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Thank you, Cory, for your voice of reason


Celly Rasbora
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In the Aquarium Co-Op email I received last night, it included a link to Cory's video that he made last month discussing the invasion of zebra mussels in marimo moss balls. I'd seen it before, but just yesterday, I watched another yootoobles creator advising a scorched earth approach (Bleach your tank, bleach the ball!). It scared the bejeebles out of me and made me feel irresponsible for allowing my recently purchased moss ball to exist. (I'd purchased one in January and was concerned it might have the evil critters in it.)

So, I listened to Cory's video again. He advised to not put your tank water in the sewer, which I don't do, anyway, for two reasons.

1. Are my snails possibly unwanted in my state's waterways?

2. My tank water is awesome fertilizer for my plants and gardens. Why would I flush that resource down the drain???

So, I gave a sigh of relief and stopped the self-flagellation for which I excel.

Thanks, Cory for this and for all you do for the hobby. It is refreshing in this day and age to see a business exercise good corporate citizenship and I will support your efforts because of it.

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One of the advantages of getting older is you learn that the sky isn't always falling. In my lifetime (62 years) we've all been doomed to nuclear obliteration. It hasn't happened yet. We were going to be burned alive by the hole in the ozone layer. You don't hear much about that these days.  We were all going to be attacked by killer bees. It turns out they're not as dangerous as thought. We were in an ice-age for about three years in the early seventies when things were a bit cooler than normal. The reactionaries wanted to immediately stop construction and raze every town and community north of our big cities to build manmade mountains with steel spines to shatter the soon to be approaching glaciers. I still haven't seen one of those glaciers. For a few years they insisted the Gulf Stream was irrevocably moving up the east coast and NJ would have Miami-like weather. Unless Miami is a lot colder than I thought, that hasn't happened.  More recently there was to be a wave of pesticide resistant bedbugs spreading across the country and attacking us all. There have been more turning points of one sort or another where we had to act or disaster would befall us than I can even count, yet the predicted disaster never comes.

Are zebra mussels going to destroy the planet? Nah. They've been here (much of the country) since the eighties and are likely everywhere that's compatible with them already to some degree. Preventing them from moving from one waterway to another is nearly impossible. Wading birds like herons and egrets tend to  transport anything in one waterway to another waterway as they meander around the country. Add in boaters and anyone or anything that touches infested waters and could transport zebra mussels and you'll quickly realize they're not going to be stopped and moss balls are the least of the ways they'll spread. It's just the newest "Oh my God! We've got to do something!" cause for the alarmists. 

I know, I know, "You don't understand! This isn't like all of the other times people have insisted disaster is imminent! This time it's real!" It's just that when the "experts" have been wrong so many, many times before, that it's kid of hard to believe any new disaster that's predicted. Could zebra mussels from moss balls escape into the wild? Sure. They could also be transported from any of the thousands of already infected lakes, rivers, waterways in dozens, perhaps hundreds of ways that are more likely than through moss balls. Would I prefer moss ball not to have zebra mussels? Yeah. Am I going to bleach everything within a hundred miles of a moss ball to ensure one doesn't escape? No. There are many other more likely ways, for zebra mussels to move to uninfested waterways than moss balls.  

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I think as hobbyists our larger worry is more sanctioning. If we take this seriously, the hobby is trusted more and less strict rules enforced hopefully. Basically if we can be responsible when something goes wrong, then we don't have to be protected from that possibility as much.  I know that when we sell other types of muscles and clams, most people can't keep them alive in their aquariums with dedicated effort. As they are filter feeders and hang on backs etc gobble up the food. I expect that life in a normal aquarium is hard for a zebra muscle long term.

However I do think there is a crazy string of events where, one gives birth, that water gets into a water way, and they could populate. I think our easiest option is to remove any we find from our aquariums and freeze them. Then use the water we change out to water our lawns and house plants. Something that is good practice anyways.

The best thing to come out of this for me was, remembering that earth is nature's filter. By putting waste water from our aquariums onto the earth this is likely one more step we can take to keep invasive plants and fish from entering water ways. We should do everything we can to prevent this anyway, but if something passes by our defenses, the earth would be the last step to keep it from getting to the water.

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@Celly Rasbora  I'm with you I was a little alarmed by the email I got from Petco/Petsmart about my Marimo moss balls. I did my research after that. I don't feel like mine are a threat because like you I don't empty my water into drains, I feed my plants (my blueberry bushes bloom explosion is proof positive of that). Personally, my plants are just as important and just as much of a living thing as my fish are and I would never "freeze a fish" so I could not bring myself to do this to my marimo balls. I will keep an eye on my tank and act accordingly. As @Cory says sanctioning is a threat as there is typically governmental overreaction to things they don't know a lot about so we should react responsibly hoping they don't go that direction. I think the scare tactics @gardenman points out is for those of us who are a lot less responsible/reasonable (and I had a good laugh about the sky is falling attitude there, that was fun!)

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