Assassin Snails and Shrimp Dietary Insights

Assassin Snails and Shrimp: Dietary Insights

Assassin snail keepers claim that these snails interact intriguingly with other members of their tank. These are naughty creatures that are always bothering their friends in the aquariums. In fact, other snails and fish always become worried whenever someone adds assassins to their tanks. The threat of these snails is real! However, he’s another curiosity of shrimp lovers – do assassin snails eat shrimp?

Assassin snails do eat shrimp. These snails are carnivorous, and they attack shrimp in many cases, particularly if pest snails are not available. Importantly, they prey on smaller invertebrates (shrimp and their babies). In fact, assassins are opportunistic predators, and many aquarists ignore the possibility that assassin snails can consume their shrimp.

Do you feel your assassin snails are smaller than your big shrimp, and they cannot eat it? What a myth! Although a single or two assassins cannot slaughter your shrimp, an army of assassins can. So, if you don’t know what the connection is between assassins and shrimp in the same tank, let’s follow in the footsteps of this article to find out more!

Do assassin snails eat shrimp?

According to the experience of a few Reddit fellows, assassin snails do eat shrimp. Although it’s rare and many claim that “NO, my assassin snail is doing fine with shrimp; they do not eat shrimp,” it’s clear that “they do eat shrimp.” This is a very common fact about snails they eat what’s vulnerable or available to them.

However, healthy and slightly bigger shrimp are too fast for assassin snails to attack. Moreover, many aquarists claim that their Amano shrimps are doing well with assassin snails. But the population of these assassin snails is always limited.

That’s why they do not attack other tankmates (fish/shrimp) if food (pest snails, algae, etc.) is available to them. I think you should watch this YouTube video from Flip Aquatics’s channel. I found it very interesting because all the myths about “Do assassin snails eat shrimp?” are clear.

Why do assassin snails attack shrimp?

There are many reasons why assassin snails attack shrimp. Let’s see a few of them:

  • First, it’s obvious that assassin snails need something to meet their nutritional needs. So, if their favorite food items are not available, what would they do? They will eat what’s available to them. That’s why, sometimes, they eat shrimp.
  • Shrimps are often targeted because they are more vulnerable during the molting stage. Assassins take this opportunity and attack them (even if algae and pest snails are available to them).
  • In confined spaces, assassin snails exhibit territorial behavior. They perceive shrimp as intruders in their space.
  • Shrimps often get injured or weak; the assassin snails eat them. It’s in their nature that they attack the shrimp.

What are the other reasons you think assassin snails attack shrimp? Please share with me and with your fellow readers.

How do assassin snails hunt shrimp?

Assassin Snails eat Shrimp

Here are the two strategies of assassin snails that I saw them using on shrimp and other prey:


Assassin snails are known as intelligent hunters due to their scavenging behavior. They are pro in using scent and touch to locate their prey. They have a keen sense of smell and can detect chemical signals released by other animals, like snails and shrimp.

Once they locate a potential target, assassin snails use their extendable proboscis and sense the environment. When hunting shrimp, these snails approach slowly and use their beaks to explore and capture the prey. The proboscis acts like a flexible tube. It helps them reach into crevices and tight spaces.

While they are more focused on hunting other snails, if a shrimp is small or vulnerable, it could become a target. However, here is another worth noting fact about assassin snails. They are generally considered peaceful towards larger tankmates, but individual behavior can vary.

Ambush Attack:

The most frequent action of assassin snails is known as an ambush attack. They know how to burrow themselves beneath the substrate and wait for the shrimp to get closer to them. As soon as the shrimp get close to them (unintentionally, intentionally, or out of curiosity), the assassin snails catch them.

Crawl and Catch:

When assassin snails are in the mood for a crawl-and-catch strategy, they skirt across their substrate and pursue the shrimps. Whenever they find the chance to see the shrimp, they subdue the target with their foot. Thus, they know how to devour their caught shrimp with the help of their eating aperture.

Use of Toxins:

You would have heard about the fact that assassin snails use toxins to immobilize shrimp and other prey. But, I didn’t find any evidence to support this fact. This is because if they use toxins, they are hesitant to catch bigger shrimp. Why don’t they overpower them?

Furthermore, it is likely that they use a toxin because many aquarists report that they see their shrimp okay one day, but when they add assassins, the shrimp begin to die and release a white fluid. So, the possibility that “Do assassin snails use toxins to overpower shrimps or not?” is 50 percent, respectively.

Fun Fact!

It is said that all assassins do not eat shrimp. Similarly, some assassins eat a variety of shrimp. They don’t like to prey on a specific species of shrimp but on their favorite ones. Every kind of shrimp is not their kind!

What are the benefits of assassin snails eating shrimp?

There is no doubt that the population of shrimp is increasing rapidly. That’s why some assassin snails prefer to stay with them. As assassin snails are kept in aquariums to control pest snail populations, they can also control the overpopulation of shrimp.

I think it benefits the aquarists because assassin snails clean the tank. If any shrimp die, the assassin snails eat their dead bodies. Even those individual assassins who do not like to eat live shrimp start preying on dead ones.

Thus, the assassin snails help to prevent water quality issues. Additionally, the assassin snails benefit nutritionally from the leftover shrimp. Hence, the ecosystem of the aquariums remains attractive, healthy, and balanced.

Related article: Do rabbit snails eat plants?

Can assassin snails live with shrimp in the sand tank?

Although many successful aquarists’ reviews suggest that you can house assassin snails with shrimp, there is no guarantee that an accident will not occur. It can happen that they will live together by preying on the same food you gave them. It can also happen that the assassins start attacking them.

Therefore, it would be beneficial if you took some safety precautions and managed to keep them in the same environment. The following shrimp species are recommended by aquarists for keeping with assassin snails:

  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • Viper Shrimp

I believe that the larger shrimp will be far more important than the assassins if you decide to keep them with them. Lastly, I’m repeating again that these are safety precautions. It would be best if you observed them personally. Otherwise, you can come across a horrible scene between assassin snails and shrimps!


Will Assassin snails eat baby cherry shrimp?

Yes, assassin snails will eat baby cherry shrimp. But, as I have mentioned before, it happens rarely. For example, how can assassins hunt a baby cherry shrimp if it’s fast? Isn’t there any way? ~ Source

Do assassin snails eat shrimp eggs?

There is a big controversy about whether assassin snails really eat shrimp eggs or not. This is due to the ever-changing feeding habits of assassins. But yes, assassin snails eat shrimp eggs. Consider watching this video as proof that a poor shrimp failed to save its egg.

Can assassin snails catch my shrimp?

Yes, assassin snails can catch your shrimp. Here is the video footage of an assassin snail hunting an innocent shrimp. If you are planning to keep assassin snails with shrimp, provide them with hiding places. It will reduce the chances of aggression and predation.

What are the problems with assassin snails eating shrimp?

Shrimps are very fast and conscious animals. They are superbly fast at fleeing whenever they feel threatened (have a strong 6th sense). On the other side, assassin snails are very slow. They either stay “stop” for hours or move at “super duper slow” speed. Imagine that the chances of assassin snails catching the shrimp are very low.

Conclusion of “Do Assassin Snails Eat Shrimp?”

So, the delicate conversation on the topic, “Do Assassin Snails Eat Shrimp?” concludes. Assassin snails need a high-protein diet. If they don’t get it from food given by the aquarists and tank keepers, they always try to catch shrimp mates. Contrarily, shrimp also start eating the eggs of assassin snails. I mean, shrimp try to control the overpopulation of assassins.

Thus, the symbiotic relationship between assassin snails and shrimp within an aquarium presents a multifaceted set of benefits. Plus, both can contribute to the well-being of both the tank and its diverse inhabitants if the aquarists give them proper food.

Guys, if you have any specific queries, kindly ask in the comments section. I would be happy to answer that. And thanks for reading this guide.