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Will An Assassin Snail Eat A Nerite Snail?

As the number of people within the fish keeping community continue to add snails to their aquariums, overpopulation becomes a more common problem and people look for ways to deal with a rapidly increasing snail population in their tanks.

With the trusty assassin snail being one of the most commonly recommended options for snail population control amongst fish keepers, it is easy to see why so many people reach out and ask questions about assassin snails eating nerite snails.

Assassin snails will eat nerite snails in huge numbers with small assassin snails still often having a go at adult nerite snails.

A fully grown assassin snail will often take on any nerite snail in your tank and eat them no matter its size offering a guaranteed way to control the population of your nerite snails in your tank for cheap.

You have to realize that the best option is usually to have a number of assassin snails of different sizes and ages as a larger, fully grown assassin snail is more likely to leave a small nerite snail and go for the larger ones.

This is where the smaller, younger assassin snails come in as they are more likely to eat the smaller nerite snails in your tank and although some of them will often still have a go at the larger nerite snails in your tank, they really are worth having due to being able to take out the smaller nerite snails that adult assassin snails will often overlook.

Will Assassin Snail Eat Nerite Snail?

Assassin snails will eat nerite snails of all sizes with assassin snails being somewhat fearless when it comes to the size of the prey snail that they will eat as they usually know that the majority of other snail species are essentially defenseless against them.

This is why some people will add smaller assassin snails as a core part of their nerite snail population control strategy with it often working well.

Another advantage of this method is that many of the younger assassin snails will be much cheaper than adult assassin snails helping to keep your costs down.

The younger assassin snails are also more likely to eat the eggs of the nerite snails in your tank too where as it is far less likely that adult assassin snails will actually eat the eggs of the nerite snails in your tank so they offer an additional benefit there too.

If you have a large number of adult nerite snails in your tank though, it may be much better to just add a number of adult assassin snails to ensure that they will take out the adult nerite snails.

There are a number of bottom dwelling fish such as plecos that will eat massive numbers of snail eggs that can be used to deal with the eggs if you do have to take that strategy but most people will go with a mix of adult and junior assassin snails to have the best of both worlds.

Can I Keep Assassin Snail With Nerite Snails?

We would never recommend that you keep an assassin snail in a tank with nerite snails that you want to keep as a pet as other species of snails are one of the main food sources for assassin snails.

You should always keep pet assassin snails in their own tanks or jars until you need them for population control as their natural instinct in a tank with other snail species will be to hunt.

We often see people on social media saying that assassin snails in tanks with large amounts of detritus and algae will only eat the detritus and algae and leave the other snails in the tank alone but this is not always correct.

Just because assassin snails are able to eat a large amount of other food sources, the age of the snail will come into play and there will always be a risk of your assassin snail attacking the other snails in your tank.

The younger the assassin snail is, the more likely it is to eat detritus, algae, and leftover food but this is not always the case.

The older an assassin snail is, the less likely it is to feed on plant-based food sources if there are other snails in the tank though but we always recommend that our readers take the safe path of only adding an assassin snail of any age to a tank when the assassin snail is expected to eat the other snails in the tank they are placed in for population control.

What Do I Do With The Shells Of The Nerite Snails?

Assassin snails will only eat the flesh of your nerite snails and leave their shell behind often resulting in a large number of empty shells in your aquarium after adding your assassin snails.

Thankfully, you can just pick the empty nerite snails out of your tank as a part of your regular tank maintenance and dispose of them in the trash as you would with any other non-biodegradable waste from your aquarium.

If you do use a substrate siphon hose for your tank maintenance then keep in mind that the smaller nerite snail shells can end up getting sucked into your gravel siphon and block the tube.

We have lost count of the number of people who have tried to remove the empty nerite snail shells with their gravel siphon but it’s just not worth the risk as a blockage from a small shell will often be a pain to clear and essentially render your gravel siphon useless.

Keep in mind that you will also need a plan for what to do with your assassin snails once the nerite snail population is under control too.

Many people don’t want to fully purge their aquariums of their nerite snails due to the benefits that they offer but if you leave your assassin snails in your tank then they will end up eating all of your nerite snails if they are given enough time.

Fish keepers with multiple tanks will usually have a mini tank or jar that they keep their assassin snails in until they need them to control the population of the other snails that they keep in their main tanks.


That brings our article going over if an assassin snail will eat a nerite snail or not to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you better understand that assassin snails will eat nerite snails and quickly get their population under control, even in a large tank with a small number of assassin snails. It is generally best to have a range of assassin snail sizes for the job too as different sized assassin snails will do slightly different jobs in the tank as we covered earlier in our article.