Malaysian Trumpet Snails: Care, Food, Size & Lifespan – Video

Hobbyists can find Malaysian Trumpet Snails for sale in many pet stores these days. Malaysian Trumpet Snails eat almost continuously. They are good scavengers and tank cleaners thanks to their great appetites.

Pet or Pest? A Questionable Reputation

Malaysian Trumpet Snails may be called Malaysian Burrowing Snails, Malaysian Live Bearing Snails, Malaysian Sails, MTS, Trumpet Snails, or simply Trumpets.

As a pet: Malaysian Trumpet Snails can make interesting pets for some aquarists. Under the right conditions, Trumpet Snails can be an asset to an aquatic environment. This is especially true in tanks with live plants. Malaysian Trumpet Snails are so common that pet stores may throw a few in for free with another purchase. If purchasing Trumpet Snails, look for specimens that appear to be moving or affixed to hard surfaces. Avoid snails that are lying motionless or upside-down on the tank bottom. Also avoid purchasing snails kept in display tanks with dead, dying or diseased tank mates.

As a pest: To some hobbyists, Malaysian Trumpet Snails are an unwanted, invasive and annoying pest. They are quick to reproduce and their numbers can increase in no time. Malaysian Trumpet Snails can find their way into tanks inadvertently, most often as hitch hikers catching a ride on live plants. Whether Malaysian Trumpet Snails are considered pet or pest depends on each individual hobbyist and the tank they are trying to keep.

Trumpet Snails In Action: 30 Second Video

Malaysian Trumpet Snails: Picture Gallery

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care Is Easy

Trumpet Snail care can be broken down into a couple of areas: shell size, tank size, water parameters, diet, lifespan and reproduction. As a matter of fact, Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care is so easy, it is considered a good snail for beginners.

Shell Size and Color: Malaysian Trumpet Snails have elongated shells that resemble a sugar cone. The shells appear to grow in rings as they swirl up from the apex. Shells can be solid or have patterns with colors ranging from brown, grey and creamy-white. Malaysian Trumpet Snails start life very small. Under the right conditions they can grow to about an inch in length from apex to aperture. At their widest point, their shells can be about the diameter of a pencil eraser. Malaysian Trumpet Snails need Calcium for healthy shell growth, so make sure calcium is available in their diets.

Lifespan: In general, Malaysian Trumpet Snails live about one year. They can live longer under the right conditions and with a spot of luck. If a Malaysian Trumpet Snail dies above the substrate, it will be lying motionless on the bottom of the tank. If it dies while buried, it may not be noticed until the substrate is stirred up. While its good practice to remove dead inhabitants from tanks quickly to avoid water quality issues, some hobbyists choose to leave empty Malaysian Trumpet Snail shells in the tank, letting their minerals dissolve back into the aquarium water.

Tank Size: One of the best things is that Malaysian Trumpet Snail care is easy and effortless. Trumpet Snails can live in small covered tanks like 5 or 10 gallon setups or larger tanks as well. Just keep in mind they are living organisms that produce waste and tax the bio-load capacity of their aquatic world. So be mindful of the tank’s limitations and avoid overstocking.

Tank Hazards

Filter Intakes: Sometime, strong power filter intakes can be hazardous or fatal to Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Their small shells can get sucked up by the water current and they can get caught in the slats. The pull of the water can be overpowering and they can die stuck to the intake. So many hobbyists chose to cover intakes with sponge pre-filters to help keep the snails safe.

Tank Conditions For Trumpet Snails

Water Parameters: Trumpet Snails seem to need little hands-on attention. As long as tank conditions are right, they will thrive in established tanks without much effort. While Malaysian Trumpet Snails can do well in a wide range of water parameters, it’s good to keep conditions in the freshwater community tank range:

Aquarium pH: 7.0 – 7.5, with water on the hard side
Water Temperature: 70 – 78 Degrees Fahrenheit
Lighting: Standard community tank lighting

Malaysian Trumpet Snail care is similar to caring for other snails and shrimp. It’s important to test tank water often. Make sure Ammonia and Nitrite levels stay at 0 ppm, and control Nitrate levels as well as organic matter buildup with regular partial water changes. It’s also important that water be kept on the hard side as this is necessary for healthy shell growth. Be very careful when using plant fertilizers and medications as some of the ingredients may be harmful to Trumpet Snails. Most importantly, avoid copper, because even in small amounts, copper can be fatal.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Food: Habitat & Behavior

Malaysian Trumpet Snails are ferocious eaters spending most of the day under the substrate. They dig through substrate in search of edible matter that has accumulated on the tank bottom. When the tank lights go off, Trumpets can be seen moving up from the substrate to scour other hard surfaces for food. The next day, the snails burrow back into the substrate to spend lighted hours buried and out of site. While digging, their long mouth appears, extending well beyond their shells resembling an elephant trunk.

Food Sources: Malaysian Trumpet Snails like left-overs including uneaten fish food, fish flakes, bottom feeder tablets, pellets, and algae wafers. They also enjoy all sorts of debris, detritus and soft algae growing on hard surfaces. Malaysian Trumpet Snails enjoy tanks with lots of live plants. The live plants continuously shed edible material adding to the snails natural diet. Malaysian Trumpet Snails do not seem interested in eating live plants, just the debris.

Reproduction: Malaysian Trumpet Snails reproduce very quickly and in large numbers, especially if food is abundant. Other things being equal, the more food there is, the more Malaysian Trumpet Snails will reproduce. One of the ways hobbyists control Malaysian Trumpet Snail populations is to limit food levels long term.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Tank Mates

Malaysian Trumpet Snails are peaceful and should be in tanks with other non-aggressive tank mates. Trumpet Snails can do well with Mystery Snails, Nerite Snails, Red Ramshorn Snails, Gold Inca Snails, Ivory Snails and of course others of their kind. Malaysian Trumpet Snails can also blend well with filter feeding shrimp like Bamboo Shrimp and Vampire Shrimp, as well as algae eating shrimp such as Amano Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, and Red Cherry Shrimp. Malaysian Trumpet Snails also can mix with Freshwater Clams under the right conditions. Calm community tank fish the likes of Cory Catfish and Otocinclus Catfish are also good tank mates for Malaysian Trumpet Snails. If there is any question regarding tank mates, check with the clerk at the store before purchasing.