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Setting up a Tank Environment in Preparation for Incoming Marimo

Contrary to popular belief, marimo are not difficult to keep, and are low maintenance organisms. The only ingredients they need are a strong UVA/UVB light source: direct sunlight or an incandescent bulb specifically for aquatic plants, as well as a simple water bubbler in order to keep the water circulating and CO2 moving throughout the tank. This equipment may be obtained rather inexpensively in your nearest pet shop, or on Amazon.If you are looking to keep larger marimo specimens, [...]

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A Walk Along the Shores of Lake Akan, and a Journey to the Past

Today has been a full day of good rest for me. I slept late this morning trying to sleep off some of my fatigue. In the morning I strode down to the Akan Visitor's Center to see what I could discover about the "wonder of Lake Ball 'Marimo,'" algae ball. In Ainu Marimo is "To karibu" meaning "ball of the marsh" or "Torasante" meaning "seed of the lake."Marimo is the name given to a type of land locked algae [...]

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A New Art: A New Age Marimo

The Marimo Moss Ball sways gently in its small aquarium. The water moves around it ever so slowly, and people walking by it can’t help but feel relaxed. Whether that sense of relaxation is brought on by the Marimo or by the New Age music that is playing somewhere in the background, no one really knows. They just all agree on one thing: that they have never felt so relaxed and so good in their lives.It’s true – on [...]

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The Biological Properties of Marimo Balls

With the recent surge in enthusiasm among collectors and hobbyists for marimo moss balls, a number of our curious readers have asked whether the moss balls are fit for human consumption. Before we can answer this question, it will be good to cover some of the basics of marimo moss ball biology, history, care and propagation. After all, these beautiful works of natural art are best protected and enjoyed. Basic Biology of Marimo Moss Balls:  While often sold in aquaria as [...]

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A History of the Marimo’s Plight

In the mid-1920's marimo in Lake Akan were greatly affected by both thievery and decreases in the lake's water level. Both marimo and their environment were under attack. To circumvent the marimo's looming threat of extinction in Lake Akan, the Marimo Festival was inaugurated. This path of devastation, fortunately interrupted and ransomed by the Marimo Festival, is documented in the following pages.Designation of marimo in 1921 as a Natural Treasure also marked, at least for the marimo of Lake [...]

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The Maximum Size of Marimo in Nature

The above map represents Lake Akan. The solid line along the lake shore represents the areas of the lake where marimo live. Spherical marimo are distributed and live only in the areas marked in green.Marimo are a perennial plant. If they do not remain in areas that receive some degree of sunlight throughout the year, they cannot survive. The epilithic filament form of marimo live attached to crags at the lake's bottom in comparatively deep waters, approximately 10 meters [...]

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A Gentle Introduction to Marimo

Marimo Moss (Aegagropila linnaei), a ball shaped moss formation mostly found in Japan, Iceland, Scottland and Estonia was first popularized in Japan in the 1920's; where it is considered a national treasure. Its popularity, however, caught on quickly around the world with aquarium lovers and now this fantastic spherical algae can be found in homes everywhere.The Perfect Pet:Because of its ability to roll around on lake beds and float to the surface of the water in search of sunlight, [...]

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The Low Maintenance Aspect of Marimo as Pets

Marimo Moss Balls have received increasing popularity in recent years due in equal parts to their beauty and low maintenance. Although also found in Scotland, Iceland, and Estonia, Marimos are best known for being from Japan, where they are considered a National Treasure and even have their own cartoon character (high praise indeed). Their signature shape occurs when strands of algae become entangled at the bottom of a lake. Slowly but surely, the current turns them more and more [...]

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Basic Marimo Lighting Conditions

Marimo  balls, or aegargropila linnaei, are unusual and rare forms of algae: perfectly spherical, they were discovered in the early 1900s in Lake Akan, in Japan. While the algae is native specifically to that lake, they can also be found in Estonia, Scotland, and Iceland, and are getting more and more popular as a household “pet” around the world. Of course, you can’t simply order an algae ball to be pulled out of Lake Akan, given that the marimo [...]

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Several Properties and Care Techniques for Marimo

Japanese legend has it that Marimos are the result of a star-crossed metamorphosis of a chief’s daughter and her peasant lover. On the eve of her arranged marriage to someone else, the daughter and her lover planned to make a watery grave in Lake Akan. Instead, they were transformed into velveteen spheres of algae that would transfix plant and pond enthusiasts forever. Some swear that Marimos bring luck, love, and fortune to anyone who raises them. Because of their [...]

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