Marimo Balls (Aegagropila linnaei)

Type:Algae Growth
Origin:Japan and Northern Europe
Growth Rate:Very Slow
Light Demand:Low to Medium
CO2 Demand:Low

Marimo Balls are also known as “Cladophora ball”, “moss ball”, “lake ball” or “moss ball pets” is a green algae species belonging to the Pithophoraceae family. It is a rare growth form of Aegagropila linnaei. The natural habitat of this species is lakes and rivers in Japan and Northern Europe (Estonia, Iceland, Scotland, etc.). This species consists of the growth of green algae, which do not have any other substance in the center, taking the shape of a sphere by the effect of waves and flows in their natural habitat. Unlike other aquarium plants, Marimo Balls which are very interesting with their green ball appearance, easy-care, and benefits to aquatic habitats are very popular with aquarists.


While Marimo Balls are healthy, it contains colors ranging from light green to dark green. This plant, which can grow only 5 mm per year, can reach impressive sizes in its natural habitats. It can grow up to 20-30 cm in diameter in Japan, while in Iceland, it can grow up to 12 cm in diameter. It is common for them to grow lesser than their natural habitat, depending on the aquarium environment they are in.


Care of Marimo Balls in the aquarium is very easy. Moss Balls that can be dropped directly into the aquarium will find a suitable place for them by floating or sinking. It is also usual for them to show colonization according to the aquarium size. In its natural life, this species prefers partially cold waters as it lives at the bottom of lakes. 17-24°C water temperature and low lighting is suitable for the plant’s growth. It can live in a wide range of water pH from slightly acidic to alkaline.

If the plant is exposed to direct sunlight, it may turn brown or gray. Therefore, direct sunlight should be avoided. For these reasons, it is not proper to keep with plant species that need high-intensity light and warmer water temperatures. Cleaning the aquarium water every two weeks, more often in summer, is necessary for the health of the plant. It will be vital to clean this plant from time to time. In this case, remove the plant from the aquarium, place it in a container with clean water, and squeeze it gently. The dirt inside the plant will come out by this method. Then, it will be ready to go back in its aquarium.

On the other hand, Marimo Balls bring many benefits to aquarium life. Their aesthetic appearance, lowering the level of nitrate created by fish and converting waste carbon dioxide to oxygen are some of them. They can live in harmony with most fish species, but species such as goldfish may harm them. While fish and plants will live with this plant in the aquarium, it should not be forgotten that this plant prefers cold and partially dark waters. Another point to be considered in the care of this plant is that if it turns brown or grey, it should be transferred to a cooler place that does not receive direct sunlight or high-intensity light. In this case, the color will automatically turn green again.

In summary, Marimo Balls are interesting for all aquarists with their shapes, colors, and easy care. The only point is to check whether the parameters required for the healthy growth of other plant species that will live in the same environment are compatible with Marimo Balls. Keeping them in a tank apart from other plant species with some suitable fish which the requirements match with Marimo Balls is another option.

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