Marimo moss balls for ponds and aquariums

by tealmermaid

The use of marimo in ponds and aquariums can be beneficial to dealing with algae blooms and green water issues.

If you have a green water problem, consider using marimo as a means to bring your green water under control -- naturally! As you probably know, chemicals are a short-term solution which does not address the reason for repeated algae blooms. You don't have to resort to chemicals to handle string algae and related messes in your tank or pond. Instead, try this natural solution to your algae issues: marimo. By adding marimo to your pond or aquarium, these "moss balls" can consume the nutrients preferred by undesirable types of algae. This one simple addition to your aquatic environment can aid in the control of green water without the use of chemicals.

What are marimo?

Marimo are Aegagropila linnaei, which is a part of the Cladophoraceae family of filamentous green algae. This type of algae occurs naturally in certain freshwater northern hemisphere lakes. Marimo are the green so-called "moss ball"-type algae which grows into a spherical shape as it forms into large colonies. Oddly enough they are hollow inside with no interior support structure. They generally grow at a rate of 5mm per year.

They can be found in Scotland, Estonia, Iceland, and Japan. In their natural environments, marimo grow under the chilly low-light conditions at the bottom of the lakes. However, like most green plants and algae they cannot survive freezing.

3 Giant Marimo Moss Balls + 1 Free

Start off your marimo fun with several marimo.

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Care of your marimo

Marimo: a living pet rock

Marimo is a living thing which requires proper care to grow and be happy. Fortunately they are low-maintenance "pets".

  • Keep them submerged; do not let the water level drop too low.
  • Take them out of the tank to rinse them off once in a while. A small bowl of clean filtered water will be fine. They seem happier after being freshened-up a bit.
  • If your marimo is in a bowl by itself rather than a tank or pond where it can move with the current, it may develop a flat side. If this happens, you may need to gently roll it in your hands to reshape it back into a sphere.
  • They do not require special food as such. Fertilizer is unnecessary. Marimo enjoy whatever stray nutrients are already present in your water.

Marimo and other aquatic life

While marimo are happy in the company of their own kind, they can also do well in a tank or pond with new friends. Playful fish such as bettas like to play with any marimo placed into their tanks. Fish, snails, and other creatures tend to not feast on resident marimo. In my experience only plecos will bother trying to eat them, so do not place them into tanks with plecos unless you would like to lose your marimo.

My marimo changed colours! Now what?

A happy healthy marimo is green. Under normal circumstances they don't change colours.

  • If your marimo turns black or white, it is being colonized by an invading algae. You will need to perform surgery with tiny sharp scissors to remove the offending parts. Reshape it as best as you can afterwards.
  • A brown marimo means there are dead sections which likewise will need removal. This happens if your marimo dries out or if it has had too much sunlight.

How to make a marimo aquarium

A fun mossquarium project
A fun mossquarium project

Mossquarium instructions

As a fun and trendy project, make a moss aquarium for a unique and interesting display:

  • Fill the bottom of a clear glass bowl or vase with colourful glass pebbles.
  • For some added decoration, include small sea shells or small pieces of driftwood.
  • Add filtered and dechlorinated (not tap) water.
  • Drop your marimo into the water. If you are using a bigger bowl, feel free to include several marimo of varying sizes for added interest.

Keep your moss aquarium out of direct sunlight to mimic its native environment, and watch your marimo moss ball grow!

Hosley's 9" High Glass Vase

Due to its height, this size vase would work well if you intend to include any driftwood pieces.

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Glass Gems for Vase Accents and Crafting

This is the same kind of glass fill that I used in the sample mossquarium. It catches any light to shine even in low-light conditions.

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Your moss aquarium will require a complete water change at least twice a month depending on the size of the bowl. Top up the water level as often as is needed to keep your marimo fully submerged. Do not let the marimo dry out as it won't recover very well on its own.

Do you have any marimo in your pond or aquarium?

Updated: 10/22/2015, tealmermaid
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