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Now, who would want to grow moss balls, right! Well, for one, the marimo moss balls are not your average plant but make for an excellent aquarium plant.
Yes, it is a new plant lovers trend, and once you read how easy they are to care for, you might think differently of this seaweed ball from Japan.
A Bit of Background History on Marimo Moss Balls
The truth is that these bright green, freshwater algae balls known as Aegagropila linnaei is not moss. Instead, it is spherical, velvety algae growing in freshwater native to Japan, Iceland, Scotland, and Estonia.
While moss balls can grow yearly at around 5 mm, they can survive for centuries and be passed down from one generation to another. As a result, the plant is part beautiful and a bit bizarre. The spherical algae ball also has no central stone or a kernel inside and grows outward at a very slow pace.
The truth is that marimo moss balls can grow between eight to 12-inches in diameter. Another reason to love this plant is the legend told behind this unique foliage. It is believed that two lovers desired nothing more than to be with each other.
Unfortunately, it was forbidden love, and they ended up falling into the water where their hearts became one. Hence, the belief is that marimo moss balls bring you what your heart desires to both the receiver and giver.
The best part is they are low maintenance and live forever.
Marimo Moss Ball Care Tips
When you grow this indoor plant, it is not picky about where it grows when it comes to containers.
The important thing is it needs clean water to allow the light to pass through. You can grow your marimo balls in an unused freshwater fish tank.
Or you can place them in a glass filled with distilled water or a fancy vase. Another great option is to add other aquarium mosses to make an aquatic garden.
This plant doesn’t need soil to thrive
Whether you have imported marimo moss balls or locally bought ones, this plant does not need soil but a water-filled container to grow.
Then, you can place them in an aquarium to add a fun touch while keeping the water stable, absorbing the harmful nitrates.
Neither is it an invasive species like others you find. So, you need not worry about a Chlorophyta explosion.
Yet, you may find some tropical aquarium is a bit too toasty with some fish species like goldfish.
Light Requirement for Marimo Moss Ball
As the Japanese word translates to seaweed ball, it grows at the bottom of the lake floor. So, it is not exposed to direct sunlight but partial light. Although they rest at the bottom of the lake, they rise on the surface during the day to receive sunlight and release oxygen into the air before sinking back into the bottom of the lake.
Depending on where you live, an east-facing window works best. The same rule applies when growing in a glass container as it can direct light to create a greenhouse effect and heats the water.
For marimo moss ball care, the water needs to remain cool as warm water does not agree with your plant. The truth is that warm water can make your marimo balls turn brown. We recommend keeping the container away from the west or south-facing window or at least a meter away from it.
Ideal water type when taken indoors
Your marimo ball is happiest with distilled or filtered water as it provides better quality to keep your moss ball pet happy. Another important note is to change the water every two weeks.
Once you notice a buildup of algae stains around the water line, then it helps to wash the container before adding fresh water.
If you need to wash your glass container, we recommend not using any chemical fluids. Instead, you can use a clean brush or a sponge to remove any stains and rinse them with clean water.
You can then refill the container with cool or cold water. Another great thing you can do is cover the container’s bottom with decorative gravel or smooth stones.
Maintaining Your Marimo Moss Balls
When Aegagropila linnaei grow in their natural habitat, they have a round shape and are kept that way by their natural conditions. The marimo moss lives at the floor base in freshwater lakes and is pulled and pushed along the currents.
The movement around the hard ground makes the marimo balls roll, providing them with equal exposure to these conditions to keep the whole ball round. Hence, they grow evenly. Still, at your marimo moss is in a glass container, it does not have those currents, and you need to mimic those effects.
The important thing is to ensure that the marimo moss balls do not sit on one side of the fish tank for months. Leaving them in the same position will result in the round shape going lost and growing unevenly.
Hence, it helps move the moss ball around to simulate the rolling around effect. You will do this by moving your container around. But if you find you have too heavy fish tanks to move, then using a spoon to gently move the water around helps.
Propagating Marimo Moss Balls
Yes, this is a question on most plant lovers’ minds can you propagate your good luck charms like other plants. Yes, you can, and it is not too difficult. The fantastic thing is the algae propagates itself.
Still, they grow slowly as the small pieces break off the mother balls. You can also roll the small bits to have tiny marimo balls. Alternatively, you can break one moss ball apart to multiply them.
While the mini moss balls look a bit wonky with regular rolling they will form a spherical shape.
While you can find different types of moss to grow in your aquarium, these two are the best-known found, but they are not moss ball varieties.
Like your marimo moss balls, the Java is slow to the medium grower. Still, it spreads throughout a fish tank and needs the same water quality as regular tap or distilled water.
The moss prefers indirect sunlight and grows on riverbanks, rock, or tree trunks in tropical climates. Adding it to your glass container helps to attach it to something instead of letting it float freely.
Still, before adding it to your fish tank, make sure you want to grow it.
As with the marimo moss balls, the Christmas moss also helps remove nitrogen from a glass container.
It is an excellent choice for breeder tanks. As small shrimp make a perfect addition to marimo moss balls, it also works well with the Christmas moss.
You can leave the moss free-flowing or attach it to something in the container. Still, this is a fast-growing moss and needs very little maintenance.
Marimo Moss Ball Problems
When it comes to proper care for your moss ball, some things can concern you as follow:
Marimo Moss Balls Floating
The biggest concern is that your marimo moss has air bubbles trapped inside. You can gently squeeze the moss balls to help the air bubble pop out. When you add it back into the water, you will find your moss ball will sink to the bottom within a day or two.
Moss Balls Developing Brown Spots
As with other plants, a marimo moss ball needs light, and browning indicates that your moss needs a bit more light or the water temperature is too high. If you cannot provide enough light, you can place the container under a grow light. If you find the water is too warm, it helps to move it to a cooler spot.
Moss Balls Turning White
A white marimo moss ball means it is getting too much light. The best is to move the container to indirect light. If you notice a slimy white substance growing on your moss ball, it is a hostile algae growth and needs removing.
Decaying Marimo Moss Balls
With improper marimo moss ball care, your plant can start to rot and decays from the inside out. Eventually, it falls apart, turning black. The best is to remove the dead bits and salvage what you can. Provide a clean glass container with fresh water and gently roll it into a smaller ball before placing it back into the water.