Do you have an aquarium problem that no one can solve? Looking for an easy and effective solution?
Well, you should consider unloading a small fleet of Assassin Snails (Anentome helena).
These aquarium snails have a major appetite for nuisance snails and can help maintain your tank and keep it looking clean and pristine.
Read on for a detailed guide on setting up and caring for these rogue assassin gastropods!
|Common Name||Assassin Snail, Bumblebee Snail|
|Scientific Name||Anentome helena|
|Use||Aerating Soil, Snail Control, Pets|
|Adult Size||1.5 to 3 cm|
|Breeding Type||Egg Layer|
|Minimum Tank Size||10 Gallons|
What Are Assassin Snails?
Assassin Snails, scientifically known as Anentome helena, are a species of freshwater snail found in Tropical and Subtropical regions of Southeast Asia.
They belong to the family Buccinidae, of the class Gastropoda.
The common name “Assassin Snail” comes from their predatory nature, specifically their appetite for smaller snails in an environment.
They are a highly effective way to rid aquariums of unwanted snails.
What Do Assassin Snails Look Like?
Assassin Snails can grow up to 3cm long and have an elongated shell with a white to pale yellow body.
They have a pointed, cone-shaped shell, which moves in a downward spiral direction.
Benefits Of Using Assassin Snails
Anentome helena is one of the most beneficial critters you can add to your aquarium to help keep your ecosystem clean and pest-free.
With their small, striking shells, they are also a great decoration for any aquatic enclosure.
These snails are carnivorous and specialize in consuming various types of pest snails, eliminating a potentially difficult problem that can take up a lot of valuable time and resources to deal with.
They will also help to keep your tank clear of algae and keep decorative aquatic plants healthy by feasting on the algae.
These helpful snails are easy to care for and can quickly become a valuable and beloved addition to many freshwater setups.
Assassin Snail Facts
Anentome helena is a unique species of snail that are popular among aquarium hobbyists for their ability to control and reduce pest populations.
These nocturnal scavengers are primarily carnivorous, feeding on a number of small invertebrates.
With the right care and conditions, Assassin Snails can live for many years and grow more than an inch in size.
In captivity, they can be difficult to breed, but given the right temperatures and water conditions, they have a good chance of success.
Assassin Snails are found in Southeast Asia, and they can normally be found in the slow-moving rivers, lakes, and ponds in the region.
As a result, they are accustomed to soft, slightly acidic water with a temperature range of 64 to 82 degrees F.
Assassin Snails enjoy sandy aquatic soil and plenty of hiding spots.
These environments can be easy to recreate in home aquariums, as long as you provide their tank with the correct conditions.
In their native habitats, Assassin Snails tend to feed heavily on other snails and decomposed plants, scavenging the bottom of the water for small creatures and plants.
They can also feed on soft plant material such as algae and detritus that often accumulates in ponds and rivers.
As their digestive system is adapted to process snails, Assassin Snails are avid hunters and will feed on proteins such as snails and fish eggs.
Anentome helena is extremely docile, making them a great choice for community tanks.
They’ll peacefully coexist with fish, other larger invertebrates, and even peaceful snails.
However, Assassin Snails tend to stay away from aggressive tank mates, and will generally avoid them.
This makes them an ideal choice for tanks with territorial fish.
Assassin Snails are also perfectly safe for humans and other household pets.
They’ll never bite or attack humans and won’t cause harm to any species they can’t fit in their mouths.
Furthermore, their shells are very hard, meaning that they cannot be damaged by accidental handling.
Assassin Snails have a lifespan of up to 3 years with proper care. During this time, they are likely to reproduce and lay eggs.
Assassin Snails are not hermaphrodites, so unlike most gastropods, a single snail cannot produce a clutch of eggs without the need for a mate.
As Assassin Snail eggs may take 3-4 weeks to hatch, it is important to keep the water parameters and temperature consistent in order to maximize their chances of successful reproduction.
Anentome helena reproduces sexually. In order to mate, one male and one female snail are necessary.
During the mating process, the male Assassin Snail will use its thicker shell to protect his mate, usually positioning his body over the female and then releasing sperm through his siphon.
The female will, in turn, lay eggs in batches of about a dozen. The eggs will remain in the aquarium until the baby snails hatch and then the cycle will repeat itself.
To promote optimal egg laying, Assassin Snails require nutritious food, suitable water conditions, and plenty of oxygen.
Anentome helena should also have decorations such as rocks, plants, and driftwood in their environment as these give them plenty of places to hide and lay eggs.
Assassin Snails have low reproductive rates and can produce anywhere from 10 to 40 eggs at once, so it is important to take good care of your assassins in order to ensure successful mating and reproduction.
Where To Find Assassin Snails
Finding Assassin Snails can be a bit challenging since their shell patterns do well keeping them hidden in plain sight.
However, it is possible to find Assassin Snails in the wild, although I will reinstate it can be difficult.
To find them, look in places with lots of vegetation or in slower-moving bodies of water like marshes, ponds, and still creeks.
It may require some patience, as the snails are small and can be difficult to spot. Be sure to take precautions when collecting any wild-caught species.
They can also more easily be found for sale online from pet shops and aquariums, typically ranging on the lower end of the price structure.
Additionally, some areas may sell them in pet stores or fish markets. Be sure to check with the seller to make sure they are healthy and free of any diseases.
It’s also important to make sure they are free of any infection or disease before introducing them to your aquarium.
Assassin Snail Care
Caring for Assassin Snails involves setting up their habitat, and providing a suitable water environment and temperature.
You’ll want to consider choosing the appropriate food sources and supplement recommendations.
Spotting and treating common ailments will also be the key to making sure you’re providing them with the most optimal long-term care.
Anentome helena thrives in planted setups, as they feed on algae and decaying plant matter, making them ideal for helping with natural tank maintenance.
They should be kept in a freshwater aquarium, with a tank no smaller than 10 gallons.
Ideal water parameters will be a pH of 6.5-8, hardness of 4-10 dGH, and water temperature of 64-83 degrees Fahrenheit.
Adding plants, rocks, driftwood, and low aquatic lighting to the tank will help simulate their natural habitat and provide them with safety.
What Do Assassin Snails Eat?
Once you have set up the perfect Assassin Snail habitat, it is important to ensure they have a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.
You should feed them a variety of fresh, frozen, and dried foods. Here are some items they love to snack on:
- Live foods such as shrimp, plankton, blood worms, and glass worms
- Sinking pellets or algae wafers
- Fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, beans, and Brussels sprouts
- Frozen foods such as mollusks, worms, and fish flakes
- Dried foods such as shrimp pellets, spirulina flakes, and spirulina pellets
All of these should be offered in moderation and variety is key. Offer food in small amounts, no more than what they can eat in 5 minutes.
This will ensure that you don’t overload the tank and that Anentome helena gets a balanced diet.
If you’re more of an avid hobbyist like myself, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY aquatic snail food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.
Best Tankmates For Assassin Snails
Assassin Snails can be kept with other peaceful community fish, as they will not bother fish that are too large for them to eat.
As Anentome helena are predators and can break the shells of shrimp, they should not be kept with any small invertebrates, such as shrimp or small snails.
Instead, good tankmates for Assassin Snails include any peaceful fish that won’t bother them, such as Corydoras Catfish, Otocinclus Catfish, and Neon Tetra.
These fish can help keep your tank clean by eating the algae that Anentome helena leaves behind after hunting.
Additionally, Assassin Snails can also be kept with Bristlenose Plecos, as the Plecos will spare additional algae to feed them.
Assassin Snails can be a great addition to any aquatic vivarium setup and can help manage pest snail populations in a safe and effective way.
With proper care, these pet snails are easy to keep and can live long and healthy lives in your tank.
Following these tips and tricks, you can give Anentome helena the perfect environment they need to thrive.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, assassin snails typically do not feed on live fish. They prefer to eat other snails and sometimes small invertebrates such as shrimp or worms.
Assassin snails are slow breeders and their reproductive rate is slower compared to the snails they prey upon.
Assassin snails are not venomous. While they are called “assassin” snails because they prey on other snails, they do not use venom to kill their prey.
Instead, they use a sharp, extendable proboscis to penetrate and feed on the soft tissues of their prey. The proboscis is not harmful to humans or other animals and is primarily used for feeding purposes.
Assassin snails are not likely to overpopulate a tank because they reproduce at a slower rate compared to other snail species, and they are not aggressive or territorial.
However, their population can increase if there is an abundant food source, so it’s important to monitor their numbers and adjust their feeding accordingly.
Assassin snails primarily feed on other snails, but they can also consume other small invertebrates and dead animal matter if live prey is not available.
In an aquarium where there are no other snails, they may scavenge for other sources of food, such as leftover fish food or decaying plant matter, but they need a balanced and varied diet to keep them healthy.
Yes, assassin snails will gladly eat any full-grown snails.
Assassin snails do not eat algae, as they are primarily carnivorous.
While they may consume small amounts of algae along with other detritus in the aquarium, they are not effective algae eaters and should not be relied upon to control algae growth in a tank.
Assassin snails will typically lay their eggs on hard surfaces such as rocks or aquarium glass. The eggs are usually easy to spot and will hatch within a few days.
Assassin snails are called so because of their predatory behavior towards other snail species, which they actively hunt and consume using their unique proboscis.
They are popular among aquarists because they are effective at controlling populations of pest snails in aquariums without harming other aquatic species, and are relatively easy to care for and breed.