choice because larger fish might snack on your snails given their tiny size.

Tiger barbs, neon tetras, cory catfish, mollie, and Otocinclus will all make suitable tank mates for your Malaysian Trumpets. 

Other snails and crustaceans may also be introduced alongside your Malaysian Trumpet snails.

Examples of suitable species include Ramshorn snails, Bamboo shrimp, Ghost shrimp, and Mystery snails. 

However, there are some species that you will definitely want to avoid if you value the health and safety of your Malaysian Trumpet snails.

Assassin snails and pufferfish will try to feed on your snails, as will loaches and Oscars.

Even the seemingly non-threatening goldfish can present a threat to Malaysian Trumpet snails, so if you want your snails to reach their full expected lifespan, you’ll need to do your research into which tank mates are safe for Malaysian Trumpets. 

How To Breed Malaysian Trumpet Snails

How To Breed Malaysian Trumpet Snails

If your goal is to breed Malaysian Trumpet snails, you’ll be pleased to hear that you have an easy task ahead of you!

Malaysian Trumpets breed with surprising speed, and they don’t really need any special conditions for breeding to be successful other than the water parameters outlined earlier. 

Just one female Malaysian Trumpet snail can lay over 200 eggs, and the hatchling snails will become sexually mature by the time they grow to a third of an inch in length.

At this point, the young snails will also start breeding.

Because Malaysian Trumpet snails are born in such large clutches and reach sexual maturity so quickly, it’s easy to see how their populations can grow in such short periods of time. 

Interestingly, Malaysian Trumpet snails can breed both sexually or parthenogenically. These snails are live breeders, so when they lay eggs, they don’t need any fertilization. 

When breeding Malaysian Trumpets, you will need to keep an eye on how large your snail population is growing. When the population begins to get too large, you’ll need to take steps to reduce it. 

Once you feel that your snails have bred enough, you can prevent or minimize further breeding by making the conditions in the aquarium unfavorable for this activity. 

Limiting how much food you introduce to the tank and slightly reducing the water temperature will be effective in reducing your snails’ breeding success.

Just make sure not to reduce the food or temperature too much as this would harm your snails. 

Some aquarists decide to control Malaysian Trumpet populations by introducing a predator to the aquarium.

We recommended avoiding species such as Assassin snails and loaches earlier, but if your goal is to control the population, these are good options.

Goldfish will also prey on Malaysian Trumpet snails. 

There is, of course, the option of picking some snails out of your tank by hand, but if you have many unwanted snails you want to get rid of, this will not be an effective method. 

If, like many aquarists, you are uncomfortable with the idea of essentially culling some of your snails, you will need to take great care not to let the population get larger than you can handle.

This will mean regulating the conditions in the tank to limit breeding potential and starting with a small number of snails. 

Should You Keep Malaysian Trumpet Snails?

If you’re concerned about the idea of ending up with too many snails, Malaysian Trumpets may not be the best choice for you.

This is not a species that is easy to control in terms of numbers, so if you want a pet that is unlikely to breed excessively, you should definitely look elsewhere. 

However, there are plenty of good reasons to keep Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Not only are they adorable, but they’re also natural tank cleaners.

If you’ve been worrying about the amount of algae building up inside your aquarium, introducing a few Malaysian Trumpets could be the perfect way to solve your problem. 

Additionally, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance aquatic pet, these snails fit that description perfectly.

They’re not picky about food and can survive in a variety of water conditions, although we do recommend sticking to the parameters described earlier in the guide unless you’re actively trying to discourage breeding.

They don’t live for very long, either, so they don’t require too much commitment. 

Final Thoughts

Malaysian Trumpet snails are tiny, invasive invertebrates that live in areas of Asia, Africa, and Turkey.

While their invasiveness and tiny size have led them to be branded as pests by many aquarists, they continue to be kept as pets due to their tank cleaning abilities. 

These snails make great pets for first-time aquarists because they are so small and low-maintenance.

They’re hardy enough to survive in many conditions and find much of their own food by scavenging at the bottom of the tank. 

The main issue with keeping Malaysian Trumpet snails is that the population can quickly get out of control because they breed so fast.

It’s also important not to keep these snails with larger fish or who might prey on them.
Jose Viacrucis

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