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Japanese Marimo Moss Balls

Cladophora aegagropila

Description:

Those who have not heard of Marimo (like me lol) would probably wonder what it is. Commonly known as Marimo in Korea, its technical term is Cladophora aegagropila, also called "Tribbles" or "Algae Balls" in the West. Marimo is the name given to a type of land locked algae formed by many small strings of algae tangled together in a radial pattern forming a fuzzy green ball. Mari comes from the Japanese word for ball and mo refers to algae. As its life span is quite long - the biggest Marimo ball is known to have lived over 100 years. Breeding the algae balls in right condition, one can hand over a couple of generations from grandparents to a grandson, working as a medium of family love.

Habitat:

Originated from Lake Akan in Japan, it is considered as national treasure declared as a natural monument. In its natural habitat; their ability to move around by using the undercurrents also rise to the surface in the morning and sink at night due to receive plenty of light to carry out photosynthesis is an interesting character of Moss Ball. Although these balls have been observed to grow to some degree growing in freshwater lakes and ponds in European countries and some other lakes in Japan; only in this particular lake they grow to be a noticeable size in perfect spherical shape.

Notes:

Above all, the main reason for it gaining public favor would probably be due to the legend; once there lived a daughter of the chief of a tribe around Lake Akan. She fell in love with a commoner, but confronted opposition of her parents. She ran away with him and sublimated into Marimo. For that myth, in Japan, it has become spotlighted as "love plant," which realizes true love and accomplishes one's heart's desire when it is given and taken as a present. It has crossed the ocean to reach Korea, welcomed by children, lovers and parents. This plant does NOT cause algae problem. Live Plants is a natural biological filter to remove ammonia in aquarium. Propagate by dividing into smaller pieces, which become spherical over time. Negligible maintenance required. No carbon dioxide injection required for healthy growth.

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24 Comments

LeahFerneReed
LeahFerneReed 9 years ago

The balls are made up of small strings of algae which gives them a grassy or "fuzzy" appearance :)

Kat Lester
Kat Lester 9 years ago

Those look fuzzy, why is that?

LeahFerneReed
LeahFerneReed 9 years ago

That sounds amazing...like an aquatic zen garden. No fish needed lol. This is definitely on my to do list XD

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

Leah, I have seen aquariums with a great many of these in them. I only keep the four as accent pieces to the other live plants I keep, I also use black substrate so they really stand out!

The most I have seen in an aquarium were 20, the tank was a 125 gallon, with no substrate, it did have various rock formations as well as several variety of potted sword plants. The person had two power heads attached at the bottom of the tank for circulation and the moss balls would get blown around from one side to the other. It was very captivating to say the least!

LeahFerneReed
LeahFerneReed 9 years ago

I want an aquarium now just so I can have a few of these moss balls in it. I love how healthy they make aquariums look. Is there a limit per gallon that you know of?

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

Great Facts Leah! I can attest to the longevity as well as the little to no maintenance needed to keep these in an aquarium. I have four, that I have had for the last 6 years. :-) You may need to give them a light shake during regular tank cleanings just to clear off any detritus that might have gathered on them, but other than that, they are maintenance free.

LeahFerneReed
LeahFerneReed 9 years ago

Couldn't agree more ArgyBee XD

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

Excellent information added Leah. Great to learn something entirely new.

LeahFerneReed
LeahFerneReed 9 years ago

Awesome....thanks so much to everyone for their thoughts and opinions on this spotting. I think we finally figured it out now XD

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

I agree ArgyBee, I believe we may need to let this one simmer for awhile before bringing to a rolling boil. I have lots of links to the Marimo I can post if needed though. I do tons of research on plants/animals/algae as I keep several aquariums. ranging from 10gallon to 125 gallon. (all fresh water, although I have kept salt water and even brackish water tanks in the past).

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

That's where I first went to Brandon but nobody seemed to like it... maybe we'll let it sink in for a while... 8>/

BrandonBlount
BrandonBlount 9 years ago

are we sure these aren't Aegagropila linnaei? Or more commonly referred to as Marimo Moss Balls? I keep several of these in my 55 gallon fresh water tank, and they were ordered from a very reputable dealer. ;-)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

Paraleucobryum viride, Dicranum viride are synonyms

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Hello. I corrected the species name as per Ava's advice and I separated your tags with commas. Perhaps you can add in about the explorirorium under habitat/description. Thanks

LeahFerneReed
LeahFerneReed 9 years ago

Yes these we're on display at the San Francisco Exploritorium. I tried to find some info on them but I didn't see any :(. Figured I could figure it out when I got home but it proved to be more puzzling than I though lol

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

So the actual species of moss they are using is still interesting. It might be better to use 'Leucobryum glaucum'. This seems to be an alternative and the name more often used. Good one.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 9 years ago

very interesting Leah. thanks for sharing this ! are these being grown for display purposes??

LeahFerneReed
LeahFerneReed 9 years ago

You know they really do look like Cladophora balls also known as Japaneses Moss Balls. I guess they could have been in super clean and clear water. I might have to change the names.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

Ok Leah.. don't bother with the Cladophora then. (It is an algae which grows naturally into balls in a few cold water lakes in the northern hemisphere) These are artificially created. Very clever and attractive.

LeahFerneReed
LeahFerneReed 9 years ago

The moss is growing on rocks about 2-3 inches long and were kept under glass to constantly keep the air humid...or cold I guess. I have never heard of Cladophora balls I will have to check that out :)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 9 years ago

Hi Leah, are these in water? Are they like Cladophora balls which grow in cold places?

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 9 years ago

It's viride. Here's a link with picture on page 7. http://na.fs.fed.us/stewardship/pubs/bio...
Perhaps you could add this to your spotting under "reference."

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

What is the setting/substrate here? What is the size/scale? Thanks

LeahFerneReed
Spotted by
LeahFerneReed

San Francisco, California, USA

Spotted on May 21, 2012
Submitted on May 23, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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