How to Clean Your Marimo Moss Ball Properly

How to Clean Your Marimo Moss Ball Properly

Ever glanced at your moss ball, floating peacefully in its jar, and wondered, "How do I clean this little guy?" If you're nodding along, you're not alone. Becoming a moss ball pet parent for the first time comes with its share of puzzles, and learning the proper technique for cleaning moss balls tops the list.

Fear not because you're about to become an expert!!

Whether it's your first time or looking to brush up on your skills, you'll find that caring for your aquatic companion is simpler and more satisfying than you might think. Let’s go!

When to Clean Your Moss Amigos Moss Ball

Catching the right moment to clean your Marimo is key to keeping it thriving. These signs are your Marimo's way of whispering, "mom/dad, I need a little care":

  • Dull Appearance: A vibrant green Marimo is a happy Marimo. If yours starts looking dull or less lively, it's probably time for a bath.
  • Algae Overgrowth: Notice any unusual foreign algae buildup on its surface? This is a telltale sign your Marimo's environment needs attention.
  • Odor Detection: A healthy Marimo won't smell bad. If you catch a whiff of something off, it's a strong indicator of cleaning time.

Moss floating? Learn the reason here: Why Is My Moss Ball Floating? Simple Science Explained

Preparing for the Clean

Now that you know when it's  spa day for your Marimo, let's gear up for the task. A smooth cleaning session starts with a bit of prep work. You'll need just a few things:

Setting up your cleaning station correctly is crucial for a hassle-free experience. Let's break down how to get everything ready so your Marimo gets the rejuvenating cleanse it deserves without any fuss.

Detailed Cleaning Process

Ensuring your Moss Amigos moss ball's health and longevity involves careful cleaning. Here's a more detailed guide:

  • Step 1: Gently Remove the Marimo From Its Current Water. 

Before handling your Marimo, wash your hands to avoid transferring any oils or human-borne bacteria. When removing the Marimo, use a scooping action to support it fully, minimizing stress on its structure, or use a moss handler.

  • Step 2: Rinse Under Tepid, Dechlorinated Water to Wash Off Debris. 

Prepare the rinse water by letting it sit out for 24 hours to naturally dechlorinate, or use a specialized water perfectly made for moss balls. The water temperature should be close to Marimo's environment, ideally between 68°F to 78°F (20°C to 25°C), to prevent shock. Gentle agitation under water can help loosen any attached debris.

  • Step 3: Carefully Squeeze the Marimo to Remove Excess Water and Trapped Dirt.
  • This step should be done with utmost care. Apply minimal pressure to avoid damaging the Marimo's interior. This mimics the natural water flow Marimo would experience in lakes, which helps remove sediments from their surfaces.

  • Step 4: If Necessary, Lightly Roll the Marimo in Your Hands to Help Maintain Its Shape.
  • Marimo naturally maintains its spherical shape through the gentle rolling action of lake currents. Replicating this action by lightly rolling it in your hands helps shape and distribute its internal filaments evenly for balanced growth.

    Take Note: For the best care, repeating this cleaning process every two weeks or when you notice significant cloudiness in the water or discoloration of the Marimo can be beneficial. 

    Common Mistakes to Avoid

    Caring for Moss Amigos moss balls is easy, but a few common slip-ups can trip you up. Let's keep them happy and healthy by steering clear of these mistakes.

    1. Overcleaning

    Cleaning your Marimo too frequently can do more harm than good. It's vital to find a balance that maintains cleanliness without disrupting the beneficial bacteria that Marimo rely on. Aim for a gentle cleaning routine that doesn't stress your Marimo.

    2. Using Soap or Chemicals During Cleaning

    Marimo are sensitive to chemicals, and even a small amount of soap or detergent residue can be harmful. Always ensure that you're rinsing your Marimo with clean, plain water. This precaution helps avoid introducing any substances that could damage their delicate ecosystem.

    3. Using Metal Containers

    While metal containers might look stylish, they're not the best choice for Marimo. Corrosion from metals can lead to releasing toxic substances into the water, negatively affecting Marimo health. Instead, use Moss Amigos glass jar to keep your Marimo safe and sound.


    Cleaning moss balls properly is the first step in ensuring their health and vitality. But caring for Marimo goes beyond just cleaning; it's about understanding their needs and providing the best environment for them to thrive. 

    Moss Amigos is your go-to resource if you're eager to learn more and find specialized products tailored for Marimo care. Expand your knowledge and give your moss balls the care they deserve.


    Cattaneo, A., & Kalff, J. (1979). Primary production of algae growing on natural and artificial aquatic plants: A study of interactions between epiphytes and their substrate1. Limnology and Oceanography, 24(6), 1031–1037.

    Phillips, N., & Knowles, T. P. J. (2019). Marimo machines: Oscillators, biosensors, and actuators. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 7, 233.

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