Marimo moss balls have been a popular option within the fish keeping community and although they are not as easy to keep as many people think, a large number of people do make them work.
A more recent trend is to make a marimo moss carpet in aquariums due to a number of viral videos and photographs on social media of other people who have managed to do it getting attention recently.
Although these photographs and videos are described as a marimo moss carpet, that is not entirely accurate and it is actually slightly misleading. This has caused many people who are trying make a marimo moss carpet in their own tanks to have problems so we wanted to publish this article.
Can You Turn Marimo Moss Balls Into Carpet?
It is very difficult to make a true marimo moss carpet by cutting marimo moss balls in half as the marimo moss will naturally try to reform into balls or just free float. Gluing the marimo moss in place can actually make it difficult for it to get the nutrients that it requires too so it is common that it will die.
The first thing that you have to realize is that marimo moss is not actually a type of moss but a type of algae. It comes from the following line of algae:-
- Family – Pithophoraceae.
- Species: Aegagropila linnaei.
With the Pithophoraceae family of algae having a wide range of different types of algae within it that all look similar to marimo moss. Some of the types of algae within the Pithophoraceae family will naturally grow flat like actual moss and this is what people usually use for their “marimo moss carpet” not actual marimo moss.
Some people will refer to it as long haired marimo moss but it is actually a totally different type of algae to the Cladaphora (marimo moss) although it does look very similar.
You can usually get this moss with relative ease in Europe and Asia due to it naturally growing in these areas but it is surprisingly difficult to find in North America due to it being classed as an invasive species and it technically being banned from import.
Can You Carpet With Marimo Moss?
It is very difficult to carpet with real marimo moss and most people within the aquarium keeping hobby who do make a “marimo moss carpet” actually use a different type of algae from the Pithophoraceae family that marimo moss is a part of.
Due to the other types of algae looking so much like normal marimo moss, people within the aquarium keeping hobby will commonly just refer to it as “marimo moss” or “long haired marimo moss” but the other types of algae are not Cladaphora but still from the Pithophoraceae family of algae.
How Do I Make A Marimo Moss Carpet?
We will go over the various steps involved in making a “marimo moss carpet” in your aquarium but keep in mind that one of the hardest parts of maintaining a marimo moss carpet in your aquarium is finding suitable tank mates that won’t rip it up and eat it.
Most of the photographs that you see on social media of tanks with a luscious, thick, thriving marimo moss carpet are posed photographs where the tank keeper will temporarily add fish to the tank for the photograph before removing them.
This is due to most species of commonly kept fish eating marimo moss or at least ripping it up and picking at it while foraging for food.
Get the Long Fiber Marimo Moss Variant!
As we touched on earlier in the article, to make a “marimo moss carpet” you don’t actually need the marimo moss algae but any of the long haired variant of algae from the Pithophoraceae family of algae.
Due to being native to Europe and Asia, these are very easy to find in these areas but are very difficult to legally find in North America, particularly the USA due to laws prohibiting its import due to being classed as an invasive species.
Get A Suitable Mount!
Once you have your long haired variant of the algae, you need a mount to secure it to, this is due to the Pithophoraceae algaes usually needing a hard surface like a rock to mount to and not doing well on substrate.
If you are wanting to build out a totally flat marimo moss carpet that will cover your aquarium floor then one or more plastic canva grids cut to the size of your aquarium will usually be the best option.
Attach Your Marimo Moss To The Mount!
You then need to actually attach your algae to the mount and it is difficult to get the algae to just sit on the mount and stay there naturally. Most people will just glue the algae in place so that it grows out where they need it to form a full marimo moss carpet.
Our article on aquarium safe glue products should be able to help you get a suitable glue that is safe for use in your tank.
You only need a tiny drop of glue to secure whatever variant of Pithophoraceae you chose to go with in place.
Too much glue and you may actually prevent enough nutrients getting into the algae to allow it to grow at a healthy rate.
Due to the slow growth speed of the majority of Pithophoraceae species, you are usually better off taking the time to slowly attach small amounts of the algae all over your mount of choice rather than using big clumps and waiting for it to grow.
Seat The Mount In Your Aquarium!
Seating the mount into your aquarium is as easy as it sounds. Just place the mount with the Pithophoraceae algae mounted to it into your tank. Some people will place the mount on top of substrate but you can just place it on the base of your tank if you don’t plan to have other live plants in the tank.
Wait For It To Grow In!
Once in place, you simply wait for the algae to grow out and form your marimo moss carpet but this can take years if you don’t help your marimo moss carpet grow faster.
The majority of species of Pithophoraceae will only grow at around 5 millimeters per year in natural conditions without being supplemented.
You are able to drastically improve the growth rate of your marimo moss carpet with a CO2 injector system, powerful lights, and fertilizer products. This can allow you to fully grow the carpet across the base of your tank in as little as six months.
How Long Will A Marimo Moss Carpet Last?
Your marimo moss carpet can last indefinitely if it is kept in an aquascape tank with no fish but it doesn’t tend to last long in a tank with most species of fish due to the moss being ripped up or eaten.
This is why most people who do use a marimo moss carpet in their aquarium will not keep fish in the tank for long periods of time.
Some of the larger social media channels that have the viral photographs and videos freely admit that their viral content of their marimo moss carpet is essentially staged.
Yes, they have a marimo moss carpet in their tank but the fish seen in the photographs and videos are usually only in the tanks for a matter of minutes to get the photographs or videos.
Summary Of Making A Marimo Moss Carpet!
- Get the Long Fiber Marimo Moss Variant!
- Get A Suitable Mount!
- Attach Your Marimo Moss To The Mount!
- Seat The Mount In Your Aquarium!
- Place Any Decorations On The Marimo Moss Carpet!
- Wait For It To Grow In!