What Are Marimo Moss Balls?
The Marimo Moss Ball is the filamentous fresh water green algae with a soft exterior surface and a spongy body. They don’t have roots like the other plants. They mostly remain sunken at the tank substrate. The algal filaments of the species originate from the center and spread out to the surface of the ball structure. The density of the filaments may vary between the different algae depending upon their age.
The average size of the Marimo could resemble a large lime or a tennis ball. The growth rate is state to be 5mm per year. In large lakes like the Akan of Japan, they can grow to a size of 12cm in diameter or even more. They inhibit the lake bottom in large colonies across the northern hemisphere.
The Marimo traditional festival is celebrated in the every year in the month of October at the Akan-cho city located in Japan. It was initiated in the year 1950 to protect the species from extinction. So, the next time you bring home the Marimo Moss Ball to your home, you can celebrate the occasion of protecting a precious species!
Marimo Moss Ball Care
Lighting and Temperature
Marimo moss ball requires the minimum of sunlight for its survival. The preferred water temperature varies from 60-degree Fahrenheit to 80-degrees Fahrenheit. It is better to avoid direct exposure to light in any form. So, you can plan to hide the aquarium lights within the enclosures and allow the indirect light into the aquarium tank.
Sometimes the Marimo turns brown when exposed to excess heat or light. Then you need to shift them to the location which is relatively cool. We have even tried the method of keeping the Marimo water container in the refrigerator for one full day during hot seasons. The algae will slowly regain its original bright green color within this time.
Clean the aquarium regularly once in 15 days. Remove the unhealthy algae that grow on the tank walls and the substrate. 50%-60% of the water change in 15 days is the minimum recommended procedure for ensuring hygienic environment.
The Marimo can absorb most of the fish food waste from the water. It can also attract the other forms of fish and plant debris found on the tank substrate. The remnants on the Marimo’s body can create a bad odor.
- Cleaning Species: The dwarf shrimp can clean up the Marimo’s body by eating away all the remnant foods and debris. The other types are the ghost shrimp, betta fish, and the fresh water snails. If you plan to have any of them as tank mates for the Marimo, the need for Marimo cleaning reduces considerably.
- Manual Clean: If you don’t have that option it is better to take out the Marimo from the tank and clean it with a soft bristled brush. Immerse it in pure water and squeeze it a few times. Then you can place it back into the aquarium. Cleaning will also remove the other types of healthy algae that may invade and feed on the Marimo.
The Marimo may float on water after you clean it and relocate it. It can sink after a few minutes without you having to do anything at all. They are also found to float when the interior body is filled with gas. Once the gas is released, it sinks back into the substrate.
Marimo Moss ball makes its own food when exposed to the normal lighting in your home. You can also feed it with the off-the shelf liquids containing the blend of phosphates, salts and the nitrates by dissolving 1 to 3 drops into the aquarium water.
If the aquarium contains fish, shrimp, and the other species, the Marimo can feed on the small volumes of nitrates, phosphates and the ammonia. Then you don’t need to provide the Marimo with special foods.
Marimo Health indicators
The changes in the Marimo’s body color indicate its health levels. For example, it turns into brown when exposed to excess of light and heat. It turns black when it is invaded by the other predator algae which eat it up. Sometimes the black color could also be due to the improper cleaning. Then you have to remove the Marimo from the tank, clean it with the soft bristled brush, squeeze in pure water, and place it back it into the tank.
Sometimes the Marimo changes its color on only one side. Then you need to clean it and roll it inside the substrate to expose the other side to the light. You can roll the Marimo once in two days to ensure even exposure to the light.
If a part of the Marimo body develops too much of brown spot, you can cut that part from the body and roll it back into the shape of a ball. Make sure that you have cleaned the exterior before placing it back into the tank.
Best tank Mates for Marimo
The Marimo’s best tank mates could be the ghost shrimp, dwarf shrimp, Betta fish, fresh water snails, and the other fish species which can survive in water temperature from 60-degree Fahrenheit to 80-degrees.
You can also choose red cherry shrimp, pond snails, Malaysian Trumpet, and the apple snails are the other recommended tank mates for the Marimo. These species are conditioned to live in perfect harmony with the Marimo. The snails have tendency to clean up the food and other debris deposited on the Marimo body. But they don’t eat up the species itself. Moreover, the snails find the Marimo to be a toy to play with. You can see them pushing the balls all around tank with ease.
Fish to Avoid in Marimo Tank
Gold fish, Mollies, Pleco fish, and some types of Cichlids can eat the Marimo as their food. You have to avoid them in your tank with the Marimo.
Marimo Stress Factors
Marimo is the kind of species, which can survive in any kind of water with varied ph values up to 8.5. But it needs at least 10 gallons of tank space to survive without any stress. Exposure to direct sunlight and water temperature above 80-degrees Fahrenheit can cause significant stress on the Marimo. So, you have to avoid such conditions for ensuring the maximum rate of growth.
Marimo Salt Water Bath
When the marimo moss ball develops brown, black or the other color spots, you can wash it in a bowl of pure water (at room temperature) by adding one or two pinches of salt to it. You can also keep it immersed in the salt water to clean up the spots naturally.
Top Benefits of Marimo Moss Ball in Your Fish Tank
Marimo Moss Ball generates oxygen in the fish tank to some extent. The other species like the fish, snails, and the shrimp can benefit from the life support provided by the Marimo. If you wish to use it as a primary oxygen provider, it is better to increase their numbers to at least 5 to 6 or even more. Then you have to increase the size of the tank, depending on the number of fish and the other species you have.
Marimo acts as good water filter for eliminating the dirt and debris. Having more numbers means better filtering capacity. But you also need the shrimps to clean up the deposits of dirt and debris on the Marimo body to keep the tank water clean and hygienic.
Marimo is a great scavenger of the dissolved nitrate, and the phosphates which are its primary sources of food. So, it can clean up the wastes from the aquatic fish and the other species in the tank. The volume of detox depends on the size of the Marimo, the volume of the tank, the number of other species and the number of the Marimo itself. If the tank size is bigger, you will need more number of Marimo to scavenge the chemicals.
The concentration of ammonia in water can increase when you use the fertilizers and the pesticides for the other plant species. If you wish to remove the toxic elements naturally, the best solution comes from Marimo Moss Balls. They can consume the ammonia and break it down into harmless basic ingredients. The biggest benefit is the capacity of the Marimo to digest them without generating any waste. So, the tank water remains free from the chemicals to a considerable extent.
Detox of the large fish tanks can be a simple task, when you have colonies of the Marimo Moss Balls. You don’t need to worry about increase in their numbers. It is because they don’t generate any seeds or the other subspecies for reproduction. They only grow in size and increase their water detox properties over time.
Marimo can deprive the nutrients needed by the unhealthy algae in the tank and reduce their growth rate. But it may not be sufficient to eliminate or clean up the existing unhealthy algae when they are in large volume. Then you will need the help of the other algae eaters. But you have to make sure they don’t eat up the Marimo as well.
Support for Fish and Snails
The fish and the snails need many forms of microorganisms like the bacteria for their food. Marimo provides the space or them to grow and multiply in numbers. So, the fish and snails can feast on them.
Many forms of beneficial bacteria that grow on the Marimo can also eat up ammonia and the nitrate waste from the fish. It is an added benefit for the other species.
Best Friend for Betta Fish
Betta fish doesn’t eat Marimo. But it cleans up the ball by eating away the deposits of foods and debris on its surface. The fish also plays the role of maintaining the Marimo health by pushing it within the tank. It helps the Marimo to expose all its parts to the light. Having the Marimo in the tank can also increase the lifespan of the Betta fish by reducing the stress factors.
The Marimo Moss Ball can live in any kind and size of tank with ph variation from 6.5 to 8.4+. The maintenance tasks required for the tank are few compared to the other types of algae and plant species. It generates no wastes which need to be cleaned. It doesn’t require to be fed when you fill the tank with the fish that produce nitrate and phosphate. It can generate its own food when exposed to the room temperature and normal level of lighting. The only task is the weekly 50% water change.
The Marimo is free from every form of pest which may affect the other aquatic plant species. So, it can increase the hygienic conditions of the water. It doesn’t create any kind of contaminants which may change the ph or the water temperature. The water conditions created by the Marimo are highly beneficial for the growth and expansion of the other plant species which don’t belong to the unhealthy algae category.
You can easily regenerate the Marimo by cutting it into two halves and rolling each half into a ball. Now you have two Marimo balls from one. But it is not the recommended method, since the growth of the species is limited to 5mm in one year. So, the recommended practice is to have more numbers.
The Marimo Moss Balls are the natural aquarium décor species. They enhance the aesthetic feelings and improve the visual appeals of the tank. You can arrange them on top of the slate stones, aquascaping wood, rocks, and nearer to the Aquascape caves. They can be the excellent objects for decorating the substrate with the toys of different shapes and sizes.
You can use the various permutation and combination of indirect lighting colors to enhance the visual effects generated by the Marimo. It is due to the highly shiny exterior surface of the Balls.
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