Melanoides tuberculata (Malaysian Trumpet Snail)

Melanoides tuberculata (Malaysian Trumpet Snail) is a species of freshwater snail with an operculum, a parthenogenetic, aquatic gastropod mollusk in the family Thiaridae. This species is native to subtropical and tropical northern Africa and southern Asia. Malaysian Trumpet Snails eat almost continuously. They are good scavengers and tank cleaners thanks to their great appetites. Melanoides tuberculata can make interesting pets for some aquarists. Under the right conditions, Trumpet Snails can be an asset to an aquatic environment. This is especially true in tanks with live plants. Melanoides tuberculata care is so easy as a matter of fact, it is considered a good snail for beginners. Melanoides tuberculata are peaceful and should be in tanks with other non-aggressive tank mates.

Care

Shell Size and Color: Melanoides tuberculata have elongated shells that resemble a sugar cone. The shells appear to grow in rings as they swirl up from the apex. Shells can be solid or have patterns with colors ranging from brown, grey and creamy-white. Melanoides tuberculata start life very small. Under the right conditions they can grow to about an inch in length from apex to aperture. At their widest point, their shells can be about the diameter of a pencil eraser. The average shell length is about 20 – 30 mm. Shells of this species have 10 – 15 whorls. Melanoides tuberculata need Calcium for healthy shell growth, so make sure calcium is available in their diets.

Lifespan: In general, Malaysian Trumpet Snails live about one year. They can live longer under the right conditions and with a spot of luck. If a Malaysian Trumpet Snail dies above the substrate, it will be lying motionless on the bottom of the tank. If it dies while buried, it may not be noticed until the substrate is stirred up. While its good practice to remove dead inhabitants from tanks quickly to avoid water quality issues, some hobbyists choose to leave empty Malaysian Trumpet Snail shells in the tank, letting their minerals dissolve back into the aquarium water.

Reproduction: Melanoides tuberculata reproduce very quickly and in large numbers, especially if food is abundant. Other things being equal, the more food there is, the more Malaysian Trumpet Snails will reproduce. One of the ways hobbyists control Melanoides tuberculata populations is to limit food levels long term. Melanoides tuberculata females are both parthenogenic and ovoviparous. Females can be recognized by their greenish coloured gonads while males have reddish gonads. Under good conditions, females will produce fertilised eggs that are transferred to a brood pouch where they remain until they hatch (parthenogenesis and viviparity). Melanoides tuberculata has 1 – 64 embryos in its brood pouch. Snails will begin reproducing at a size as small as 5 – 10 mm in length and broods may contain over seventy offspring (iteroparity). The size of the shell of the parent at peak release of juveniles is 20.0 mm. The size of juveniles at birth is 1.2 – 2.2 mm.

Filter Intakes: Sometime, strong power filter intakes can be hazardous or fatal to Melanoides tuberculata. Their small shells can get sucked up by the water current and they can get caught in the slats. The pull of the water can be overpowering and they can die stuck to the intake. So many hobbyists chose to cover intakes with sponge pre-filters to help keep the snails safe.

Tank Size: One of the best things is that Melanoides tuberculata care is easy and effortless. Trumpet Snails can live in small covered tanks like 5 or 20 litres setups or larger tanks as well. Just keep in mind they are living organisms that produce waste and tax the bio-load capacity of their aquatic world. So be mindful of the tank’s limitations and avoid overstocking.

 

 

Water Parameters: Melanoides tuberculata seem to need little hands-on attention. As long as tank conditions are right, they will thrive in established tanks without much effort. While Malaysian Trumpet Snails can do well in a wide range of water parameters, it’s good to keep conditions in the freshwater community tank range: pH 7.0 – 8.0 with water hardness at around 8 – 20 dGH. The optimal water temperature is between 18°C – 26°C. Although normally a freshwater snail, this species is very tolerant of brackish water, and has been recorded in waters with a salinity of 32.5 ppt (1,024 specific gravity salinity). Melanoides tuberculata is resistant to low oxygen levels.

Melanoides tuberculata care is similar to caring for other snails and shrimp. It’s important to test tank water often. Make sure Ammonia and Nitrite levels stay at 0 ppm, and control Nitrate levels as well as organic matter buildup with regular partial water changes. It’s also important that water be kept on the hard side as this is necessary for healthy shell growth. Be very careful when using plant fertilizers and medications as some of the ingredients may be harmful to Melanoides tuberculata. Most importantly, avoid copper, because even in small amounts, copper can be fatal.

Habitat & Behavior

Melanoides tuberculata are ferocious eaters spending most of the day under the substrate. They dig through substrate in search of edible matter that has accumulated on the tank bottom. When the tank lights go off, Trumpets can be seen moving up from the substrate to scour other hard surfaces for food. The next day, the snails burrow back into the substrate to spend lighted hours buried and out of site. While digging, their long mouth appears, extending well beyond their shells resembling an elephant trunk.

Food Sources: Melanoides tuberculata like left-overs including uneaten fish food, fish flakes, bottom feeder tablets, pellets, and algae wafers. They also enjoy all sorts of debris, detritus and soft algae growing on hard surfaces. Malaysian Trumpet Snails enjoy tanks with lots of live plants. The live plants continuously shed edible material adding to the snails natural diet. Malaysian Trumpet Snails do not seem interested in eating live plants, just the debris.

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