Assassin Snail – Care, Habitat, Tank Mates, Feeding & Full Details!

The Clea Helena, also known as the Assassin Snail, is a freshwater snail species renowned for its carnivorous nature. Native to Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia, these intriguing creatures have adapted well to aquarium environments, where they serve an essential role in controlling the snail population.

Characterized by their distinct yellow and black banded shells that taper into a conical shape, they can grow up to 1.5 inches at maturity.

The snail’s robust, ovate-conical shell is protected by an operculum, a plate-like door that keeps the snail safe within its shell.

Assassin Snails have a solitary nature, generally carrying out their activities individually. However, on rare occasions, they can coordinate with other snails of their kind to take down larger prey.

Belonging to the family Buccinidae, Assassin Snails have gained considerable popularity in the world of aquarists. Their distinctive patterns, their role as natural pest controllers, and their ease of care make them a fascinating addition to any freshwater aquarium.

We provide detailed and well-researched information to make your aquarium thrive.

This time, we delve deep into the intriguing world of the Assassin Snail (Clea Helena), a spectacular choice for aquarium owners, due to its unique characteristics and beneficial role in maintaining equilibrium within the aquarium ecosystem.

Quick Stats About Assassin Snail

Scientific name: Anentome helenas
Common names: Assassin snail, killer snail, bumblebee snail
Distribution: Southeast Asia
Size: 0.8–1.25 inches on average
Life expectancy: 2-3 years
Color: Light beige body with specks, brown and yellow striped shell
Diet: Carnivore
Temperament: Peaceful
Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
Temperature: 70–80°F (21–28°C)
pH: 7.0–8.0
Hardness: 8–15 dGH
Care level: Easy

Assassin Snail Appearance

The Assassin Snail, scientifically known as Clea Helena, is a captivating spectacle. Each snail carries a distinct, banded pattern, adding a splash of mesmerizing hues to your aquatic environment.

Their unique yellow and dark banded shell spirals in an attractive conical shape, making this creature a standout addition to your tank.

These snails typically mature to a size of about 1.5 inches, but their size isn’t the only aspect that makes them fascinating.

They also possess an operculum, a unique feature that acts as a door to the snail’s shell, providing an extra layer of protection for the snail within.

Besides their visually striking appearance, Assassin Snails are also known for their behavior. They are primarily diurnal, meaning they actively hunt and feed during the day.

Interestingly, these solitary snails have occasionally been observed joining forces with their kind to bring down larger prey—a testament to their adaptability and survival instincts.

Natural Habitat of Assassin Snail

Naturally, Assassin Snails are native to the tropical freshwaters of Southeast Asia, found in the waters that surround countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

These versatile creatures have adapted remarkably well to their freshwater homes, where they’re typically found in bodies of moving water such as rivers, streams, and canals.

They exhibit a strong preference for a soft substrate, which not only allows them to hide from predators and ambush their prey, but also serves as an essential part of their natural habitat in the wild.

Origin and Distribution

Clea Helena, the Assassin Snail, boasts a rich history rooted in Southeast Asia’s vibrant aquatic ecosystems.

Known for their prowess in adapting to a variety of environments, these snails have found homes in freshwater settings around the world, transcending their tropical origins.

From their natural homes in the rivers and streams of Asia, these snails have been globally distributed to serve a specific purpose in aquatic tanks—predominantly, to control the overpopulation of other snail species.

Their spread across different continents serves as a testament to their adaptability, tenacity, and unique utility in maintaining a balanced aquatic environment.

Growth, Size & Lifespan of Assassin Snail

As aforementioned, the Assassin Snail, once mature, reaches a size of approximately 1.5 inches. Their conical, banded shell makes them easily distinguishable from other snail species, adding a splash of aesthetic value to your tank.

These snails, when given the right care and environment, can have a lifespan of up to five years, offering long-term companionship for your aquarium.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that their longevity can be influenced significantly by the conditions within the tank, with factors like water quality, temperature, diet, and the overall health of the aquarium environment playing a critical role.

Assassin Snails exhibit moderate growth rates and start showing signs of maturity around the age of one year.

Their growth may also be influenced by the availability of food, with a sufficient supply of prey contributing to healthy growth and development.

Aiming to provide the best possible life for your Assassin Snail requires attention to detail and a deep understanding of their needs and preferences.

Through meticulous care and responsible tank management, you can ensure that your Assassin Snail not only survives but thrives, contributing to a healthy, vibrant, and balanced aquatic environment.

Assassin Snail Behavior and Temperament

The Assassin Snail’s behavior is just as intriguing as its name suggests. These snails, despite their small size, are efficient predators, earning them the name “Assassin.”

They’re quite unique in the snail world due to their carnivorous diet.

In terms of temperament, Assassin Snails are stealthy, patient, and cunning predators. They primarily remain hidden during the day in the substrate of your aquarium, emerging mainly when they detect food.

Often, you will find them lying in wait, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting meal. This behavior may make your tank appear less active during the day, but rest assured, your Assassin Snails are doing their job.

However, don’t let their predatory nature scare you off. Despite their hunting traits, Assassin Snails are non-aggressive towards other tank mates, like fish or shrimp.

They show their hunting prowess when dealing with pest snails, keeping their population in check.

Tank Setup For Assassin Snail

Creating a comfortable and stimulating environment for your Assassin Snails is crucial to their survival and overall well-being.

This section provides a detailed guide on setting up the perfect tank for your Assassin Snails, covering all aspects from size to feeding.

Tank Size

Tank size matters for Assassin Snails. A minimum of a 10-gallon tank is advisable as it provides enough space for the snails to move, hunt, and hide.

Remember, while these snails are relatively small, they need room to thrive, just like any other aquatic creature.


Substrate plays a critical role in an Assassin Snail’s habitat. They prefer a soft, sandy substrate where they can easily burrow and hide.

Gravel is an acceptable alternative, as long as it’s fine and doesn’t have sharp edges that can harm the snails.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Assassin Snails appreciate a tank with plenty of hiding spots. Adding live plants, rocks, driftwood, and cave-like decorations will provide them with ample spaces to hide and hunt, replicating their natural environment.

Water Parameters

Maintaining optimal water conditions is key for the health of your Assassin Snails. They prefer freshwater with a pH of 7 to 8, a hardness of 8-12 dKH, and a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Regular water changes and testing will ensure these parameters remain stable.

Filtration and Aeration

A high-quality filter is important to keep the water clean and free from toxins. Furthermore, an air pump can add extra oxygen and promote water movement, mimicking the flowing rivers where Assassin Snails naturally live.


Assassin Snails do not have specific lighting needs. However, proper lighting will not only showcase the beauty of these snails but also support the growth of live plants in the tank.

Tank Mates

Despite being predators of other snails, Assassin Snails are peaceful cohabitants with most fish and shrimp species. They are best paired with non-aggressive species that won’t try to eat them.


A healthy diet for Assassin Snails mainly includes other smaller snails, but they will also feed on protein-based foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and sinking carnivore pellets.

Supplementing their diet can ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

Assassin Snails are a fascinating addition to any freshwater aquarium. Their unique behavior and predatory nature, combined with their vibrant shells, make them a star in any aquatic setup.

Understanding their behavior and setting up their habitat correctly will ensure they lead a healthy and productive life in your tank.

Tank Maintenance of Assassin Snail

Proper tank maintenance is vital for keeping your Assassin Snails healthy and active.

Consistent maintenance not only ensures a clean environment but also allows you to observe your snails’ behavior closely, enabling early detection of potential issues.

This comprehensive section will walk you through the key steps for effective tank maintenance for Assassin Snails.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are an essential part of tank maintenance. They prevent the buildup of harmful toxins, maintain the right water parameters, and provide a fresh environment for your snails.

For Assassin Snails, a weekly water change of about 20-25% of the tank’s volume is advisable. It’s best to use dechlorinated water, as chlorine can harm the snails.

Always ensure the new water’s temperature and pH level match that of the tank’s to avoid sudden shocks to the snails.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Over time, algae, waste, and leftover food can accumulate in the tank and on decorations, leading to poor water quality and health problems for your snails. To clean the tank, remove the decorations and gently scrub them with a soft brush under warm water.

For the tank itself, it’s best to use a gravel vacuum to clean the substrate without removing it. This will eliminate debris while causing minimal disturbance to your snails.

Remember, avoid using soap or detergents, as they can be harmful to your aquatic pets.

Filter Maintenance

The filter plays a vital role in maintaining water quality, so regular upkeep is necessary. Clean the filter regularly to remove trapped waste and prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.

Remember to rinse the filter media with tank water and not tap water, as the latter can kill beneficial bacteria.

Monitor Fish Health

Monitoring the health of your Assassin Snails is an integral part of tank maintenance. Regularly check your snails for signs of illness or stress, such as reduced activity, change in color, or refusal to eat.

Healthy Assassin Snails should be active, especially when food is available, and their shells should be free from cracks or discoloration. If you notice any issues, it may indicate poor water quality or disease.

Tank maintenance may seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential for the well-being of your Assassin Snails.

By providing them with a clean, stable environment, you will help ensure they lead healthy, active lives, providing you with hours of observation and enjoyment.

Acclimating Assassin Snail

When introducing Assassin Snails into your aquarium, acclimation is a key step.

Proper acclimation ensures that the snails can adjust to the new water conditions in your tank, reducing the stress of the transition and increasing their chance of thriving in the new environment.

Follow these steps for successful acclimation:

  1. Float the Bag: Start by floating the sealed bag containing the snails in your aquarium. This allows them to slowly adjust to the temperature of your tank. Usually, this should take around 15-20 minutes.

  2. Open the Bag and Add Aquarium Water: After the temperature acclimation, carefully open the bag and add a small amount of aquarium water. This helps your snails get accustomed to the water chemistry of your tank. Repeat this process every 10 minutes for about an hour.

  3. Transfer the Snails: Finally, use a net to gently transfer the snails into the aquarium. Avoid pouring water from the bag into your tank, as it might contain contaminants.

Always remember to monitor your new additions for a few days after acclimation to ensure they’re adjusting well.

Assassin Snail Diet and Feeding

The Assassin Snail, true to its name, is a carnivore with a preference for other snails, making it an excellent natural solution for controlling overpopulation in your aquarium.

Below we delve into their diet and feeding practices:

The Primary Diet

Assassin Snails primarily feed on other snails. Their favorites include Malaysian Trumpet Snails, Ramshorn Snails, and Pond Snails. They use their specialized mouthparts to extract the snail from the shell.

Alternative Food Sources

If other snails are not plentiful in the tank, Assassin Snails can eat other food sources.

This includes:

  • Protein-Based Foods: They can consume protein-based foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and fish flakes.

  • Dead Fish or Shrimp: In the absence of live prey, Assassin Snails will also scavenge and eat dead fish or shrimp.

Feeding Frequency and Considerations

As nocturnal creatures, Assassin Snails usually hunt and feed at night. In a tank with a healthy snail population, they will find enough food on their own. If you’re using them for pest control, monitor the snail population to ensure they always have enough to eat. Supplement their diet with protein-based foods if necessary.

Keep in mind that while Assassin Snails can help control an overpopulation of pest snails, they should never be seen as the only solution.

Balanced tank conditions and responsible feeding practices will always be the best way to maintain a healthy aquarium.

Ideal Tank Mates for Assassin Snail

Picking the right tank mates for your Assassin Snails can make a huge difference in their health and happiness.

Here’s a comprehensive list to guide your choices:

Assassin Snails do well with a range of peaceful community tank fish and other invertebrates. Here are some excellent companions for your snails:

  1. Betta Fish: Betta fish are generally peaceful towards snails and add vibrant colors to your tank.

  2. Neon Tetras: Small and non-aggressive, Neon Tetras won’t disturb your Assassin Snails.

  3. Cherry Shrimp: These tiny crustaceans are ideal tank mates. They share similar water parameters and diet preferences.

  4. Corydoras Catfish: Known for their peaceful demeanor, Corydoras Catfish make excellent companions for Assassin Snails.

  5. Harlequin Rasboras: They are another peaceful species that won’t bother your snails.

  6. Guppies: With their active but peaceful nature, Guppies make great tank mates.

  7. Platies: Platies are friendly, easy-going, and will coexist well with your Assassin Snails.

  8. Ghost Shrimp: These small invertebrates share the bottom space happily with Assassin Snails.

Tank Mates to Avoid

Not all creatures play nice with Assassin Snails. You should avoid keeping them with:

  1. Puffer Fish: Known snail-eaters, Puffer Fish are a danger to your Assassin Snails.

  2. Cichlids: Many Cichlid species are known to snack on snails, so they’re best avoided.

  3. Loaches: Certain types, like Clown Loaches, love to eat snails.

  4. Crayfish: These can harm or even kill your Assassin Snails.

  5. Goldfish: They may attempt to eat smaller Assassin Snails.

Assassin Snail – Detailed Guide Care Diet and Breeding 2

Breeding Assassin Snail and Fry Care

Assassin Snails are unique among freshwater species because they’re not prolific breeders. Here’s a detailed guide on breeding and caring for their fry:

Breeding Process

  1. Pairing and Mating: Assassin Snails are dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female individuals. The male and female will mate without much encouragement if the conditions are right.

  2. Egg Laying: After mating, the female lays tiny, individual eggs in the sand or substrate.

  3. Incubation Period: The eggs will incubate for about a month or so, depending on water conditions.

Fry Care

Once the young Assassin Snails hatch, they’re surprisingly self-sufficient. Still, there are some care tips you should follow:

  1. Feeding: Fry will feed off the same diet as adults. They’ll scavenge for leftover food and tiny organisms in the substrate. However, in a tank devoid of other snails, consider supplementing their diet with protein-based foods.

  2. Safety: While Assassin Snails are generally safe from being eaten by most tank mates, extremely small fry may be at risk. Consider a separate breeding tank if this is a concern.

  3. Growth Monitoring: Keep an eye on their growth and health. Assassin Snails grow slowly, but any stagnation could indicate a problem.

Remember that overpopulation is not an issue with Assassin Snails, unlike many other snail species. Their slower reproduction rate makes them easy to manage in the right aquarium setting.

Signs of Stress in Assassin Snail

Even with the best of care, Assassin Snails may experience stress. Identifying these signs early helps keep your snails healthy. Symptoms of stress include:


While Assassin Snails are not the most active creatures, they should still move around. A stressed snail may stay in one spot for an extended period.

Retraction into the Shell

If your snail is continually retracted into its shell and isn’t coming out, even at feeding time, this could be a sign of stress.

Changes in Shell

A dull or pitted shell may indicate stress or poor health. This could be due to imbalanced water parameters affecting shell growth.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Assassin Snail

Here are some common health issues that Assassin Snails may face, along with their treatments:

Shell Issues

Problems with shells are common and often caused by low calcium levels. Supplementing your snail’s diet with calcium-rich foods can aid in shell recovery.


Assassin Snails can sometimes be infested with parasites. If you suspect a parasitic infection, consult a specialist for advice on treatment.

Poor Water Quality

Like most aquatic creatures, Assassin Snails are sensitive to their water environment. Regular water changes and parameter checks can help avoid issues related to poor water quality.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining a healthy aquarium doesn’t need to be complicated.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Consistent Cleaning: Regular water changes and tank cleanings are crucial for maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

  2. Check Water Parameters: Ensure the temperature, pH, and hardness of your tank are within the optimal range for your creatures.

  3. Feed a Balanced Diet: Provide a variety of foods to ensure all nutrients are being met.

  4. Monitor Tank Mates: Ensure that all inhabitants are compatible with one another to prevent stress or conflict.

Should You Get an Assassin Snail for Your Aquarium?

In conclusion, Assassin Snails can make a fantastic addition to many aquariums. They are intriguing to observe, useful for controlling pest snail populations, and fairly easy to care for.

However, they do have specific needs and aren’t suited to every tank. If you can meet their requirements for water parameters, diet, and peaceful tank mates, an Assassin Snail could be the perfect new addition to your aquarium.

But as always, it’s essential to research thoroughly before adding any new creature to your tank. Your pets’ wellbeing is worth the effort.

Conservation Status of Assassin Snail

As of today’s data, Assassin Snails (Clea helena) don’t have a specific conservation status. Their spread in aquariums worldwide is quite extensive, and they remain relatively easy to find within the hobby.

While their exact population in the wild isn’t fully known, there are no current significant concerns about their status.

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Availability & Pricing

Assassin Snails have made a name for themselves in the aquarium world for their pest-eating habits. Consequently, they’re widely available in pet stores, aquarium shops, and through online vendors.

Price can vary depending on size and quantity, but you can typically find Assassin Snails for a reasonable cost. As with any pet purchase, check the health of the snails before buying.

Frequently Asked Questions About Assassin Snail

Many questions arise when considering Assassin Snails for your aquarium.

Let’s address some of the most common ones:

Q – Are Assassin Snails Harmful to Fish?

Ans – No, Assassin Snails are not harmful to fish. They mainly feed on other snails and won’t bother fish unless the fish are already weak or deceased.

Q – How Fast Do Assassin Snails Reproduce?

Ans – Compared to other freshwater snails, Assassin Snails breed relatively slowly. It can take several weeks to months for them to lay eggs and for the young to emerge.

Q – Can Assassin Snails Live with Shrimp?

Ans – Assassin Snails usually don’t pose a threat to adult shrimp but might prey on baby shrimp. It’s best to consider this when planning your tank’s inhabitants.


In conclusion, Assassin Snails are a fascinating addition to any freshwater aquarium, particularly for aquarists dealing with a pest snail problem.

They’re fairly easy to care for, provided that their dietary needs are met, and the water parameters are properly maintained. These snails have an intriguing behavior and make an interesting talking point for any aquarium display.

Remember to introduce them carefully to new environments, keep their tank clean and well-maintained, and they should thrive, adding life and interest to your aquarium for years to come.