The Malaysian Trumpet Snails: Complete Guide to Care, Breeding, Tank Size and Disease

Malaysian Trumpet Snails: A Brief Introduction

Malaysian trumpet snails are small, tropical freshwater snails that are native to Southeast Asia. They are popular in the aquarium trade due to their attractive, spiral-shaped shells and ability to help maintain clean, healthy tanks by feeding on algae and detritus.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Overview

The Malaysian Trumpet Snail, also known as burrowing Snails, Malaysian Live Bearing Snails, and Red-Rimmed Melania. Scientifically known as the Melanoides tuberculata. They are freshwater snails who are parthenogenetic, aquatic gastropod mollusk and have an operculum. They hail from the Thiaridae family. Their common names come from their appearance which has a presence of reddish spots on the otherwise greenish-brown shells. 

The Malaysian trumpet snails are characterized by their peaceful nature, invasive ability, and their breeding capacity. They are a common sight in aquariums and are known for their usefulness when it comes to maintaining the aquarium. They are extremely versatile creatures and can survive in different conditions provided that certain factors are kept in mind.

Information ChartMalaysian Trumpet Snail
Scientific Name:Melanoides tuberculata
Care Level:Very Easy
Colour:Grey to brown
Lifespan:One year
Size:Up to an inch
Minimum Tank Size:5 gallons
Temperature:21-27 degrees celsius 
Water Conditions:pH: 7.0 – 7.5, with water on the hard side.
Tank Mate CompatibilityShould be kept with other peaceful species 

Malaysian Trumpet Snails Appearance:


Most Malaysian trumpet snails have long ice-cream cone-shaped shells. Each shell is usually composed of about 10-15 whorls. There are a series of thin rings along with the shell. The shell also develops as the snail grows, making them a good indicator of how old the snail is. At the opening of the shell is an operculum. This acts as a trapdoor for the snail to seal themselves for protection. The snails usually come in colors that vary from grey to brown and can also have some small patterns. Some snails have red sports circling their whorls. Their heads are flat with two tentacles at the base which holds the eyes. The female snails have green gonads and the male snails have red gonads. The female Malaysian Trumpet snails are also longer than the male ones.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails Lifespan:

Commonly, Malaysian Trumpet Snails live for about a year or two. They can live longer under the right conditions. If the snails do die above the substrate, they will lie motionless on the bottom of the tank. If they die buried, they might go unnoticed until the substrate is stirred up. While the norm is to remove the dead snails from the tank to avoid the spreading of infections, some people choose to leave empty trumpet snails shells in the tank and let their minerals dissolve back into the aquarium water.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Size:

The Typical Malaysian Trumpet Snails grow up to 0.8 to 1.5 inches. According to several studies, the Malaysian Trumpet Snails have the highest growth rate in the first year of their life, where they can grow up to 0.8 inches. After the first year, the growth rate slows down to 0.35 inches, while in later years the species tends to grow less than 0.04 inches per year.

Natural Habitat and Origin

The common Malaysian Trumpet Snails are native to Asia and Africa. At present, the species is established in almost all regions between Florida, Northern Argentina, the West Indies, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Brazil, and Paraguay. The snails are commonly freshwater and some manage to survive in brackish water. They settle in stable waters such as lakes, irrigation canals, ponds, lakes, city drains, dams, rivers, streams, etc. In natural habitations, they are found in slow-moving water where the oxygen level is a little low.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care and Tank Set up.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail tanks size and specifications.

Optimum Tank Size for Malaysian Trumpet Snails:

The recommended tank size for Malaysian Trumpet Snails is 5 to 10 gallons. In most cases, the tank size does not matter because these creatures are very small and can live in different types of tanks. One can keep them in small tanks or large aquariums. Since smaller tanks are harder to maintain one also needs to make sure that the tanks aren’t crowded as some extra space will benefit them. Hence, the bigger the tank the better.

Filter Type:

The species prefer slow-moving water so while choosing the water pump or the filters one must make sure that they aren’t too strong as the snails can get caught up in these and die. They usually prefer to live in peaceful tanks that won’t disrupt their daily activity.


Malaysian Trumpet Snail on Soft Sand

One must layer the tank with a soft sandy substrate. This would help them burrow as they choose to remain buried for long periods. Gravels, pebbles, or any other hard substrate will not facilitate their burrowing behavior. Instead, such materials would harm them by causing injury. Certain parts of the tank can be reserved with some plants that would provide these snails with shelter and food.

How many Malaysian Trumpet Snails must be kept in a 5-10 gallon tank?

One can keep as many Malaysian Trumpet snails in their tanks. However, it must be noted that these snails have a robust breeding capacity. So, one must make sure that there aren’t too many snails in the tank because this can lead to overcrowding once breeding begins.

Water Parameters for Malaysian Trumpet Snail:

Water Temperature:

The ideal water temperature for Malaysian Trumpet Snails is 70-78 degrees Fahrenheit. While the snails can live in a wide range of water parameters, it’s always better to keep the water in the freshwater tank community range.

pH Level:

The perfect water pH level for the Malaysian Trumpet Snail is 7.0 to 7.5.

This will prevent the water from being too acidic for the Malaysian Trumpet Snails. The water must also be kept on the hard side to assist a healthy shell growth.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Tank Landscape:

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Tank Landscape

Any standard aquarium lighting can be used for the tanks. One must be very careful when putting metals and plant medicines into the tanks as they can hurt the snails or be poisonous for them. If the aquarium conditions are right, the snails will mostly look after themselves. Hence, they make a stress-free addition to an aquarium. Decorations can be added according to the preferences of the hobbyist, however, it must be noted that these decorations should not cause any harm to the snails.

Other requirements for Malaysian Trumpet Snail tank:

It is important to test the tank water often. Ammonia and Nitrate problems must remain at 0 ppm. One must be careful when using plant fertilizers as some can be harmful to their snails. Most importantly, one must avoid copper at all costs, because copper, even in small doses, can be lethal.

Related Post: Rabbit snails

Feeding Malaysian Trumpet Snail:

Best Diet for Malaysian Trumpet Snail:

A large part of Malaysian Trumpet Snails’ time is spent looking for food because more food gives them more energy to reproduce. They feed on debris and organic matter. Most of their time is spent looking for food in the aquarium by digging through the substrate. They swallow up any uneaten food sitting on the substrate and those attached to hard surfaces to graze algae. Their diet mainly consists of algae, plant detritus, and organic debris that can pollute the water of the aquarium. To vary the diet of the Malaysian Trumpet Snails, one can add small pieces of green vegetables into the aquarium for example lettuce, broccoli, spinach, or cucumber. These vegetables will help in introducing calcium into their diets as calcium is necessary for their shell’s strength and without calcium, their shells can be vulnerable to damage.

How often should you feed Malaysian Trumpet Snail?

Malaysian Trumpet Snails do not have to be fed regularly since they eat organic material, debris, and uneaten food sitting on the substrate.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Behaviour and Temperament


Are Malaysian Trumpet Snails lone or societal?

These snails are extremely peaceful creatures and do not pose any threat to the aquarium. These snails work well in a group and can cohabit well. Since they’re very small it’s always better to keep a group of them instead of one single snail. One behavior that one must look out for is reproduction. Since they can breed rapidly, overcrowding can become a problem.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Tank Mate

Ideal and Bad Trumpet Snail Tank Mate

Their peaceful nature makes them an excellent addition to the aquarium unless they’re cohabiting with snail-eating creatures; these include puffers, Oscars, certain loaches, and assassin snails. Small fishes make the best tankmates for the snails as they aren’t big enough to feed on the snails. Like all snails, they are slow and would hide under their shell when exposed to any form of danger.

Breeding Malaysian Trumpet Snails

Malaysian trumpet snails are live-bearing species, hence, they can produce through parthenogenesis or sexual reproduction. Parthenogenesis is when females give birth to young female clones who will be genetically identical to the parent. In this case, the male snails do not need to fertilize the eggs for reproduction. This method means that a single snail can help multiply an entire colony of snails, and thus it shows how easy it is for these snails to reproduce. Sexual reproduction is when the male’s sperm is needed to fertilize the eggs. However, this is a rare form of reproduction in this species.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails breeding level


Malaysian Trumpet Snails sexual dimorphism

A single female snail can reproduce over 200 young snails. The embryo develops in brood pouches before being released as young snails with 5-6 whorls on their shell. Not all embryos develop into young snails, many will be ingested by other embryos in the pouch. Hatching mainly occurs during the night because this is when the species are most active due to their nocturnal tendencies. Juveniles can reach sexual productivity at 0.3 inches, but their capacity reaches its peak at 0.8 inches and after this their capacity reduces as their size increases. These snails grow rapidly, approximately 0.1 inches per month, and hence, it doesn’t take long for them to reach the size where they can reproduce the next generation of snails.

Malaysian Trumpet Snails common diseases and their treatments

Malaysian Trumpet Snails Desease

Centrocestus formosanus

The biggest health problem that can plague snails is parasites. Centrocestus formosanus is a parasitic worm that affects small worms and birds.

Parasitic lungworms

The snails can be a host to parasitic lungworms that can spread to humans if they’re not careful.

Since Parasites are hard to treat, it is important to quarantine any new additions to the tank. This will allow one to identify any such problems without impacting the life of the rest of the tank.

Are Malaysian Trumpet Snails right for you?

The Malaysian Trumpet Snails have a positive as well as a negative side. On one hand, they can help keep the water clean and on the other hand, they tend to multiply rapidly which can hinder the tank’s filtration process. However, one can’t rely on them completely for cleaning their tanks because their role may be very minuscule as per one’s need. While their breeding capacity can be an immense issue for many, it’s important to make sure that their breeding process is kept limited. All in all, it’s upon the people to decide if they want these snails as pets or if they want to completely eradicate them from their tanks. As pets they can be helpful in the tank and as pests they can cause problems in the maintenance of the tank


Are Malaysian Trumpet Snails bad?

Malaysian Trumpet snails can turn into pests if not kept under control. But, these snails are not bad for the aquarium as they help prevent gas build-up in the substrate and eat uneaten food.

Are Malaysian Trumpet Snails Asexual?

The snails are live-bearing species, hence, they can produce through parthenogenesis or sexual reproduction.

How big do Malaysian Trumpet snails get?

Malaysian Trumpet Snails grow up to the size of an inch in their lifetime.


Malaysian Trumpet Snail can seem like an odd pet choice, but they do make a lot of sense. They can turn into great cleaning and maintenance agents for the tanks. Since they are super easy to care for, one doesn’t have to worry about their maintenance and give them round-the-clock attention. By feeding them proper algae and dead organic matter, these snails can be a great addition to maintaining the biological balance of the tank. However, the low environmental requirements of the snails, as well as, their humongous reproductive capacity, may lead to overcrowding in the tank.

3 thoughts on “The Malaysian Trumpet Snails: Complete Guide to Care, Breeding, Tank Size and Disease”

    • Hi,
      To anyone that have a community tank. Do not have these nasty vicious snails. I have Gold Severum. A magnificent creature I have had for years and is so friendly. But these things got onto him and borrowed into his skull. He is now very sick. He has two holes in his head. If I could I would post some very graphic pictures. He is still alive and The medication I have put in the water seems to habe irritated the snail and my granddaughter saw the mongrel come out. Beware.


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