Credit: Blane Perun

Green Mushroom Coral

Green mushroom corals (Ricordea Yuma) are one of the most common types of mushroom corals, and belong to the Ricordea family. Although it has many common properties of the stony corals, it also resembles anemones, and is grouped just as frequently with soft corals as it is with stony corals in scientific classifications.

Other names for the green mushroom coral are Green Fluorescent Mushroom Coral, Green Mushroom Colony, Green Mushroom Anemone, or Green Disc Anemone. The oceans of the Indo-Pacific region are where the green mushroom coral is most prevalent. The color of the green mushroom coral is found in slight variances of green (as the name suggests), and is very appealing to both underwater divers and aquaculture enthusiasts as the colors are extremely bright and vibrant, and an outstanding specimen to observe.

The tentacles are short in the majority of these corals, and in the shape of either club or berries. However the general appearance of green mushroom corals will vary from coral to coral depending on the aquatic environment in which they dwell. Nighttime is when the green mushroom coral is more active and alternately, more stagnant during the day, when it is utilizing the sun for photosynthetic energy. Supplemental feedings is not necessary for the green mushroom coral, as it gets the majority of its energy and vitamins from this light-driven process its symbiotic algae create. If additional feedings are required for growth and strength, the green mushroom coral will supplement on its own through eating plankton and crustaceans.

Externally, female and male green mushroom corals are for the most part identical. They reproduce asexually through cloning, a process called longitudinal fission (known more commonly as vertical division), a trait the green mushroom coral share with the sea anemone. The coral splits in half vertically, resulting in two separate corals which grow into adult-size green mushroom corals.

Green mushroom corals are aggressive to other sea creatures and will encroach upon neighboring corals. In addition, the green mushroom coral employs a chemical defense system that emits toxins on a daily basis (the level of toxins increases after periods of reproduction) that can be extremely harmful to other inhabitants.

The green mushroom coral is not as sturdy as other corals and definitely will require more maintenance and attention to thrive in a reef tank. Corals should be placed on exposed rock at the bottom of an aquarium, in a position where low water flow will be able to carry various nutrients and trace elements to the coral. As mentioned earlier, the green mushroom coral will secure its own nutritional intake, but adding elements such as marine snow, phytoplankton and brine shrimp will only benefit the corals growth. The green mushroom coral should have medium to high access to light sources, but take care with the type of lighting utilized, as metal halide lighting is too bright for most of these corals.

Blane Perun

Diver - Photographer - Traveler

Whale in Ocean