Warning, invasive Zebra mussels!

Nessaf
Member
Just came across this warning from Colorado Parks and Wildlife on my Facebook page. There were zebra mussels found in Marimo Balls.

❗AQUARIUM OWNERS❗Invasive zebra mussels have been found in "Betta Buddy Marimo Balls", a product sold at aquarium and pet supply stores in Colorado. Consumers that have recently purchased this product should first freeze or boil the Marimo Balls and dispose of them in the trash. They should NOT be flushed down the toilet.

If you have recently purchased this product and believe you may have a zebra mussel population in your aquarium, PLEASE contact our Invasive Species Program at 303-291-7295 for proper disposal methods.

Learn more:
 
Betta'sAnonymous
Member
I will look and see if we have similar issues in Nebraska. I know we have or have had problems with them in some rivers and lakes in the past, don't know about with aquarium stuff.
 
  • Thread Starter
Nessaf
Member
Betta'sAnonymous said:
I will look and see if we have similar issues in Nebraska. I know we have or have had problems with them in some rivers and lakes in the past, don't know about with aquarium stuff.
Yes, I wonder how many states these moss balls have been distributed to. And, with the water changes we do, how many zebra mussel larvae have been dumped into the sewer systems,
 
StarGirl
Member
We have posts at every boat launch. It crazy they are in moss balls.
 
Betta'sAnonymous
Member
Nessaf said:
Yes, I wonder how many states these moss balls have been distributed to. And, with the water changes we do, how many zebra mussel larvae have been dumped into the sewer systems,
Luckily i don't use them, but i know people around the area do. I rarely see the same ones in the store more than once or twice.
 
The_fishy
Member
I don’t know if this has been posted here yet, but a shipment of marimo balls infested with mussels has been sent from a big distributor to different US pet stores.

For those of you who don’t know, the mussels are highly invasive due to their extreme hardiness and easy spread. They have been known to rapidly collapse entire ecosystems as well as envelope infrastructure and even organisms. The shells are sharp and can result in cuts, which are then open to infection.

The larval form is present in water, which means any water found where a mussel is present (even a single droplet) should be considered contaminated and bleached. Otherwise, water changes on contaminated tanks may introduce the species into the environment.

If you have bought a marimo ball recently, check it thoroughly. I have heard some Petcos and Aquatic Arts moss balls have been spotted with them.

Mods, may I include outside links from official sources?
 
fish 321
Member
My local fiah and game just posted they found some on the marimo balls in Alaska not cool.
 
mimo91088
Member
Yea I saw this going around on Facebook. That farm is hopefully going to lose a lot of business over that, id imagine maybe even losing import licenses. Huge mistake that hit pretty wide.
 
Whitelightning
Member
Man! And I was just thinking about getting marimo moss balls in the near future too!

This reminds me when I was real little and my older sister got cut by a zebra mussel in the lake. Later, back at home, I was in the sandbox and made a little sand structure "gift" to make her feel better. I also remember talking about the evil zebra mussel with my grandma out on the back deck.
Just some memories this brought up.
 
Leilio
Member
I wrote an email to buceplant asking their supplier of marimo moss ball since I just received one a few days ago from them. Don't know if it is the same supplier or not.
 
The_fishy
Member
Leilio said:
I wrote an email to buceplant asking their supplier of marimo moss ball since I just received one a few days ago from them. Don't know if it is the same supplier or not.
I got warning emails today from Petco and Petzone with disposal and refund info.
 
Leilio
Member
From buceplant customer service,

"It hasn’t been determined that our source for marimo balls has been compromised. We were told by authorities that our source shouldn’t have been affected, but we are taking necessary precautions and have stopped selling them. We are trying to do our part by eliminating any possible threat. If you are going to dispose of them, do not dispose of them in the sink or toilet. Make sure to freeze or bleach them before placing them in the garbage. We can offer you a refund for the Marimo Moss Balls if you decide to dispose of them in this way. Please just send us a photo of the dead moss balls. We are not aware that these can pose a threat for an aquarium, but they are a threat to waterways, etc.

Please advise if we could be of any further assistance. "
 
  • Moderator
smee82
Moderator
Member
The_fishy said:
I don’t know if this has been posted here yet, but a shipment of marimo balls infested with mussels has been sent from a big distributor to different US pet stores.

For those of you who don’t know, the mussels are highly invasive due to their extreme hardiness and easy spread. They have been known to rapidly collapse entire ecosystems as well as envelope infrastructure and even organisms. The shells are sharp and can result in cuts, which are then open to infection.

The larval form is present in water, which means any water found where a mussel is present (even a single droplet) should be considered contaminated and bleached. Otherwise, water changes on contaminated tanks may introduce the species into the environment.

If you have bought a marimo ball recently, check it thoroughly. I have heard some Petcos and Aquatic Arts moss balls have been spotted with them.

Mods, may I include outside links from official sources?
Please feel free to share official links. Only links to competing sites are not allowed.
 
The_fishy
Member




 
SanDiegoRedneck
Member
Thanks for share!
 
Mhamilton0911
Member
I live in Idaho, and these are one of the things that fish and game checks for at state borders in and on people's boats.

I had been putting off buying new moss balls, my excel treatment killed my current ones. I was planning on a petco trip for new ones, now I must wait. Weird timing. But also, how did distribution get that widespread before anyone noticed?
 
The_fishy
Member
Mhamilton0911 said:
I live in Idaho, and these are one of the things that fish and game checks for at state borders in and on people's boats.

I had been putting off buying new moss balls, my excel treatment killed my current ones. I was planning on a petco trip for new ones, now I must wait. Weird timing. But also, how did distribution get that widespread before anyone noticed?
The place that sold the infested ones is a major supplier for many pet stores, including Petsmart, Petco, and some online businesses. I believe the third article I posted has some more detailed info on that.
SanDiegoRedneck said:
Thanks for share!
Happy to help!
 
Kribensis27
Member
Ugh, those things are awful. I'm glad I didn't buy any marimo balls recently, I would probably be getting death threats from all the DNR officers that live around here.
 
VioletKeepsFish
Member
Kribensis27 said:
Ugh, those things are awful. I'm glad I didn't buy any marimo balls recently, I would probably be getting death threats from all the DNR officers that live around here.
Great lakes?
I can't walk 2 steps into lake Michigan without those little spikes piercing my foot, it's scary to see them potentially spreading by something that I enjoy.
 
Kribensis27
Member
VioletKeepsFish said:
Great lakes?
I can't walk 2 steps into lake Michigan without those little spikes piercing my foot, it's scary to see them potentially spreading by something that I enjoy.
Yep, I live just a bit south of Lake Superior and right on the St. Croix River. I hate getting stabbed whenever I walk into the water.

It's freaky to know that moss balls can spread them, now I'll be extra sure to QT those when I get them.
 
Demonskid
Member
Thanks for the information.
 
AverageAquarist22
Member
Yikes... I was planning on getting some for my mom’s shrimp tank but I guess not
 
LinasPlantLife
Member
I’ve just gotten the email. I bought my moss balls about a month ago. So far, I haven’t seen the shells but I don’t know what the larvae looks like. Please tell me these aren’t them on these leaves Should I remove the moss balls from my tank?
 
The_fishy
Member
LinasPlantLife said:
I’ve just gotten the email. I bought my moss balls about a month ago. So far, I haven’t seen the shells but I don’t know what the larvae looks like. Please tell me these aren’t them on these leaves Should I remove the moss balls from my tank?
The larvae is microscopic and the stuff on the leaves just looks like mulm (although a more clear closeup would be helpful). If it was that long ago, I’d think it’s okay, but don’t quote me on that. The young mussels look similar to grains of sand.
 
betta06
Member
good thing i have had mine for a few years!
 
Eldy
Member
Well it looks like my moss balls i grabbed a few weeks ago has the zebra freaks baby's in it...
 
  • Moderator
Lucy
Moderator
Member
Threads merged & stickied so this stays at the top of the plant forum
 
CoryKat
Member
I know I'm a little late, but I want to say thank you for the information! I just recently purchased some moss balls from that brand, so now I need to sterilize all my tanks.
 
LinasPlantLife
Member
The_fishy said:
The larvae is microscopic and the stuff on the leaves just looks like mulm (although a more clear closeup would be helpful). If it was that long ago, I’d think it’s okay, but don’t quote me on that. The young mussels look similar to grains of sand.
Thank you very much for the info. I feel better about the whole situation now.
 
AzGuppyLover
Member
Marimos are still wonderful aquarium additions, but it would be a good idea to be cautious.
 
wateriswet
Member
Has there been an official date announced that is the cutoff between ok moss balls and needing to nuke your tank? I bought some but it was a while ago.
 
Eldy
Member
No clue on the cut off but I went to petco and talked to the manager. I got a refund on the moss balls and all the plants I bought for the last 60 days!! Turns out they have a 60 day guarantee on all aquarium plants. They were able to look up all the plants thru my petco rewards account.

On a good note this has accelerated the setup of my new to me 125gal tank....the tank is a 6ft long reef tank that has 4 1" inch returns from a sump and 3 2" drain lines to the sump.
 
lolitroy
Member
In case it's too late, how long would it take for the tank to start getting affected in negative ways? Would I have to clean and recycle it completely?
 
AvaTheFish
Member
I live in Washington state, where the first ones were found... like close to the store they were in too... they said if concerned boil the moss ball and dump water into grass... NOT SINK... they can grow in pipes and clog them up bad.
 
Eldy
Member
We have the zebra mussels in some lakes out here. They are becoming a pain in the butt. The biggest thing is that if they get into your drain they will multiply and cause your drain to become clogged. Once they become the size of a dime the shells become razor sharp too.

They also skim the water for oxygen and food.

For me the reason I am going to break my tank down completely and clean it. I don't want to deal with the sewer repair bills for digging up my sewer lateral from my house to the sewer hook up, that is 300 ft long.
 
BettaCyrus
Member
Yikes!! I bought some in Jan from Petco... I didn't know anything about this then & rinsed them out thoroughly before putting them in tank, squish/washed them a few times during water changes too... Really hope they didn't have mussels in them!! I haven't seen anything that looks like mussels/babies in the tank.....
 
Redviper
Member
After becomming aware of this awful issue, I'm looking for solutions that don't require a new tank, unless I have to. Suggestions please?
 
  • Thread Starter
Nessaf
Member
You could try UV filtration, it’s 99% effective against them.
Redviper said:
After becomming aware of this awful issue, I'm looking for solutions that don't require a new tank, unless I have to. Suggestions please?
You could try UV filtration, it’s 99% effective against them.
 
Kathylee
Member
In Maine We all received an Email from the Maine State Game Wardens asking all customers of Petco or people who purchased any of the Beta Buddy cups to please dispose of them. In the E-Mail it said to soak in bleach in a bag, to ziplock it up with the bleach & throw it in the garbage OR to bleach & then burn it. I deleted the E-Mail, but that's some craziness. It seems to been distributed to many states. My grandmother said she even saw it on the local News TV stations asking people to dispose of these moss balls responsibly & take extreme precautions!
 
ZachG
Member
Nessaf said:
Just came across this warning from Colorado Parks and Wildlife on my Facebook page. There were zebra mussels found in Marimo Balls.

❗AQUARIUM OWNERS❗Invasive zebra mussels have been found in "Betta Buddy Marimo Balls", a product sold at aquarium and pet supply stores in Colorado. Consumers that have recently purchased this product should first freeze or boil the Marimo Balls and dispose of them in the trash. They should NOT be flushed down the toilet.

If you have recently purchased this product and believe you may have a zebra mussel population in your aquarium, PLEASE contact our Invasive Species Program at 303-291-7295 for proper disposal methods.

Learn more:
I remember having to help my dad scrape the zebra mussels off of our boat. I have a mutual hatred for them.
 
Betta'sAnonymous
Member
Nebraska Game and Parks just came out with a warning on aquariums for these zebra mussels in The last couple of days as well. Been dealing with them in lakes and rivers for years.
 
AcornTheBetta
Member
Some additional info about them and what to do if you do find them:
If you do find them, DO NOT perform a water change or do anything where they could get into pipes or local waterways. If you do happen to find them, call 1-877-786-7267. The Department of Fish and Wildlife says that Zebra Mussels can clog pipes and kill native species.
 
Redviper
Member
Thanks for the information and perspectives, guys. Since I've learned how to tailor a UVC sterilizer for my situation, I reflexively want to go that way. However, since my stock isn't in direct danger I'm going to be an adult and wait a while for a clearer picture of the situation.
 
Eldy
Member
I was talking to another aquarist yesturday and he told me if you don't have any other crustacean in the tank to dose it with copper for a while and that will kill them buggers. But when you do a water change, dump it into a garbage can so I could bleach the water before dumping it.
 
Redviper
Member
Eldy said:
I was talking to another aquarist yesturday and he told me if you don't have any other crustacean in the tank to dose it with copper for a while and that will kill them buggers. But when you do a water change, dump it into a garbage can so I could bleach the water before dumping it.
Good catch, eldy. Can you suggest a cooper solution?
 
  • Thread Starter
Nessaf
Member
I haven’t bought any moss balls, but wonder if I possibly got any contaminated water in my tanks. I regularly save my tank water to water my houseplants and garden, so I think my pipes are safe. As my area is a highland desert/arid biome, there’s pretty much no chance of them getting into the water system from my yard.
 
Redviper
Member
Nessaf said:
I haven’t bought any moss balls, but wonder if I possibly got any contaminated water in my tanks. I regularly save my tank water to water my houseplants and garden, so I think my pipes are safe. As my area is a highland desert/arid biome, there’s pretty much no chance of them getting into the water system from my yard.
Considering your situation, perhaps this blight isn't something you'll have to deal with.
 
Goose61
Member
A bit late to the conversation, but does anyone if any of the other plants sold by Petco and Petsmart in cups alongside Bettas have any issues, or were they from a different supplier than the Marimo balls? My main concern was in regards to possible cross contamination when the stores changed the water in the Betta cups.
 
Kathylee
Member
Goose61 said:
A bit late to the conversation, but does anyone if any of the other plants sold by Petco and Petsmart in cups alongside Bettas have any issues, or were they from a different supplier than the Marimo balls? My main concern was in regards to possible cross contamination when the stores changed the water in the Betta cups.
I'm not sure about those pet stores, but I just wanted to chime in that I went to a LFS 2 days ago, they have plant & snail only tanks section...and there were warnings all over the wall, flyers, a big poster and other reading material concerning "cross contamination," of the zebra mussels.
 
Goose61
Member
Petsmart had suspended sales of fish (except Bettas) and quarantined their tanks (don't know about Petco, though), although no mention as to why. I guess I'm concerned, as the level of sanitation can vary wildly from store to store.

Now I wish I hadn't bought those two Bettas at Petsmart last month (especially with all the detritus, as well as algae, that was in the cups). Teach me for not paying attention to current events (if I had, I would have held off buying them until more time had passed).

Worse, I wish I hadn't dumped the water down the sink (zebra mussels in my plumbing is the last thing I need).
 

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