The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)

Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

The BC Conservation Officers’ Service is warning aquarium users that supplies for their fish tanks may be harbouring some invasive hitchhikers.

A March 6 social media post from Conservation confirmed that zebra mussels, a potentially destructive species which Western Canadian provinces have gone to great lengths to keep out of their waterways, were located in a home aquarium in Terrace.

The mussels were discovered by a sharp-eyed aquarium owner in a moss ball, which are used to naturally filter and oxygenate water in fish tanks. After spotting the small mussel nestled in the moss, the aquarium owner called the RAPP line to alert conservation officers. The contaminated moss balls were purchased in a pet store; the conservation officers’ aquatic invasive species team is notifying and inspecting plant and pet stores across the province to determine whether any other moss balls containing mussels made it to B.C.

Read More: Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

Read More: ‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

The public is being asked to inspect their aquarium moss balls for any potential zebra mussels. Those who think they have found a Zebra mussel should also contact the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

According to the conservation officers, contaminated moss balls have also been found in the United States and they are working with colleagues on both sides of the border to help prevent any additional spread of the mussels.

The mussels are a concern in B.C. because of the damage they can do to ecosystems and underwater infrastructure like dams and water intakes. The mussels are not native to North America, but where they have been introduced, notably in Eastern Canada and the United States they have proved destructive.

Read More: NASA’s new Mars rover Perseverance hits dusty red road, ventures 21 feet in 1st trip

Read More: Dalai Lama receives COVID-19 vaccine

The province has had a campaign in recent years to inspect boats at B.C.’s borders with Alberta and the United States and ensure no mussels are clinging to their hulls. Boaters are also asked to clean, drain and dry off their boats when moving between bodies of water. No live zebra mussels have been found yet in any B.C. waterway.

Those who do locate contaminated moss balls are being advised to place the moss balls in sealable plastic bags and then into the freezer for 24 hours or place the moss balls into boiling water for a minute. The moss balls and any of its packaging should be placed in sealed plastic bags and disposed of in the trash. The moss balls should not be flushed down the toilet or composted. The contents of aquarium tanks should never be dumped into any residential water system or waterway.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Environment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Regional District of Nanaimo plans to make its operations more efficient as it works on long-term goals around carbon-neutrality. (PQB News file photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo works to become carbon neutral by 2032

RDN committee of the whole members endorse plan developed by consultant

The Millstone River in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Regional district looks at value of Nanaimo’s natural assets

Report focused on the Millstone River could inform future decisions on corporate asset management

Protesters gather along the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue in downtown Nanaimo last month as part of an event called Worth More Standing. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: B.C. hasn’t managed forests properly

Protesters opposing logging in Fairy Creek speak for many British Columbians, say letter writers

Nanaimo singer Victoria Vaughn recently released an EP with local producer Austin Penner. (Photo courtesy Taylor Murray)
Nanaimo singer and recent VIU grad releases EP about becoming an adult

Victoria Vaughn’s ‘Growing Pains’ recorded with local producer Austin Penner

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Air Canada, Harbour Air flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Noel Brown, Snuneymuxw First Nation carver, observes the house post he carved, which now is situated in front of the Kw’umut Lelum centre on Centre Street in Nanaimo. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
House post representative of work of Kw’umut Lelum in Nanaimo

Snuneymuxw First Nation artist Noel Brown’s carved red cedar house post unveiled Friday, April 16

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Most Read