The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is urging pet stores, aquarium stores, and home aquarium owners to IMMEDIATELY remove and dispose of decorative "moss balls" after invasive zebra mussels were discovered growing on some these products across the United State, as reported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. APIPP area pet stores, wholesale suppliers, and home aquaria owners should be aware that infested underwater plants were identified at a Burlington area location. Consumers should be advised that underwater moss purchased from PetSmart and Petco may be subject to a voluntary product recall.
Zebra mussels are a highly invasive species known to cause environmental and economic harm. If released to the wild, zebra mussels can devastate waterbodies by breaking down food chains, shifting ecosystems, and destroying drinking water infrastructure. Clams, mussels, and oysters are in a group of mollusks known as bivalves, referring to their two sets of shells and filter feeding capabilities. Most bi-valves reproduce by releasing hundreds (if not thousands) of microscopic larvae into the water to send the next generation off to grow in new places. Zebra mussel larvae are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye and can be present in fresh water without humans being aware - on our boats, on our plants, or even in our fish tanks! This is why if you are boating in lakes with a known zebra mussel infestation, you must always Clean, Drain, and Dry all gear before entering additional waterbodies.
Consumers are advised to remove and properly dispose of ANY moss balls purchased WITHIN THE PAST YEAR by following these steps:
To find more information about DEC's guidelines for aquarium and pet owners, visit DEC's website. For more information regarding moss ball product recalls, visit Petco and PetSmart online.