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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks,

Last night I saw at least four trumpet snail shells in my established tank, a few hours after doing some significant re-scaping. It was a bit of a puzzler, but I assumed they were empty shells, the result of hitchhikers many months ago getting eaten by my loaches, unearthed during my scaping. I just assumed they were "shells only."

This morning I noticed the shells weren't there anymore. Looking around, I found one over in the corner, and it was moving. Alive!! So, presumably I've got some number of living probably Malaysian Trumpet Snails. But, HOW?

The tank and filter media were dry for 16 years. Brand new gravel (Fluorite Black and Fluorite Black Sand, with one bag of CaribSea eco-complete black) was put in early this year; tank started in April. All plants added by early June. Some fish added since then but all fish since the first few were quarantined and there are no snails in the quarantine tank (which has gravel and a few plants).

So, common logic would be that the snails hitched rides on my plants and have been undetected for six months. But:
  • There were some few snails in the June/July time frame, but these were I believe common pond snails, quickly eaten by my loaches. Haven't seen any since then. I presumed the eggs for these came in on the plants, hatched, grew, got chomped, end of pond snail period.
  • MTS are LIVEBEARING snails. (Right?) So... while I can miss some eggs on plants, I would have seen the snails coming in.
  • Again, LOACHES. I've got three zebra loaches, half a dozen kuhlis, and half a dozen dwarf loaches. While only the zebras can eat biggish snails, any of these will feast on smaller ones.
Here are two pictures; maybe my snail-ID skills are betraying me, but these look like Malaysian Trumpets to me:
Plant Wood Terrestrial plant Grass Fish supply



Underwater Asphalt Road surface Marine biology Grass



Now, I LIKE snails, at least in moderation. I've never as an adult had a snail infestation, because I like to keep loaches.

I'm thinking of taking a few of these and popping them into my quarantine tank and turn it into a snail breeding tank. Then periodically I take snails from there and dump into the main tank for a loach feeding.

Anybody have any ideas how these guys came in undetected (I scrutinized every plant carefully), survived predation by 15 loaches for so long, and are just now coming to my notice? This is really odd. It's a good thing, just really odd.
 

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I would have seen the snails coming in.
You would think. But it happens to the best of us no matter the circumstances.

Anybody have any ideas how these guys came in undetected (I scrutinized every plant carefully), survived predation by 15 loaches for so long, and are just now coming to my notice?
Bebe (Moira Rose voice) MTS are so tiny they'd be able to easily hide inside the fold or roots of a plant without being noticed. Same color as most roots, even. I'm only 40 and consider myself to have pretty good (corrected) vision and a lot of experience with them. They almost always slip by.

In this case, since you're using substrate products that won't break down easily and can sometimes be prone to compaction, I think MTS may be a great addition. They'll help keep things aerated a bit. And you likely won't see much of them because they're nocturnal.

Story time: I had to move around a lot for a few years due to work safety - what I lovingly refer to as the Death Threat Era. Moved to Charlotte in mid-2013 and then moved back from Charlotte later that same year. With an entire tank room in a Uhaul. Fun stuff, indeed. Ended up doing something I regretted quite a bit for a number of years but life gets in the way, blah blah blah, insert excuse. I left a 10gal tank with plants (anubias, mosses, crypts, all kinds of stuff) sealed up and packed in storage. Just didn't have the room or desire to deal with it. Until this year. Drained, of course, just substrate - a mixture of dark pool filter sand, plants and as much of the water removed as possible. That sat in my various storage spots all those years. When I finally unboxed it to clean things up and put the tank to use? There were living Malaysian Trumpet Snails. About a dozen of them. So I'm pretty sure they can live through nearly anything.
 

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Be glad you are not running a reef tank, i started a tank from dry rock, and about 8 yrs in i couldn’t keep snails or hermit crabs. After 12 years i broke down the tank and found a 3ft long worm with teeth and four blue eyes hiding in the rocks. Another option would be to set up a puffer tank lol.
How many crabs out of nowhere did you wind up with? I did the same as you and one day saw something move and when I got closer to the tank, it was a "bad" crab lol. I managed to catch it and banished it to the refugium where he lived for years. A couple times a week I'd feed him a small piece of shrimp. Surprisingly when I broke my tank down last year I didn't find anything out of the ordinary. I thought at least I'd find a few bristle worms.
 

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Considering how much time trumpet snails spend burrowing in the substrate I'm not surprised you didn't notice any sooner. Mine often won't come up until late in the evening.

And I agree that they're great for keeping substrate from compacting. I intentionally introduce them every time I set up a new tank.
 

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Be glad you are not running a reef tank, i started a tank from dry rock, and about 8 yrs in i couldn’t keep snails or hermit crabs. After 12 years i broke down the tank and found a 3ft long worm with teeth and four blue eyes hiding in the rocks. Another option would be to set up a puffer tank lol.
Yikes!....what a monster....I'm curious as to what happened to the worm?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I fished one of the Trumpet snails out of the main tank and plunked it into the quarantine tank in hopes I will get lots of new snails. I understand MTS are parthenogenic so I needn't worry about male/female pairings.

Anybody know how quickly these guys reproduce? Temp 78F, lots of algae and plants, plenty of decomposing plant leaves to eat .
 

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I fished one of the Trumpet snails out of the main tank and plunked it into the quarantine tank in hopes I will get lots of new snails. I understand MTS are parthenogenic so I needn't worry about male/female pairings.

Anybody know how quickly these guys reproduce? Temp 78F, lots of algae and plants, plenty of decomposing plant leaves to eat .
You'll likely need to supplement feeding in order to speed up reproduction. Probably best to start with more than one in case one is near the end of its reproductive phase. They also reproduce more quickly when there are others with which to breed. While that's obviously not necessary, I've found they reproduce faster when breeding than when left to their own reproductive devices. (Contrary to what some of the newbie websites suggest.)

There's not actually a common speed at which they reproduce. Some have one brood (the eggs actually hatch inside the mother, so they're not exactly born, as some newbie sites also suggest) in their lifespan and others have multiples.

There also seems to be a belief among the newbie sites - really should call them plagiarist sites, as they constantly steal content and imagery from users on forums like this - that they only live about a year. I've had them live nearly three years and produce as many as 7 or 8 broods of 20-100 bebes.
 
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