Assassin Snail – A Complete Guide (Care, Diet, Facts)

If you have run into a snail issue your first thought isn’t to buy another snail to fix the problem. Although the Assassin Snail are a carnivorous crustacean that feeds on things such as other snail breeds.

Between adding variation, ridding of extra snails, or just wanting something that adds color and beauty to your tank an Assassin snail is a good choice.



Although you will rarely hear their technical name of Clea Helena you may find information on the breed that its other name does not debrief. This freshwater snail belongs to the family of Buccinidea.

If you’re an experienced hobbyist I’m sure you’ve heard the term “whelk;” it’s given to a small group of snails within multiple different families. Although, the Buccinidea family has the one “true whelk” snail.

Whelk snails are given this classification due to their diet choices. Amongst the snail breed very few species of snail are carnivores; most are herbivores. They enjoy eating on smaller snails rather than the algae that most snails feed on.

These freshwater snails are native to regions of Southeast Asia. Most commonly found along rivers and lakes.

With a growing popularity these snails in Aquariums these snails have begun housing in places they are not native to. Making them invasive species.

Scientists are worried about the recent upbringings of the species in lakes and rivers they do not belong in. An introduction of an invasive species can cause disruption in an ecosystem. In some cases, causing extinction of native species.

These snails are easy to maintain and keep healthy. As long as you keep up with the maintenance on your aquarium your Assassin will do the rest. You don’t need to have a great width of experience to keep this gem alive and thriving.

Although, you may purchase these snails individually, it’s recommended you purchase a group. Not only will your snails be happier and feel safer; it’s often cheaper as well.

It’s very common for hobbyist to purchase a species of snail in order to clear out algae and work as a janitor of the tank. Although, this breed of snail does not have an appetite for algae. Being a carnivorous snail, they strictly feed on flesh.

These snails are often purchased when a tank has become overrun by other types of snails. They will eat other snails without any hesitation.

Typical Behavior

Being a snail, you shouldn’t expect anything different from the natural speed snails are notoriously known for. Slow. Assassin snails will not add much movement or activity to your tank.

Assassin Snails prefer feeding at nighttime. As this is when they feed in the wild. Which means during the day you may never see them move.

Although, if you choose to do feedings first thing in the morning they will come out and feed as soon as they sense there is food inside the tank.

Assassin snails do not tend to stalk their prey. Rather bury themselves into the substrate and wait for smaller snails to come around them and they catch them that way.

Being a non-aggressive species, these snails will cause no harm to your fish within your tank. Although any small slow-moving animals within your tank may be targeted as prey.


One thing that these snails do have in common with other aquarium breeds are their size. They do not grow to be very large. An adult Assassin snail that is taken care of correctly has the potential to grow roughly an inch in size. In the wild they are capable of getting larger in size.

The shell of this particular snail is not stuck to one specific type. You can find many size and color variations in different shells.

Even with such a variation in shells this breed is most commonly differed from other breeds due to the shell itself. The shell its cone shaped with black and yellow stripes alongside it; hints why it has the nickname “bumble bee.” On very rare occasions you will find an Assassin Snail that lacks any stripes and instead carries an all brown shell.

This snail has a very special gift called an operculum. It’s a feature that manages to shut off the shell for protection as a trapdoor on a castle would do.

Within the shell lays the snail itself. A strong muscle. As the muscle constrains it forced the snail to move forward very slowly.

On the head that sits just past the shell has two receptors attaches. They are fragile and do get bothered easily. This is the main way they maneuver around the tank to find areas for food. At the end of the receptors you will locate the eyes.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

The Assassin Snails live-in slow-moving waters in the tropics of Southeast Asia. The sun beats straight on the waters, providing a volume of light throughout the region. The water has a some alkaline. The substrate is fine soft sand; which the Assassin’s use in their advantage to hide themselves from their prey.

On top of the substrate you will find rocks and debris that has gathered up over the years from caves and trails along the river/lakebed. Plants are scattered amongst the area too; although being a carnivorous animal these snails rarely notice the plant-life.

This is what Assassin Snails are adapting too. Changing their environment too much within your tank can cause them to become stressed or sick. It’s best if you try to mimic its natural habitat to the best of your abilities. This will keep them happy and healthy.

Tank Conditions

For this creature it is best that you have some sort of fine substrate. As mentioned before, they like to bury themselves in it and with a coarse substrate the Assassin Snail may hurt itself. If your substrate stops them from performing duties such as burying itself then they will not live comfortably in your tank.

Unlike most snail breeds these Snail have no fascination or connection with plants. As they are carnivorous; who prefer to bury themselves rather than hide in plants.

With that being said they make a perfect snail for a planted community. As other snails may eat on or kill your plant life these snails will not do no harm or rarely acknowledge the plant life in the tank.

Adding decorations in your aquarium is a personal decision. It won’t make the snail feel less at home either way. Although, in the wild they have rocks and debris for them to climb on and attach their eggs too. So, if you are a decorator go for it; your snails may enjoy it.

Being from a tropical climate these snails need warm water. They also need well filtered water as bad water conditions can quickly shorten or end your snail’s life. So be sure to be on top of maintaining your water conditions.

The snails need a water temperature between 75°F and 80°F. Your Ph should stay between 7 and 8. Snails enjoy water that is more on the hard side, this will allow them to grow into a healthy size.

Being from a slow-moving freshwater system your filtration system will create more than enough current for the Assassin Snail to feel it their natural state. Although, they are native to a highly lighted area in the wild they don’t particularly need a certain type of lighting to keep them happy and healthy.

What is the Necessary Tank Size for This Particular Snail?

Assassin Snails need at least a 2 gallon tank per snail. You may have a larger tank it’s important to not have a smaller tank than this.

Amount of Assassin That Can Be Housed Per Gallon of Water?

You can have a single Assassin per every two and a half gallons of water. You may multiply this by the number of Assassins you wish to have in your tanked community.

Tank Mates

Finding a tank mate that your snail gets along with is easy. As your snails completely ignore all fish life. So, in a sense you can’t really go wrong with a single type of fish due to your Assassin.

The real problem is your fish life itself. You must find fish that will not harm or eat your Assassin Snails.

After eliminating breeds that would target your snails as a snack, you will find that you still have a variety of choices. Most fish that does well in a community tank will do well and flourish in a tank with your snails.

It’s best to look into small to medium fish that are not bottom dwelling fish. This will ensure no issues with the snails because they could not care any less on what is at the tank floor.

You are not limited to small and medium fish; they just will be the last thing to target a snail. You may have peaceful large fish inside your tank that would want nothing to do with your snails.

Finding a bottom dwelling fish that will get along well with your Assassin Snail may be more of a dilemma. They pass by and come in contact much more often than fish in other regions. The only breed you may find that gets along well with your snails will be fish that are friendly nonaggressive scavengers.

Assassin Snails may be carnivorous that eat other snails. But this does not mean you may not have other snails within your tank. You just have to ensure that the snail is the same size or larger than your Assassin Snail.

Can You Keep Multiple Assassins Together?

Yes. These snails will rarely even notice another snail of its kind within the tank, as long as it’s not overcrowded. So, you may keep as many Assassin Snails together with limitations. This also means you may only have a single snail and they won’t be bothered.


Being a carnivorous species, these snails will not eat your plants or any vegetation. They will overlook plants and refuse to eat it.

They do not eat algae as many other breeds of snails do. Assassin Snails will not fix algae problems, if this is what you wish then you should look into another breed.

They eat other breeds of snails. Most commonly known as the pest snails. Hobbyist most commonly purchase these snails when their tank has been overrun by other breeds of snails such as Trumpet and Ramshorn Snails. They enjoy variations of soft snails’ eggs and shrimp fry as well.

There’s slim to no chance you will see an Assassin that is well fed eat their own eggs or their own young. These snails feed on plenty of worms in the wild; so, if you are looking for a little variation, they would enjoy eating a couple blood worms.

They also will eat brine shrimp if given the opportunity. You may be able to get these snails to eat pellets or flake food; although it varies snail to snail. Due to the high amount of protein you may even be able to get your Assassin to eat Algae Wafers.

Keep in mind that the diet you choose to feed them will directly correlate to the size and health of your snail. I cannot assure to a strict feeding pattern as these snails eat on their own timeframe. Commonly one to two snails will be plenty for them to eat in a day.

You may see them eating leftover fish food that has fallen to the tank floor as well. It’s not uncommon for them to do this, so don’t worry you’re not under feeding them.


Just because Assassins are not fish does not mean they are free of any chance of disease. Parasites may latch on to your snail’s shell causing white spots across it.

If parasites latch on to your snail’s shell it may weaken, crack, or even break the shell. Which in most circumstances becomes fatal to your snail?

It’s important that your snail gets plenty of calcium for this reason. You may incorporate enough calcium in their diet although you may put supplement calcium in the water if you have any worries that they may not be getting enough.

Keep all copper away from your snails as copper is toxic and deadly to all invertebrates. Assassin Snails are sensitive when it comes to water conditions so it’s important you perform consistent water changes. It’s also important that you keep your nitrate levels as low as possible.


It isn’t hard to have a healthy Assassin Snail with the right knowledge. As long as you have a clean shady tank this snail should flourish.

It’s important to keep any other snail breed within your tank in mind before purchasing this snail. As any snail smaller than your Assassin will most likely be eaten.

If you have a problem with a snail infested tank Assassins are the perfect snail to fix it. If you have an algae problem, you wish to be resolved it’s best you look into other snail breeds.

Assassin are a great addition to any community tank.

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