Credit: Blane Perun

Mushroom Coral Care

Mushroom corals are a very safe choice for all levels of reef aquarists and excellent start corals for the novice enthusiast interested in mushroom coral care. They are extremely durable, undemanding, and can be maintained with even the lowest level of assistance. Perhaps most importantly, they are beautiful additions to any tank because of their bright colors and expansive growth, which makes mushroom coral care worthwhile.

The overall rule of thumb for a thriving mushroom coral is a strong current, moderate level of light, and iodine supplementation. This is why mushroom coral care is so important. Lighting is an important factor in mushroom coral care as the specimen will lose color and sometimes morph their shape into a cup form if they do not have steady access to light. In optimal conditions, the mushroom coral should be open completely and pressed flat against the surface it is attached to (usually a rock.) This is an important part of mushroom coral care.

For mushroom coral care moderate to strong florescent lighting is the general rule for a healthy mushroom coral, and coral will need to be slowly acclimated to stronger lighting if it is different than the previous environment. Research the type of coral that will be placed in the tank to determine the proper levels of lighting as different mushroom coral species require varying optimal light levels. This is for proper mushroom coral care. If the mushroom corals base becomes extended it is a signal that the coral does not have enough access to light and is in need of better mushroom coral care. Extending the base is the corals way of getting around this problem by trying to get closer to whatever light is available. Good mushroom coral care will take care of this.

Mushroom corals should be cultivated on rock bases and are excellent filler corals between larger specimens. Since mushroom corals have tentacles that extend out from its cap and an innate chemical defense system, they can be aggressive (and harmful) to other types of soft and stony corals, in addition to sessile invertebrates. It is crucial that the mushroom coral be placed with significant space around its base, and distant from other corals, through special mushroom coral care. However, fish, crustaceans and motile invertebrates are completely safe to exist in the same environment as the mushroom corals. This is an important part of mushroom coral care.

Any environmental change will most likely stress the mushroom coral (which can lead to disease and parasites), and water conditions are no exception. If conditions are not optimal to the corals requirements, they will withdraw in on themselves, wrinkly dramatically, or even shrivel up. This is one of the most common mistakes among novice hobbyists. However, the mushroom coral should reopen within a week once the conditions level out. The quality of the tanks water should be frequently monitored, with maximum nitrates of 30-40ppm, a minimum pH of 7.8, a temperature range between 72-85F and a water density of 1.020, nitrates below 10ppm, phosphates below 0.04ppm, and silicates below 0.5ppm.

Similarly to how the type of mushroom coral will influence the lighting preferences, corals will prefer ranges of slow moving water to moderate currents in the tank, which is essential to mushroom coral care. Because there is no way to predict how an individual mushroom coral will react to a level of water pressure, a trial and error approach should be taken with mushroom coral care. Even though this photosynthetic mushroom coral does not depend on outside food for its nutrients, trace elements and additives are a necessity to ensure the thriving growth of a mushroom coral. Mushroom coral care should include an additive that contains many elements (some have over 200) should be used on a regular basis.

Blane Perun

Diver - Photographer - Traveler

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