Assassin Snails Breeding Guide | 8 Interesting Facts To Know

Assassin snails are freshwater snails that originate from Southeast Asia. You can see these snails in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. 

However, these snails are comparatively small with other snails. A fully developed assassin snail will reach around 2 inches in length and barely top 1 inch.

Further, assassin snails get their name due to their habit of preying on other snails. Even though these species come in such small sizes, assassin snails will not back down when it comes to size. 

Also, assassin snails have a mouth and rasping radula that they can extend into the shells of other snails. Sometimes assassin snails work together. 

Assassin snails

When they sense an attack, these species will work together to bring the prey down.

Do Assassin snails breed quickly?

No, assassin snails do not breed quickly

Before these species join up and follow each other around the tank for 12 hours or more, you can see these snails attached when they move. 

After that, the female will start to lay eggs, which will stick to the tank’s surface. The eggs of an assassin snail typically take around two months to hatch.

Can one assassin snail reproduce?

No, both female and male assassin snails must be available for them to reproduce

However, these snail’s gender is hard to identify by their external features. Therefore, it is recommended to keep around 4 to 5 snails to ensure that both genders are available for the mating process to be a success.

Furthermore, the assassin snail is also known as Clea Helena. Romance starts with the male climbing over the female snail shell and holding it firmly for around 20 to 30 minutes. 

After that, the male will move towards the right side and starts grasping with his penial sheath, searching the genital aperture. In this process, the male will transfer the sperms to the female. 

Above all, sexual intercourse can last for about 3 to 5 hours. It will be done at nighttime usually.

How often do Assassin snails lay eggs?

After the mating process is completed, the female assassin snails, the snail, will usually find a firm surface to lay their eggs.

For instance, this species will lay their eggs on driftwood, rocks, leaves, etc. 

How to breed Assassin snails

You will not have any issues breeding these species in captivity. These snails can multiply faster if you have kept many assassin snails in your tank

Unlike many other gastropods, assassin snails are not hermaphrodites. It is tough to separate the two genders of an assassin snail as it is impossible to see the difference to your naked eye. 

However, to have a successful breeding session, you must at least put six or more of these snails in one tank.

Suppose you observe very closely these snails mating, its looks more like a ritual. We say it is like a ritual because the critters pair up and follow each other in the tank for hours and hours. 

As I said earlier, you would have noticed this drastic change of behavior before you see this drastic change since some of these assassin snails do not accept others in normal circumstances. 

After the sexual intercourse process is over, the female assassin snail will start to lay the eggs onto any firm surface she could find. 

Usually, the eggs will take around two months to hatch. Once hatched, the young assassin snails will bury themselves in the bottom sand until they grow into adults. 

However, you don’t have to worry about adult snails trying to hunt down the newly born snails as they do not harm the newbies. 

These newly hatched young assassin snails will be around 3 to 3.5mm in size and resemble the adult in the shell. 

In addition, these species do not prefer to stay on the surface and would like to bury themselves in the sands, feeding on microorganisms they could find. 

So, always keep in mind that it is essential to keep sand in your breeding tank.

Further, younger assassin snails usually are coming out to the surface once they are 2 – 3 months old.  By now, the snail will have a shell length of around 8 – 10 mm (~0.4 inches). And these snails will feed on the same food as the parents. 

By chance, if your aquarium is infested with pest snails and the temperature is not suiting them. These snails will not breed systematically.

Note. High-level of temperature, the faster they will hatch. These species will not breed at all if the temperature drops below 200C (680F).

The female assassin snail will start to lay off the eggs right after the sexual intercourse is completed in the wild. The snail will be laying the eggs on a firm surface. 

Usually on a rock, drifting wood, or any plant stem that she could find.

what to feed assassin snails?

These species are predatory creatures. The best part of these species is that you do not need to worry about overfeeding. 

However, these snails like to pace themselves and have a decent amount of self-control. You can just add some good feeder snails to the tank for them to eat slowly in time.

Assassin snails even prefer eating shrimp fry. 

In addition, you can even feed these assassin snails with fish flakes, blood worms, Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, Hikari sinking Carnivore Pellets, tetramin Plus Tropical Flakes, or any other protein-rich supplementary foods. 

Further, these snails will even savage any dead fish in the tank. But it prefers to eat trumpet snails over any fish flakes anytime.

Assassin snail eggs

Female assassin snail will attach the eggs onto a hard surface of the tank. These eggs are white, yellowish in color, and translucent. 

However, the shape of these eggs is more likely to be rectangular. Once after around 36 to 58 days, the eggs will turn a light brown color and start to hatch. 

Furthermore, remember that low temperatures will prevent them from laying eggs, and boisterous tankmates could also out them off.

Assassin snail laying eggs.

Usually, a female assassin snail will lay around 1 to 4 egg capsules per clutch in a direct line where each will be separated by approximately 5mm. 

In addition, these capsules are square in shape and transparent, around 3 to 4mm in width and length. The size of an assassin snail egg is about 5mm. 

Usually, the white-yellowish color of the egg will turn into a light brown color within 46 to 58 days, which indicates that the embryo undergoes a complete non-feeding, benthic development before hatching.

Where do assassin snails lay their eggs?

These snails will reproduce very slowly. Reason for saying that is because they lay one egg at a time. 

Furthermore, you will be able to see these eggs stick in your aquarium glass, driftwood, lava rocks, or any other aquarium decorative item in your tank.

How many eggs do assassin snails lay?

These snails will lay in groups of 1 to 4 and will lay one egg at a time.

What do assassin snail eggs look like

The eggs of an assassin snail look yellowish and appear translucent. 

After 46 to 56 days, the eggs will turn into a lighter brown color, which means that the embryo undergoes complete non-feeding benthic development before hatching. 

Usually, the egg is laid in a capsule square in shape. And approximately 3 to 4mm in width and length. These eggs in a capsule are less or about a millimeter in size.

What assassin snails eat

These species are predatory creatures. These assassin snails will try to bury themselves in the sand until they find something to eat. 

Furthermore, assassin snail prefers eating Malaysian trumpet snails, ramshorn snails, or pond snails.

However, snails without operculum like ramshorn snails are the most vulnerable type to be attacked by these snails. 

Sometimes, the assassin snails will even prey on them regardless of whether they have a shell or not. 

In addition, these species even hunt other snail eggs of the variety but not hard nerite snail eggs. Do not worry, these snails will not eat their kind eggs.

However, if the prey is more significant than the predator, it is always known that the prey is generally safe. But in these assassin snails, if they are hungry, they intend to hunt for bigger prey. 

Even though the bigger snail is generally safer from this predator, the younger ones are still at significant risk of being eaten by these assassin snails.

When do assassin snails eat?

Assasin snails eat when they are hungry. There is no specific time frame for them to eat. Usually assassin snails will eat only when they are hungry, all day along. 

However, you can even feed these assassin snails with fish flakes, blood worms, Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, Hikari sinking Carnivore Pellets, tetramin Plus Tropical Flakes, or any other protein-rich supplementary foods.

How often do assassin snails eat?

The frequency of an assassin snail is hard to determine. It usually all comes down to the size of prey it consumes.

Furthermore, these snails do not rush when it comes to eating. It will eat at its own pace.

How much do assassin snails eat?

Normally an assassin snail can eat up to 1 to 2 snails in the wild. But in captivity, you can feed them the same number of snails, or they will scavenge for any left-over uneaten fish food in your tank as well. 

How fast do assassin snails eat?

It is entirely dependent on the size of the prey that the assassin snail consumes. Usually, an assassin snail eats 1 to 3 snails per 1 to 3 days. 

What will assassin snails eat?

The assassin snails in the wild will feed on Malaysian trumpet snails, ramshorn snails, or pond snails. 

However, snails without operculum like ramshorn snails are the most vulnerable type to be attacked by these snails. But when it comes to captivity, the snail can be fed with fish flakes, blood worms, or feeder snails. 

Will assassin snails eat shrimp?

Yes, these snails also prefer eating shrimp fry. However, if the shrimps are larger than the assassin snail and if you feed the snail well, it will more likely survive because of the size.

Will assassin snails eat mystery snails?

Yes, Assassin snails do feed on mystery snails.

Will assassin snails eat nerite snails?

Yes, Assassin snails will feed on nerite snails. But feeding on these snails will be a little challenging due to their little shell that protects them, regardless of whether the assassin snails are out of food or hungry. 

In addition, it will try to eat the nerites snail. 

Will assassin snails eat each other?

No, these nails will not prey on each other. They would rather die starving without killing their own kind.

Will assassin snails eat algae?

No, Assassin snails will not eat algae. 

Will assassin snails kill each other?

No, Assassin snails dose not eat or kill each other. 

Will assassin snails eat bladder snails?

Yes, Assassin snails will feed on bladder snails.

Will assassin snails eat rabbit snails?

Yes, Assassin snails will feed on rabbit snails.

More About Assassin Snails 

Assassin snail care

Suppose you are someone new to raising these aquatic snails. You must know that even snails can get diseases just like fish. 

Usually, their shells can be affected by several issues. If you see white spots on the snail’s shell, it is due to parasites latched on to the outside. 

However, you can find a lot of these parasitic species using snails as their life cycle.

In addition, keeping the assassin snail’s shell strong and healthy is not an easy task. By any chance, if the shell is weak or unhealthy, it might crack open. 

In a situation as such, this would seriously harm or kill the snail. Make sure to add enough calcium-based food. Calcium is essential for maintaining a healthy shell. 

For instance, This source of calcium can be provided through their diet. If not, you can add a supplementary calcium solution to the water if they are not getting enough.

Above all, the shell’s growth also depends on the water temperature or if your snail is not eating well. If the water temperature is low, the shell will not grow.

In addition, remember to keep away copper from your tank. This element is very toxic for most invertebrates. So be mindful to check the content before you add them to the water.

However, these species always need clean water to stay healthy. So always perform regular water changes like every 1 to 2 weeks. Try to keep the nitrate levels of the water as low as possible.

How many assassin snails should I get?

You can keep two assassin snails per every five gallons of water.

What size aquarium do assassin snails need?

Assassin snails require a 10 gallons aquarium. But it is always better if the aquarium size gets bigger.

Assassin snail tank mates

Your snails in the tank will pay significantly less attention to the other fish you add to the tank. The issue lies in whether those fish you add would hunt your assassin snails down.

However, fish that swim mid-level of the tank are fine to add. Fish such as cherry barbs. Celestial danios, guppies, and neon tetras are compatible when it comes to small size fish.

In addition, if you wish to add some bigger fish to the tank, you can use gouramies like dwarfs or pearls, rainbow fish, or angelfish.

Furthermore, always remember that bottom-dwelling fish can be more harmful to your assassin snail.

Since the chances of facing each other are high, if you intend to put any bottom dwellers, you can use these peaceful scavengers like Corydoras catfish or Otocinclus catfish.

Tank mate to avoid keeping with assassin snail.

For instance, below is a selected list of tank mates that must not be kept together with assassin snails.

  • Pufferfish
  • Medium to Large Cichlids
  • Cyprinids (Goldfish, Large Barbs, etc.)
  • Crayfish
  • Plecostomus

Plants and decorations

If you have an aquarium filled with aquatic plantations, do not worry about keeping these assassin snails. Because these species are strictly carnivorous creatures, these snails are not picky for tank decorations. 

In addition, you keep objects like lava rocks, driftwood, or other decorative item where they could climb and lay their eggs. 

However, keep in mind that these snails are good at burring themselves in the bottom o the tank. So, make sure to use sandy bottoms when keeping them.

Assassin snails

Related questions

Are assassin snails venomous?

These species have a proboscis tube that harbors a small type of harpoon, which will shoot out at the prey and inject venom that paralyzes the victim.

Are assassin snails suitable for aquariums?

There are no objections when it comes to keeping these species in your tank. Suppose your tank is clean and has sandy bottoms with a set of peaceful fish. 

However, keep in mind that if you are keeping any other types of snails in the tank, they might start to disappear. 

In addition, suppose these snails are pests that have worked their way into your tank, then breeding these assassin snails is the best option to control the manifestation.

Can assassin snails live in gravel?

Yes, it is not a must to have sandy bottoms when keeping these species. It is best to replicate their natural habitat for them to hide and wait for any unsuspecting prey. 

However, assassin snails can bury themselves in the gravel as well, so it does not matter if you have a gravel aquarium.

Can assassin snails live in cold water?

It is preferable to keep them in warmer water temperatures as these species are originating from Southeast Asia. You must keep them in temperatures between 70-82F. 

Usually, that will increase your assassin snails’ metabolism and shortening their lifespans to some extend.

In addition to that, keep in mind that keeping them in warm water will expedite the breeding and development of their eggs.

How much ammonia can kill my snail? 

If the ammonia levels in the tank exceed 10ppm, then there might be a chance of harming your snails in the tank. Regardless of the levels go high, these snails will shell for days or weeks. 

Usually, assassin snails will climb up the tank’s water levels or bury themselves under the sand to avoid the toxin.

Do assassin snails kill fish?

No, it is doubtful for them to attack a fish. Even if they start attacking a fish, then the fish must be very sick and paralyzed to eat the snail.

How long can an assassin snail stay without eating?

Most snails survive for a week or months without eating. Research has shown that a snail can live up to eight months without food.

Why do assassin snails bury themselves?

Usually, assassin snails bury themselves to hunt for food, such as live snails or other microorganisms. 

Conclusion 

In conclusion, assassin snails are very easy to keep and care for. You can add these snails to your existing aquarium if the correct environment and habitat are made. 

Furthermore, ensure that the tank condition is always clean for these snails to live an entire, healthy life. Despite being small, these species will have a significant presence in your tank. 

Assassin snails are also used as pest controller snails. These snails will attack and kill any tiny snails in your tank but will not harm your fish. 

One look Care guide

Scientific nameClea Helena
Common nameAssassin Snail
Care levelEasy
Reef CompatibleSandy Substrates, Adaptable
Native toBuccinidae
Type (soft or hard coral)Hard 
Color Brown and Yellow strips
Tank size10 Gallons
Preferred temperatureTemperatures between 70-82F,
Other water parameters (ammonia, etc.)It is recommended to also keep the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels at 0ppm. Make sure that regular water changes are conducted. that will help to keep the nitrate levels low. Be sure that the water which the snails stay in is regularly cleaned and well filtered to get proper oxygen.
Preferred salinitypH Levels: 6.5 to 7.5Water Hardness: 2 – 15 dKH
Size1 Inch
Growth rate3 to 4 months
Temperament Peaceful
Recommended tank matesCherry Barbs, Celestial Danios, Neon Tetras, Guppies, Gourami like Dwarfs or Pearls, Rainbowfish or Angelfish, Corydoras catfish, and Obocinclus catfish
Preferred foodFish flakes, Blood Worms Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, Hikari Sinking Carnivore Pellets, Tetramin Plus Tropical Flakes, or other protein-rich supplementary foods. These snails even will savage any dead fish in the tank. But these snails will prefer to eat trumpet snails over any Fish Flakes anytime.
Feeding frequencyIt is entirely dependent on the size of the prey that the assassin snail consumes. Usually, an assassin snail eats 1 to 3 snails per 3 days.
breedingYou will not have any issues breeding these species in captivity 
Price2$ to 5$
Lifespan2 to 3 years
Read Next: Cobra Guppy (Poeciliia reticulata) Ultimate Care Guide

About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.