“Trumpet Snail” is a name people use to refer to the Melanoides tuberculata (a species of snail).
Trumpet Snail Overview
The Malaysian Trumpet Snail originates from northern Africa and Southern Asia. They have accidentally been introduced to some other areas of the world and they are known to sometimes have a negative impact on the native snail populations. Trumpet snails are a ground burrowing snails that are most active at night. Despite an ongoing debate as to whether they are pests or not, they play a prominent role in the fish keeping hobby. They have been a part of aquariums since as early as the 1930’s.
(unranked): clade Caenogastropoda clade Sorbeoconcha
Species: M. tuberculata
Melanoides tubercularia, goes by several different common names. The most well know is “Trumpet Snail”. Other common names include:
- Malayan Burrowing Snail
- Malayan Mud Snail
- Red-rimmed Melania
- Dominican Trumpet Snail
Trumpet Sails feature a long and skinny shell. They are usually light brown, black, white, or rust colored. The average shell length is 20-30mm with a diameter between 3-4mm. In some cases, under the right conditions, Trumpet Snails can get as large as 1 inch. Their shells can be either solid or patterned. The shells also have 10-15 rings that swirl all around it, making it a very attractive snail.
Males and females can be distinguished from one another by their gonads. Females will have green colored gonads while males will have reddish orange colored gonads.
The Trumpet Snail is listed as Least Concerned by the IUCN.
On average, Trumpet Snails live for 1-1.5 years.
Trumpet Snails are constantly on the lookout for food. They spend most of their day burrowed in the rocks in search of algae. If algae is sparse they will eat plants.
Trumpet Snails are already sexually mature by the time they reach 5mm. The average size of juevenile snails is about 1.0-1.2mm. Trumpet Snails are parthenogenic and ovoviparous reproducers.
Parthenogenic – A sexual reproduction where embryo development occurs without fertilization.
Ovoviparous – a mode of reproduction in animals in which embryos that develop inside eggs remain in the mother’s body until they are ready to hatch.
In summary Trumpet Snails will produce live bearing offspring without the presence of a male counterpart. This is what allows them to reproduce at such rapid rates. The more food that is available, the more they will be able to reproduce. Females can produce anywhere between 1-64 embryos in its pouch.
Keeping The Snail
Very easy to care for, a good species for any beginner who wants to keep snails. There is much debate among hobbyists as to whether or not the Trumpet Snail is a pet or a pest. The fact is the answer will be different for every person depending on their desires. It’s important to know the pros and cons of this species to determine if Trumpet Snails are right for you.
Pros: Under the right conditions, Trumpet Snails can be a major asset to an aquarium. They make a terrific cleaning crew. They spend their time burrowed in the rocks removing uneaten food and waste. They also feed on any algae growth in your tank whether it be on the glass, rocks, ornaments etc… In addition to their beneficial cleaning habits, these snails are very attractive and can help improve the appearance of your tank.
Cons: The one major con of keeping these snails are their ability to quickly reproduce. Overtime they can overpower a tank. With that being said there are solutions available to control overpopulation.
Online: The best place to adopt Trumpet Snails would be to purchase them online here. You can purchase them in groups of 20-25. They are always in stock and it allows you to have them delivered right to your door. This helps you avoid the hassle of having to check pet stores to see if they have any available.
Local Pet Store: Typically pet stores do not have tanks with Trumpet Snails for sale. Instead, it’s up to you to spot them out. There are usually some lingering around in some of the other tanks that have fish in them.
Local Breeder: In some cases, you will be able to purchase Trumpet Snails from a local breeder. You can check your local Craigslist to see if there are some in your area.
Removing Trumpet Snails
If you are experiencing unwanted Trumpet Snails, there are several ways as to how to get rid of them.
Chemicals: There are a few different chemicals available for removing your unwanted snails. Some of them are designed to simply stun them and cause them to rise to the surface, others are designed to kill them. Be sure to remove stunned/dead snails right away otherwise there will be an excess of ammonia.
Trapping: Perhaps a less harmful alternative would be to trap the snails. Snail traps can be purchased here. This is a good way to avoid harming the snails with chemicals. Once trapped you can sell them or donate them to your local pet store.
Predators: The most natural method would be to add a predator to the tank. Add an aggressive loach or puffer and let nature take its course.
The Trumpet snail will be most comfortable in a tank of 5 gallons or larger. They need filtration and heating. Include a substrate along the bottom, preferably one with calcium for their shells.
Trumpet Snails have the ability to survive saltwater, freshwater, and brackish water. They are most comfortable in fresh water with high temperatures. For the best chance of survival, you will also need to monitor and maintain the following:
Temperature: 70-78 °F (20-25 °C)
pH Level: 7.0-7.5
Shell Problems: Some of the most common shell problems include stunted shell growth, shell Discoloration and shell deterioration. The risk of your snail getting a shell related health problem can be greatly reduced if you furnish your tank with a calcium rich substrate.
Parasites: Trumpet snails are notorious for serving as a host for parasites. Parasites can be avoided and treated by adding Parasite Guard to your aquariums water.
Bitten Tentacles: The tentacles of these snails are often mistaken for worms. This can cause fish to nip at them and cause damage. If your snails are experiencing this you can add API Melafix to help speed up the recovery process.
If you have an established aquarium you do not have to feed them, they will survive off algae and uneaten food. If there is no ecosystem because your tank is new you will need to supplement them with algae wafers.
Malaysian Trumpet Snails are peaceful and should be in tanks with other non-aggressive tank mates. It is safe to pair them with any other invertebrates. The same goes for most fish including the majority of cichlid’s. Some loaches and puffers are the only real threat as far as predators go.
Breeding The Snail
Breeding Nerite Snails can be very easy if you provide them with the right conditions. Females reproduce a-sexually so you do not have to worry about male-female ratios.
Step 1) Set up a tank of 5 gallons or larger. Be sure to include a heater, filter, and calcium substrate.
Step 2) Add several Trumpet Snails. Females reproduce a-sexually so you do not have to worry about male-female ratios.
Step 3) Fill your tank with fresh water, be sure to include NutraFin Aqua Plus if you are using tap water. Although they can survive in all forms of water (brackish, salt and fresh), freshwater is the best option if you are trying to breed them.
Step 4) Regulate and maintain a water temperature of 80-82 °F.
Step 5) Feed them an excessive amount of food, Algae wafers will work best.
As for the juveniles, no special care is required. Just begin supporting them the same as the parents and before you know it they will be reproducing as well.
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