Do Assassin Snails Eat Algae? Secret Revealed

Snails have a reputation for agility. They’re masters at gobbling everything from leftovers and rotting meat to fish poop. Some snails, though, have dietary distinctions beyond just fragments. A case in point is the assassin snail – a notorious predator. 

But if they are hungry, do assassin snails eat algae and plants? It can be a weird question as their favorite food is just high-protein animals or frozen meat. In this post, we will bring this topic to the table. Off we go!

Do Assassin Snails Eat Algae?

Yes. They do. 

Carnivorous assassin snails require protein to survive. But if there are no protein sources in their ecosystem to meet their needs, they will eat algae. Still, this case is uncommon.

When they have been observed nibbling on plants like algae, this shows a lack of protein-rich foods in their diet.

You might be astonished to learn that some algae, such as blue-green and green algae, contain high protein levels (40 to 60 % of dry matter).

As a result, algae is their last resort during the famine as they cannot find other snails or dead materials to consume. Anyway, consuming it can’t fill their bellies, though.

What Is The Diet Of Assassin Snails?

Assassin Snail on rock

What They Can Eat

Snail adults feed on a range of wild invertebrates and debris, including small fish and carrion that they can capture using their tentacles. In other words, you can give them fish flesh and frozen, dead-fresh meat while they’re in captivity.

They also consume pest snails in the tank, aside from brine shrimp, snail eggs, water fleas, and bloodworms. These snails usually eat 1-2 pests snails daily, as a general rule. What’s more, occasionally feed your assassin snail protein-rich sinking wafers.

You may also add algae wafers, blanched vegetables (such as zucchini or cucumber), and boiled egg yolk to your snail’s diet to ensure that it has enough food to eat.

Meanwhile, snail babies eat plankton until they are big enough to hunt for larger prey. Once they have grown bigger, they will start to capture small invertebrates, such as tiny crayfish.

Because they are most active at night, feeding them in the evening is the best option.

What They Can’t Eat

They can’t eat or harm larger snails, like Giant Sulawesi Snails, Mystery Snails, and bigger Nerite Snails. Still, large assassin snail groups sometimes can gang up on a giant one and take it down.  

As stated, they do not like consuming plants, as they are predators. They just eat algae as an alternative protein source during the famine. 

A snail can’t actively hunt and kill healthy and alive fish or shrimp since they’re too speedy and robust to be caught by a snail. 

Not to mention, many species of shrimps and fish are larger than these snails. Snails can take in dead or about-to-die shrimp and fish instead. 

Algae Eater That Get On Well With Assassin Snails

Otocinclus catfish

Since these animals are carnivores, they aren’t a choice if your aquarium has an algae problem. So it’s better to seek an algae eater that can coexist with your snails in the fish tank. It’s good to go with an Otocinclus catfish! 

These famous and simple-to-keep “Oto” catfish are excellent for a small aquarium. Owing to their diminutive size, Otocinclus can access tiny crevices to tidy up algae inside.

Its size is roughly 1-2 inches, and its lifespan is between 3 and 5 years. This fish is adaptable to various freshwater communities with calm behavior.

You shouldn’t keep Otocinclus with large, aggressive species due to their small size. Instead, they favor hanging together in smaller groups of three or fewer comparable-sized fish for a peaceful environment.

Anyway, Otocinclus Catfish is a perfect tank companion as it gets along with your snails.


How To Know If A Snail Is Hungry?

How To Know If A Snail Is Hungry?

Even in a tank, these snails will actively seek out food since they are predators. Still, at a time, an animal can only consume a certain amount of food. So if it does not attack pest snails, it isn’t hungry yet.

It can be tricky to pinpoint when a snail is hungry if your tank is filled with algae wafers and pellets. This food abundance always satisfies their hunger.

What Tank Mates Are Great For Assassin Snails?

These snails may get along well with any aquarium setup as they are gentle while being predators. 

The optimum environment for them is a tank with calm, comparable-sized fish or invertebrates that won’t eat everything before the snails can touch some of it.

Some excellent tank mates for these snails are:

  • Dwarf Cichlids
  • Killifish
  • Freshwater Shrimp
  • Corydoras
  • Surface Dwelling Fish
  • Dwarf Otocinclus
  • Small community fish (danios, tetras, etc.)

What Tankmate Is Not A Good Fit For Assassin Snails?

Never add Plecostomus in a tank with assassin snails. Adult specimens can suck these snails out of their shells.

Aside from that, tank mates like giant catfish, giant cichlids, puffers, and cyprinids are not recommended since these fish can swallow snails entirely or crush them with their strong jaws and throat muscles. 

Are Assassin Snails Cannibal?

These snails only turn cannibal after a prolonged food deficit of months or years. They’ll have to eat whatever they can dig out from the substrate until then.

In fact, snails affixing themselves to one another is an affection gesture. Do not be too fret if you see this phenomenon. During intercourse, the female snail often dragged its mate for hours.

Are Assassin Snails Cannibal?

The Bottom Line

Do assassin snails eat algae? Carnivorous snails typically avoid plants like algae. Nonetheless, during a famine, they swallow anything they can find in their surroundings.

Algae, on the other hand, is rich in protein, which these killers can take into account to stay alive.

All in all, to prevent your pets from grazing them, try adding some pest snails, more of those algae wafers, or frozen meat timely.

Share the post with other assassin-snails lovers as well!