Malaysian Trumpet Snails
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Origin. From their name, we’ll guess the Malaysian trumpet snails come from Malaysia. However, most of them appear as if by magic. They come in as hitchhikers on live plants. Most retailers don’t sell them. Even though many of them have them hidden in their gravel.
Hard to Find. You can have hundreds of these helpful little Malaysian trumpet snails in your tank and never see one -- unless you look at your tank an hour or two after you turn out your lights. Use a flashlight, and you’ll notice these guys and gals (along with other seldom seen tiny critters) sliding up the walls of your tank. If you see an entire herd of these or any other snails headed for the top during the day, you have a severe water quality problem. Or your filter system has shut down. Fix it.
Incredibly Helpful. Malaysian trumpet snails burrow through your substrate and keep it nice and “fluffy” -- the way your plant roots like it. They also inhale all that excess fish food you shoveled in there trying to make up for the fact that you forgot to feed them yesterday. What’s wrong with you, anyway? Quit it out! If your snails overrun your tank, you’re shoveling in way too many “pinches” of fish food.
Not Plant Eaters. Some snails raze plants to their bare roots -- apple snails and Borneo ramshorns come to mind. Common pond snails (Physa) and ramshorns (Planorbis) will punch a few holes in your leaves. The latter two groups are the ones that everyone fears will “take over” their tanks. Malaysian trumpet snails will nibble on plants only in the absence of all other foods.
Adult Size. Malaysian trumpet snails grow to about an inch. After tunneling thru your gravel a couple years, they die and become part of your gravel. Their shell slowly dissolves and loses color.
Soft Water not Appreciated. Soft water tends to dissolve their shells. African cichlid water ought to put a smile on the face of any Malaysian trumpet snail. These are one of the few snails that can survive in a tank of African cichlids. Their incredibly hard shell protects them from most predators. Even clown loaches have a hard time shucking these guys. However, brackish water puffers can crush and eat them. Snails also dislike salty water.
Hardy Snails. We’ve drained tanks and let them dry out with their gravel in them. When we added water several weeks later, the Malaysian trumpet snails reappeared. We’ve rinsed gravel in water that felt scalding, and the tough little raspers reappeared the next day. We’ve never tried one of the snail killers (copper sulfate) because we didn’t want to leave a bunch of dead copper-ridden snails under the gravel. If you have more than you want, cut your feeding program in half. Or turn off your filter. When the snails crawl up the sides, net them off the glass.
Baby Snails. Tiny Malaysian trumpet snails are so light you can siphon them out with a gravel vacuum cleaner. Remember this if you need to reduce your population. Not only are they light, they’re light enough to sluice ’em on out. The adults hang on to their substrate more strongly.
What's in a Name? We’ve heard Malaysian trumpet snails called cornucopia snails, horn of plenty snails, Philippine livebearing snails, and other names not at all complimentary. Regardless of what you prefer to call them, we find them a very useful snail.
Last Word (actually
ten). Hardy. Harmless. Hard to kill.
Hard-working. What's not to like? LA
A: Malaysian trumpet snails do multiply like crazy under your gravel. Yours is the first report I've heard that their shells pose a risk to spiny eels. You can control them by cutting in half the amount of food you feed your fish. I'll add your report to my trumpet snail page. LA
John Jabaraj, Malaysia, September 1, 2011
Hi, i really like ur website abt all things aqua. Here I'd like to rectify a misconception abt the malaysian trumpet snails@MTS (and since the snail & i are from the same country, i should know something about it!).
All the aqua websites in the net says that the MTS is harmless to plants & only eat decaying stuffs. This is true only if they are small sized. I have some MTS over 1inch and a giant one nearly 2inch(see attached pic). When I put them in my richly planted aquarium & they mowed almost all plants in a single night!. I also saw one of them still chewing the stem of my healthy 3ft-long Cabomba early next morning..
So the truth is the MTS is harmless if its small. When its big, its a beast..
With regards from Malaysia and the Science University of Malaysia.
A: I've never had one get near that large. I'll add your input to my Malaysian Trumpet Snail page. LA
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