How Fast Do Moss Balls Grow? A Comprehensive Guide on the Growth Rate of Moss Balls

Aquarium enthusiasts often find themselves mystified by the enigmatic moss ball. While it may look like a simple green spherical plant, there’s a lot happening beneath the surface. In this article, we’ll discuss the growth rate of moss balls, the factors that influence their growth, and some tips on how to care for them.

It’s no secret that moss balls are slow growers. But how fast do these underwater plants grow? On average, moss balls can grow about 5 mm per year. Despite their turtle-paced growth, taking care of moss balls can be a breeze if you know what you’re doing.

Doesn’t it sound interesting? Stay with us, as we reveal the fascinating world of moss balls, their growth rate, environment, and more!

How Fast Do Moss Balls Grow?

Moss balls are known for their slow-growing nature. On average, they tend to grow about:

  • 5 mm per year
  • 0.2 inches per year

It’s important to keep in mind that these numbers can vary based on factors such as lighting, temperature, and water conditions, as well as the specific species of moss ball.

Factors That Influence Moss Ball Growth

Several factors can influence the growth rate of moss balls. These include:


Moss balls need a moderate amount of light to grow. Too little light can stunt growth, while too much light can promote algae growth on the moss ball’s surface, which can compete with the moss ball for resources.

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Moss balls generally prefer cooler water temperatures, as they are native to colder environments. The ideal temperature range for moss balls is between 72°F and 78°F. Temperatures above 85°F can cause the moss ball to become dormant and stop growing.

Water Conditions

Good water quality is essential for moss ball growth. They thrive in water with a pH of 6.0 – 7.5, and softer water with a lower GH (general hardness) is generally preferred. High nitrate levels can also stunt growth. Complete water changes with dechlorinated water every one or two weeks can help maintain a healthy environment.

Tips for Taking Care of Moss Balls

To ensure proper growth and a healthy environment for your moss balls, here are some tips:

  1. Provide a moderate amount of light, preferably indirect sunlight, or low-wattage LED lights.
  2. Maintain the moss ball’s preferred temperature range, ideally between 72°F and 78°F.
  3. Regularly change the water and keep the pH levels and nitrate levels balanced.
  4. Gently rotate your moss balls once in a while to ensure even growth.
  5. Occasionally squeeze the moss ball to remove debris and waste trapped inside.

Troubleshooting Moss Ball Growth Problems

If you notice that your moss ball is not growing properly, the reasons could be:

Insufficient Light

If your moss ball isn’t receiving enough light, try increasing the lighting intensity or duration. Be cautious that you don’t provide too much light, as it can cause algae growth.

Poor Water Quality

High levels of nitrates, incorrect pH, or hard water could be causing growth problems. Conduct a water change and test the parameters to ensure they are within the ideal range for moss ball growth.

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If your moss balls are constantly competing for limited resources with other plants, their growth may suffer. Make sure to give them ample space, so they don’t have to fight for nutrients.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are moss balls exactly?
    • Moss balls are a type of aquatic plant, specifically a species of green algae known as Aegagropila linnaei.
  • Are moss balls beneficial for an aquarium?
    • Yes, moss balls are beneficial for aquariums as they help filter out nitrates and provide a low-maintenance addition to the environment.
  • Do moss balls need anything special to grow?
    • Moss balls do not have very demanding requirements, but they do require moderate light, cooler temperatures, and good water quality to grow properly.
  • Can moss balls grow out of water?
    • No, moss balls are an aquatic species and will not survive if removed from water for an extended period.
  • How long do moss balls live?
    • Moss balls can live for many years if properly taken care of, with some having lifespans up to a decade or more.


Moss balls may not grow at breakneck speeds, but their charm and low-maintenance nature make them a favorite among aquarium hobbyists. With the right conditions and care, your moss balls can remain a healthy and stunning part of your underwater haven for many years. Don’t underestimate the allure of these unique green spheres—their slow and steady growth is a testament to their resilience and beauty.

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