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Coral Care Series: Mushroom Corals

Coral Care Series: Mushroom Corals

Alex Dillard |

Mushroom Corals are debatably the easiest type of soft coral to keep. They are nearly indestructible in the right conditions making them a top contender for beginner reef-keepers. 

These corals come in a vast variety of species: Ricordea, Discosoma, and Rhodactis, to name a few, which all exhibit diverse color variants, textures, and unique physical characteristics making them loved by the majority of reef-aquarium hobbyists.

Mushrooms have the ability to reproduce both sexually and asexually. With that being said, asexual reproduction is most common in the home aquarium. This is done by budding a small piece of tissue from the mushroom's foot. 

Mushrooms can be found thriving in areas of low to moderate flow ranges but most species in the aquarium should be kept in low flow. As for lighting, most mushroom species are best kept in lower-light areas as exposure to high light can bleach and damage them. 

A stressed Mushroom can shrink, turn pale and even detach from its base. If this were to happen, you can help the mushroom reattach. We suggest placing it in a small reef-safe cup or mushroom box with large substrate or rubble rock at the bottom. This gives the mushroom the opportunity to reattach itself.

Mushrooms have the ability to adapt to and endure a multitude of aquarium environments and conditions. They are notorious for thriving in high-nutrient systems, which accelerates their growth and reproduction. 

Mushrooms love to be fed and will happily accept most fish and coral foods. You’ll be mesmerized when you watch a mushroom engulf its food, much like a Venus Fly Trap. At Top Shelf we use a mixture of Benepets, Fauna Marin LPS Pellets, AquaVitro Fuel, and the occasional meaty food like Piscine Energetics Mysis or Calanus.

Mushrooms have the ability to move themselves, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “walking”. Mushrooms will walk themselves to a suitable spot within your aquarium if they are placed in an undesirable location. Our goal is for to try and prevent this from occurring, so keep their desired preference of lighting and flow in mind when initially adding them into your aquarium. Although this walking process is not ideal, be on the lookout if your Mushroom does decide to take a stroll - as they can sometimes leave babies behind as they walk!