Zebra mussels found in aquarium supplies

Marimo moss balls in a small fish bowl. Credit: bryan...

Invasive zebra mussels have been discovered in moss balls sold in pet supply stores in North Dakota, prompting state agencies to institute a quarantine on the aquarium supplies. Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) have had catastrophic effects on freshwater across North America due to their propensity for filtering water. Clearer water lets in more sunlight and can cause algae to grow, drastically changing important ecosystems for waterbirds, amphibians and aquatic life. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture announced that the mussels were found in marimo moss balls (Aegagropila linnaei), plants that serve North Dakota and other states. The agencies said that anyone with these plants should dispose of them. “Proper disposal of infested moss balls is critical. Do not dispose of moss balls down drains, or in streams, ponds or lakes,” North Dakota Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand said in a press release. “Once in our waters, zebra mussels reproduce rapidly and have negative impacts to fish and wildlife populations and water quality.”

Read more at North Dakota News.