Malaysian Trumpet snails are beautiful snails that you can find in most pet stores. However, for years it has caused quite a lot of debates amongst aquarists as to whether they are pets or pests.

Regardless of the time-old debate, these beautiful creatures have graced the tanks of several aquarists.

If you want some clarity as to which group they fall into, then read our article. We will also clarify how to successfully keep this critter in your home should you decide to.


Other Names Malaysian Burrowing snails, Redrimmed Melania, and Malaysian Live Bearing snails
Lifespan 1 year
Size 1 inch
Minimum Tank Size 5 gallons
Temperature 65-86 F
pH 6.5 – 8.0
Hardness 6 – 15 KH


Malaysian trumpet snails are divisive snails that offer your aquarium a lot of benefits but also drawbacks. They are very hardy and easy for even beginners to handle. These snails are found in various places worldwide: North and South Africa, Asia, and Turkey. Their invasive nature is the primary reason why they have succeeded in spreading so quickly.

Malaysian trumpet snails are also known as Melanoides tuberculata, Malaysian Burrowing snails, Redrimmed Melania, and Malaysian Live Bearing snails. They belong to the Thiaridae family, also known as the family of Trumpet snails.

The Red-rimmed Melania is a common sight in aquariums around the world. Thanks to the fact that they are hardy and undemanding, they can thrive in almost any tank setup. However, they love freshwater environments to brackish waters; this doesn’t mean they won’t survive in salty waters.

They breed easily and can quickly overrun your tank and create a significant bioload. Although they can easily transition from pets to pests, they are valuable pets under the appropriate tank conditions.

– Why Are They Regarded as Pests?

Malaysian snails have an uncanny ability to sneak into fish tanks and breed. Since they are tiny and hard to spot, they quickly go unnoticed until they have overridden your tank. Most aquarists that can’t keep their population under control detest them and struggle to keep them out of their aquarium at all cost!

– Why Keep Malaysian Trumpets as Pets?

The truth is that Malaysian trumpet snails help improve the overall water quality of your fish tank, provided that they are in small numbers. They work silently and almost covertly to keep your tank clean. These snails are scavengers with a natural diet of plant detritus, algae, and other leftover food materials.

Malaysian trumpet snails dig into the tank substrate and eat whatever they find, from decaying plant matter to algae and leftover food. They provide an easy, cost-efficient way to keep your tank conditions under control and avoid sudden water toxicity. Their burrowing actions also help aerate the soil and favor plant growth.

They are cheap and can be purchased at most pet stores. While buying these snails, we advise that you go for those moving around or clinging to hard surfaces because those lying upside down and motionless may already be dead.

– Appearance

Most times, the Malaysian trumpet snail loves to stay out of your sight, but their beauty stops you in your tracks when you do see them.

They have a conical shell that grows in whorls that provide extra texture from the apex.

The coned shell comes in a wide variety of colors ranging from brown, cream, and grey. Their shells may have solid colors or spot unique patterns that make for an exciting addition to your aquarium.

It’s not just their shell that has exciting colors; their flesh has as many color shades. Usually, it has a lighter shade with splotches of grey or brown that nicely show their flesh. Their operculum (a tiny trap door) is located at the opening of their shell. This operculum helps keep them safe from the dangers in their environment.

The number of whorls this snail has gives you a fair idea of how old it is. The whorls typically increase as the snail ages. Some Malaysian trumpet snails have some red spots circling their whorls. The heads of this species are flat and have two tentacles at their base that hold their eyes.

– Lifespan

Malaysian trumpet snails only have a lifespan of one year, but they can live longer than that in the right conditions. Of course, that is not a guarantee that they will reach five years because many factors impact their life expectancy. These factors include diet, care, tank set up, and water conditions.

To keep your snails healthy, you need to feed them with calcium often. Also, once a snail dies, get it out of your aquarium to avoid the infection from spreading to other healthy snails.

– Size

Malaysian trumpet snails have an average size of a quarter of an inch to half an inch in captivity. Yup, they are very tiny! However, they can grow up to one inch long if you provide them with the right conditions. The females tend to be longer than the males, even though the difference in their size is quite subtle.


Caring for these snails is very easy, considering they do not require much and are very hardy. You can keep them in small aquariums or large fish tanks, whichever option you prefer.

They are not demanding of water space; however, we advise against raising them in cramped spaces because they still need a bit of space to function.

In subsequent sections, you will learn a hands-on approach to caring for these tiny snails. You can expect to find what you need here, from tank setup to minimum tank water requirements, diet, breeding, disease prevention, and control.

– Diet

A large part of the Malaysian trumpet snails’ life is spent looking for what to eat because the more food they eat, the more energy they have to reproduce. So they spend a large portion of the day buried in the substrate and only come out to eat as night begins to fall.

They will eat any organic matter they come across, so feeding these snails is not much of a hassle. They are happy to devour water they find in the substrate – dead plants, uneaten food, dead fish, etc.

Malaysian trumpet snails also love to feed on algae and microbial films. These make up a considerable portion of your snails’ diet, and since the algae grow on your tank surface, it is easy for your snails to find them and snack on them.

Vegetables provide the much-needed calcium they need to grow and stay healthy. The calcium helps with their shell growth and prevents them from becoming particularly vulnerable. You can throw small pieces of lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, or spinach into their tank.

Tank Setup

Although this species can live in an aquarium with varying conditions, it is advised that you still try to replicate their natural preferences. In the wild, they are found in slow-moving freshwater with slightly low oxygen levels. They can also survive in brackish waters and tolerate a host of pollutants better than most aquarium species.

It is not uncommon to find live plants and soft substrates just below the surface of their tank. Let’s look at how to set up a tank for these aquarium species, shall we?

– Tank Conditions

The Malaysian trumpet snail should be housed in a tank with enough room to make them comfortable. Smaller tanks are more tasking to maintain, and any extra space would be well appreciated by these snails. A tank size of five to 10-gallons is perfect for them.

It is essential to limit their numbers in the tank because overpopulation can pose serious issues for your tank.

Their tank should be equipped with the best filters, preferably a sponge filter that is not so powerful to blow these tiny critters away. You can protect the snails further by covering up the filter so that the snails don’t get caught in them and die.

– Water Parameters

Malaysian trumpet snails can adapt well to a host of water conditions, as seen even in their wild habitat. However, we recommend that you stick to these water parameters for the best results

  • Water Temperature: 65-86 F
  • pH Level: 6.5 – 8.0
  • Water Hardness: 6 – 15 KH

To ensure that your water parameters remain at this recommended range at all times, we advise that you purchase a high-quality water test kit. Also, make it a habit to test the parameters often so that you can catch any deviations early and adjust them. Keep the Ammonia and Nitrite levels at 0 ppm, and avoid copper because they can have disastrous consequences for your snail.

– Choice of Substrate

The choice of substrate is perhaps one of the most significant decisions you get to make in your snails’ tank. It helps to remember that Malaysian trumpet snails are diggers, sifting through the substrate to find food.

Thus, it makes sense to use a layer of soft sand as their substrate; that way, they can easily dig through to find leftover food and dead decaying plant matter.

Malaysian trumpet snails love to dig in and remain buried in the substrate for extended periods. Thus, gravels and other rigid substrates are not recommended. They hinder their burrowing activity and can even cause injury to the snail’s shell.

– Tank Decoration

You can add any decorations you like to this snail’s tank. They will serve as an extra surface to traverse in their search for algae and other things they can snack on.

These snails are best for planted tanks. Reserve areas in your aquarium for live plants; they provide shelter and food for your snails in addition to keeping the water clean. Choose plants that can survive the occasional nibbling from these plants; a great example is Java moss.

– Aquarium Equipment

You will not need any specialized equipment for Malaysian trumpet snails. Since they favor slow-moving waters, there is no need to get an air or water pump. The same goes for extra lighting; the standard aquarium light is okay. The only concession will be to get a sponge filter for their tank, as a more robust filter can damage Malaysian trumpets if they get too close.

– How Many Malaysian Trumpet Snails Can I Keep in a Gallon?

You can keep one or two snails per gallon in your tank if they are the only species in it. That means a 5-gallon tank can house five to 10 Malaysian trumpet snails. However, you have a small community of other fish; we advise that you keep smaller numbers of these snails so that you do not overload your filtration system.

– Tank Mates

Malaysian trumpet snails are peaceful species that can easily fit into any community aquarium. They will avoid other tank mates and direct their attention to scavenging for food.

Regardless of their lack of territorial behavior, it is still important to select their tank mates carefully and always check their compatibility before introducing any species to their tank.

Small fish make great tank options for this snail because they are not big enough to regard your trumpet snails as snacks. Try Neon tetras, tiger barbs, Otocinclus, Corydoras Catfish, and Mollies. You can also try out Mystery Snails, Ramhorn Snails, Ghost Shrimp, and Bamboo Shrimps.

Avoid tank mates that view these snails as snacks. These include Oscars, loaches, and puffers. Some invertebrates like Assassin snails also make bad tank mates for these snails because they will greedily eat up your trumpet snail. Most times, trumpet snails are used as feeders for these Assassin snails.

– Can Malaysian Trumpet Snails Be Kept Together?

Yes, they can. Kept in groups, these snails will ignore each other and focus on dredging up food for themselves. Besides, considering their minute size, keeping just one is entirely pointless. In small groups, they begin to breed rapidly, increasing their populations before you can even blink.


Malaysian trumpet snails are easy to breed and do not require much conditioning, unlike other aquarium species. They can reproduce either by sexual reproduction or parthenogenesis. As live-breeder, Malaysian trumpet eggs do not need to be fertilized by the males.

Once the environmental conditions are right, they will breed swiftly and in large numbers. A single female Malaysian trumpet snail can produce 200 young snails that reach sexual maturity at barely a third of an inch. That means that these young snails will also start reproducing in your tank in a short time if nothing is done to stop them.

– How To Control Malaysian Trumpet Snail Population

The best way to prevent these snails from overpopulating your tank is to curtail their breeding. You can achieve this by creating an unfavorable tank environment for them. Limit their food and reduce the water temperature in their tank, and you are well on your way to controlling these snails numbers.

Another way to eradicate these snails from your tank is to introduce a natural predator that eats tiny snails. Great examples of such predators include Assassin Snail, Goldfish, and Loaches.

Yet another control option is to remove them by hand, but this option requires a lot of effort and has lower chances of success. The truth is, it is impossible to get them all out by hand.

If you don’t want any of these snails in your tank at all, then you can go the chemical route. Introduce fish medications that contain copper to your tank, and these hardy snails will be gone. We must sound a note of warning – these copper medications will harm other invertebrates in your tank too.

Are Malaysian Trumpet Snails Suitable for My Tank?

We have come back to the age-long question – should I keep Malaysian trumpet snails in my aquarium? Well, with all that you know about these snails, we believe you can now make an informed decision on whether they are pets or pests and if you should keep them.

We can tell you that Malaysian trumpet snails make great tank cleaners because of their algae-eating and scavenging activity. However, this benefit is quickly lost once their population gets out of control, which can happen rapidly.

The good thing is that since they are hardy and undemanding, they won’t require much from you. If you decide you want these snails as pets, please go ahead but don’t forget to ensure they have compatible tank mates.


  • Malaysian trumpet snails are tiny critters that have a lifespan of a year
  • They reproduce quickly and reach sexual maturity when they are about a third of an inch long
  • These snails are very hardy and are perfect for beginner aquarists
  • Their scavenging habit help keep your tank clean
  • They like slow-moving water
  • Avoid keeping them with tank mates that prey on small snails

The topic of raising Malaysian trumpet snails has always been a controversial one, but luckily, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Read our article to determine if these snails belong to your aquarium, and let us know your thoughts below.

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