Aquarium hobbyists can help protect our lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams from the harmful effects of invasive species by following a few simple steps. Learn more about the link between aquariums and AIM and be sure to share these tips with others.
- Confirm that a species is allowed under state and federal regulations.
- Ask the vendor for the scientific name of each organism to make sure you receive the appropriate species. Vendors sometimes substitute similar organisms that may harm the local environment.
- Contact your state natural resources agency if the packaging was damaged and you suspect that an organism escaped or was accidentally released.
- Rinse plants in a bucket after unpacking to remove excess material, including dirt, vegetation, animals and eggs.
- Remove any dirt, vegetation or other excess material from animals after unpacking.
Removal and Disposal
Aquarium and aquatic pet retailers and wholesalers can help protect our natural areas from invaders by adopting a few simple practices. Learn more about the link between aquariums and AIM and be sure to share these tips with your customers and other retailers.
- Comply with all federal, state and local regulations related to the import, sale, distribution and quarantine of aquatic animals and plants, including those governing areas where you sell and ship.
- Determine whether existing stocks of organisms are invasive in the areas they’re stored and eliminate any invasive species.
- Consider establishing a program that allows customers to give back animals and plants they no longer wish to maintain.
Buying and Receiving
- Evaluate the potential invasiveness of every species before acquiring it for sale.
- Purchase only those organisms with labeled scientific names.
- Ensure that the organisms you obtain are correctly identified—ideally to the species.
- Purchase only animals and plants that show no sign of disease or parasitic infestation.
- Dump rinse water on dry land or add ¼ teaspoon bleach for each gallon of water before pouring it down the drain.
- Freeze all debris, packing materials and unwanted plants in a sealed plastic bag before throwing them in the trash. This ensures the plants are dead before they’re carried to landfills or other locations where living plants could still cause harm.
- Never release unwanted plants or animals into natural or public water bodies.
- Contact a veterinarian or pet retailer for guidance if euthanasia is required.
- Promote regionally native or non-invasive animals and plants.
- Avoid selling or shipping organisms to areas where they’re invasive—not all invasive species are regulated. Visit the Alternatives, ND STAIR, Predicting Invaders and Meet the Invaders pages or contact your local natural resource managers for more details.
- Label all animals and plants with accurate scientific and common names.
- Avoid selling organisms showing signs of disease or parasitic infestation.
- Ensure that customer purchases, including containers and packaging materials, are free of dirt, vegetation, animals, eggs and other excess material.
These practices were adapted from preliminary water garden retailer guidelines developed by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.