They control algae evels in the tank, by using all the nutrience that algae needs to grow. They starve the algae.
A moss ball isn't actually alive. Its just a clump of algae that was rolled into a ball by water currents. To subsitute the currents and keep it round you have to roll it every once in awhile.
Moss balls are quite hardy and can survive a range of temperatures. They don't need fertilizer, and sometimes fish will snack on them. The only maintence they need is a bath/shower whenever you clean your tank, which you can do by running it under the tap and sqeezing it gently. Do this to remove any yucky stuff it picks up as it cleans your tank. And of course, you have to roll it every once in awhile.
Moss balls don't bother or harm bettas at all. Infact, mine likes to hide behind his. They do more good than harm.
Moss balls usually range from $6-$7. Beware, sometimes stores wrap a golfball and wrap it in moss and sell it as a moss ball. These fake ones will float and are easily detectible. Sometimes people accidently buy a Nano moss ball, these are smaller than the Marmio Moss balls.
When you bring a moss ball home, quarantine it with no fish for a couple of weeks. This will make sure your moss ball isn't home to any snails or shrimp. After the second week is over, you can take it out of quarantine.