The Idaho State Department of Agriculture announced invasive mussels were found on aquarium items sold in the state.
The ISDA Invasive Species Program found live invasive zebra mussels in Marimo moss balls, a product commonly sold for use in aquariums, according to ISDA.
The ISDA is working with local Petco stores to get any additional product that is currently in transit. The agency's response is part of a coordinated, nationwide effort to remove the impacted products from stores and advise on how to dispose of the products, according to a news release from ISDA.
“Store managers and staff have been very cooperative in this process,” said Nic Zurfluh, Invasive Species Section manager in a statement. “They have worked with us, and we are grateful for their understanding.”
The ISDA asks the public to not dump aquarium tank water or dispose the moss balls in natural water bodies. Aquarium owners who may own the product are advised to:
- Remove the moss ball(s) and place in a plastic bag. Put the bag in a freezer and leave for at least 24 hours. After that, the moss ball(s) can be disposed of in the trash.
- OR Place moss ball(s) in boiling water for at least one full minute. After that, the moss ball(s) can be disposed of in the trash.
If the moss ball has already been in the aquarium, the ISDA asks aquarium owners to:
- Collect fish and plants and place them in another container. Dispose of the water in a sink or toilet (municipal wastewater is treated to kill pathogens, and septic tanks are fully self-contained underground).
- Carefully scrub the tank, accessories, rocks, and decorations with a strong solution of chlorine bleach/water. Another option (if you don’t want to use chlorine bleach) is to carefully use water that is 140 degrees to flush and coat all the tank and accessory surfaces. ISDA recommends another water change within a week and to continue to monitor the tank for any unusual aquatic growth.
- For very large aquariums that you may not be able to completely dewater/decontaminate, dispose of the moss ball(s) as above. It is recommended that you do conduct frequent water changes and continue to monitor the tank for any unusual aquatic growth
“We have always said private citizens are Idaho’s best line of defense in protecting our state from invasive species,” Zurfluh said. “Once again, we are asking for Idahoans help to keep invasive species from getting a foothold in our state.”