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Zebra Mussels Found in Moss Balls at Pet Stores By S.D. Game & Parks

Entered by Gary Howey

Former tournament angler, hunting and fishing guide. Inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing "Hall of Fame" in 2017. Active member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), Past Executive Director (AGLOW). Howey has been an outdoor communicator since 1980 with his award winning syndicated "Of the Outdoors" columns appearing in magazine, newspapers, and tabloids throughout he upper Midwest and nationally.

March 22, 2021


PIERRE, S.D. – Recently, natural resource agencies were notified zebra mussels were present in moss balls (a type of algae sold in association with betas and other aquarium fish) sold at local pet stores throughout the state and on a national level.

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) wants customers and store owners to properly dispose of moss balls by placing them in a bag, freezing them, and discarding the contents into the trash.

“The department requests that customers and store owners do not dispose of moss balls down the drain, toilet or other water sources as this could allow zebra mussel to spread further,” stated Tanner Davis, GFP’s statewide aquatic invasive species coordinator. “South Dakota pet stores and known distributors have been made aware of the situation and have removed all moss balls from their available inventory and we greatly appreciate their immediate action in doing so.”

For additional aquarium decontamination instructions, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at

About Aquatic Invasive Species:

Zebra mussels are an aquatic invasive species (AIS), originally from the Caspian Sea region of Asia. They can become established in high densities in lakes and cause significant damage to hydropower and industrial cooling systems, municipal and irrigation water supplies, and boat motors. 

South Dakota lakes currently infested with zebra mussels include McCook, Yankton, Cochrane, Kampeska, Pickerel, Lewis and Clark, Francis Case, and Sharpe. Learn more at





More AIS Information


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