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Moss Balls

Message Board / Forum. Goldfish Plants. May's Plants Of The Month Are....


Posted by: emmahj May 1 2004, 01:14 PM
As promised in April, we're looking at the little guys of the aquatic plant world this month. All the plants below are suitable for small set-ups (right down to 2-3 gallons) or as foreground plants for larger aquariums. However, there are so many unusual and delightful small plants that I couldn't restrain myself to only one or two this time so you've got four to look at.

And here they are

Cladophora aegagropila

Sometimes called Lake Balls or Marimo Balls, these fascinating little guys are not really plants at all, but spheres of dark green algae (yup even algae can be decorative. They are normally found in shallow lakes, where the movement of the waves forms them into perfect spheres, and there they happily roll back and forth filtering nutrients from the water. Due to the action of photosynthesis, they rise to the surface during the day and sink back down at night. The Japanese government have actually designated them as a special national treasure and given them legal protection from harvesting.

In the tank they must be turned regularly to keep them in shape, but if you prefer they can instead be allowed to spread out and form a lush green carpet over the bottom. This looks especially lovely covering river rocks. Kept in a spherical shape however, there are very few plants to rival this one for structural impact or interest in the aquarium. Best of all, despite their exotic appearance they are incredibly undemanding and easy to grow.

Summary of care:

Care Level: easy
Availability: can be hard to find though I have seen them for sale a few times. Tropica Plants stockists may have them.
Cost: varies depending on availability but often quite expensive.
Max height: 10 cm
Max width: 10 cm
Growth: very slow
Goldfish Edibility Rating: not known but may be nibbled at, seeing as GF like algae.

Requirements:

Light level: very low to very high
Temperature: 5-28 C
pH: 6 8.5
Hardness: medium very hard
Nutrients: not required
CO2: not required but does respond to added CO2
Water movement: does not mind water movement (will roll along the bottom if there is enough current), but do not place right underneath very strong flows as these may tear the sphere apart.
Planting: simply drop into the aquarium. Do not bury in the substrate.
Maintenance: none, except to turn over regularly if a perfect spherical shape is wanted.
Propagation: Divide original plant into smaller pieces and either roll these into spheres or allow to grow flat.




Anubias barteri var. nana petite

This is the smallest of the Anubias family and first appeared as a mutation in a Singaporean nursery. It is a delightful little plant, ideal for miniature aquascapes in small tanks. Bushy in habit, it has oval leaves which are a bright, fresh green when they first appear and darken gradually as they get older. Like all Anubias, it needs to be attached to wood or stones and doesn't like having its roots buried in the substrate. (Watch out for a special feature on Anubias next month


Java
Summary of care:

Care Level: easy
Availability: can be hard to find. Tropica stockists will probably have it however.
Cost: varies depending on availability but usually not expensive.
Max height: 5 cm
Max width: 10 cm
Growth: very slow
Goldfish Edibility Rating: not known, but may be eaten

Requirements:

Light level: very low to high
Temperature: 20-30 C
pH: 6-8
Hardness: very soft very hard


Summary of care:

Care Level: very easy
Availability: commonly available
Cost: inexpensive.
Max height: 5+ cm
Max width: 5+ cm
Growth: slow
Goldfish Edibility Rating: distasteful, rarely eaten

Requirements:

Light level: very low to very high
Temperature: 15-28 C
pH: 5.5-9
Hardness: very soft - very hard
Nutrients: not required
CO2: not required
Water movement: does not mind some water movement
Planting: attach to rocks, bogwood etc. using fishing line or cotton until it has firmly rooted itself. Do not bury roots in substrate.
Maintenance: none, except to trim occasionally with scissors to keep in shape
Propagation: Will produce baby plantlets from the rhizome; remove these from the parent and attach elsewhere in the tank.




Cryptocoryne parva

Smallest of the Cryptocorynes, this sweet little plant originated in Sri Lanka. It has long, pointed, mid-green leaves on graceful stems, and is absolutely charming planted in groups around a piece of bark or driftwood. It needs more light than other Cryptocorynes so don't let it be overshadowed by other plants. It is ideal for very small tanks, or as foreground plants in larger aquascape designs.

Summary of care:

Care Level: fairly easy - medium
Availability: can be hard to find. Tropica Plants stockists will probably have it however.
Cost: varies depending on availability but usually inexpensive.
Max height: 10 cm
Max width: 7 cm
Growth: slow
Goldfish Edibility Rating: not known, but Cryptocorynes are rarely eaten

Requirements:

Light level: medium to very high
Temperature: 20-29 C
pH: 5.5-8
Hardness: very soft - hard
Nutrients: not required but does well with some added fertiliser
CO2: not required but does respond to added CO2
Water movement: keep away from strong flows; a gentle current is best
Planting: plant individuals into substrate a few centimeters apart; in 6 months they will form a cohesive low group of plants.
Maintenance: remove the odd yellowed leaf.
Propagation: Plant reproduces by runners so will spread naturally; if a separate group is wanted then remove outside plants from parent runners and root elsewhere in tank.



Posted by: Devs May 1 2004, 01:22 PM
Nice job,Emma. Great selection of plants. That Marimo ball is certainly different-I've seen them before but never in person.Kind of interesting though.

Posted by: valkyrie May 1 2004, 08:29 PM
Thanks for the excellent I have 4 moss balls and the are very cool. Now I know how to propagate them if I want more.

Posted by: Ranchugirl May 2 2004, 07:56 PM
Cool plants this month, Emma. I have Java moss for a while now in my planted tank, and its doing great, just attached to a porous ornament. As for the moss balls, I have seen them occassionally being sold on E-bay, and have been thinking about getting one. Maybe one of these days I hit the bid now button

Posted by: emmahj May 4 2004, 03:46 PM
It's really bizarre: I could get the moss balls easily as they are sold by two LFS's (and I'm thinking about trying those out for sure), but I have never once seen Java Moss for sale anywhere round here.

Posted by: Black oranda May 15 2004, 07:25 PM
Emma, maby if i join another gift exchange and i get
you i can send you some i have so mutch over here
Im planing on getting the algea balls aswell they look so cool,
i've seen some at my lfs.


Great job emma thanks for all the great information.

Posted by: jsrtist May 15 2004, 10:29 PM
Great job, Emma. This is so helpful and informative and very well-written. I just love anubias. I have it growing well in my tropical tank right now and am thinking of trying some out in my goldfish tank.

I have to say, despite what you have written, I have actually been able to kill java moss before. Arent I terrible? It is so beautiful and I want it to grow. If you can share your secret with me.

Posted by: Black oranda May 16 2004, 07:42 PM
lol i wouldn't mind sharing it with anybody.
i have to mutch lol. Over here they sell huge handfulls of
java moss only for 3.00.

Posted by: emmahj May 18 2004, 03:51 PM
QUOTE
I have to say, despite what you have written, I have actually been able to kill java moss before Arent I terrible;?


How did that happen hun? Nah, seriously, what do you think killed it off? It's unusual for Java Moss to curl up its toes.

QUOTE
Emma, maby if i join another gift exchange and i get
you i can send you some i have so mutch over here


That would be cool. I dunno why it's so hard to find round here.... anyone else in the UK manage to get it?



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