(March 22, 2021 – Williams Lake, BC) After invasive zebra mussels were found in moss balls sold for aquariums in the US and Canada, extensive checks have discovered these invasive dangerous mussels in moss balls sold in many provinces and states. The Canadian Council on Invasive Species (CCIS) is urging aquarium owners across Canada now to immediately dispose of any moss balls and properly clean their aquariums so no invasive mussels or larvae can enter Canadian waters.

“Highly dangerous invasive zebra mussels have been found this month in moss ball products sold in British Columbia, Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, so this problem is widespread,” says Gail Wallin, Chair of the CCIS. “Every aquarium owner needs to carefully dispose of moss ball products responsibly, and should clean their aquariums with a strong solution of chlorine bleach and water to be sure no invasive species get into any water systems.”

Invasive mussels were first discovered in moss balls sold at pet stores across the US, then found in stores and home aquariums across Canada. If you find moss balls in your aquarium, the BC Conservation Officer Service advises to either:

  • Place the moss ball into a sealable plastic bag and freeze for at least 24 hours, or
  • Place the moss ball in boiling water for at least one full minute.

After this, place the moss ball and any of its packaging in a sealed plastic bag and dispose in the trash. Do not flush moss balls down the toilet or dispose of them in the compost. Never dump aquarium tank pets, plants or water into any residential water system or waterway.

Zebra mussels are invasive freshwater mussels that have infested parts of  Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba and have changed fresh water ecosystems, destroyed shorelines and impacted recreational and community infrastructure. To date, there has been no reported introduction of live zebra mussels into BC lakes or waterways, but other invasive species have caused serious damage. Some of the most serious invasive species were originally sold as pets or plants for water gardens and aquariums. For example, goldfish released by pet owners have caused serious damage to lakes across Canada. For more information on preventing the spread of invasive species like these, visit DontLetItLoose.ca.

“All Canadians need to do their part to understand the effects of invasive species and prevent invasive species from spreading,” adds Wallin. “The extent of these moss balls is much wider spread than we first thought, so we encourage everyone to please speak with friends and local aquarium stores to help find other high-risk moss balls and report them immediately. It is up to all of us to take action to protect Canada’s waters and habitats by preventing the release or dumping of any aquariums.”

For more information, visit www.canadainvasives.ca.

About the Canadian Council on Invasive Species

The Canadian Council on Invasive Species works collaboratively across jurisdictional boundaries to support actions and information that can help reduce the threat and impacts of invasive species. Invasive species councils, committees, and coalitions representing provinces and territories across Canada established this federal society to work together to reduce the impact of invasive species across the country.

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Media contact:

Gail Wallin




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