Assassin Snail

Assassin Snail: Everything You Should Know!

Assassin snails come in handy in helping Aquarium hobbyists control the population of their tanks. Snails are popular pets, but more often consideration of their fast reproduction rate is overlooked and shortly thereafter an infestation ensues.

Often the first solution to come to mind is introducing snail-eating fish like puffers or clown loaches into the tank. This approach is only good for a quick fix.

As the fish grow, they will only create more problems. After all, they are often over-aggressive and too large for tanks. Instead, get yourself some assassin snails!

These carnivorous snails can handle a snail infestation issue with ease. They are carnivores and have a particular fondness for their mollusk cousins. So dive right in to find out everything you need to know about these helpful creatures!  

Assassin Snail: What Is It?

NameAssassin Snail
Other NamesBumblebee Snail, Snail-eating Snail
Scientific NameAnentome helena/Clea helena
Tank Size (Optimal)10 gallons
Size2.5-3 cm
Temperature (Optimal)24-28°C 
Water TypeFreshwater
pH (Optimal)7.0-8.0
KH (Optimal)2-10
GH (Optimal)6-20
NitrateLess than 20 ppm
Life SpanUp to 5 years
ColorYellow and black

Assassin snails or “Anentome Helena”, have become popular aquarium occupants! This sudden spurt in popularity is due to their carnivorous feeding habits.

An assassin snail’s diet consists of both live and decaying organisms. As such, you’ll find them feasting on worms and a variety of other snails, from bladder snails to ramshorn snails. In fact, you could go on to call them the best biological agent for treating overgrown tanks!

What’s more, if you’re looking to add a few snails to your aquarium, you can’t go wrong with these. An assassin snail is the most beginner-friendly snail out there. Not only do they need minimal maintenance, but they are also pretty tough!  

Understanding Snail Assassins

Freshwater snails living in Southeast Asia are known as Assassin snails. They’re most popular in Thailand and Malaysia, with a few scattered locations in Indonesia. Completely mature species will exceed 2 inches long, the majority of Assassin Snails, including the daintily whorled shell, can only touch 1 inch.

Although they aren’t too difficult to raise like many other snails, they aren’t abundant and don’t feature the same dizzying variety of color segues as Ramshorns and Nerite Snails. However, their bumblebee-striped coloring is lovely.

Assassin snails are among the active snail types. When they’re not sleeping beneath fine surfaces, Assassin Snails look for prey scents on bricks, bottles, and trees.

They are named Assassin Snails because they like to feast on other snails. Isn’t that interesting? Snails of similar scale, such as Ramshorns, are easier to manage, but bigger snails, such as Rabbit Snails, are no problem for them.

Assassin snail has a muzzle and a gurgling radula, using it to pierce other snails’ shells. The radula serves as a scouring layer, removing meat and blood and degrading their victims over time.

When other Assassin snails detect a threat, they band together to take out even bigger snails. This action is fun to experience, like a sluggish Serengeti lion chase-down in your private aquarium!

snail assassin
Assassin Snail

Assassin Snail Care

Assassin snail care is not that simple when compared to other types of snails. However, if the water is perfect and there’s plenty of food, Assassin Snail care is simple.

Tank scale and reliability are the most important factors. When introducing Assassin Snail to a tank, proceed with caution. As necessary, ensure the showing tank water inside the plastic bag suits the current tank water criteria.

The average Assassin Snail size found in shops is around 3/4 inch in length. A properly fed, healthy Assassin Snail can reach a length of 3 inches in the correct environment. As a result, hobbyists must ensure that there is enough food to sustain an Assassin Snail’s lifespan.

The dimension of the aquarium does not matter for Assassin Snails. If there is food, it’s enough to sustain them all. Since you have a bigger buffer to handle ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate fluctuations, bigger aquariums are better for aquatic species.

The fact is, you would like to build an ideal living atmosphere in your display tank by strongly mimicking the natural habitat settings of Assassin Snail.

Beginning with the tank capacity, you’ll need at least a 40-litre container; larger is always preferred. The water temperature must be between 70 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit (24 and 28 degrees Celsius), similar to warm tropical water.

For healthy development, the PH should be held at a moderately alkaline level, between 7 and 8, with a mild hardness.

You should give about as much importance to the tank’s rim. Since Assassin Snails are master burrowers, a sandy surface is needed. When they’re eating, they waste the majority of their time searching among the crops.

If you store plants indoors, you won’t have any problems because Assassin Snails have little interest in them, except as a source of shelter. Plants can continue to thrive.

You can decorate tanks if you want to, although the snails would appreciate having some space to ascend and attach nests. Assassin Snails are simple to look after, even if they are skilled carnivores. Make sure you meet their food, water quality, and substrate needs!

 See also: Bleeding heart tetra breeding

Assassin Snail: Water Quality

Nitrate sensitivity is particularly high in invertebrates of different sizes, although fish can withstand higher amounts. An amount of around 0 ppm is needed by Assassin Snails.

Because Assassin Snails are carnivores that consume food at a snail’s pace, their food can spoil, resulting in repeated increases in nitrogen when water quality is left to deteriorate.

In terms of temperature, they like stuff that is on the colder side of things. They can be maintained between 70 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit as a Southeast Asian organism, with hotter temps accelerating their metabolic processes and reducing their lifespans.

Heat, on the other side, helps them to reproduce and accelerates the growth of assassin snail eggs!

See also: Easiest freshwater fish to take care of

How do I Feed Assassin Snails?

An Assassin Snail devours itself in the substrate in search of food. Malaysian Trumpet Snails, Ramshorn Snails, and pond snails that manage to pass by are favorites of Assassin Snails. It doesn’t appear to matter if the target is bigger or smaller.

Ramshorn Snails, for example, are particularly susceptible to attack because they lack an operculum. Also, operculated snails, such as Trumpet Snails, are no substitute for a starving Assassin Snail food.

Snail eggs of the soft kind may be eaten by Assassin Snails, but they don’t consume the strong Nerite Snail eggs. Shrimp fry can also appeal to them.

Investing in an Automatic fish feeder such as eHeim is worth considering. Assassin Snails are not involved in consuming their own eggs or flesh.

Also, when a target is larger than an attacker, such as adult Mystery Snails, Japanese Trapdoor Snails, Nerite Snails, Rabbit Snails, Gold Inca Snails, and Ivory Snails, the target is usually protected.

Other considerations to make include the Assassin Snail’s hunger and the availability of smaller victims to feed.   Larger snails are usually harmless, but their children are not safe. As a result, please remember that Assassin Snails can feed on tiny, young snails.

Assassin Snails might be involved in fish flakes, blood worms, and other protein-rich nutrients in alternatives to snails. Scrounging for meaty rubble and dead fish could be an option for Assassin Snails in a rush.

That said, given the option, it seems that the Assassin Snail diet involves Trumpet Snails more than fish flakes. Hobbyists can notice hollow snail shells in a tank just after adding an Assassin Snail.

Do Assassin Snails Eat Shrimp?

In words of one syllable, the answer is yes! An assassin snail will greedily consume anything from trumpet snails to pound snails to ramshorn snails. However, its dietary list doesn’t come to an end there.

Essentially, these tiny critters thrive on protein-rich foods. So when you’re out of snails, you can easily replace them with protein-rich brine shrimp or bloodworms. These are brimming with proteins and other nutrients essential to assassin snails.  

Assassin Snail Lifespan: How Long Does It Live?

The average Assassin Snail lifespan is two years. They will last up to three years in some cases.

An assassin snail is quite independent and doesn’t require much care to survive for a few years. That is provided you meet certain requirements.

To begin with, you must ensure that water parameters and nutrient levels are not just optimal but also stable. Also, analyze your tanks for even the most minute amount of copper. After all, the mineral is toxic to assassin snails, adults, babies, and eggs alike!

You also want to be careful that the calcium content meets their requirements, as does their diet.
The average Assassin Snail’s lifespan is two years. They will last up to three years in some cases.  

Assassin Snail For Sale: Purchasing Precautions

Naturally, the best place to purchase an assassin snail that will do the job is at an actual aquarium store. However, in no way does that mean you grab the first one you see!

Instead, pay close attention to the snails’ movement and appearance. A closed operculum is a major indicator of a snail that’s not entirely healthy.

Similarly, a deteriorating or flaky shell reflects a potential calcium deficit that may be too late to fix!

When selecting an assassin snail, go for one that’s actively stalking its prey, eating, or moving, at the very least.

Besides physical stores, you could always try to locate a hobbyist selling an assassin snail or two. Or you could order some online from the comfort of your own home!

That said, before settling on a seller, ensure they are trustworthy by going through their reviews.  

See also: Are freshwater stingrays hard to keep?

Assassin Snail Eggs: The Process

Upon introduction to their new environment, male and female assassin snails alike spend some time eating. Following that, the two sexes tend to connect for as long as 12 hours!

Not long after, you will likely notice a cluster of light-colored, square-shaped eggs around your tank. What’s more, it will take no more than a month for you to see them hatch!

Initially, a baby assassin snail will have a shier temperament, hiding among plants and the substrate. However, in about six months, it should become confident enough to join the adult in a feeding session.

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Assassin Snail Tank Mates

Although Assassin Snails are carnivores, tank mates must be carefully chosen. Assassin Snails, like most other neighborhood tank fish, seem to be at ease with other members of their species.

Assassins tend to get along with both friendly scavengers, including Cory Catfish, and more sensitive algae eaters such as Otocinclus Catfish. Tiny freshwater clams and bigger Asian Gold Clams, as well as Viper, Bamboo, Amano and Ghost Shrimp can get along with Assassin Snails.

However, if you’re holding Assassin Snails inside a tank containing shrimp, make sure the shrimps are bigger in size and that the Assassin Snails are properly fed, just in case something might go wrong.

Keep Assassin Snails away from tough species such as Cichlids, aquarium crayfish, Goldfish, or some other tank partner who could harm or consume them. Always consult with a store clerk if you have any concerns about the compatibility of Assassin Snail tank mates before ordering.

Assassin Snail Breeding Tips

If you have any experience breeding pest snails, you should have little trouble with assassin snails. For one, an assassin snail is not a hermaphrodite, meaning both sexes of the breed cannot reproduce.

So an assassin snail infestation replacing your pest snail infestation need not be a concern for you.

Assassin snail species propagate by producing eggs in freshwater. Snails that deposit one egg simultaneously are known as Assassin Snails. Single egg clusters often occur in close vicinity to each other.

Every egg is yellowish in color and enclosed in a transparent rectangular-shaped enclosure attached to the glass of an aquarium, lava rocks, or other rough surfaces.

The yellow-colored egg will become light brown after a couple of days. The eggs require roughly three months to develop. If the substrate evolves, the infant Assassin Snails will nest in it.

Although Assassin Snails propagate, they are not well-known for being tank-overrunning snails.

Among assassin snails, it is only the females that give birth. So your tank is sure to house a lot less offspring compared to other snail varieties.

Note, however, the two sexes look exceptionally similar. As such, it is best to purchase a large group and increase your odds of introducing both to your aquarium.

Provided you supply your assassins with sufficient protein and nutrient-rich foods, you have no cause for concern!

That said, if you do feel that you’ve ended up with more assassin snails than you intended, reach out! Several aquarists and aquarium stores will be more than willing to take the critters off your hands! 

See also: Engineer goby lifespan

Assassin Snail Feeding: The Appropriate Diet

While assassin snails feed on any number of snails, their diet isn’t restricted simply to that. It would be more appropriate to think of an assassin snail as an opportunist.

These hungry creatures will feast on anything that comes their way at the bottom of your tank! Live prey, deceased tank mates, frozen foods, and common commercial foods such as what makes up the typical betta diet are all fair game to the assassin snail.

Also, consider getting a separate tankful of smaller snails to help keep your assassin snails full. That said, opt for this only when you’re certain that the initial infestation has died down.

Controlling Other Snails With Assassin Snails

If there is an increase in the number of different types of snails such as Apple, Malaysian, or Trumpet Snails you can go for Assassin Snail buy. These creatures lay large clumps of eggs (or, in the scenario of Trumpet Snails, are live bringers) which may easily spread to epidemic levels.

You’ll also need some Assassin Snails, based on the proportion of the epidemic and the capacity of your tank. Since they are unlikely to reproduce asexually and just lay one egg simultaneously, they can’t propagate as herbivorous snails can.

For a tank populated with Ramshorn or Trumpet Snails, two to three Assassin Snails for every 10 gallons is a decent kick start.

Assassin Snails easily chase snail slime tracks to their origins and crawl the shells of several other snails to prevent them from fleeing. They will ultimately eradicate other snails in the vicinity of an aquarium. If you purchase fewer Assassin Snails than those mentioned above, they can do an impressive job of handling pest snails without consuming them.

Apart from Mystery and Apple Snails, who position their eggs over water, they can also locate and eat the eggs of different types of freshwater snails. If they ruin their food supply, you’ll either have to resettle them or follow a meaty Assassin Snail diet to save them from starvation.

Safety of Assassin Snail

Snail safety is another concern for Assassin Snails. To minimize the risk of them emerging from the tank, tanks must be sealed to the greatest degree possible.

Snails often stuck their heads and bodies in the panes of power filters, so consider protecting them with a foam pre-filter. They can suffer major injuries or even death.

Ultimately, because an Assassin Snail is a very busy creature, the environment can have many opportunities for exploration. Since Assassin Snails prefer to burrow for food, the substrate must be perfect.

They seem to love moving up and down the tank glass covered with algae. However, well-fed assassins appear to be unconcerned with the algae accumulation.

If there is too much algae pile-up, algae eaters such as chinese might prove helpful as tankmates.

When Buying Assassin Snail for Sale

Seek specimens that tend to be involved while purchasing Assassin Snails. Affix an Assassin Snail to a rough board, such as an aquarium display.

The Assassin Snail shell is built like that of Malaysian Trumpet Snails and Rabbit Snails. The shells of the Assassin Snail are gold colored with a dark brown pattern running from the aperture to the top.

Their shells ought to be clear of fractures, breaks, and other injuries, The operculum of Assassin Snail should be noticeable near their rear end on the tip of their foot.

If you find snails for sale are immobile or resting on the tank floor be cautious as this may signal that the snail is ill or deceased. Finally do double-check that their shell isn’t hollow.  

An assassin snail’s ability to deal with pests is undeniable. That said, an infestation is far from the only reason to get a couple of snail buddies! The striking yellow and black bands of this snail make it quite an appealing sight.

Not to mention, they’re just as intriguing to watch! You’ll adore watching them scuttle around your tank in search of their next meal. So give up on the snail’s pace, and bring an assassin snail home today!

While these snails are excellent at holding aquariums clean of snails, their striking streaks and unique eating behavior is an excellent addition to tanks free of snail problem. They are entertaining to watch when they are in a hunting mood and thrive in a variety of water environments!


Queensland Government: Assassin snail

Australian Freshwater Molluscs: Australian Freshwater Molluscs

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