Black Malaysian Trumpet Snail

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care, Breeding, and Population Control

Malaysian trumpet snails are easy to keep. Their care becomes challenging in only two scenarios:

  • Breeding specific colors — Keeping specific colors can be a challenging task without a degree of control; you’ll have to cull the snail population of undesired colors.
  • Overfeeding — Malaysian trumpet snails can become a pest but only if you overfeed your tank; limit their food supply and you limit their numbers.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the fascinating world of Malaysian trumpet snails, covering everything from their appearance and behavior to their care and benefits in aquariums. 

Their fame (or infamy) often precedes them, but here you’ll find valuable insights about these unique aquatic creatures.

What Are Malaysian Trumpet Snails?

Malaysian trumpet snails, scientifically known as Melanoides tuberculata, are small freshwater snails commonly found in aquariums and ponds.

These snails are renowned for their unique spiral-shaped shells and their beneficial role in maintaining the ecological balance of aquatic environments. Malaysian trumpet snails (MTS) are the best burrowing snails you can get!

Appearance and Characteristics

Malaysian trumpet snails have distinct features that make them easily recognizable. They typically grow to be about 1 to 2 centimeters in size and have elongated, cone-shaped shells that spiral upwards.

The color of their shells can range from light brown to dark brown and black, with some displaying a yellowish hue.

The average lifespan of Malaysian trumpet snails is 11-14 months.

Behavior and Lifestyle

These snails are primarily nocturnal. They really like darkness. So much so they spend their days burrowed in the substrate of the aquarium or pond, only emerging at night to forage for food and explore their surroundings.

They eat fish food, decaying leaves, and other detritus found on the aquarium floor and underneath it.

MTS don’t eat healthy plants beyond the occasional algae nibble. This snail aerates the substrate and helps the formation of healthy mulm, but Malaysian trumpet snails are not the most voracious algae eaters.

Benefits of Malaysian Trumpet Snails

  • Aeration — Malaysian trumpet snails are skilled burrowers. Their constant movement through the substrate helps to prevent compaction and allows for better water circulation and oxygenation.
  • Algae control — These snails are excellent algae grazers. They feed on the algae that tend to accumulate on aquarium surfaces, helping to keep your tank clean.
  • Detritus removal — Malaysian trumpet snails consume decaying plant matter and uneaten fish food, preventing the accumulation of detritus and improving water quality.
  • Nutrient cycling — Their waste is beneficial to plants, as it releases nutrients into the water that can be absorbed by aquatic vegetation.
  • Natural aquarium cleaners — These snails can serve as natural tank cleaners, reducing the need for excessive maintenance.

Housing and Care

When keeping Malaysian trumpet snails in your aquarium, consider the following care guidelines:

Tank Setup

Provide a well-aerated and filtered aquarium.

Use fine gravel or sand substrate to facilitate burrowing. In a dirted tank, make sure to cap the topsoil with a thick layer of sand (thicker than 1 inch or 2cm) to minimize any soil leaching into the water column.

Ensure stable water parameters with a pH range of 7.0-8.0 and a temperature range of 70-82°F (21-28°C).


MTS are detrivors that will munch on anything lying on the bottom and even under the substrate. Decaying food, leaves, soft algae here and there are the Malaysian trumpets to scour and devour, in the darkest hour of the night.

Occasional supplemental feeding with blanched vegetables like cucumber or zucchini is recommended.

Malaysian trumpet snails eat some algae but they aren’t the most voracious algae eaters. That honor goes to the nerite snails. Much larger and more visually strikling, they will help you control a lot of algae. MTS will consume some algae but detritus, decaying plants or fish, and uneaten food are their preferred food sources.

Another major difference between nerite snails and MTS is that the latter reproduce very easily. If you overfeed your tank, Malaysian trumpet snails can become unsightly pests.


These snails are prolific breeders. If conditions are suitable, they can reproduce rapidly.

And, realistically, the conditions include one thing: food. As long as a single Malaysian trumpet snail is alive and has access to food, it can reproduce through the power of parthenogenesis. If the food is plentiful, so will the snails.

That brings us to a few common concerns regarding MTS.

Common Concerns

Malaysian trumpet snails come with a tainted reputation. That’s mostly because they sometimes appear as unwanted hitchhikers, riding on the leaf of a new plant. And then, they are hard to remove.


Overfeeding can lead to explosions in snail numbers. If the snail population becomes too large, it can disrupt the balance in your aquarium. Trumpet snails clean, alright, but too many snails will also produce a lot of their own waste.

What’s more, too many snails may ruin the looks of your aquarium, even with nocturnal creatures like the MTS.

There are several helpful methods to get rid of pest snails, but the real way to control them is by limiting their food. Getting completely rid of sturdy survivors like MTS is a tall order. They can remain burrowed under the substrate, sealed for months on end.

Still, controlling their population is fairly easy, limit their food sources, remove manually, and bait with a boiled zucchini or carrot.


Ensure compatibility with the other inhabitants of your aquarium, as some fish species may view Malaysian trumpet snails as a potential food source. Pakistani loach (or yoyo loach) and dwarf chain loaches are community fish that will eat MTS happily.

Malaysian trumpet snails are good food source for pea puffers. Puffer teeth are always growing, so MTS can help them stay healthy. Puffers need to grind their teeth on the shells, to keep them within reasonable size.


In conclusion, Malaysian trumpet snails are valuable additions to your aquarium, contributing to its health and cleanliness. By understanding their unique behavior, caring for them, and appreciating their benefits, you can maintain a thriving aquatic environment.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can Malaysian trumpet snails survive in cold water aquariums?

Malaysian trumpet snails thrive in slightly warmer water, so they are not recommended for cold-water setups.

Are Malaysian trumpet snails suitable for nano aquariums?

Yes, they can be a beneficial addition to nano aquariums as they help with substrate aeration and algae control.

Do Malaysian trumpet snails reproduce quickly?

Yes, these snails reproduce rapidly under favorable conditions, so it’s essential to monitor their population.

Can Malaysian trumpet snails coexist with shrimp in an aquarium?

In most cases, Malaysian trumpet snails are compatible with shrimp species and can coexist peacefully.

How can I control the population of Malaysian trumpet snails if they overpopulate my tank?

You can manually remove snails or reduce their food supply to control population growth in your aquarium.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *