Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care for Beginners

Malaysian Trumpet Snail

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care for Beginners

Choosing the right snail species to start a hobby can be challenging for beginners. The Malaysian trumpet snail is an ideal species for beginners. They are easy to maintain and highly beneficial for keeping the tank clean.

Malaysian trumpet snails thrive in varying water parameters, the ideal being an aquarium pH of 7.0 – 7.5, temperatures of 70 – 78°F (21-27ºC), water hardness of 6-12kH, and standard community tank lighting. The snails produce live offspring and are known for their rapid reproduction rate.

This beginner’s guide to Malaysian trumpet snail care offers valuable insights to help newcomers get started with confidence. Here, you will learn about various aspects of snail care, including feeding, breeding, tank setup, stocking, compatible tank mates, behavior, and common issues.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Origin and Habitat

The Malaysian trumpet snail (Melanoides tuberculata) is native to Southeast Asia and North Africa. However, due to their peculiar reproductive habits and invasive tendencies, this snail species has spread across the globe, including the Americas.

While it prefers the warm tropical climate, it has gradually adapted to colder sub-tropical climates. Human introduction to new habitats and rapid reproduction rates are the primary factors behind their widespread distribution.

This snail species has been a part of the aquarium industry since the 1930s. These snails inhabit warm freshwater environments in the wild and can even survive in brackish water.

Their ability to breathe through gills makes them highly adaptable to underwater activities. As burrowing nocturnal creatures, they prefer slow-moving waters at the bottom of rivers and lakes.

Their survival in these darker, oxygen-reduced regions demonstrates their ability to withstand poorer water conditions. However, even at greater depths, they find ample food sources such as aquarium plants and decaying animal matter to scavenge on.

Soft substrates that facilitate burrowing and breeding also attract these snails to the substrate.

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Appearance and Size

The Malaysian trumpet snail is distinguished by its long conical shell, its primary identifying feature. The shell comes in various colors, with the most common being dark brown and beige, adorned with red spots spiraling along the whorls.

Vibrant colors like yellow, red, orange, and gold are rare among Malaysian trumpet snails. Typically, the shell is elongated and consists of 10-15 whorls, resembling a stretched ice cream cone.

A prominent operculum develops at the shell’s opening, functioning as a trap door that allows the snail to seal itself inside.

In terms of size, the Malaysian trumpet snail is considered small, with an average shell diameter of 1 inch (2.5 cm) and a length of 0.7-1.2 inches (2-3 cm).

Exceptionally well-kept specimens may reach shell diameters of 2 inches (5 cm) and lengths of 3 inches (8 cm), although achieving such sizes can be quite ambitious for a beginner.

It requires proper feeding and maintaining consistent optimal water parameters. Interestingly, females of this snail species tend to be slightly larger than males. 

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Lifespan

Malaysian trumpet snail

The average lifespan of this snail is around 2 years in captivity and up to 3 years in the wild. It reaches full body size within the first year, indicating early maturation. 

Buying Malaysian Trumpet Snails

One place you can check is One Stop Aquatics on Amazon. Take note of their customer reviews, ratings, and overall reputation on Amazon to ensure a satisfying purchasing experience.

For beginners, purchasing Malaysian trumpet snails can be challenging, considering that many pet shops offer them for sale. What factors should you consider when buying these snails?

Similar to other freshwater snail species, the activity levels of the snail should be considered. A healthy snail will be active, even in dimly lit tanks, as Malaysian trumpet snails are nocturnal creatures.

If you come across a snail idle on the tank floor or floating upside down on the water surface, it is a cause for concern. Such snails are likely to be unwell or deceased.

Furthermore, pay attention to the condition of the shell. The shell accurately indicates the snail’s overall health, and a discolored, disfigured, or stunted shell indicates poor health.

These shell conditions are often linked to prolonged exposure to high toxicity levels or calcium deficiency. It’s best to avoid purchasing any snails with questionable shell conditions.

Size is another important factor to consider when buying Malaysian trumpet snails. Smaller snails are younger, while larger ones are older.

Opting for smaller snails allows them more time to live. Older snails are more likely to have experienced mistreatment or illness.

Related Reading: Can You Use Repti Calcium for Snails?

Malaysian Trumpet Snail Care

The Malaysian trumpet snail is known for its high tolerance to shifts in water parameters and toxicity, making it one of the easiest snails to care for. However, this doesn’t mean that proper care should be neglected.

Tank Set Up

One of the most common questions I receive from beginners is about the appropriate tank size for Malaysian trumpet snails. The answer is simple: it depends on the number of snails you plan to keep.

For smaller tanks up to 5 gallons (19 liters), I recommend having 1 Malaysian snail per gallon. In larger tanks, a ratio of 2 snails per gallon works well.

For example, a 5-gallon tank would accommodate 5 snails, while larger 10–20-gallon (38-76 liters) tanks can house up to 20 snails.

If you’re looking for a small fish tank option, I recommend the PONDON 5 Gallon Fish Tank from Amazon. This tank provides a quick and stylish solution for beginners, complete with an oxygenated filtration system that is perfect for keeping snails.

Due to their small size, Malaysian trumpet snails are well-suited for nano tanks.

Considering the rapid breeding nature of this snail species, I highly recommend opting for larger 10-gallon (38 liters) tanks when keeping Malaysian trumpet snails.

I recommend the Aqueon Standard Glass 10-Gallon Rectangular Tank from Amazon. This tank is clear, scratch-resistant, and easy to assemble and clean. It offers affordability without compromising quality, making it a popular option for newcomers.

Always remember that smaller tanks are more challenging to maintain due to their smaller volume and surface area, making the inhabitants more susceptible to changes in water parameters. In a smaller tank, less oxygen is available, and toxicity can build up more quickly.

Related Reading: Can You Use ParaGuard with Snails?

Water Parameters

The Malaysian trumpet snail is known for its hardiness and ability to tolerate shifts in water parameters better than many other snail species.

The ideal water parameters for this snail species are as shown in the table below:

ParameterIdeal Range
Temperature21-27°C (70-80°F)
Water hardness6-12 kH
LightingNormal community tank lighting

Maintaining these ideal water parameters can often be challenging for beginners. To help with parameter monitoring, I recommend using the SJ WAVE 7 in 1 Aquarium Test Kit for Freshwater Aquarium from Amazon.

This comprehensive kit tests six parameters and temperatures. It includes over 100 test strips for the various parameters and an easy-to-use thermometer. Having this kit on hand proves to be invaluable in ensuring the consistency of water parameters.

Tank Vegetation and Substratum

The Malaysian trumpet snail is a highly active nocturnal creature that thrives in a lively environment. To create an ideal habitat for them, it is recommended to introduce healthy aquatic plants and other decorations.

This small-sized snail can easily navigate through dense vegetation without any issues. Some ideal aquatic plants for the Malaysian trumpet snail include:

  • Anubias (Anubias sp.)
  • Sword Plants (Echinodorus sp.)
  • Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)
  • Red Root Floater (Phyllanthus fluitans)
  • Duckweed (Lemna minor)

It’s important to note that the Malaysian trumpet snail is not known to eat live plants, so you need not worry about them posing a threat to your aquatic plants.

However, they do have a fondness for feeding on decaying plant matter that these plants shed. Be aware of any decaying leaves that may accumulate on the tank bottom.

Since the Malaysian trumpet snail is a burrowing species, it is best to provide them with soft substrates. Fine sand or aqua soil are ideal choices as they pose less risk of injury to the snails compared to pebbles or coarse sand.

Creating a well-decorated tank with suitable vegetation and soft substrates will help provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for your Malaysian trumpet snails. 


The Malaysian trumpet snail is a voracious feeder and dedicated scavenger that spends most of its time searching for food. These snails will consume almost anything edible in the tank, making them excellent tank cleaners.

They will happily devour the following:

  • Various types of algae
  • Leftover fish food
  • Fallen tank mates
  • Decaying plant matter

To ensure that the snails are well-nourished, it is beneficial to provide them with supplemental food. This can include:

  • Algae wafers
  • Blanched vegetables
  • Fish food pellets
  • Calcium tablets
  • Bottom feeder pellets

Adding these supplements to the tank occasionally will help meet their dietary needs. I recommend providing a supplemental diet once per day.

However, it is important to avoid overfeeding, as excess food can lead to an increase in nitrogen levels in the tank.

Related Reading: Do Snails Increase Bioload?

Tank Mates

The Malaysian trumpet snail is a peaceful species that can coexist with various non-aggressive fish and invertebrates.

Here are some suitable tank mates:



  • Cory Catfish
  • Otocinclus Catfish

Shrimp and other creatures:

  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Red Cherry Shrimp

Under the right conditions, the Malaysian trumpet snail can also mix well with Freshwater Clams.

However, avoid introducing aggressive tank mates, which may harm or prey on the snails. Unsuitable tank mates for the Malaysian trumpet snail include:

  • Assassin snails
  • Betta fish
  • Goldfish
  • Crayfish
  • Loaches


Malaysian trumpet snails are a live-bearing species that can reproduce through sexual reproduction or parthenogenesis.

During sexual reproduction, male and female Malaysian trumpet snails mate. The male releases sperm to fertilize the eggs inside the female’s body.

These fertilized eggs then move to a brood pouch, where they develop into embryos. Eventually, the female gives birth to miniature trumpet snails with fully formed shells.

A female snail can produce up to 20 offspring at a time, and the baby snails measure around 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) in size about a week after birth.

Parthenogenesis is another intriguing reproduction method for the trumpet snail, commonly referred to as “virgin birth.”

In this process, a female Malaysian trumpet snail can give birth to around 100 identical clones of itself without the need for a male.

This unique reproductive capability explains why Malaysian trumpet snails can rapidly multiply in tanks, even without males.

To regulate their reproduction, it is important to control their feeding. The more they are fed, the more they tend to reproduce.

Commonly Asked Questions

Is the Malaysian trumpet snail an invasive species?

The Malaysian trumpet snail is considered an invasive species. It tends to invade new habitats, reproduces rapidly, and outcompete native species, leading to their extinction.

These snails are highly adaptable and can thrive in various environments. Once introduced into a tank, their population can quickly grow.

Many aquarists view them as annoying pests. Due to their unique reproduction mechanism can be difficult to eliminate. Hence, it’s best to prevent or control their introduction into your tank.

What are the common problems affecting Malaysian trumpet snails?

Unfortunately, Malaysian trumpet snails can carry pathogens such as parasitic worms and lung flukes.

These pathogens can infect the lungs and intestines of other tank inhabitants but typically don’t harm the snails themselves. This explains how the Malaysian trumpet snail can outcompete and wipe out populations of other invertebrates.

The only issue that affects the snails themselves is the high levels of copper in the tank.

Is the Malaysian trumpet good or bad?

It depends on your perspective. On the positive side, Malaysian trumpet snails are resilient, easy to care for, and excellent tank cleaners. However, they are also considered invasive and can be challenging to control in a tank.

Closing Remarks

The Malaysian trumpet snail is a great option for beginners due to its resilience and low maintenance requirements. Now that you have learned essential care tips for the trumpet snail, you can confidently start keeping these fascinating creatures.

You will appreciate their activity levels and overall beauty. Remember to start with a small number of snails and monitor their breeding.

While they are lovely creatures, they can become problematic if not effectively regulated in a tank.

I appreciate your feedback and welcome any suggestions to improve this blog.



  • Paul Odoteh

    Paul Odoteh is an established writer and editor with nearly 10 years of experience in writing and editing. He holds a bachelor's degree in IT and has written for numerous publications and individuals. Currently, Odoteh is dedicated to expanding his blog,, which was inspired by his passion for owning an aquarium.

    View all posts

Leave a Reply