Province wants you to check your aquarium for invasive mussels hiding in moss balls | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Province wants you to check your aquarium for invasive mussels hiding in moss balls

A zebra mussel invested moss ball is seen in this undated photo.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/BC Conservation Officer Service
March 11, 2021 - 9:30 AM

B.C. is calling on aquarium owners to inspect their tanks to help prevent the spread of invasive mussels.

iNFOnews.ca told you about officers with the B.C. Conservation Service spending the past weekend going to pet stores in their communities to look for zebra mussel invested moss balls in aquariums after one was found in Terrace. 

Zebra mussels pose a major threat B.C. lakes and beaches, according to a Environment Ministry media release issued today, March 9. They multiply very quickly once introduced into an ecosystem and are very difficult to eradicate.

Conservation officers conducted more than 600 inspections at retail aquatic pet and plant stores across the province and found zebra mussels in moss balls at multiple locations, including two pet stores in Kelowna. Reports of mussel-infested moss balls are coming in from locations across western Canada and several U.S. states, the ministry said.

READ MORE: 'It's a big deal': B.C. conservation officers on alert after invasive mussels found in pet store aquarium

The province’s conservation officer service is investigating how widespread the problem of mussel-infested moss balls is in the province, the ministry said. Stores that may sell the moss balls are being contacted to advise them of disposal options. The moss balls, which are also sold online, are often labelled as marimo moss balls and are a species of green algae used to improve aquarium water quality.

Ministry scientists, along with their Canadian and U.S. counterparts, retailers and distributors are working together to help stop any potential spread of the invasive mussels. So far, there have been no reports of the zebra mussels finding their way into B.C. lakes or waterways from the draining of contaminated aquariums.

Anyone finding zebra mussels after inspecting their moss balls should call the All Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

More information on zebra mussels can be found at this B.C. government website.

— This story was originally published on March 9, 2021.


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