By Associated Press - Saturday, March 13, 2021

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is warning that an aquarium plant sold in Vermont and around the country may contain invasive zebra mussels.

The moss balls have been sold under names including “Beta Buddy Marimo Balls,” “Mini Marimo Moss Balls,” and “Marimo Moss Ball Plant.”

Consumers who bought them are encouraged to inspect the product or the aquarium for zebra mussels, officials said. If they are found, it’s recommended that the plants and mussels be removed and frozen or boiled before being disposed of, the agency said. The aquarium should also be decontaminated.

In the wild, zebra mussels can reproduce quickly and harm a water system’s ecological balance and clog pipes and other underwater infrastructure. They first arrived in the Great Lakes in the 1980s and adult specimens were found in Lake Champlain in 1993. They’ve also been found in other lakes in Vermont.

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