Mushroom Coral

Mushroom Coral

Vivid colored and beautiful, mushroom corals are popularly kept in reef aquariums. The basic requirements for maintaining healthy mushroom coral are indirect light, low water current and low organic nutrients.

Mushroom coral is an attractive and hardy type of coral, excellent for novice aquarists. With a short talk and a crown like cap, it resembles the fungus mushroom, hence the name. Also known as mushroom anemone or corallimorph, it thrives well in a regular reef aquarium setup. It is available in shades of red, brown, purple, blue and green. Exotic multicolored patterns are observed in form of stripes and spots. Well established mushroom corals measure about 6 inch in diameter. Find out more on coral reefs.

Mushroom Coral Information

Mushroom corals are collected from deep seas and oceans for aesthetic purposes. According to your preference, you can select vibrant colored species that complement aquarium fish and other tank inhabitants. Caring for them is not so specific and you can practice the basic guidelines for keeping regular coral species. For maintaining healthy mushroom corals, all you need is live rocks, a sand substrate and regular water movements. Following is a brief information pertaining to mushroom coral care and maintenance instructions:

Mushroom Coral Classification
Mushroom coral is basically a type of soft coral that does not have exoskeleton. The common type is scientifically represented as Discosoma and Actinodiscus sp. According to taxonomical classification, mushroom coral belongs to the class Anthozoa and subclass Hexacorallia (or Zoantharia). The order of this soft coral is Corallimorpharia, while family is Fungiidae. Mushroom corals usually develop as dense clusters in the growing substrate.

Mushroom Coral Identification
In normal state, you will find mushroom coral like the regular mushroom, having a smooth or fuzzy surface texture. It does not secrete calcium carbonate like other stony species, but it is the tiny calcareous spicules that make mushroom coral appear like a mushroom. But, when it extends tentacles for feeding, mushroom coral looks like a beautiful flower. Under very high light intensity, it tends to remain inactive and does not open fully. Read more on coral reef facts.

Mushroom Coral Propagation
Even though mushroom coral is harvested from wild habitats, it is easy to propagate in controlled conditions. Provided that you maintain the proper growth requirements, it propagates extensively on its own. Within a few weeks to months, you will find the growing substrate covered with mushroom coral. Or you can separate the coral into pieces and maintain them over a gravel substrate. Though it is photosynthetic in nature, feeding small zooplankton and iodine supplement will promote luxuriant growth.

Mushroom Coral Care Tips
Indirect light is crucial for maintaining healthy mushroom coral in the aquariums. Moderate light level and 74º - 84º F temperature range are required conditions for full opening of the coral. It can tolerate high percentage of nitrates, phosphates and other organic nutrients in water. However, it is advisable to maintain the water chemistry properly. In reef tanks with correct levels of organic nutrients, the color of mushroom coral is bright and lively. Under prolonged stress, it shrivels and shrinks its size. Know more on tips in aquarium maintenance.

Mushroom Coral Reproduction
One of the amazing facts about mushroom coral is its mode of reproduction. According to the prevailing condition, it can change its sex from male to female and vice versa. This ability to switch on sex is extremely rare in the animal kingdom. At the time of reproduction, sperms and eggs are released at the same time in the water medium, after which they fertilize to form larvae. The larvae then settle down in the substrate or rock, developing into young mushroom corals.

For more information on corals, you can refer to:
Coral Reef Information
Coral Reefs: Coral Plants and Animals
The most popular mushroom corals are reddish and purplish ones. Experienced reef aquarists are of the opinion that species having extensive tentacles require optimal space and care. So, according to your fish tank size, condition and existing inhabitants, select mushroom coral species carefully. Maintain the basic requirements of these soft corals and they will surely look beautiful.

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