Invasive zebra mussels – Destroy! Do Not Dump. Zebra mussels have been found in “moss balls,” an aquarium plant product sold in Maine. Moss balls are commonly sold under trade names such as “Betta Buddy.” Zebra mussels, which so far have not become established in Maine, are one of the most destructive invasive species in North America. Zebra mussels can quickly take over once they get established in a waterbody and cause significant damage including disrupting the food chain, changing the chemistry of the water (which can cause more blue green algae outbreaks or offensive taste), and clogging water intake systems.
If you recently purchased moss balls, immediately destroy them using one of these methods:
- Freeze – Place the moss ball into a sealable plastic bag and freeze for at least 24 hours.
- Boil – Place the moss ball in boiling water for at least 1 full minute.
- Bleach – Submerge the moss ball in chlorine bleach for 20 minutes.
After destroying the moss ball, DISPOSE of the moss ball and any of its packaging in a sealed plastic bag in the trash. Do not dump moss balls down drains or in waterways or gardens.
If moss balls were placed in your aquarium, DRAIN and clean the aquarium:
- Remove fish and other living organisms and place them in another container, with water from a separate, uncontaminated water source.
- Aquatic plants may also harbor zebra mussels and should be destroyed along with the moss ball.
- Sterilize the aquarium water by adding 1 cup of bleach for each gallon of water. Sterilize filter, rocks, décor, and any other items in contact with the water.
- Let the water sit for 10 minutes and then dispose of the treated water down a household drain.
More details can be found at U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services: Invasive Zebra Mussel -Destroy! Don’t Dump.