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Malaysian Trumpet Snails: Care and Breeding The Hard-Working Clean-Up

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Malaysian trumpet snails are fascinating creatures that can be a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are also known as red-rimmed melania, Malayan livebearing snails, or MTS for short. They belong to the family Thiaridae and the scientific name is Melanoides tuberculata.

These snails have a distinctive conical shell that can vary in color from beige to dark brown, sometimes with reddish spots or streaks. They can grow up to 3 cm long, but most are around 2 cm. They have an operculum, which is a trapdoor-like structure that covers the opening of the shell when the snail retracts.

Malaysian trumpet snails are not only beautiful, but also very useful for aquariums. They are excellent scavengers that feed on algae, detritus, leftover food, and dead plant matter. They help keep the tank clean and prevent waste buildup. They also burrow into the substrate and aerate it, preventing gas pockets and improving plant growth.

However, Malaysian trumpet snails are not without their drawbacks. They are notorious for reproducing rapidly and overpopulating the tank. They are parthenogenetic, which means they can reproduce without mating. They give birth to live young instead of laying eggs, so they can multiply very quickly.

Some aquarists consider them as pests and try to get rid of them, while others appreciate their benefits and keep them under control. In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about Malaysian trumpet snails, including how to care for them, how to breed them, how to control their population, and what tank mates they can live with.

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How to Care for Malaysian Trumpet Snails

Malaysian trumpet snails are very easy to care for, as they can adapt to a wide range of water parameters and tank conditions. They are hardy and resilient, and can survive in both tropical and subtropical environments.

Here are some basic guidelines for keeping Malaysian trumpet snails healthy and happy:

  • Tank size: Malaysian trumpet snails do not need a lot of space, as they mostly stay on the bottom of the tank or inside the substrate. However, you should still provide enough room for them and their tank mates. A 10-gallon tank is a good minimum size for a small colony of snails.
  • Water parameters: Malaysian trumpet snails can tolerate various water parameters, but they prefer slightly alkaline and hard water. The ideal pH range is 7.0 to 8.0, the hardness range is 5 to 15 dGH, and the temperature range is 70 to 80°F (21 to 27°C). You should also keep the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels as low as possible, as high levels can harm the snails and other inhabitants.
  • Filtration: Malaysian trumpet snails do not produce a lot of waste themselves, but they do consume a lot of organic matter that can pollute the water. Therefore, you should have a good filtration system that can remove excess nutrients and keep the water quality high. A sponge filter or a hang-on-back filter are good options for snail tanks.
  • Aeration: Malaysian trumpet snails need oxygen to breathe, so you should ensure adequate aeration in the tank. You can use an air pump with an airstone or a bubbler to create bubbles that oxygenate the water. You can also use plants that produce oxygen through photosynthesis.
  • Lighting: Malaysian trumpet snails are nocturnal creatures that are more active at night than during the day. They do not need a lot of light in their tank, and too much light can encourage algae growth. You can use a low-wattage LED light or a natural light source for your tank. You should also provide some dark areas or hiding places for the snails to retreat during the day.
  • Substrate: Malaysian trumpet snails love to burrow into the substrate and dig for food. You should provide a soft and sandy substrate that is easy for them to move through. Avoid using sharp or rough gravel that can damage their shells or injure them. You can also add some driftwood or rocks to create more texture and interest in the tank.
  • Plants: Malaysian trumpet snails are generally plant-friendly and will not eat healthy plants. However, they may nibble on decaying or dying plant matter, which can actually benefit the plants by removing dead parts. You can use live plants or artificial plants in your tank, depending on your preference. Some good plant choices for snail tanks are java fern, java moss, anubias, hornwort, and duckweed.
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How to Breed Malaysian Trumpet Snails

Malaysian trumpet snails are very easy to breed, as they do not need any special conditions or triggers to reproduce. They are parthenogenetic, which means they can produce offspring without mating. They are also livebearers, which means they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs.

A single Malaysian trumpet snail can produce up to 70 offspring in a month, depending on the availability of food and space. The young snails are born fully developed and can fend for themselves right away. They reach maturity in about two months and can start reproducing themselves.

If you want to breed Malaysian trumpet snails intentionally, you can set up a separate breeding tank with the same water parameters and tank conditions as the main tank. You can transfer some adult snails to the breeding tank and provide them with plenty of food and hiding places. You should also monitor the population growth and remove excess snails as needed.

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How to Control Population

Malaysian trumpet snails can quickly overrun a tank if left unchecked. They can compete with other inhabitants for food and space, and create a large bioload that can affect the water quality. Therefore, you should control their population and prevent them from becoming a nuisance.

There are several ways to control Malaysian trumpet snail population, such as:

  • Manual removal: You can manually remove excess snails from the tank by hand or with a net. You can also use a trap or a bait to lure them out and catch them. You can do this regularly or whenever you notice a spike in their numbers. You can either dispose of the removed snails or give them away to other aquarists who want them.
  • Natural predators: You can introduce some natural predators that will prey on the snails and keep their numbers in check. However, you should be careful with this method, as some predators may also harm other tank inhabitants or plants. Some good predator choices for snail tanks are assassin snails, loaches, pufferfish, bettas, and cichlids.
  • Chemical treatments: You can use some chemical treatments that will kill the snails and prevent them from reproducing. However, you should be very careful with this method, as some chemicals may also harm other tank inhabitants or plants. You should also follow the instructions carefully and do not overdose the tank. Some chemical treatments that are effective against snails are copper-based medications, potassium permanganate, and salt.
  • Prevention: You can prevent new snails from entering your tank by quarantining any new plants or animals before adding them to the main tank. You should also inspect any new items for any signs of snail eggs or hitchhikers and remove them before introducing them to the tank.
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What Tank Mates Can Live with Malaysian Trumpet Snails

Malaysian trumpet snails are peaceful and harmless creatures that can live with most freshwater fish and invertebrates. They will not bother or harm other tank inhabitants, as long as they are not threatened or attacked.

However, you should avoid keeping Malaysian trumpet snails with aggressive or predatory fish that will eat or harass them. You should also avoid keeping them with fish that have similar dietary requirements or habits, as they may compete for food and resources.

Some good tank mates for Malaysian trumpet snail tanks are:

  • Other snails: You can keep Malaysian trumpet snails with other types of snails, such as nerite snails, mystery snails, ramshorn snails, bladder snails, and pond snails. They will not interbreed or fight with each other, and they will help keep the tank clean.
  • Shrimp: You can keep Malaysian trumpet snails with various types of shrimp, such as cherry shrimp, amano shrimp, ghost shrimp, bamboo shrimp, and vampire shrimp. They will not harm or bother each other, and they will add some color and activity to the tank.
  • Crabs: You can keep Malaysian trumpet snails with some types of crabs, such as fiddler crabs, red claw crabs, Thai micro crabs, and panther crabs. They will not prey on or disturb each other, and they will create some diversity in the tank.
  • Small peaceful fish: You can keep Malaysian trumpet snails with small peaceful fish that will not eat or chase them. Some good examples are tetras, rasboras, danios, guppies, mollies, platies, swordtails, corydoras catfish, otocinclus catfish, kuhli loaches, and dwarf gouramis.
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Conclusion :

Malaysian trumpet snails are amazing creatures that can be a valuable addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are easy to care for, beautiful to look at, and beneficial for the tank. They are also easy to breed and control.

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