What is an algae sphere, and how to take care of it?

Whether you’re intrigued by their name and want to know what they are, or you’d like to start growing them, the following lines will give you all the important information. We’ll tell you where they come from, what they do for a living or how to grow seaweed to keep them happy for years to come.

What is an algae sphere?

Beneath the cute name green algae bulb lies a species of green algae that has become a hit in recent years. It comes from the mountain lakes of the northern hemisphere and is a relatively rare plant that is shrouded in many legends. It is also known as water or lake gnome or marimo.

Why have an algae sphere at home?

Wondering why mascara balls have become such a hit? Especially because of their cute look. Because once you see an algae sphere in person, you’ll feel the urge to cuddle it. And because it doesn’t mind contact with you, it is the ideal anti-stress tool.

Due to its original and decorative appearance, you can place the ciliates in the aquarium with the fish, as most species will not nibble on it and it will be an evergreen decoration. But you don’t have to set up an aquarium for it. You can grow the algae in different glass containers and it will become an attractive decorative element with absolutely low maintenance.

How to care for seaweed

Growing an algae sphere is another reason to get one. Taking care of a ciliate is very easy, just regularly change the water every 1 – 2 weeks and rinse the ciliate.

It will do best in a glass container that is placed in a bright place, but out of the sunlight. These could burn the algae. A position over a heater is not suitable either, as cresses like cold water.

Life span and growth of cilia

Algae can live up to 100 years in nature, so it is not surprising that they grow very slowly. With proper care, they will grow about half a centimetre per year. So you don’t have to worry about buying a bigger container in a year, the largest ciliates in mountain lakes will grow to about 30 cm in their lifetime.

And because we really want to make a perfect decorative element out of a seaweed, we need it to grow evenly. Again, this is not difficult, you just need to rotate the iris occasionally, which can be combined with a nice cuddle.

Feeding the cilia

Even feeding a ciliate is not difficult. In fact, you don’t have to worry about it at all in this respect. Like other algae, ciliates feed on photosynthesis. So all you need to do is place it in a well-lit area.

How do seaweeds reproduce?

Have you enjoyed growing ciliates so much that you’d like to get a few more hairy balls? The easiest thing to do would be to buy more cilia.

In the natural environment, the proliferation of cilia takes place by division. The sphere simply splits into two parts separately, both of which then continue their lives independently. However, the reproduction of cilia by violent division often does not go well and in most cases both spheres die.

With proper care, however, ciliates can reproduce on their own. Give them plenty of space and ideally a filter that keeps the water level clear. Also, change the filter as little as possible.

The larger algae spheres will then, over time, begin to separate into germs – small clumps of several strands of algae. Allow them to thicken like this for a few weeks, then carefully separate and gently roll into a small ball in your hand to place back into the container of water.

You can get as many as 10 small algae spheres this way over the course of a year, but keep in mind that they grow very slowly and only after a year or two will they reach a size of less than 2 cm. So if you want a decoration right away, another purchase is really the easier way to go.


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