What Fish Eats Malaysian Trumpet Snails?

If you keep Malaysian trumpet snails in your freshwater tank, you may end up with an overpopulation issue due to feeding them too much. They reproduce quickly and often when well-fed, thereby taking over the aquarium and making it difficult for the rest of the creatures and plants.

They can be very beneficial to a tank, but you have to control the drawbacks of having Malaysian trumpet snails. One way to remedy this is getting one of several fish species to eat them.

Are there any fish that eat Malaysian trumpet snails?

The best way to keep Malaysian trumpet snails under control in your tank is to introduce a predator or snail specialist that will control the population. Snail assassins, cichlids, puffers, or loaches will do the job.

You’re going to have to do your own research on each type in regards to the other fish and plants you have, but it’s a sound and eco-friendly way. Keeping the population low will glean the benefits of having Malaysian trumpet snails while preventing things from getting out of control.


There are some species of fish that have jaws to crush the snail’s shell, like cichlids. The most skilled cichlids at tearing snails from their shells are Haitian cichlids and Yellow labs. Buffalo cichlids and Minckley’s cichlids have powerful pharyngeal jaws designed for crushing snails.

Note that not all cichlids will dine on Malaysian trumpet snails. For instance, African, Texas, or Red Devil cichlids will not be effective in destroying the shells of Malaysian trumpets.


Clown, yoyo, and skunk loaches are famous for eating snails like the Malaysian trumpet. Clown loaches in particular love feasting on snail eggs. All loaches come equipped with a subocular spine that serves as a weapon of mass destruction.

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There are other types of loaches that will do this as well.  But, it’s advisable that you do a bit of investigation if you choose to go with this type of snail specialist; especially if you have several other fish you don’t want to be eaten or disturbed. Loaches tend to be very aggressive to most other fish in a tank with which they cohabitate.

Snail Assassins

Malaysian trumpet snails are a recommended food for snail assassins and provide gladiator-style entertainment in your tank if you’re into that sort of thing. These will wait beneath the substrate in patience for their next meal.

When the snail crosses its path, the snail assassin pounces in a quick and violent manner. In one fast-twitch, they will rip the snail right out of the shell and devour it wholesale.


Rather than having a species with a set of jaws, consider getting a snail specialist with a beak, like puffers. But you want to make sure the breed you get will be big enough to destroy a Malaysian trumpet snail. If the puffer is too small, you’ll fail at attempting population control.

Regardless, puffers love to eat Malaysian trumpet snails and are a preferable food for them. They will shred the snail’s shell in a similar manner to how large parrots rip apart seeds.

Another thing to note before leaping at this option for your tank is the aggressive danger a puffer poses to other fish. They are highly combative and have no problem destroying anything that gets in their way. Many aquarists report how some puffers are crazy murderers and will be persistent at killing their tank mates.

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Other Considerations

Introducing another species of fish to keep the population of your Malaysian trumpet snails down can create a whole new set of problems if you aren’t careful. First, you’re going to have yet another mouth to feed. Plus, depending on how many snail specialists you introduce, you may end up with another overpopulation problem that won’t be easy to rid of.

You may want to think about the removal by hand or crushing them yourself. But you want to weigh your options and consider what you can live with doing.  Some people may find killing them a very undesirable method of control.

How fast will Malaysian trumpet snails breed?

It’s astounding how fast Malaysian trumpets reproduce. If there’s only one snail, reproduction won’t be quick, but it will happen. When several are present, expect a colony to pop up almost overnight.

They breed through two methods: sexual reproduction or parthenogenesis. Regardless of the way they reproduce, the fact that they have two ways means they’re fertile with options.

Reproduction Methods

Sexual reproduction is the rarer of the two, where male sperm fertilizes a female egg. This can result in the female producing over 200 babies. They develop in brood pouches before releasing as developed juveniles.

Parthenogenesis, or virgin birth, means a female can produce a whole colony by giving birth to female clones. Their DNA is identical to the mother and male sperm isn’t necessary to make this happen.

Is it bad to have Malaysian trumpet snails?

Malaysian trumpet snails aren’t bad, but they can become an invasive pest if you didn’t intend to have one in your tank, to begin with. They often sneak into aquariums because of eggs hiding in plants, substrates, and other items purchased at the aquarium store. In this way, they are bad.

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Some people avoid having these snails at all costs and yet others love keeping them as pets. So, it depends on an individual’s opinions about them in terms of Malaysian trumpet snails being good or bad.

Good things about them

Malaysian trumpet snails aren’t all terrible to have in a tank if one worms its way in. They’re very hardy and have healthy appetites. They can tolerate pollution and a wide range of tank conditions. Malaysian trumpets rid your tank of algae buildup and excess fish food.

They never eat live plants but will eat dead foliage that falls from plants. It’s when they eat too well that they will reproduce like wildfire. This can be troublesome for the filters and other life in the tank.