Zebra mussels found in foam balls at Rapid City pet store


RAPID CITY, SD (KEVN) – Zebra mussels have been found in an aquarium product sold at a pet store in Rapid City, according to South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.

The invasive species was found in balls of Marimo moss, a type of algae that draws nutrients from water that would otherwise feed less desirable forms of algae, at the Rapid City PetSmart and six other pet stores around the South Dakota.

All contaminated products were removed from pet stores and discarded, according to Tanner Davis, GFP Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator. Moss balls were originally brought to the United States from Ukraine, where zebra mussels are native.

Zebra mussels have invaded more than 600 lakes and rivers in the United States and can create myriad problems, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. They spread rapidly, eat phytoplankton in the lake and cause heavy metals to build up faster than usual in the ecosystem.

Fish owners who have recently purchased moss balls from the following stores should place the potentially contaminated product in a plastic bag, freeze it, and dispose of the contents in the trash, according to GFP. Do not rinse or use chemicals on the moss balls, as any zebra mussels would likely survive.

Pet stores that sold the Marimo foam balls included:

  • PetSmart, Rapid City
  • PetCo, Sioux Falls (2)
  • Mini Critters, Sioux Falls
  • Woofs & Waves, Sioux Falls
  • The Pet World of Ed, Mitchell
  • Critter Mart & More, Watertown

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