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Assassins - if you know you know!


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How often do those of us with a bit of experience in the hobby answer questions about pest snails? It's always the same: less food, bait/trap and remove, and ASSASSINS. 

For the doubters in the crowd, that don't appreciate how good assassins are at their job, see video below. 

A little about this setup: it's a 40 gallon breeder community, heavy on bottom feeders: large herds of kuhlis and salt and pepper cories, with a half dozen adolfoi. Also a breeding pair of bn plecos and a non-breeding pair of L397. Plus 5x dwarf neon rainbows and 12 rummies. Sand substrate, a variety of plants but not heavily planted. 

The tank is pretty much devoid of prey snails (in my home that includes ramshorns and pond snails, but this tank has never seen pond snails). But I do have a thriving daphnia colony that produces large numbers of baby ramshorns, which I collect and remove every now and then. Usually they go into this tank, as they did about 10 minutes before the video. 

It always amazes me how the area where the snails are dumped goes from no/few assassins to dozens in such a short time. They detect the new snails (by smell I assume), get on the go from wherever they are, gather en masse and gorge away. Outside of feeding time (assassin feeding time not regular feeding time), you might only see a few at a time, but in reality there are SO MANY. 😄

It's also worth noting that these assassins continue to thrive and breed on good qualify fish food, they don't only need snails as food. Their preferred egg laying substrate is my Hydro Pro sponge filter. Must have hundreds of eggs at any given time. 

I collect the assassins periodically and sell them to lfs, usually around 30 at a time. They're almost always in demand. 

Edited by TOtrees
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Assasins definitely work, they wiped out the mini ramshorn colony in my endler tub. I got me a group of 4 to try, and see how they breed there as my LFS requested me for babies.
However, when pest snails were gone, they also killed mystery snails too I believe. I have not seen them on action, but I blame them.

This is why I think they are cool yet limiting.  They might choose easier and smaller targets, but sustaining a diet of them with pest snails is very hard if they breed like that you say. To constantly sell a group of 30, you basically replace a colony of more helpful pest snails with carnivore not very helpful but money making assasins. And I am not okay to replace my snail keeping in every tank by risking a predator around. I tried before due to many people sayjng they are safe for big snails nerites and shrimp, but don’t trust them at all anymore

Also many people struggle to find new homes to their fish even for free. So this type of breeding might be a replacement for pest snails if one has no chance to keep selling/rehoming considering the breeding. Id rather have pest snails assisting me in the tank rather than a big colony of carnivore opportunistic predators in my tank who needs to be fed meaty foods if there is no prey around

But they are very cool creatures and just like any other snail I love them. 

And I can confirm that as a person who has pest snails in majority of his tanks, overfeeding or having food options is the reason why their population rise. If you visit my fishroom you may not even notice a single pest snail in the tank meanwhile yhey have been living there for months. I have this problem only in two tanks where I overfeed and fish are not great at eating

Edited by Lennie
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They definitely work well and sometimes to well. 

I have a 29 gal tank that had a horrible ramshorn infestation if you will. If course I would manually remove as many as possible on veggies. I was able to remove a good amount. But for every one that you see there are usually 20 more that you don't. So I added assassin's snails to help. Over 2 months time I added about 12-15 assassin's. And after about 6 months time they managed it very well. Now anytime I add veggies for my plecos I never see any ramshorns on the veggies. They have virtually eliminated them witch is awesome.

Now in the other hand I have a 20 long as well that has ramshorns but not to the degree the previous tank did. Of course they did there job but once they took care of the rams they also took out my breeding group of wizard snails. Unfortunately I did not notice this until it was too late. I was doing a deep cleaning on this tank. And when I removed the hardscape to gravel vac I found all of the empty wizard snail shells 

So I think it can be a fue line especially if you have other snails in the tank that you do want to be there.

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