Photograph by Blane Perun

Blue Mushroom Coral

Blue mushroom coral is a species belonging to the Actinodiscidae family (although previously of the genus Discosoma) that originate in the waters of Indonesia. Frequently referred to as a Disc Anemone, the blue mushroom coral does share many elements with the anemone, specifically when it comes to reproduction, appearance and composition.

Mushroom Coral Variety

The blue mushroom coral will frequently be found in very shallow waters where the sunlight is more frequent and intense, as it requires more light (along with the red mushroom coral) than other mushroom corals. There is an extremely large variety of blue mushroom corals, especially when it comes to appearance. Their color shade ranges from blue to purple, are solid, striped and polka dotted versions, speckled, rough and wavy versions, and a plethora of other appearances. The taxonomy itself is in a state of fluctuation, which will most likely continue for some time, which also accounts for the large variety of corals that can fall under the blue mushroom corals designation.

Mushroom Feeding

By acquiring symbiotic algae as it drifts past the reef on ocean currents, the blue mushroom coral establishes a mutually beneficial relationship that will provide it endless amounts of nutrients and energy, eliminating a need for copious amounts of supplemental food sources. If maintained outside of its native ocean waters, the blue mushroom coral will benefit from occasionally feeding each polyp a few micro plankton or brine shrimp. Because of the blue mushroom corals dependence on light for its nutritional needs, it is important to expose the coral to at least a moderate level of lighting to ensure this natural process is not inhibited.

Reproduction

The blue mushroom coral practice asexual reproduction through splitting (known technically as schizogyny) and budding- processes they will also continue in captivity. This type of coral practices a specific type of asexual reproduction known as pedal laceration, where the coral stretches itself into the ocean currents, causing their bodies to become thin and more prone to breaking. Pieces of the blue mushroom coral polyp eventually break off, and the segments are swept away by the currents where they will eventually settle and begin a new, separate colony away from the parent coral.

In The Aquarium

When placed in reef aquariums, blue mushroom coral is very easy for the aqua culturist to maintain, and perhaps even more appealing to some enthusiasts. Blue mushroom coral will propagate vastly, swiftly, and without difficulty given the right water conditions.

Coral Aggression

The temperament of the blue mushroom coral is semi-aggressive, and it is not uncommon for them to actively take over space in both its natural and artificial environments. The coral can easily damage neighboring creatures with its natural defense system of chemical warfare. For this reason, blue mushroom coral should be placed away from other types of corals and any sessile invertebrates.

Blane Perun

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