Marimo Moss Ball with Betta Fish? - Is OK to Keep Together?

Topic: Can I keep a moss ball with a Betta fish. I heard that having a live plant in your fish tank really helps the water. I have my Betta in a pretty small tank so I think it might benefit the setup. Are moss balls cheap to buy? Can you buy them online?


*Awarded Answer
Posted by Kimberly J: Adding a moss ball to your Betta tank is totally fine! They are super easy to take care of. All you have to do is squeeze them out every once and a while. This is to ensure they don’t absorb too much decaying debris. They suck onto that stuff and feed on it in a way.

There are a couple large sellers online that breed moss balls and sell them. I bought from that seller that is on Amazon. The seller goes by the name of “Aquatic Arts” they have hundreds of 5 star reviews and have been around forever. Here is the link to their posting.



Posted by Megan B: Here is some info from the group. This is an article that Nicole Marie (group moderator) wrote on plants for betta fish. She is really good at giving direction on questions like this.

Easy to Care for Plants 101:
There are quite a few plants that do not need to be planted in special substrate (or even planted at all), and are pretty easy to care for. You can also add what are called root tabs, a small tablet of fertilizer, under each plant that does have to be planted, to help mimic the nutrients that the special substrates have. Just replace the tab every four months or so.
Fairly easy plants off the top of my head:
Plants that just float, or can be tied down to rocks/wood/decorations:
java fern, most mosses, anubias, buce, elodea, subwasstertang, hornwort, cabomba, najas… Marimo balls will sit on the bottom of the tank by themselves, don’t get planted or tied down… Banana plants are the same, they’ll eventually grow roots and anchor down by themselves.
Strictly floating plants:
duckweed, amazon frogbit, water lettuce
Plants that can be planted or left to float:
water wisteria, water sprite
Plants that get planted but wouldn’t need a root tab:
bacopa (can also just float….but does better planted in my opinion)
Plants that would love to be planted with a root tab:
swords, crypts

  • Amazon swords grow like weeds! I love them. Moss balls are easy just throw them in and sometimes take them out and roll them to make them round.
  • I don’t think thats an accurate info, viewing this post i order many of these as mentioned and many eventually died in fewdays and few after 1-2weeks and created a great mess in water except for anubia and java fern, moss ball , I wont agree for any of these without a good nutrient rich substrate and CO2 or fluorish excel for some. Ordered swords and bacopa twice once without root tab and next time withroot tab ..Result same eventually gradually they die, more slowly with root tabs than without, Many of them need good nutrients substrate and co2 or atleast flourish.


Posted by Nick T:  I want to add Merino Moss Balls to the tank. Maybe one or two of them. Are they betta tank friendly or do I have to take extra precautions in adding them to the tank?

  • Yes they are perfect for betta tanks. When you get them squeeze and shake them gently in some clean water until they run clear and plop them in. If they float squeeze them under water like a sponge and they will sink.
  • Great! Do they need anything in terms of regular care?
  • I have one in each of my betta tanks. They are great and beautiful!
  • That bamboo will rot. The leaves need to be above the water.
  • Noted. I’ll remove the short ones and plot them outside the tank till they grow. Thank you for the heads up.
  • Be careful with the bamboo. When you do water changes check the bottom to see if they are yellow. If so, remove it. It’s starting to rot. Honestly, if any part of it turns yellow. I love the look but the rot changes the water and could hurt the betta.
  • I appreciate your input and I have seen bamboo rot before and other situation and see the water color changes that come with it. Thank you.
  • Marimo moss balls are perfect for this tank! You can do one or two; it depends on your choice. They are easy to take care of! Rinse them in cool water before adding. Rinse them/ turn them over once a month. Keep away from direct sunlight…. One of my two bettas loves to sleep right by his Marimo!


Posted by Lacey B: So this week will be THE week that my beautiful CT Charizard will get a brand new home. So therefore I am turning to all of you for some suggestions.

How big should the new tank be? Anywhere from 2-5 gallons is preferable, personally looking for a 3 gallon.
What plants should I get? Looking for low light, low maintenance and hardy plants. Only have a marimo moss ball and anubias in mind.
What snail should I get? Being a small tank I can only put in a snail obviously. So which ones do you guys recommend? Or any other community animals? Or do you not recommend any at all?
How long should the tank be cycled for before I place him in? What can I do to get the tank cycled faster? I know I could put him in there the day I get it but I wanna make sure its perfect before he gets in the new home. 
Thanks again for all your advice.

  • A 5 gallon would be better.
    As for the plants, besides the anubias and moss ball, cryptocoryne can work.
  • It takes longer than a week to cycle a tank though. I’m going on three weeks and I added bottled bacteria.
  • My favorite for pets is 2.5 – it isn’t big enough to overwhelm the males, and gives you a little room to play with for plants. You could do a tiny forest of Java ferns. They like low light and are pretty when there’s a bunch of them. A nerite snail is a nice one to have, but I’d wait until there’s algae growht.
  • A 5 gallon would be best and is for many in this group the minimum to keep a betta in (i know 2.5g is the overall accepted minimum, but many say 5 should be the minimum).
    Low light plants are e.g. elodea, water wisteria, guppy grass, echinodorus, cryptocorynes, java moss, java fern,anubia, frog bit… try to google low tech plants.
    Make sure you give him a jungle of plants that offer him loads of cover and hiding and resting places near the water surface. You will want to add a heater and a thermometer as well, natural gravel, driftwood and stones would be way better than plastic stuff.
    The light should get a timer so yozr betta can develop a proper biorythm which helps with his health.
    A cycle takes 4 to 8 weeks to establish, you would need a liquid test kit to determine how far your tank has got.
    You can speed up your cycle with seeding the tank with already well cycled filter media (the dirt in a filter is where the goid bacteria are)
    As tank mates i recommend malaydian trumpet snails, they prevent gas bubbles from building up in the gravel and a nerite snail
  • I have a 3 gallon and regret everyday that I didn’t just get the 5 gallon. If you have room, just go for the 5.
  • Not very much room. I could put it on my desk, but thats already taken over by my computer and creative supplies and figures. Nightstand is the only place left so it will have to be the 3 gallon.
  • you could look into cubes. There are 5g cubes and 8 cubes. They are still a little better than a 3g tank but dont take away as much space as a regular 5g tank.
    A 8g cube is 30cm x 30cm (30cm = 1 foot i believe)

Posted by Natie H: I’ve been a silent observer here for a few weeks. We’ve owned bettas at several different times but it’s become very apparent that I haven’t been caring for them appropriately. I’m working on changing that so our fish have a happier existence. I just ordered some of those moss balls that I have seen a lot of people talk about, they should be arriving tomorrow. Is there any prep involved once I get them or can I just plop them in the tanks? Once they are in the tanks, do I need to do anything to maintain them?

  • All I know is that you need to rinse them in cold water once a week. They like cooler temps than what bettas like. I’m not sure if you need to do anything before putting them in the tank for the first time though.
  • I recommend squeezing them 7-10 times in clean dechlorinated water to remove the nasty water it has soaked up(or until there are no more clouds of brownish/yellow water coming out of it).Quarantine them for at least 1 week before putting them into a tank, as some Marimo Moss balls can carry diseases, like ich/ick, parasities, etc.
  • If you want to qt them to let bacteria and parasites die off you need to do it for atleast 4 to 5 weeks as this is the time most bad things need to die without a fish as host
  • The moss balls put them in a cup/bowl totally covered in water for about a week and quarantine them. Some have parasites in them. Thye will float for a day or two while they soak up water, this is normal. General maintenance, when you change your tank water rinse them out in old tank water, squeeze them out gently and roll them in your palm to reshape than put them back in your tank (no need to quarantine after the initial week).
  • So I totally read the OP wrong and thought she was asking about a fish and your comments horrified me.


Posted by Harley B: So new experience with Inigio Montoya, the calm fish that does not kill his Cherry Shrimp………. Never seen this happen before! I was doing my water change on Felonius Gru and heard a weird noise at Inigo’s tank, turned around and looked and saw something odd on the side of his tank, a red blob, I went over to see as he was flaring good at it, a shrimp has jumped out of the tank through the smallest gap ever and was kinda stuck to the outside in a blob of water! I had no idea what to do so tried to manoeuvre it back in without hurting it, it blooming well jumped onto the table and was pinging about all over! I managed to get it and put it back in, it went straight to the bottom and hid under a moss ball! I have read stories of folks finding shrimp outside the tank before but never had it happen myself!

  • I just got in three marimo moss balls that I ordered on amazon for my betta tank. They look good and don’t seem slimy or decaying, but they smell very strongly of ammonia. Is this normal, or is there something wrong with them? I haven’t rinsed them yet, as I don’t want to have issues returning them if needed, so I’m not sure if that will take care of it.
  • Amano shrimp will scuttle across the whole dang room in a split second, when they get out. Cherries usually aren’t too bad about doing the Escape from Alcatraz thing, though. I guess your Betta “snitched” on him
  • i have found a few cherry shrimp dried and crispy under my tanks. open top… eventually some get out. Same with the Amanos as well. Very curious (i guess is how to explain it) creatures. lol @ snitching.
  • My 4 yr old found my lone ghost shrimp about 8ft from the tank. He made it a long way! Poor guy.
  • So I think I may have gotten the world’s most shy betta in Dratini. He’s very curious, but immediately hides if I go near his tank. Definitely the complete opposite of my other 3!

    I want to give him some more plants for cover. There’s a java fern, a moss ball, and a water wisteria in the tank, along with water spangles floating on the top, plus his castle. It’s a 3 gallon tank and there’s still definitely enough space for some more plants.

    What kinds of plants are really good for cover for shy fish?

  • Algae….it’s driving me nuts! Is this normal? My tank is a Fluval Spec V, and I LOVE it. Plants seem to be doing well, I also have 2 moss balls……water changes 2 or 3 times per week. But after a week I have to actually scrape the algae off the live plants. Too much light?? But I do so love to watch Brad swimming in his tank, he’s a clown……
  • So I know I can put the roots of this plant in the top of my goldfish tank, but I’m wondering about my Betta tanks now? I have moss balls in a few of my tanks, but I’ve seen other people who’ve had the roots stuck in the top of their fishie’s tanks. And I’m wondering if this type’s roots can go in the top of my betta’s tanks?
  • I was at Petco earlier getting a new heater for Dratini and, like always, I stopped to look at the bettas. There are 2 Petco’s local to me and I am continually impressed with their betta care. Yes, the fish are unfortunately still in small cups, but their water is *always* clean, any sick bettas are in one of their hospital tanks being taken care of, and not a single one for sale looks stressed, depressed, or neglected. Today they were all active, swimming around their small cups, trying to follow people as they looked at the different bettas. The best part is every associate I’ve encountered is educated on betta care and always recommend good, high quality products. 4 for you Petco, you go Petco.