State agencies ask public to inspect Marimo Moss Balls and prevent movement of invasive Zebra Mussels

State agencies ask public to inspect Marimo Moss Balls and prevent movement of invasive Zebra Mussels

This week, the U.S. Geological Survey released a public report of potential invasive mussels detected in shipments of “Betta Buddy” brand Marimo moss balls at a Seattle Petco.  The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) investigated the report and visually confirmed the presence of the zebra mussels.

Once alerted, several other states have reported the presence of both live and dead zebra mussels at other retailers. State agencies ask anyone who has purchased Marimo Moss Balls from any retailer to inspect it for invasive zebra mussels.

We are taking this very seriously at Moss Ball Pets Inc. as we are committed to the health and wellness of our planet.  We stand behind our national and local agencies and ask that you inspect your Marimo Moss Balls purchased from us or any other retailer for these invasive zebra mussels.

We have never personally seen any of the zebra mussels in any product we have ever shipped; however, it is the responsibility of all of us to do our part in protecting our national waters.


If you do find evidence of the invasive zebra mussels on any moss ball you may own, please follow these instructions:

Methods to safely dispose of the moss ball(s) kept in a small terrarium:

  • Remove the moss ball(s) and place them in a plastic bag. Put the bag in the freezer and leave for at least 24 hours. After that, the moss ball(s) can be disposed of in the trash.
  • Place moss ball(s) in boiling water for at least one full minute. After that, the moss ball(s) can be disposed of in the trash.


Methods for disposing of moss ball(s) kept in an aquarium: 

  • Collect the fish & plants and place them in another container. Dispose of the water in a sink or toilet. All municipal wastewater is treated to kill all pathogens, and septic tanks are fully self-contained underground. 
  • Carefully use water that is 140 degrees to flush and coat all the tank and accessory surfaces. It is recommended that you do another water change within a week and continue to monitor the tank for any unusual aquatic growth. 
  • If you do not have access to high-temperature water, a 1/3 cup of unscented household bleach per gallon of water can be used as a disinfectant. Allow the aquarium, substrate, rocks, décor, and filter media to soak in the bleach water solution for 10-15 minutes. After adequate contact time, thoroughly rinse off all items before resetting up the aquarium. When resetting up the aquarium, dispose of the previously used filter media and replace it with new media. Finish by using a dechlorinating product to neutralize any residual chlorine before reintroducing aquatic life.
  • For extremely large aquariums that you may not be able to completely dewater/decontaminate, dispose of the moss ball(s) as above. Officials recommend that the public conduct frequent water changes and monitor the tank for any unusual aquatic growth.


We have made the hard decision to temporarily stop selling Moss Ball Pets until we can verify that our current stock of Marimo is healthy and free of this invasive species to not inadvertently add to the problem.  Please support us in this difficult time as we work with industry and government agencies to verify that Moss Ball Pet brand Marimo is 100% safe to distribute.