Dead Moss Ball: How To Save This Aquarium Plant?

Marimo Moss Balls or Moss Balls are among the most popular aquarium plants due to their simple maintenance.

They also assist in eliminating other undesirable algae from your tank, absorbing nitrates, and releasing oxygen.

However, you may sometimes notice your dead moss Ball in the aquarium.

So, it’s best to know about the symptoms and causes to save this species from death. Let’s get started!

Dead Moss Ball: Common Signs

The Moss Balls aren’t living organisms. They are algae! It means they won’t die but may stop growing or dry out if they decay.

However, most aquarists regard these plants as living things. Several signs of your aquarium plants are deteriorating and experiencing health issues.

You should constantly be on the lookout for the following common concerns:

Falling Apart

The first sign that there is an issue is that the Ball will disintegrate when you remove them from the tank.

The Marimo Balls will look less vibrant and healthy in your aquarium than when you first bought them.

The fragrance the plants produce, which is quite strong and unpleasant, will be more noticeable after you remove them from the tank.

Nevertheless, if you maintain them properly, you shouldn’t have any problems because these plants are tough to kill.

Turning Brown

When brown patches emerge on the moss Ball’s body, it will start to change in appearance.

You still have time to preserve the living organisms because it’s a sign that these plants are in the beginning phases of dying.

You have to address this issue because the brown patches will occasionally only emerge underneath the Balls, a sign that it isn’t receiving enough sunlight.

Nevertheless, the Balls may also be unclean and need rapid washing if they begin to turn brown.

brown moss ball

The plants turn brown

Turning Black

The worst scenario that may occur is when these living organisms become black. When the plants turn black, it means that internal degradation has begun.

There is a danger that the entire Balls may grow black and become unusable if there is no prompt treatment.

Although these living organisms are at their terminal stage of deterioration, don’t worry! You can still save them.

black moss ball

The plants turn black

Turning White

Your Balls are receiving too much sunshine daily and are starting to perish if they turn white.

Moving these plants out of direct sunlight is necessary to prevent them from drying out to death.

Slimy White Spots

It is a condition that occasionally occurs, albeit uncommon, and could harm your Marimo Balls.

If you notice slimy white patches on these plants, it’s a sign that it is being attacked by different dangerous algae that feed on Marimo.

Dead Moss Ball: Practical Solutions

A weekly or biweekly tank clean is necessary if you have Moss Balls in the fish aquarium.

If you are unsuccessful in accomplishing this and leave the Marimo in your aquarium for an extended period, you will have an issue with sick plants.

It’s not too tough to save the sick from these aquarium plants. Washing these plants thoroughly can make them green again.

If the way doesn’t work, dip the plants in water for the hidden particles to emerge.

To assist the Moss Balls in transforming back into green, you may put a bit of salt in a water container and submerge them for a set amount of time.

You can apply this method even if Marimos suffer a parasite or algae attack.

If these plants don’t receive enough light, it’s a good idea to relocate the aquarium to another place with more sunlight to avoid rotting.

If the temperature in the aquarium is too hot, you should remove your Marimos from another container and leave them in the fridge overnight.

aquarium with moss ball

Practical solutions

How To Care For The Moss Ball?

The following care guides will be helpful if you plan to keep some Marimos in your aquarium. Let’s keep reading!


Keep these living organisms away from a location with much sunlight. They don’t respond well to intense sunlight since they live at the lake’s bottom.

Avoid introducing species like goldfish or Plecos in your Marimo tank, as they may eat these plants.


It’s essential to regularly change the water for your Marimo aquarium every two weeks.

If you keep your plants in a bowl, you can change to 100% water. Otherwise, you can replace about 25% of the water in your filtered aquarium.

Besides, make sure you also clean and handle bioload and waste properly.


It’s a great idea to take up your Marimos and carefully wash them by squishing them several times with clean water.

Then, you may roll them around in your hands to avoid dissolving under pressure, maintaining their good round shape.


What Does An Unhealthy Moss Ball Look Like?

Healthy Moss Balls should have a green color. If these plants are sick, they may turn white, brown, or even black.

How Do You Revive A Moss Ball?

Follow these tips to revive your sick moss Balls:

  • If algae start to form on the tank surface, brush the Marimo enclosure.
  • Make careful to transfer your Marimos to a cooler area with less strong sunlight if they begin to become brown.
  • They will turn green once again. If not, adding a little aquarium salt may be helpful.

Why Is My Moss Ball Turning Grey?

That’s because these plants are dirty and they need cleaning! You have to shower them to make them clean again.

How Long Do Moss Balls Stay Alive?

These organisms have long lifespans. They can live at least 200 years.

Do Moss Balls Have Babies?

Yes, Marimos can reproduce if housed in a sizable water body. However, separating these balls is not a good idea since they may die.

If you want to know more about these babies, you can watch this video:

Final Thoughts

After reading this article, have you found ways to prevent the dead Moss Ball in your aquarium? Hopefully, our guidelines will work!

If you detect white, brown, grey, and black spots on your plants, immediately treating these issues is best to avoid death.

If you have further concerns, please comment below.

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