Assassin Snails (Clea helena)
Assassin Snails (Clea helena) are one of the most useful animals in the aquarium hobby.
To demonstrate an example of the Assassin Snail's prowess, we have kept a 30 gallon tank that was completely overrun with about 200 unwanted pest snails, and a crew of 15 "assassins" demolished them within a couple of weeks. They eat all other types of snails that are their size or smaller, but they will not harm snails that are larger (such as Mystery Snails, Giant Sulawesi Snails, and larger Nerite Snails). However, large groups of Assassin Snails have been known to gang up on a larger snail and take it down, so caution should be exercised when keeping these, even with larger snails. They are safe to keep with fish, most invertebrates, live plants, and other aquarium inhabitants because their preferred meal are snails. But some caution needs to be taken when housing them with dwarf shrimp. There is a slight risk of an assassin snail eating a dwarf shrimp from time to time. They would much prefer to eat snails, but if given the opportunity there is a chance they could get a shrimp. So caution must be used when housing with other snails and dwarf shrimp.
As an added bonus, Assassin Snails are rather attractive in appearance. Due to their yellow and black/dark brown striping, they look fantastic on both light and dark-colored substrates. Their shells are spiral-shaped and taper down to a point at the end. Their bodies are an iridescent, almost translucent white color and consist of a long Proboscis (a sucking mouthpart, similar to a nose) that they use to drag themselves around, as well as two eyes underneath two tentacles.
We ship younger Assassin Snails that are about 1/4 to 1 inch in length, and they will grow to about 1 inch long as adults. Having good substrate is important with Assassin Snails, as they love to burrow in it; we recommend sand. As with all snails, these are very sensitive to copper, so we advise monitoring copper levels if tap water is used to fill the tank.
What We Like About These Snails:
- Obliterate pest snails
- Attractive striped coloration
- Safe with plants
- Does not bother most tankmates other than snails
Recommended Tank Parameters:
- Temperature: 68° - 75° F (20° - 24° C)
- pH: 6.5 - 8.0
- KH: 2 - 15 dKH
- Minimum Tank Size: 2 gallons per snail
Assassin Snail Care Guidelines:
- Diet: Carnivorous. Voraciously eats other snails and will often eat dead fish. If there are not enough small snails in the aquarium, their diet can be supplemented with fish flakes, blood worms, and other meaty foods.
- Social Behavior: Attacks other snails, but otherwise peaceful.
- Origin: Indonesia
- Average Adult Size: 1 inch (2.5 cm)
- Average Purchase Size: .25 - 1 inch (.6 - 2.5 cm)