Malaysian Trumpet Snail: A Helpful Aquarium Companion

Malaysian trumpet snails are remarkable creatures that have captured the attention of aquarists worldwide. With an adaptable nature and unique appearance, they’ve become a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts looking to add a special touch to their underwater world.

Originating from Africa, these hardy snails have made their way to various tropical regions, finding a place in countless aquariums. As you explore the world of Malaysian trumpet snails, you’ll discover their compatibility with numerous aquatic species and the ease of caring for them.

Your aquarium is bound to benefit from the presence of these intriguing invertebrates. Stay tuned to learn more about Malaysian trumpet snails and how to provide the best environment for them to thrive.

Species Overview

The Malaysian Trumpet Snail (Melanoides tuberculata) is a popular freshwater snail known for its unique appearance and beneficial qualities. They can help improve water quality and act as efficient cleaners in aquariums. Here is an overview of their characteristics:

Property Specification
Scientific name Melanoides tuberculata
Common names Malaysian Trumpet Snail, Malaysian Burrowing Snail, Malaysian Live Bearing Snail
Distribution Southeast Asia, Africa
Size 0.8 – 1.5 inches (2 – 4 cm)
Lifespan Varies
Diet Omnivore (algae, detritus, leftover fish food)
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 5 gallons
Temperature 70 – 78°F (21 – 26°C)
pH 7.0 – 8.0
Water hardness 8 – 12 dGH
Care level Easy
Filtration/Water Flow Prefers slow-moving water
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Live-bearing
Breeding difficulty Easy
Compatibility Suitable with most peaceful fish and invertebrates, unsuitable with snail-eating fish

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Basics

Origins and Natural Habitat

Malaysian Trumpet Snails (Melanoides tuberculata) are native to Southeast Asia, where they dwell in freshwater environments such as rivers, lakes, and ponds. They have a highly adaptable nature, making them popular in aquariums all around the world. These snails are perfect for novice owners and experienced aquarists seeking unique invertebrates for their tanks.

Size and Shape

Adult Malaysian Trumpet Snails usually reach a size of 0.5 to 1 inch (1.3 to 2.5 cm) in length. They are characterized by a slender, conical shell with whorls that become wider as they grow. The spiral shape of the shell allows them to burrow into the substrate of your aquarium easily.

Color and Markings

Their shells come in various shades of brown, from light tan to dark brown, sometimes with dark stripes or spots. The snails themselves can also exhibit different colors, such as shades of gray or blue, but are typically darker than the shell.


The average lifespan of Malaysian Trumpet Snails is about 1-2 years in a well-maintained aquarium. However, some snails have been known to live longer under optimal conditions. Proper care, a suitable diet, and a healthy environment can significantly impact their longevity.

Diet and Feeding

Malaysian trumpet snails are highly opportunistic eaters, and you’ll find them consuming various forms of food, such as algae, plant detritus, and other organic matter. During the day, they burrow in the substrate, emerging at night to feast on soft algae.

As a caretaker, you don’t have to worry too much about supplementing their diet with algae wafers or pellets, since they can find their own food sources, like leftover fish flakes, quite easily. But, if you want to support their health, consider providing vegetables or mineral blocks for adequate nutrients, especially calcium for shell strength.

In their quest for sustenance, Malaysian trumpet snails spend a significant amount of time searching for food, which in turn energizes their reproductive tendencies. They’re scavengers that eat fallen organic matter, dead plants, fish waste, and uneaten fish food. Thankfully, they typically spare live plants if there’s ample food elsewhere in the tank.

These snails also consume algae and microbial films, which helps control excessive algae growth in your aquarium. However, be cautious of having too many snails—they could produce too much waste and overwhelm your filtration system.

To offer variety in their diet and introduce calcium for shell strength, try adding small pieces of green vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, spinach, or cucumber. This will keep their diet nourishing and diverse, contributing to their overall well-being.

Behavior and Temperament

Friendly and peaceful creatures, your Malaysian Trumpet Snails coexist harmoniously with their tank mates. During the day, it’s common to see them burrowing into the substrate to hide from potential predators. This burrowing behavior also benefits your tank by preventing harmful gases from building up and polluting the water. As you dim the lights, these snails will emerge to explore the tank in search of food.

Known for their algae grazing, Malaysian Trumpet Snails are quite skillful at controlling and preventing excessive algae growth within your aquarium. Their slow-motion scavenging helps vacuum up uneaten food and detritus: a neat trait that keeps your tank looking clean!

However, keep in mind these snails are rapid reproducers. Be prepared for potentially large and uncontrollable population growth; hence, you may need to take measures to keep their numbers under control. Despite this, Malaysian Trumpet Snails’ friendly demeanor and beneficial impact on the tank environment make them a great addition to a community aquarium.

Care and Tank Requirements

Tank Size

For Malaysian Trumpet Snails (MTS), a minimum of 5-gallon aquarium size is recommended. However, 10 gallons or larger is preferred for more stable water conditions. Remember, smaller aquariums can lead to fluctuations in water parameters and pose challenges in maintaining a healthy environment for your snails.

Water Parameters

Malaysian Trumpet Snails thrive in water with:

  • Temperature: 70-78°F (21-26°C)
  • pH Level: 7.0-8.0
  • Hardness: 8-12 dGH

Monitor and maintain these water parameters to ensure the well-being of your snails.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Create a natural and comfortable environment for your snails by:

  • Using a soft, sandy substrate that allows them to burrow and forage.
  • Providing hiding spots with rocks, driftwood, and small caves.
  • Including live aquatic plants for resting and grazing on algae.

Don’t overcrowd the tank with decorations, maintaining enough open space for the snails to move around and explore.

Filtration and Aeration

Incorporate a gentle filtration system to maintain stable water parameters while avoiding strong currents that can disturb the snails. Energy-efficient sponge filters are an excellent choice for snail tanks. Additionally, ensure proper aeration with an air stone or similar device to promote oxygen exchange and keep your Malaysian Trumpet Snails healthy and happy.

Suitable Tank Mates

Malaysian trumpet snails are shy and peaceful, making them great tank mates for many other species. They coexist well with other snail species and can have a symbiotic relationship with many shrimp. In this type of relationship, shrimp help by consuming the snail’s waste, reducing the overall tank bioload.

However, keep in mind that your Malaysian trumpet snails can be targeted by hungry fish and predatory invertebrates like assassin snails. To promote a flourishing population, it’s essential to avoid aggressive tank mates.

Here’s a list of suitable tank mates for Malaysian trumpet snails:

  • Nerite Snails
  • Mystery Snails
  • Ivory Snails
  • Freshwater Clams
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • Vampire Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Cory Catfish
  • Otocinclus

By carefully selecting tank mates for your Malaysian trumpet snails, you will not only create a harmonious environment, but also encourage their population to grow and contribute to the overall well-being of your aquarium.


Malaysian trumpet snails reproduce quickly and often, which can lead to overpopulation in your aquarium. They exhibit reproduction through both sexual reproduction and parthenogenesis. As an aquarist, you’ll want to be aware of their reproductive habits to manage their population effectively.

When it comes to sexual reproduction, females give birth to as many as 70 snails at once. These baby snails grow quickly, reaching maturity within months. However, parthenogenesis allows a single female to multiply without the need for males, establishing a whole colony herself. Sexual reproduction occurs less frequently, requiring a male’s sperm to fertilize a female’s eggs.

Keep in mind that a single female can produce over 200 young, but not all embryos will develop into juveniles. Hatching typically happens at night when these snails are most active, and the newborns are tiny at just 0.08 inches. In order to reach sexual maturity, juveniles need to grow to at least 0.3 inches, with their reproductive capacity peaking at 0.8 inches.

Their rapid growth rate of about 0.1 inches per month lets the juveniles quickly reach a size capable of reproduction, continuing the cycle. By understanding their breeding pattern and managing their population, you can maintain a healthy ecosystem within your aquarium.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Parasites, like the worm Centrocestus formosanus, are the primary concern when it comes to the health of your Malaysian Trumpet Snails. While these parasites are unlikely to spread to humans, they can certainly affect birds and small animals. Additionally, these snails can host parasitic lungworms that could potentially spread to humans.

To ensure the health of your snails and prevent the possible spread of parasites, it’s essential to take some precautionary measures. Quarantining new snail additions to your tank is an effective way to identify and treat any potential health problems.

In purchasing snails, be cautious about their origins. Avoid snails that appear unwell or come from inexperienced or untrustworthy sellers, as they may introduce harmful parasites to your tank.

It’s important to note that parasites are challenging to treat, making prevention and early detection crucial. By following these tips, you can maintain a healthy and thriving environment for your Malaysian Trumpet Snails.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Malaysian trumpet snails beneficial?

Yes, Malaysian trumpet snails can be beneficial to your aquarium. They help keep the substrate clean by consuming leftover food, debris, and algae. Additionally, they aerate the substrate as they burrow, preventing pockets of harmful gases from forming. However, there are drawbacks to keeping them, like rapid population growth and potentially competing with other snails for food, so it’s essential to understand how to manage them in your tank.

Can these snails escape from the tank?

While Malaysian trumpet snails are proficient climbers and can reach the top of your aquarium, they usually do not escape. However, make sure your tank has a secure lid or cover to prevent any accidental escapes.

Can Malaysian trumpet snails live with shrimp?

Yes, Malaysian trumpet snails can coexist peacefully with shrimp in your aquarium. They do not typically bother or harm shrimp, and both species can benefit from each other’s presence by helping to keep the tank clean.

How do I control their population?

To control the population of Malaysian trumpet snails in your tank, be cautious with feeding. Overfeeding other tank inhabitants can provide an excess of food for snails, causing their numbers to increase. Also, you can manually remove snails if their numbers become overwhelming or introduce natural predators, like assassin snails or certain fish species, to help regulate the snail population.

Do they harm aquatic plants?

Malaysian trumpet snails are generally considered plant-safe, as they prefer to feed on leftover food, debris, and algae. However, if the snail population becomes too large and food becomes scarce, they might start nibbling on some softer plant leaves.

What predators can be added to the tank?

If you’re looking to control your Malaysian trumpet snail population naturally, you can introduce predators like assassin snails, loaches, or pufferfish. These species are known to prey on small snails, but make sure to do thorough research on their compatibility with your existing tank inhabitants before introducing any predators.