After eyeing up moss balls for quite some time now, we decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to invest in a loveable quarantine pet. Before we made our purchase, we had to do some research on what our futures were about to look like. Here’s what we found out: moss balls, also known as marimo moss balls, are green, velvety, algae spheres that live and grow in the water. They live for roughly 200 years and have an average growth rate of five millimeters per year. In order to provide the best home for moss balls, you have to keep them in room temperature water with indirect light. Every two weeks, their water has to be changed and you have to give them a good squeeze. Since they typically live in lakes and rivers, in order to keep their round shape, they have to get moved around every once in a while. After getting our research done, we were ready to pick up our new friends.

The actual purchase:

We headed to Petco in search of our new fuzzy friends but were met with a roadblock. After having no luck at Petco finding moss balls, we decided to go to PetSmart. We must admit we got slightly sidetracked at PetSmart by the fish but we eventually made it to the shelf of moss balls. It was love at first sight. This was our first big decision moment. Which ones were we going to welcome to our families forever? After debating and closely examining each of the moss balls, Lucy picked the flat pancake-shaped moss ball and Ella picked the lumpiest one. After experiencing some judgment at the checkout when we told the cashier that we were getting moss balls for companionship, not for our non-existent fish, we were ready to part ways and introduce them to their new homes. 

Getting to know them:

We hopped on a FaceTime call together for the transfer into their bowls. We covered the base of the bowls with rocks and filled them with room temperature water. It was time to place the moss balls into their new habitats, which required touching them. Ella was fearless and quickly made the transfer while Lucy took quite some time to get the courage to move her moss ball. They were soft and squishy, which was slightly surprising. 

Now that they were in their bowls, we placed them in spots we thought they would thrive in. Ella put hers on the left side of her desk and Lucy put hers on her bookshelf. Now that they were all settled in, it was finally time for the naming process. Lucy ended up with the name Peat (after peat moss). Name after name, nothing seemed right for Ella’s moss ball, until the name Sage stuck. 

Week 1:

Peat with his small snowman. Our unexpected snow day.

Lucy and Peat: Waking up to snow outside your window is always exciting, but experiencing your first snow is a one-of-a-kind feeling. We spent the first snow day together building snowmen, making snow angels, and having one-way snowball fights. After spending quite some time outside enjoying our winter wonderland, Peat got super cold and started floating so it was clear we needed to go back inside and warm up. Once we got back inside, I made myself a cup of tea and added a little warm water to Peat’s bowl. As we warmed up, we watched Happy Feet (one of Peat’s new favorites) and watched as the snow continued to fall outside the window.

Week 2:

Ella and Sage: What started off as a fun snowy day, turned into a cold, powerless night. We were sitting down, doing some homework when all of a sudden, the lights turned off! At first, we got scared thinking it was a ghost, but don’t fret, my dad came to the rescue giving us lots of cozy blankets and half-burnt candles. We decided to go to bed extra early that night, in hopes that we would wake up with electricity. Sadly that was not the case. Waking up to the cold, powerless house was not very fun and to be frank, Sage was starting to get bored. I had to think of ways to entertain her, and fast! I picked up a book and started reading to her. Book by book, we went through all of my childhood favorites, until finally later that night the lights flickered on. 

Lucy and Peat: While Ella and Sage struggled with their power, Peat and I were dealing with much worse. Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it was still pretty bad. After hearing comments like “I don’t get it” and “that’s just weird” from my friends and family after meeting Peat, I could tell that he was feeling a little down. He was on the right side of his bowl which is super rare for him so I got pretty concerned. I figured, what better way to relax and take our mind off of things than to have a self-care night? I lit some candles and turned on my diffuser while we waited for our face masks to be ready to wash off. Afterward, I noticed a big improvement in Peat’s demeanor. He had moved back to the middle of his bowl and looked quite rejuvenated.

Week 3:

Shown left to right: Ella, Sage, Peat, Lucy. Peat and Sage’s first trip to Mt. Tabor.

We decided that Peat and Sage needed an opportunity to reunite and have an adventure. The first step was finding a safe container for Peat and Sage to go out in. After settling on mason jars for each of them, we were ready to get on our way. We met at Mt. Tabor and let Peat and Sage hi to each other and catch up for a few minutes. Since it was Peat and Sage’s first time going to Mt. Tabor, we showed them around and eventually made it to the top. After frolicking around the park we headed home for the day, just as it started raining.

Ella and Sage: I must admit, Sage was getting pretty dirty so before I put her back in her bowl we took a little field trip to my bathroom to get her all cleaned up. I poured out all the old, musty water, making sure no rocks fell out. Then I started filling up the bowl cup by cup with room temperature water. As I set Sage back into the bowl something out of the ordinary happened. She started to float. I read somewhere that this is bad due to the fact that there might be an air bubble trapped inside of her. So I quickly got her out and gave her another squeeze, hoping that it would pop the bubble. It did! Before she knew it, we were back in our room and Sage was sitting happily on my desk.

Lucy and Peat: While Ella had a pretty smooth water change, I was unprepared for what Peat and I were about to experience. When I went to pick Peat up, he was slightly slimy. After searching for almost an hour about what could be causing Peat’s slime, I found nothing. Confused and distraught, I gave him a thorough rinse. It was time to squeeze him. Unfortunately, Ella forgot to warn me about what was going to happen moments after I squeezed him. Suddenly, the air smelt putrid. After a couple of minutes of regrouping, Peat was returned to his bowl filled with fresh water.

Week 4: 

Ella and Sage: On March 3, we woke up to “Birthday” by the Beatles playing on repeat. As we walked down the stairs we were greeted by my family dancing and singing along. To start my birthday off right, we sat down to eat a big birthday breakfast with juice. This was Sage’s first birthday experience so we knew we had to go all out. For the most part, the day was all about me—that is until it was present time. As I was opening my gifts, I finally came to the grand finale. A pet fish! Both Sage and I were ecstatic. We can’t wait to welcome a new member to our little family.  

Although Peat and Sage saw each other last week, we thought that it was time for another get-together, this time remotely. After a long Thursday, we all needed some time to relax and what better way than a movie? After a long search for the right movie, we ended up choosing Finding Nemo, a childhood classic. While the two of us were fully engaged, it seemed like Peat and Sage were a little bored, but eventually they got really into it. Although no moss balls were featured in the film, we could tell that they both got really attached to Dory. After the movie ended, we said our goodbyes for the night and went to bed.

Overall Experience:

Although our journey has had a few bumps throughout it, Peat and Sage have brought us so much joy over the past several weeks. From unexpected snow days to adventures on Mt. Tabor, our days with Peat and Sage are never boring. We can’t wait for the next 200 plus years to come!