Invasive zebra mussels found in aquarium product sold at aquarium and pet supply stores

Photo Credit: Courtesy of ODFW

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Pet stores urged to remove product from shelves; consumers should follow disposal directions

SALEM, Ore.—Wildlife agencies are urging pet and aquarium stores to remove “Betta Buddy Marimo Ball,” a moss plant for aquariums, after invasive zebra mussels were discovered inside the product.

ODFW was recently alerted about this situation after hearing about a Seattle PetCo employee finding the zebra mussels attached and inside “Betta Buddy Marimo Ball” moss plants. ODFW’s Invasive Species Program supervisor also visited a store in the Salem area today and found  viable zebra mussels in the product (see photos below).  These stores have since removed the product from their shelves.

Consumers are also urged to stop buying this product and to safely dispose of it by either freezing or boiling the moss ball before disposing of it in the trash (do not flush down toilet or throw outside as mulch). For your aquarium, after removing the fish,  apply household bleach (one cup of bleach per gallon of water) and let it set for 10 minutes before disposing of water down sink or toilet. Also disinfect filters, gravel and structures with a solution of bleach before disposing of the water down the toilet.

The concern is that live mussels released into a storm drain or flushed could be introduced into a waterway. 

“We urge all pet stores to immediately remove this product from their shelves,” said Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species Program supervisor. “Our concern is that invasive mussels from this product could get into the wild, start a population and do serious damage.

Another concern is that we might pick up tissue from the invasive mussel in the water when we sample, which could give us a false positive eDNA (environmental DNA) test,” he added.

Zebra and Quagga mussels can quickly take over once they get established in a waterbody. They will cause disruption of the food chain, change the chemistry of the water (which can cause more blue green algae outbreaks or offensive taste) and clog water intake and delivery systems for drinking water, irrigation and hydro power. 

Currently, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest are free of zebra or Quagga mussels, thanks to a monitoring program that requires watercraft to be inspected when entering Oregon,  

ODFW and other state and federal fish and wildlife agencies are working together to address this development.

More Reports

OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Reports
for Thursday, March 4th

Ben Irving Reservoir: With Warming Weather Fish Will Start to Be More Active
Chetco River: Clear & Low Water Conditions This Week
Cooper Creek Reservoir: Warmer Weather Might Have The Fish on The Bite
Diamond Lake: There Have Been Some Anglers Catching Some Nice Trout
Elk River: Anglers Are Doing Pretty Good on Steelhead
Galesville Reservoir: Reservoir is On The Rise
Illinois River: Conditions Are Extremely Clear
Lost Creek Lake: Anglers Reporting Good Success By The Marina
Rogue River- Lower: Anglers Still Picking up Good Size Steelhead
Rogue River - Middle: More Winter Fish Are Showing Up Everyday
Rogue River- Upper: Upper Rogue River Report
Umpqua River: Umpqua River Report
Alsea River: There Have Been a Few Good Days For Bank Anglers
Kilchis River: The Kilchis is Low & Clear
Necanicum River: Necanicum River Report
Nehalem River: Main Stem Nehalem is Getting into Good Conditions
Nestucca River: Nestucca is in Prime Condition Right Now
Siletz River: Steelhead Fishing Has Picked Up
Siuslaw River: Fishing Continues To Be Slow Despite Good Conditions
Trask River: Trask is in Decent Shape Right Now
Wilson River: There Have Been Good Days But Ther're Sporadic
Dexter Reservoir: Recently Stocked
Santiam River North Fork-2: Santiam River North Fork Report
Smith Reservoir: Smith Reservoir Update
Crooked River: Fishing Has Been Good
Lake Billy Chinook: Kokanee Fishing Has Been Excellent
Brownlee Reservoir: Brownlee Reservoir Update

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