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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Saw this on FB and am sharing it everywhere I can think of as Petco is a huge organization and we all ship things ourselves so even though this is in Oregon - it can SO EASILY be anywhere within a week! Please share this to any fish or tank keeping groups so folks can be on the look out and help prevent them from entering other waterways.

It is my understanding that the larval stage they can be free swimming, so water changes could spread them:

Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council

There has been a troubling sighting report from Seattle. A pet store employee has been finding zebra mussels attached and inside moss balls sold as aquarium plants. The significant danger is these moss balls are being distributed across the U.S. We are asking that you please check out your local pet stores here in Oregon to see if they are selling “Betta Buddy” brand moss balls.

Please contact Rick Boatner immediately (503-947-6308; [email protected]) if you find any.


 

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Thanks for posting this PSA!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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I bought one of these back in December, any idea if we are at risk?
Good question! Another article linked Here said the 1st report came in Feb.9, 2021 but was limited to the Betta Buddy brand. Further down the article in the What to Do section recommends checking any Marimo Balls purchased in the last few months for zebra mussels.
 
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I bought one of these back in December, any idea if we are at risk?
Probably.
Honestly, you should treat all aquarium plants as dangerous. Never ever ever ever ever drop something from your aquarium into a watershed.

If you trim your plants, set that somewhere to dry for a day or two and then throw it away in the trash
 

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It looks like the issue is pretty widespread based on news reports coming out today. The Betta Buddy brand (say that 3 times fast) sources their moss balls from Ukraine, where the species is native. I guess the Oregon discovery led to others checking elsewhere, and reports are now coming in from Idaho, Colorado and Montana as well in just the last couple hours.

It's definitely important that we always remember that we keep a lot of non-native things in our tanks. What's great in a glass box or even a koi pond isn't always great in a foreign habitat (where I live, water hyacinth and water lettuce are a massive issue), so we as hobbyists have to be mindful not to allow the organisms we import and trade to escape into the wild if we don't want our favorite plants/fish banned or our waterways damaged.
 

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Any purchase dates in these reports? I definitely bought a "Betta Buddy" from Petco in December.

It looks like the issue is pretty widespread based on news reports coming out today. The Betta Buddy brand (say that 3 times fast) sources their moss balls from Ukraine, where the species is native. I guess the Oregon discovery led to others checking elsewhere, and reports are now coming in from Idaho, Colorado and Montana as well in just the last couple hours.

It's definitely important that we always remember that we keep a lot of non-native things in our tanks. What's great in a glass box or even a koi pond isn't always great in a foreign habitat (where I live, water hyacinth and water lettuce are a massive issue), so we as hobbyists have to be mindful not to allow the organisms we import and trade to escape into the wild if we don't want our favorite plants/fish banned or our waterways damaged.
I have started a thread on trying to use filtration and RO/DI to re-use the WC water that for the most part goes down the our drains. I will link to this thread in that post since this would be another reason to try to do this.
 

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I have started a thread on trying to use filtration and RO/DI to re-use the WC water that for the most part goes down the our drains. I will link to this thread in that post since this would be another reason to try to do this.
I water potted plants with my WC water. It's full of all those expensive ferts I add, so I figure "waste not, want not". My succulents look great.
 

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Wyoming Fish and Game put out a news alert Here. I'm sure other states will start adding alerts as the news spreads.
 

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I bought some at Petco a couple of weeks ago and I just took a look at them in the tank and noticed something that looks like it could be a zebra mussel. I will need to take them out of the tank later today to examine them more closely and dispose of them. It's been advised that you freeze them until they are solid or boil them to kill the mussels before disposal.

Is there anything else that needs to be done to the tank itself to rid any potential zebra mussel eggs and larvae?
 

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@tortuga13 , IF you find zebra mussels in your Marimo ball, I would contact your local Fish and Wildlife department to report it before you dispose of it.

As to how to deal with your tank going forward, the links in the two states that I posted offer similar but different solutions, both are extreme fixes that require removing wildlife and either bleaching or boiling any plants and water and disinfecting any equipment in the tank.
 

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Additional states added to the list, see the following article for updates Zebra mussel update. A link is included in the article on how to clean an aquarium that has/had zebra mussels in it.

It appears a California distributor had shipped zebra mussel contaminated moss balls of varying brands throughout the U.S. to pet stores. It's also possible that other vendors not affiliated with pet stores may also have received the same product so please be aware.

Alberta Canada has also found and confiscated contaminated moss balls in this article with pictures Alberta Lake Mangagement
 

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Bumping this up and temporarily making it a sticky post because it's still a nightmare situation in at least half the country at this point.

There's also a particular online retailer that, despite making claims on their website that their marimo is quarantined (it's not and even their claimed 14-day quarantine is useless in this instance) but out of stock, are still offering it for sale to people who email them and have apparently been selling it to members here on the forum. If anyone encounters this kind of behavior here, please send me a private message.

May not be a good idea to buy any kind of plant that isn't tissue-cultured from any mass retailer (especially the one in Indiana being dishonest about their product) for the time being - especially if you're new to the hobby. There's a real risk of cross-contamination with some sellers.

Note that any retailer claiming they store products at low temperatures but above freezing (say, at 42 degrees F - as one popular online retailer claims) as a treatment method? They're not killing off zebra mussels. They merely go semi-dormant in the mid-to-low 50s and usually don't die until they're exposed to below freezing temperatures for a prolonged period of time - sometimes surviving as long as a day. And it can take a couple months, depending upon environment, before the larvae/veligers are visible to the naked eye.
 
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