What is a Trumpet Snail? Is it Harmful?What exactly is a trumpet snail? Is it beneficial or harmful? Should you get rid of it? Today, we address this question, one that many aquarium hobbyists often ask.
You will be informed about how to care for it, its disadvantages, and advantages, aiding your decision on whether or not to keep it in your aquarium.
Moreover, because the trumpet snail is an extremely resilient creature, there’s no special requirement for its care!
Trumpet Snail Species Overview
|Scientific Name:||Melanoides tuberculata|
|Behavior Towards Their Own Species:||Peaceful|
|Swimming Area:||Bottom, Sand|
|Water Temperature:||20 – 28 °C|
|Water Hardness:||4 – 20 GH|
|pH Level:||6.5 – 7.5|
|Minimum Aquarium Size:||10 Liters|
|Adult Size:||2.5 cm|
|Lifespan:||1 – 2 yıl|
Why Should I Keep Them in My Aquarium?
You might be thinking you need to get rid of trumpet snails. For years, they were seen and treated as pests. However, make your decision only after weighing the pros and cons!
They aren’t well-liked in the hobby, primarily because their numbers rapidly increase and are believed to be an extra burden on the aquarium environment, hence people look for ways to get rid of them.
These creatures are not as harmful as you may think. On the contrary, they can be used in many aquariums, especially planted ones, to combat algae problems.
Here are two primary advantages of trumpet snails:
- Algae, Moss, and Waste Removal: They consume the algae, moss, dead fish, and other wastes that form in aquariums, thus contributing to cleanliness. By keeping their numbers under control, you can use them as cleaners. If their population increases too much, you can remove a few to ensure they remain in constant numbers. This way, your aquarium remains neither infested nor dirty.
- Aerating the Substrate: These creatures tend to burrow, which aerates the substrate. This aeration helps maintain healthy bacteria in the substrate. Additionally, in planted aquariums, this aeration promotes faster plant growth.
The Trumpet Snail, known scientifically as Melanoides tuberculata, is an invertebrate species found in many regions around the world. It is known to live not only in freshwater but also in some saltwater environments.
Although they are often considered among the harmful snail species, you can benefit from them as mentioned earlier. Due to their rapid reproduction, after adding a plant or rock to your aquarium, you might spontaneously notice the emergence of these snails.
Appearance and Behavior
Unlike common snails, the Trumpet Snail is visually appealing. They have a unique shell that looks different from typical spiral snails, resembling a trumpet or a minaret.
As they mature, their shell consists of approximately 15 whorls. The rings formed with the shell also reveal the snail’s age. They generally have dark and matte shell colors.
Their shells come in brown, gray, and cream shades, with a variety of patterns and designs. The Malaysian trumpet snail also has a small operculum or “door” on its shell. Using this, it can completely hide itself when threatened.
Trumpet snails are very peaceful towards both fish and other snail species. Like all other snails, they are very slow and cannot escape. Their only defense against snail-eating species is to retreat into their shell.
Throughout the day, their primary goal is to search for food. They generally consume waste and algae. They remain motionless or hide under the sand when the lights are on, but roam around looking for food when it’s dark.
Their continuous substrate aeration prevents the accumulation of harmful gases or elements.
While their roots trace back to both Southern and Northern Africa, they have spread worldwide over time, primarily due to humans unintentionally transporting them.
Thanks to their fast reproduction and resilience, they are known to live in a wide variety of water types. Besides freshwater habitats, a small fraction has been observed to survive and reproduce in saltwater.
They thrive in slow-flowing areas rich in plants and roots. There isn’t a need for high oxygen levels or exceptionally clean water. With these characteristics, they can survive in almost all aquarium conditions.
The majority of snails are hermaphroditic. However, the Trumpet Snail, just like the Apple Snail, is either male or female, not hermaphroditic.
Determining the gender is quite challenging, and it’s known to be done by biologists. Although one might try to understand the differences between males and females by looking at their colors and shell shapes, it’s tough for an average aquarist to make a distinction.
Compatible Tank Mates
Trumpet Snails are very mild and peaceful, so they can be paired with almost any species. They are not aggressive. On the contrary, they can be attacked and killed by some of the other species you might introduce to the tank.
Some compatible fish and creatures include:
- Zebra Nerite Snail
- Planorbella duryi
- Channeled applesnail
- Bamboo Shrimp
- Vampire Shrimp
- Amano Shrimp
- Ghost Shrimp
- Red Cherry Shrimp
- Panda Cory Catfish
- Cory Catfish
- Neon Tetra
- Various Barb species
- Molly Fish
- Guppy Fish
- Bushymouth catfish
One of the best aspects of the Trumpet Snail is that they don’t require any extra needs. They don’t have specific dietary (they can feed on leftovers from other animals or on algae), maintenance, or special requirements.
If you have space for a small aquarium in your home, there’s no reason not to keep these creatures. A tiny 10-liter aquarium with a bit of sand at the bottom is sufficient for them.
If you wish to keep them with other creatures but still maintain a small aquarium, you can add various shrimp species to accompany them.
Although they don’t have specific needs, one shouldn’t expect them to survive in extremely poor water conditions. An aquarium set up with regular, dechlorinated tap water will suffice.
You should carry out weekly water changes to prevent toxic elements like ammonia and nitrite from harming them.
Ideal water conditions are: a temperature of 22°C, pH levels between 6.5 – 7.5, and moderately hard water.
Feeding and Diet
They are not picky eaters at all. In simple terms, they will eat whatever they find. They feed on food residues and waste in the sand during the day and consume algae on the glass or decorations at night.
There’s no need to buy or give extra food for them. By consuming leftovers from other aquarium inhabitants, they contribute significantly to both your convenience and aquarium cleanliness.
However, if you aren’t hosting other creatures or there isn’t enough algae and waste, you might need to feed them occasionally; otherwise, they might starve.
Reproduction is quite easy for Trumpet Snails. In fact, this is one of the reasons they might be unwanted in an aquarium. They reproduce and grow quickly, which is why they can be seen as invasive.
This might be the reason they’re sometimes viewed negatively. As long as you keep their population in check, they are certainly beneficial for your aquarium.
Unlike many other snail species, Trumpet Snails are live-bearers. They can give birth to around 60-70 offspring in one go.
They don’t need a male to reproduce; the female snail can produce offspring using a method called cloning, birthing only female snails. For male snails to be born, mating and fertilization are necessary.
To benefit from their advantages, you should focus on keeping their population under control.
Unfortunately, the main health threat to these snails is parasites. They can host a worm called “centrocestus formosanus” in their bodies. Whether this parasite is dangerous to humans is not yet clear.
To ensure your aquarium remains clean, you can quarantine the Trumpet Snails before adding them to your existing tanks (considering other inhabitants as well).
While the Trumpet Snail might seem like an unconventional pet for your aquarium, when used correctly, it can significantly ease your maintenance and cleaning efforts.
The most crucial aspect to pay attention to is managing their population growth to prevent them from becoming invasive. As long as you manage this, Trumpet Snails will transition from potential threats to beneficial inhabitants in your aquarium.
Please feel free to use the comment section for all your questions, opinions, and suggestions.