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Invasive Zebra mussels in Marimo moss balls


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I just saw this earlier today, there have been zebra mussels found in some Marimo moss balls lately. Although from the article, it sounds like most of them have been found in ones sold at a big box pet store, it wouldn't be a bad idea to check any. I am going to check mine out this afternoon when I get home, because I just got a few within the last week or two. I have grown up in northern Ohio close to Lake Erie, so I have seen what the zebra mussels have done to the ecosystem of the great lakes, covering docks, boats, clogging water intakes and outlets, it would not be good if they got spread to other inland lakes or waterways.

Invasive Zebra Mussels Reported in Marimo Moss Balls (reef2rainforest.com)

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From Amazonas Magazine -

Check Your Moss Balls!

Breaking news today and a developing story as the aquarium industry deals with the unintentional distribution of the highly invasive zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha. This species has apparently found its way into aquatic plant shipments as a hitchhiking contaminant on the ever-popular marimo moss balls, which are actaully one of three distinct growth forms of the green algae known to science as Aegagropila linnaeihttps://www.reef2rainforest.com/2021/03/04/invasive-zebra-mussels-reported-in-marimo-moss-balls/
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Zebra mussels are terribly invasive. They are a huge nuisance on Lake Champlain, brought in through the Hudson River, container ships on the Great Lakes, canals connecting to our lake, and then onto smaller waterways via recreational boats.

Besides out-competing native species, they eat so much algae, foul pipes, find every underwater intake on boats, and cut your feet if you go barefoot. I hope that they don't become more of a problem in our hobby. I have been wary of local collection because of them and other invasive species.

I filmed a little bit on Shelburne Bay last year, exploring the shoreline, including looking at some of these.

 

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I just received my shipment today from Aquarium Co-Op including 3 moss balls. I scooped them out of my tank and have them isolated in a mason jar. My wife posted photos of them and a friend sent us the article about the zebra mussels. I'm not sure if I should wait and see if anything comes out or if I should dispose of them. 

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Zebra Mussels are already here and have been for decades. Power suppliers wouldn't be spending millions removing zebra mussels from water intakes unless zebra mussels were already here. Confiscating moss balls will have exactly zero impact on the situation since the problem's already here and has been here for decades. This is a situation where the government "does something" but achieves nothing. Zebra mussels in an aquarium could become a headache for the aquarist, but in terms of preventing their spread, that's a fight that was lost decades ago.

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Wow!!! I feel LUCKY that I treated my (major pet chain retailer) moss balls with alum. It's been slowly killing the moss balls, but I'm confident it also killed any snails (and mussels). I was a little bummed out about the moss balls dying, but today I'm thrilled that I didn't put a possibly mussel-contaminated product into my aquarium. 

Seems like it's a real good idea to always quarantine our plants. 

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Living by the shores of Lake Michigan we see zebra mussel shells all the time.  Not that the things don’t cause problems, but we also hear that they are having a positive affect on water quality.  I am not scared of getting them in my tanks as far as that goes.🤷‍♀️ 
 

Of course we should not dump the moss balls into other waterways though.  It seems like the moss balls could be scanned for content?

They are better than the stupid Japanese “ladybugs” that the DNR introduced that bite people and horses and try to get into our houses every fall.  Yuck.  No one asked us about that idea!

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13 hours ago, All of a doodah said:

I just received my shipment today from Aquarium Co-Op including 3 moss balls. I scooped them out of my tank and have them isolated in a mason jar. My wife posted photos of them and a friend sent us the article about the zebra mussels. I'm not sure if I should wait and see if anything comes out or if I should dispose of them. 

I looked the ones over that I have gotten lately (not from the Co-op), I didn't see anything on he outside and I squeezed them and didn't feel anything hard inside. 

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3 hours ago, gardenman said:

Zebra Mussels are already here and have been for decades. Power suppliers wouldn't be spending millions removing zebra mussels from water intakes unless zebra mussels were already here. Confiscating moss balls will have exactly zero impact on the situation since the problem's already here and has been here for decades. This is a situation where the government "does something" but achieves nothing. Zebra mussels in an aquarium could become a headache for the aquarist, but in terms of preventing their spread, that's a fight that was lost decades ago.

Respectfully, where I am and the West there are not zebra mussels. And we very much do not want them. Having a very ecological detrimental invasive species show up in pet stores all around here where they are not already is very concerning. 

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Hello Everyone,

After searching we have found 1 mussel on a moss ball, and at least 1 in an unpacked shipment we received last night. Below is a video of what we are doing. Basically with any we have sold that we can trace back to being contaminated will be getting refunded over the next hours to days. We are asking for documentation of any that are found so we can do this tracing. How to handle the situation is addressed in the video. My apologies in advance for anyone affected by these muscles. Also as this video was just filmed and uploaded, the resolution is only 360p, but as youtube processes will improve in quality.

Resources provided in the description of the video:

think this article for explaining what is going on, and how what to do is a good resource for hobbyists: http://magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/2021/03/game-and-parks-urges-public-to-check-aquariums-for-invasive-zebra-mussels/

Pictures and more information on them can be found in this link: https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=5

If you find a zebra mussel on a moss ball purchased from us, you can reach out to us here: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/pages/contact-us Please include a picture.

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Hi All~~ Happy Friday!

So, I am not sure if I am the only one who's FB page blew up today with the "DO YOU HAVE THESE" asking if I have Marimo moss balls in my tank. Of course I do!. But I have had them a few months, and have never seen anything in or on them. But apparently they are a "bad" thing. 

Not sure if this is something we need to be aware of or look out for? I live in NC, and I don't throw anything into the water ways or toilet (including dead fish). But thought it might be a good conversation for the fish keeping hobbyist to at least know about and be aware of. 

Has anyone else hear of this where they are? 

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Just now, Gideyon said:

So is there a purchase date that we need to be concerned of?   I bought those from petco on Feb 12. Do I need to take it out? 

No one knows yet, we will be doing contact tracing of all the ones we have sold. I think at the moment, you should visually inspect yours as the muscles are fairly obvious if you're looking for them.

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@CorySo grateful for your fast response and for the info. I bought two moss balls on Feb.16 so I don’t know if that puts me in the refund category, but if it does I would like to opt OUT of a refund; for me that would feel like taking advantage of a situation that is totally not your fault. I have examined mine and don’t see any but I am going to destroy them out of an abundance of caution. We are sailors in the San Juan’s and have an appreciation for how fragile any ecosystem is. We have seen lots of boater education about these little buggers.

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I think the topic of the real fish police is interesting. I know I've purchased house plants from overseas and had to pay for a phytosanitary certificate. Do aquatic plants go through a similar process? I know Cory mentioned a tetra he wanted to import from Peru was classified as a "food" fish and was not able to be imported.  I would enjoy hearing more about all the laws, permits, and ethical reasonings involved in the global fish/plant trade. It might seem boring, but ultimately they do effect us hobbyists too.

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