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Plantgasm - I love plants too much. By Derek Powazek.

Try a Fish Tank Plant without the Fish

I’m not an aquarium buff. The last time I had a pet fish was when I was in elementary school and let’s just say it didn’t end well. But when I heard* about this unusual freshwater plant, I had to give it a try.


Marimo (aka “ball seaweed”) is actually an algae colony that grows into a ball shape as it rolls around in the currents at the bottom of a lake. They grow just a few millimeters a year. Occasionally a piece will break off and form its own colony. I think the little green fuzz balls are simply adorable.

To keep one as a plant, first you have to find one. I turned to eBay (of course) and found a seller. I bought three so I could test them in different areas of the house to see where they’re happy.

They arrived in wet newspaper wrapped in asbestos (!) and I put them straight into filtered water. Most sites agree you just need to change out the water once a week and keep them away from direct light. I swirl the water around a bit every day to make sure they don’t flatten out and get even light.

I’ve got them in tumblers now, but if it looks like they’re going to live I’ll find something nicer for them to live in.

* Hat tip to Mr Brown Thumb for the inspiration.

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2 Responses

These are so intriguing. Do you think you might have to provide a air pump in a tank (like an aquarium) to provide water movement and plant growth/stimulation? I love the idea of having these.

Posted by paintergirl on 21 March 2011 @ 11am

Thanks, paintergirl! I don’t think they need an air pump so long as you change out the water a lot. But ask me again in a few months!

Posted by Derek on 21 March 2011 @ 11am


Plantgasm is where Derek Powazek chronicles his botanical antics and misadventures. More.