The One With Ma, Ri & Mo

Lemme share a point or two about Marimo…

We both  were still in a deep sadness with the unexpected passing of MeeSai. On my last weekend of the Academy week, My Baby and I went to Pavilion to cheer up a little bit. As we were window shopping, we saw a very huge eye catching LED signboard on the sixth floor of the shopping mall – Tokyo Street. Tokyo Street, Pavilion is the latest precinct inside the mall where you can sense the dynamic culture and ambiance as if you were in the middle of hustle bustle Tokyo city, itself. As we were moving up on the conveyor transport device, we came across people selling Marimo. I did know what was Marimo. However, My Baby told me a bit about Marimo that he read in What-the-heck-there’s-nothing-to-loose, curious us decided to spend a few minutes to know and see these Marimo ourselves.

What is Marimo?

Marimo is literally a ball seaweed found in a number of lakes in the northern hemisphere. One of them is Lake Akan located in Hokaido, Japan. Marimo is a species of filamentous green algae. The name Marimo was first used by a Japanese botanist Tatsuhiko Kawakami in 1898 – mari means ball and mo means algae. For some, Marimo is also known as Moss Balls or Lake Balls. These fascinating little balls are not really plants at all, but spheres of dark green algae (yes, 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. Marimo is deemed a Japanese Natural Treasure for its uniqueness and contribution to biodiversity. Therefore, the Japanese government have actually designated Marimo as a special national treasure and given them legal protection from harvesting. Well, I must agree with the government. At one point, it needs to curb from declining as Marimo is the favourite “accessory” in fishtanks. However, a personal note to others, if you thought putting Marimo in a fish tank of Goldfish or Guppy was a “brilliant” idea, think again. For fish, Marimo is a delicious feast.  In the blink of an eye, Marimo will be eaten up.  Furthermore, Marimo likes clean water and in a populated fish tank, the water quickly becomes dirty – so I really do not recommend mixing Marimo and fish.

I still have no definite answer on why I bought Marimo on that day. Maybe, it was just-out-of-the-blue- day. Besides, I must say, the salesgirl was really persuasive in letting me know deeper and deeper about this green algae. Even though she kept on mentioning about the price discounts offered that particular day, it did not entice me much. What kept me amazed was the thought of having “pets” that are really low in maintenance. Seriously, raising nine felines in one go, they really have expensive taste, most of the time, they are more high maintenance than the madam, herself!!! You see, raising Marimo is really a piece of cake, if one understood the basic care.  Marimo come from the cold, clear water. When you add a Marimo to your family – no matter where you live, – it is important to try and recreate an environment as close as possible to their natural habitat. It is recommended to change the water once every 1 or 2 weeks during hot season and approximately once every month during cold season. If the weather is really hot, try putting few ice cubes in jar. Yes, just like me, Marimo loves cleanliness.When the water is left uncleaned, Marimo will quickly become weakened.  Around Marimo and the container, a hard to remove algae will form.  This algae can also cause harmful insects to appear, so please try to always remember to keep the water clean. REMEMBER – Water is the basic commodity in order to survive.  However, when changing Marimo’s water, be careful not to be too “excited” and mistakenly wash away Marimo itself.  There have been many unfortunate cases in which Marimo have been accidently washed down the drain.  During water-changing, plese move Marimo to another container. Taking care of Marimo is more than just changing the water regularly.  Marimo also needs to be kept clean and tidy!  Place Marimo on the palm of your hand.  While rolling Marimo back and forth, GENTLY wash Marimo with water.  Finally, make sure Marimo’s ball-shape is firmly intact.  Make sure to softly press the dirty water out from the inside as if gently squeezing water from a sponge.  Be very careful not to smash Marimo. Please be careful not to squeeze Marimo too strongly or put Marimo directly under streaming water. It is very possible for Marimo to crumble into pieces. Once the pieces become disconnected, it is extremely difficult to return to the original shape. As a plant, Marimo grows through the process of photosynthesis.  Therefore, Marimo cannot be raised in a lightless environment.  However, Marimo does not require a strong light source so the normal indoor lighting of a room should be sufficient.  We recommend placing Marimo somewhere that receives weak sunlight – such as near a covered (with curtains/blinds) window. Absolutely avoid placing Marimo anywhere that receives direct sunlight.  Overly strong light will weaken Marimo, as well as raise the temperature of the water. Also, please be careful about placing Marimo in a hard-to-spot location – or else you might accidently forget all about Marimo!!! You do not want that, do you???…

If so happened, you overlooked your Marimo, and they had turn brownish, blackish or whitish, well, maybe there is still hope to make your Marimo green again.  They turn brownish is because possibility that part/all of your Marimo ball has died.  A Marimo is a plant.  When it dies, it becomes brownish or blackish colored.  A Marimo is made up of small algae collected into a ball-form. If there is still some green healthy sections of your Marimo ball left please just remove the brown, dead sections. If your Marimo turned blackish,may be a possibility that your Marimo is decaying or that another type of algae is forming around your Marimo.  If you split open your Marimo and find it decaying inside, remove the black sections and re-roll Marimo into a sphere-shape with only the green healthy sections.  Your Marimo may become smaller, but it will start growing again.  When a Marimo becomes large, it becomes difficult for clean water to be soaked into the center.  Therefore, the inside can easily rot and become a hollow cavity. If you saw your Marimo turned whitish, your Marimo has received a “sunburn” from exposure to direct sunlight.  Please move your Marimo to a place that does not receive direct light. Other than sunburn, another cause of whiteness may be another type of algae forming around Marimo. On top of that, try adding a pinch of salt in the clean water to heal your “sick” Marimo. Salt is suggested a remedy and encourages growth.

Legend has it that if anyone takes good care of these Moss Balls, they will be blessed with true love and good fortune in return. I guess, no harm done in trying the good-fortune-in-return-luck. Basically, I have blessed with the true love part, so the only thing I am looking forward is the good fortune in return *chuckles*… That night, excitedly bringing back my Moss Balls in which I named them as Ma, Ri and Mo from Pavilion. In order to achieve the good fortune in return, my original plan was to put my Ma, Ri and Mo in a small glass vase on My Baby’s Ikea white work desk. The reason is simple. That is the place where he is supposed to bring bling bling home, the place where he does his work. However, never have I thought keMMek had another plan. She likes to drink the water. No matter how many times we scolded her or verbally warned her, keMMek is and will always be keMMek. Normally she drinks either from the pail or from the pipe in the bathroom. Ever since Ma, Ri and Mo existed on the table, she found a shortcut to quench her thirst. At first, I used the coaster to cover the top of the jar, but keMMek was so persistent to drink the water. I do not know. Maybe because of the algae, the water tastes nicer or cleaner. Only keMMek has the answer. We felt it is not fair for the green algae, so we decided to switch them to another room where they can have their privacy to grow.

[cvg-video videoId=’1′ width=’400′ height=’400′ /]

Wanna see keMMek in action ? Just a simple click on the film roll above :)

Now, Ma, Ri and Mo are safe in the other room. Normally, I changed the water on weekly basis, and each time I added a bit of table salt.

Just when I thought my sadness of MeeSai’s sudden passing, his one and only little sister, Torttieee or fondly known as Oti followed his footsteps to heaven within two weeks time. Double blow for us indeed. That is life, I supposed. It is what it is… At least, I was there accompanied through her last breath…

So, I guess that is all for now. Till I blog again…

There is a secret garden, she hides…

~Nani Mansor~





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