Invasive Zebra Mussels Found in “Moss Ball” Aquarium Products Sold in Pennsylvania

Invasive Zebra Mussels Found in "Moss Ball" Aquarium Products Sold in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is joining fish and wildlife agencies nationwide to alert consumers about aquarium products that may be infested with invasive Zebra Mussels.

These products, known as “moss balls,” are a popular type of living aquarium plant sold in several states, including Pennsylvania. It was recently discovered that a batch of these products, which are marketed under popular brand names such as “Betta Buddy” or “Mini Marimo Moss Balls,” was contaminated with invasive Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and distributed to pet stores across the country.

Zebra Mussels are small black and white striped, “D-Shaped” bivalves about the size of a thumbnail or smaller.

The PFBC urges anyone who has purchased a moss ball within the past several weeks to follow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) guidance on how to properly disinfect moss balls and clean aquarium systems.  This guidance can be found on the USFWS website: In A New Window

“Because Zebra Mussel larvae may not be visible to the naked eye, it is important that everyone who recently purchased a moss ball follow this strict disinfection protocol,” added Hartzell.  “Just because you can’t see the mussels in your tank doesn’t mean they’re not there.  Don’t take any chances.”

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The transportation or release of Zebra Mussels or their larvae into Commonwealth waters is considered unlawful (58 Pa. Code § 73.1Opens In A New Window).  Pennsylvanians who observe suspected Zebra Mussels or other aquatic invasive species can report them to the PFBC through the “Report AIS” portal of the Agency’s web page (

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