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Trumpet Snails

Last Updated: 4/28/12

My Trumpet Snails
Photos of My Trumpet Snails
Photos of Other People's Trumpet Snails


Survive in aquariums: Yes
Survive in warm ponds: Yes
Survive in cold ponds: No (most species)
Plant eating capacity: Low to Moderate
Algae eating capacity: Moderate
Breathing: Pulmonate
Breeding: Sexual, live-bearing (some species may be hermaphrodite and sexual, egg-laying)

Trumpet snails are shaped like a cornucopia. Some may be egg-layers who live in the substrate. Malaysian trumpet snails, or Melanoides tuberculata (another source says the Latin name is Melanoides tubercularia), are a sexual, live-bearing snail. The males are noticeably larger than the females. They are often said to be good because they move the substrate around and aerate it. They spend the day in the substrate and come out at night to feed on leftover food and plant debris as well as algae. Trumpet snails will not usually harm live plants. They can reproduce quickly sometimes. These are good snails for aquariums that need substrate to be turned over. Most stay under an inch in length. One source says they need to be at 64 degrees F or higher.

Good luck finding them though! None of my local aquarium stores sell them nor have I found a mail order company. Most aquarists who use them in planted tanks got them with their plants as they often hitch a ride with plant shipments. My local store only had pond snails and tiny ramshorn snails that hitched rides.

Jane was nice enough to alert me to one internet source for Malaysian trumpet snails at Three Guys Aquatics (but their web site is no longer operational when I checked in 2012). Chris also told me that you can sometimes get trumpet snails if the store collects them as "pests" for discarding. If you encounter nice people they can give you some free since they just throw them out anyway. My local store will NOT sell you something that they do not have officially for sale with a price because they do not want to lose any money even though they are not even selling the "pests!" If I wanted some, I would have to find a tank infested with them and buy some plants from that tank to get them "accidently."

I received a helpful e-mail from Dar regarding trumpet snails. For those of you interested in these guys, I have copied the message here.
"I stumbled upon your article on trumpet snails. I got some 'accidently' with live plants about two years ago. In about two months they infested the tank. I found clown loaches like to eat them, but they leave enough adults to sustain egg laying. If you do get a few, lower the light intensity (3-4 weeks should do) and increase the temperature to 74-78 degrees. They'll breed like mad. Now I can find a dozen or more buried in the gravel at any time, but rarely more than 2 visibly searching the tank (even at night). It seems to be effective for feeding a clown loach, but won't make much of a dent in algae if a clown loach is present. I have been trying to seed my other tank with trumpet snails for several months now, but I won't raise the temperature past 72 due to breeding fish in this tank. The snails don't seem to breed in these conditions and die of old age. I have found, between sixteen different aquarium set-ups that got these snails at the same time that I did, that they cannot unbury themselves in small or fine gravel if there is a mechanical undergravel filter present. They aerate best with gravel over 1/4". They also do well in fish bowls, but I don't know why. The largest one I have seen was over 2", but it would no longer lay eggs at this size and eventually died."

My Trumpet Snails

I have trumpet snails in my 20 gallon tank. They came many years ago with some live plants.

In November 2006, I added a parasitic medication to my 20 gallon tank. I did this because my bristlenose plecostomus had worms. It was a drastic step. I knew it could kill my trumpet snails, and it did; it killed them all. Some small ramshorns survived as did the intestinal worms that the plecostomus has. I took a few adults and a few babies from my 5 gallon tank and moved them to my 20 gallon tank a few weeks after so hopefully, I would get a new colony of trumpet snails. Their bodies were all over, mostly large adults. I removed a few. I smelled a few, and they passed the "Jeez, that smells worse than anything I've ever smelt" test which indicates they were deceased. I took three photos of a bunch of dead ones I gathered up but they all looked about the same so here is a photo of the dead trumpet snails.

The snails rebounded in the 20 gallon tank. By 2012, I have hundreds.

Photos of My Trumpet Snails

Photos are listed from oldest to newest.

A bad, blurry photo of a large trumpet snail that arrived with a few plants I purchased at the local fish store on 12/27/02. I put him in my 20 gallon tank. I forgot about him until April 2003 when I saw at least 8 of them in there! They are all from one parent.

Dead trumpet snails after medication killed them off, circa December 2006.

Trumpet snails in my 20 gallon tank after dark on 10/28/07.

Photos of Other People's Trumpet Snails

Photos are listed from oldest to newest.

Connie sent me these photos of Malaysian trumpet snails on 4/23/06.
Malaysian trumpet snails
Malaysian trumpet snails
Malaysian trumpet snails

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