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More on the zebra mussels

> From: Ed Street <br at ldl_net>
> Subject: Re: Zebra Mussles
> Uhm what happened to #4? :)

     1. I have a publik edukation
     3. I spent 6 years in the Army

> The nasties that zebras carry is different than the dog.  Remember where
> and what zebra's do and what your dog does.  Your dog doesn't go to the
> bottom of a scummy mucky water source and wallow thru the substrate that
> has accumulated tons of organisms, nor does it filter all sorts of nasties
> out of lake water.

     I have a swamp in the woods out back. If I had a nickel for every time
my dog did just what you said he doesn't do....;)

> From: sae at arts_ubc.ca (Olga Betts)
> Subject: about our fears re zebras

> Matt, your 7th point doesn't put fears to rest, it kind of makes it sound
> like "ah, heck, they're not so bad." They are bad and not something to kid
> around with. You may be a responsible person but someone else reading
> things may get the wrong idea.

     You are right. I should have put in a disclaimer that what I was doing
shouldn't be taken lightly. I apologize
>. Are your experiments
> conducted with controlling them in mind?

    I hope so but let me be the first to say I have no idea how out of
control they might get. It is a challenge. I thrive on challenges.

> Olga
> in Vancouver where we do have Purple Loosestrife but no horrid zebra

    Is it possible that the zebra mussel might turn out to be a boon for the
aquarium tank? Yes the zebra mussel is a pest and I am taking a risk, but is
it anymore than the risk taken by those who travel to Brazil to find some
completely unknown species, just to add it to a tank? It is generally
accepted that the zebra  mussel will become an established species in all
compatible waterways throughout_all_of_North_America(sorry Olga). By no
means am I advocating that we should start dumping these all over the place
since their introduction is inevitable anyway. We need to do everything to
slow their advance as this allows native ecosystems to adapt as best they
can as opposed to a sudden onslaught as occurred here in the Great Lakes.
Those of you that have not yet been invaded by them should encourage what I
did as any information about them is more knowledge that you will have when
they do appear. You might not be able to stop them, but every bit of info
may help in saving some of your native species.
    Personally I can't understand this insane hatred of them. This seems to
fall under we love dolphins but hate cockroaches type of thing. They may be
immigrants but I see them as one more interesting and beautiful(yes
beautiful) inhabitant of my tank that I seriously hope will prove to be a
productive member. The more diversity I can have in my tank the happier that
makes me. Is it possible to step back and view them as a potential source of
enjoyment? They are actually very interesting to watch, particularly if you
have a loupe or magnifying glass. Forgive me if I can recognize their
dangers as an invasive species yet still view them as a lovely example of
natures diversity. Is it their fault they have evolved into such an adaptive
creature? Yes, unfortunately they are going to cause the extinction of some
native species, but that is part of nature too. The fact is that 99.9% of
all species that ever existed are now extinct. I will try to save those that
I can, mourn those that I can't, and watch with delight those that replace
    Don't forget the positive effect they have had on the Great Lakes by
cleaning up the water and allowing plants to become re-established. They
have also been investigated as increasing the populations of walleye and
perch by cleaning up their spawning beds. Everyone insists on heralding them
as the poster child of how man is destroying everything even though the ship
ballast introduction theory is just that. Sorry if I offend anyone but some
of the reactions I received indicate some kind of knee jerk conservationism.
Don't hate the zebra mussel just because of bad press; give the critter a
chance. They're here, they make the water clear, get used to it.

     I took 2 samples of water to the lab today but the results of turbidity
measurements were inconclusive. Isn't that a big surprise? Guess that I'm
going to have to purchase two 5 gallon tanks and do a proper experiment with
a control group and what not. I have noted a visual improvement in the
clarity of my water but nothing that I can back up with numbers. When you
actually view these things in a nice clean tank they actually have a rather
attractive appearance. The ghost shrimp and CAE have cleaned them up almost
completely and this in under 3 days.