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Officials Warn Some 'Moss Ball' Aquarium Products Sold In Pennsylvania May Contain Invasive Zebra Mussels

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

HARRISBURG (KDKA) -- The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is warning residents about aquarium products that have been sold in the state that may contain invasive zebra mussels.

invasive zebra mussels pa
(Photos courtesy Idaho Department of Agriculture & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

"Zebra Mussels are one of the most troublesome invasive species in the United States and can cause major ecological and economic damage such as clogging water intake pipes, damaging boats, or damaging fisheries by impacting aquatic food webs," said Sean Hartzell, PFBC Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. "Zebra Mussels are small and can produce microscopic larvae, so any water containing contaminated moss balls may contain larval Zebra Mussels. The potential spread of this invasive species is a major concern for our aquatic resources in Pennsylvania."

The affected products are moss balls, which are commonly sold in pet stores for aquariums, and the PFBC says that one batch of the moss balls distributed nationwide were contaminated with zebra mussels.

The PFBC says that at least one store in Pennsylvania was found to have the contaminated products, but major pet companies such as PetSmart and Petco have removed all these products from their shelves.

Zebra mussels are small and have black and white stripes.

If you find a moss ball that is contaminated with zebra mussels, the agency is asking that you refer to these instructions from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to safely dispose of the moss balls.

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