Will Assassin Snails Eat Nerite Snails?

Assassin Snails Eat Nerite Snails

Will Assassin Snails Eat Nerite Snails?

Species compatibility is a major concern for aquarium hobbyists, as they must consider which snail species are suitable tank mates. Among the popular choices for aquariums are Nerite snails and assassin snails. However, a crucial question remains: will assassin snails devour their nerite counterparts?

Assassin snails will eat nerite snails that are smaller or equal in size, making them unsuitable tank mates. Assassins have demonstrated pack tendencies, collaborating as a team to take down larger nerite snails. Ensure proper feeding and tank setup to reduce the likelihood of aggressive behavior.

In this article, I will analyze the compatibility between assassins and nerite snails. I will explore why assassin snails eat nerite snails, discuss other snail species preyed upon by assassins, and provide tips on preventing assassins from preying on nerites.

Why Do Assassin Snails Eat Nerite Snails?

Below is an interesting video showing a nerite snail devouring a bladder snail

Assassin snails prey on nerite snails simply because the latter are defenseless.

Assassin snails, along with other snails in the Neogastropoda order, are opportunistic carnivores. While they don’t consume plants, they have a strong appetite for animal matter.

On the other hand, nerite snails are docile omnivores that primarily feed on algae. In nature, the opportunistic carnivore always targets the helpless omnivore, which explains why assassin snails voraciously consume other snail species and even vulnerable fish.

Nerite snails are no exception to the appetite of assassin snails. A single assassin snail will attack and kill nerite snails that are smaller in size.

As the population of smaller nerite snails diminishes, the assassins turn their attention to larger ones. Unfortunately, nerite snails have no chance of survival against assassin snails.

What Other Snails Will Assassin Snails Eat?

Assassin snails have a wide appetite and will consume any freshwater snail that is omnivorous, herbivorous, or detritivorous. Therefore, the following should not be tank mates for assassin snails:

However, it’s important to note that assassin snails typically target smaller-sized snails that they can handle easily.

Assassin snails are relatively small, with an average diameter of 0.7 inches (1.7 cm) and a body length of 1 inch (2.5 cm). They may be intimidated by the larger size of snails, such as nerite and mystery snails, which can grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) in shell diameter and 4 inches (8 cm) in length.

If assassin snails want to take down a larger-sized snail, they will need to work together.

Preventing Assassin Snails From Eating Nerite Snails

While there is no foolproof method to prevent assassin snails from preying on nerite snails, implementing proper feeding practices and creating a friendly tank setup may help

Proper Assassin Snail Feeding

Ensuring that your assassin snails are well-fed can reduce their motivation to chase after nerite snails and other tank inhabitants. It is crucial to understand that assassin snails are carnivorous and do not derive pleasure from the following as omnivorous snails do:

  • Algae wafers
  • Blanched vegetables
  • Bottom feeder pellets

Consider feeding your assassin snails with the following:

  • Worms
  • Water fleas
  • Fresh meat slices

In general, protein-rich supplements will entice assassin snails. I recommend using fish flakes as the primary supplemental food for assassin snails.

Fish flakes comprise protein-rich ingredients obtained from smaller aquatic organisms with high bone density and oil content. Common ingredients include:

  • Fish meal
  • Squid meal
  • Earthworms
  • Spirulina
  • Assorted minerals

I highly recommend the OSI Marine Lab Marine Flake Fish Food as an excellent choice for fish flakes. These flakes are specially formulated with high-quality plant and animal proteins and oils to meet the dietary needs of fish and other tank inhabitants. Additionally, the color-enhancing pigments in the flakes make them attractive to fish and snails.

Additionally, ensure that your assassin snails receive sufficient calcium in their diet. Energy balls can be used to provide both energy and calcium to your snails.

I recommend the SunGrow Snail and Crayfish Energy Balls from Amazon. These energy balls are specially designed to meet the energy and calcium requirements of various tank invertebrates. These energy balls support proper shell and muscle development while serving as decorative elements in the aquarium.

By nourishing your assassin snails adequately and providing them with calcium, you can rejuvenate them and reduce the likelihood of them preying on nerite snails.

Two essential tips for feeding assassin snails are:

  • Feed them at night: Assassin snails are most active at night, so feeding them at that time allows them to feed more effectively.
  • Introduce small amounts of food periodically: providing small portions helps minimize the risk of excessive detritus in the tank, which can lead to ammonia spikes. Any unconsumed food should be removed within six hours before introducing fresh food.

Favorable Tank Setup

Establishing a tank environment that minimizes the risk of assassin snails preying on nerite snails involves careful consideration.

Firstly, ensure that your tank is sufficiently spacious to comfortably accommodate both your nerite and assassin snail populations. A general guideline is to provide 2.5 gallons of water per snail.

Larger tanks promote better water quality and reduce the likelihood of pets coming into direct contact and colliding. In larger tanks, snails can navigate their surroundings, avoiding potential conflicts with other tank inhabitants.

Secondly, it is important to provide a suitable tank substrate. Assassin snails are burrowers, so a combination of soft sand and medium-sized gravel serves as an ideal substrate.

I recommend using GloFish Aquarium Gravel, which is both soft and visually appealing. This fluorescent-accented gravel comes in a variety of colors that snails find attractive.

Incorporating driftwood and bogwood into your tank setup can be beneficial. However, be cautious about the tannins released by the wood, as they can significantly increase the acidity of your tank water.

For tropical aquarium tanks, I recommend using Dr. Moss Aquarium Small Malaysian Driftwood. These natural wood branches are rustic and untamed, creating visual interest for fish and snails to explore. You can even create a maze-like structure within the tank by arranging several pieces of driftwood together.

The rugged edges and crevices of the wood also serve as excellent hiding spots for fish and snails to retreat to.

Closing Remarks

Assassin snails are carnivorous creatures that feed on other snail species in the tank. They will readily consume nerite snails, regardless of their size. Therefore, it is not advisable to keep these two freshwater snail species together.

However, properly feeding assassin snails and creating an engaging tank environment can reduce the likelihood of them preying on nerite snails. When snails are well-fed, they have less incentive to bother other tank inhabitants.

Additionally, by designing an interesting tank setup, you can keep the snails occupied and minimize interactions between them.



  • Paul Odoteh

    Paul Odoteh is an established writer and editor with nearly 10 years of experience in writing and editing. He holds a bachelor's degree in IT and has written for numerous publications and individuals. Currently, Odoteh is dedicated to expanding his blog, SnailPedia.com, which was inspired by his passion for owning an aquarium.

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