Zebra mussels, an aquatic invasive species, were recently found in moss balls sold through Wyoming pet stores. Moss balls are used in aquariums for decoration and water oxygenation. There are three …
Zebra mussels, an aquatic invasive species, were recently found in moss balls sold through Wyoming pet stores. Moss balls are used in aquariums for decoration and water oxygenation. There are three main things the public can do to help prevent the spread of invasive zebra mussels.
1. If you have an aquarium with moss balls, don’t flush moss balls or pour any of your aquarium water down the drain. First, remove any fish or pets from the aquarium, then boil the moss ball, other aquatic plants and aquarium water for at least five minutes. Throw the moss ball and other vegetation in the trash, let the water cool and pour it on a houseplant or outside. Avoid pouring water near any drains or natural water sources.
2. Don’t buy more moss balls. The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has recently issued a quarantine order on moss balls for Wyoming. This removed moss balls from store shelves and made their importation into the state illegal, so please don’t purchase online.
3. Contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department if you or someone you know has dumped aquarium water or a moss ball in any natural waters — like a reservoir, stream, river or pond. You can make an anonymous report through the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP or online. The intent of these reports is to help Game and Fish focus our monitoring and mitigation efforts for zebra mussels, if needed. Please don’t be afraid to report dumping moss balls, aquarium plants or aquarium water into any of the state’s water sources.
You can also help Game and Fish by spreading the word about moss balls and zebra mussels to people you know with aquariums. It makes all the difference for Wyoming to protect our state from invasive mussels by taking extra precautions.
(Mike Choma is the law enforcement supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He is based in Casper. For more information visit: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/AIS-moss-balls.)