Why is marimo moss ball shedding

Why is Marimo Moss Ball Shedding? 7 Causes With Solution 

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Marimo moss balls are one type of algae that are found at lake Akan, Japan and Lake Myvatn, Iceland. These balls live more than a hundred years and stay under the water. So shedding is not a very big problem for marimo moss balls.

Marimo moss ball is shedding because of its internal decay. When it does not get proper light then it may fall apart. An attack from algae can be another possibility of shedding. Besides this, the stagnancy of the water is also a cause of the shedding of moss balls. 

This section has given you a brief idea about the causes of shedding. However, you must know what exactly your moss balls are lacking just because the marimo moss ball is shedding. Let’s dive deep down into the topic.

Why is marimo moss ball shedding?

Marimo moss balls are one of the cheapest aquatic plants that are used to decorate the aquarium. Now, these moss balls can fall apart sometimes. This may or may not happen for a reason. So the possible reason is

Top 7 reasons marimo moss balls are shedding
Top 7 reasons marimo moss balls are shedding
  • Moss balls are not getting sufficient lights

Marimo moss ball is one type of plant/algae. It gets nutrition from photosynthesis. Now to do photosynthesis sufficient lights are a must for moss balls. You must check the position of your moss ball once.

It can’t tolerate the high intensity of light. It means you should not keep marimo moss balls under direct aquarium light or under sunlight. You must keep it under sufficient shadow. However, too much shadow may create a blockage of photosynthesis. Due to lack of nutrition moss balls may fall apart or shed.

Solution – So you have to keep in mind that marimo moss balls require medium to low-intensity aquarium light. 1.5 watts per gallon is the suitable light intensity for marimo moss balls. But make sure that the light should be the fluorescent one.

Read more:- Are Floating Plants Good For Aquariums? 7 Floating Plants Recommendations

  • Moss balls are attacked by algae

A marimo moss ball is itself an alga. However, this can be attacked by other algae too. If the aquarium is not clean enough then the nutrient value may increase there. Due to the high level of nutrients algae may bloom inside of the aquarium.

Black beard algae may be the most harmful type of algae that can cover the moss balls. This is why your moss ball may fall apart or shed.

Read more:- How to remove algae from the aquarium? Solutions for each type of alga

Solution – If you do not want to get such an algae attack to try to maintain the aquarium once a week by changing 25% of water. You must not keep the tank under direct sunlight also.
  • Stagnant water condition in the aquarium

The origins of marimo moss balls are lake Akan and Lake Myvatn. These two lakes have a laminar flow of water. This is why algae get a round shape here and make moss balls.

Now if you keep these moss balls into a stagnant water condition in the aquarium then it may not get sufficient water flow from any direction. This may be one of the causes of falling apart or shedding the moss balls.

Solution – To keep healthy you must add a pump and a filter to your aquarium. The air stones may be another option to add a vertical flow of water in the aquarium.
  • The wrong temperature of the water 

Marimo moss balls are naturally found in cooler water. The average temperature of Lake Akan is 17°C and the average temperature of Lake Myvatn is 13°C. These temperatures are so cold. Now when you put marimos in the comparatively warmer water in an aquarium then it may turn into a brown colour. Due to excessively warm water marimo moss balls may fall apart or shed.

Solution – It is recommended to keep the water temperature under 23°C if you want to keep marimo moss balls in the aquarium. Though this can tolerate a little bit of temperature still, you should keep the temperature low as much as possible to keep marimo moss balls healthy.
  • Due to filament loosening for Moss ball’s age 

Marimo moss balls have a longer life than any other aquatic plants. However, it will die too. So if your marimo moss balls are shedding then there may be a possibility of its filament losing. This is the symbol of its age. Older marimo moss balls can’t sustain their rounder shape for a long time.

To save marimo moss balls you should provide the right food for these. We have tried a new food & this has worked phenomenally for us. Here is the link for you to check its discounted price. Grab it first.

Solution – If your marimo moss balls are shedding due to losing their filament then you must break them down into two or three parts. After that, you can roll it up against your palms. The filaments will get their strength again. However, it will become smaller than the previous one. If these are still shedding then you may keep moss balls in clean water for 3-4 hours with 5% salt solution. This is a good medication for marimo moss balls to get back their strength.
  • Due to having herbivorous fishes in the aquarium 

 If your aquarium has herbivorous fish types then your marimo moss balls may be shedding due to their activities. Some fish types (such as pleco) are the bottom dweller. It likes to eat algae. Now if you keep marimo moss balls in front of him then it may tear it up for eating purpose. This may be a cause of shedding.

However, pleco is a very peaceful fish and does not move all around in the aquarium. There are lots of other active and aggressive fish species who can be over-enthusiastic to these balls and at that time the problem starts.

Read more:- Does pleco fish eat driftwood? Advantages of driftwood in aquarium

Solution – Hence, you must keep marimo moss balls into a peaceful community tank. You have to make sure that the fishes must be top and mid dwellers.
  • For too much bioload of the aquarium

If you do not clean your aquarium frequently then bioload may increase in your aquarium. Due to the blockage of filters, the bioload may increase suddenly. This will help to colonize the bacteria on the wastes and detritus. Due to colonization, the ammonia and nitrite level will start to grow. This is harmful to both marimo moss balls and fishes in your aquarium. Hence, for excessive bioload, your marimo moss balls may shed.

Solution – You must clean the tank up. The frequency of tank cleaning must be twice a week. This is mandatory to change a 50-60% water change twice a month. You must check whether the filter is working well or not. You must keep a good HOB filter in your tank that is able to both mechanical and biological filtration.

Read more:- Definitive Care Guide of Marimo Moss Ball with Infographics

Announcement:- Want to purchase natural 4pcs (4cm/1.57inch) Marimo moss balls? Then Go Here to check the discounted price now.

How to know if the marimo moss ball is real or fake? 

If you are observing that your marimo moss balls are shedding it means there is a possibility of being a fake moss ball. Lots of aquarists do not know actually whether their marimo moss balls are real or fake and so they complain about its shedding.

Primarily, real marimo moss balls float on the water and after soaking water fully, it sinks down at the bottom where fake moss balls directly sink down due to the foam inside it. Besides this, marimos can’t tolerate high-intensity lights. It turns white in colour. Fake moss balls don’t bother the lights. 

It means if your moss balls are shedding then there will be a high possibility that your balls are real. A fake moss ball will not fall apart because there is foam in its centre of the ball. This foam binds the whole ball. Now real balls look like green velvet and their filaments conjugate with each other. Due to some reasons (the previous section has discussed) when its filaments start loosening then it falls apart.

Read more:- Fertilizing Aquarium Plants (Infographics): Basic to Advance


After this long discussion, we can conclude that marimo moss balls may shed or fall apart due to some reasons. This may be due to improper light intensity or warm temperature. The algal attack also can be one cause to shed of moss balls.

However, you must check whether it is real or not because fake moss balls can fall apart so quickly and will not be healthy again. So after buying moss balls you must check them. After that, you can follow the given solutions as the precautions.

So best of luck & happy fishkeeping 🐟

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