Although algae is often a nuisance to aquarium owners, it can prove very beneficial to fish tanks when introduced in moss ball form. Marimo moss balls are essentially globular clusters of green algae and occur naturally in the wild. They can prove attractive additions to fish tanks light on plant life, while also encouraging a more healthier environment for your pets.
Moss Balls Explained
Moss balls are commonly encountered in freshwater environments in parts of Europe and East Asia. Unlike other types of algae that propagate uncontrollably, moss balls simply divide, with smaller balls eventually growing larger over time as they take nourishment from the water around them.
This makes them safe to use in fish tanks, without the worry of unsightly sheets of green algae spreading across the panes of your aquarium.
Main Benefits of Moss Balls
Used sparingly, moss balls can bring huge benefits to your aquarium environment. If you regularly struggle with maintaining healthy water conditions, moss balls can definitely help. These compact balls of green algae will absorb problematic toxins and pollutants produced from decaying matter.
When used alongside a conventional filtration system, they can be very effective at keeping ammonia and nitrates in check. Moss balls also produce friendly bacteria, which will improve the overall conditions within your tank, ensuring your other plants and fish remain healthy.
As moss balls readily absorb pollutants from fish tank water, they’re very effective at preventing other types of algae from becoming a problem. Because they’re quick to consume nitrates and ammonia, moss balls ensure other forms of algae have no food source to exploit and thrive on.
Moss balls are also fairly robust. They won’t require any advanced maintenance and can be left to to their own devices. This sets them apart from many other types of aquatic plants. They’re also particularly hardy when it comes pH levels. They thrive equally well in alkaline and acidic environments, meaning you won’t have to worry about adjusting the pH balance of your tank water prior to introducing them.
If you’re looking to add some colour and natural aesthetic to your tank but have had little luck with conventional aquarium plants, moss balls are a good compromise. For a start, moss balls can float freely through your tank, meaning you don’t have to worry about bedding in any roots into a substrate layer.
Their free-floating nature also means you don’t have to worry about disturbing them when it comes to carrying out water changes or more in-depth tank cleaning. Because moss balls are a form of green algae, you also don’t need to trim away things like dead leaves and withered steams. Provided they have enough organic material to take nourishment from, moss balls will retain a healthy green hue for a long time.
However, there are some things to consider before adding moss balls to your fish tank. As with any form of algae, you’ll need to limit UV exposure to ensure growth is minimised. Keeping your fish tank away from windows and direct sources of sunlight is definitely a good idea in this regard.
Moss balls are also best kept in tanks with moderate water temperatures. Particularly warm water can encourage unwanted growth. Furthermore, moss balls will retain containments and debris. Therefore, you’ll want to manually remove as much of this as possible when carrying out tank cleans.