Credit: Blane Perun

Mushroom Coral Propagation

Mushroom coral propagation allows the hobbyist to create new colonies in their own reef system and also trade corals with other enthusiasts. Whenever mushroom coral propagation of existing mushroom corals is attempted, it is a necessity that the entire reef system be healthy and running perfectly, with optimal water parameters and above average conditions.

Optimal water conditions for mushroom coral propagation include a 0 level of ammonia or nitrite; with nitrate levels being checked on a frequent basis (such a practice can be done through changing water on a regular basis, having a deep sand bed, and including a live rock or denitrator.)

In its natural environment, mushroom corals grow in densely placed clusters of specimens, and a similar pattern can easily be achieved in an artificial environment. Mushroom corals will reproduce naturally through mushroom coral propagation even in an artificial environment such as a reef tank. These forms mushroom coral propagation are varied and depend on the type of species of coral. Regardless, the healing process of mushroom corals is rapid, and a segmented coral will be whole again within a few weeks. Some corals practice a form of linear fission in which they tear themselves into two halves by stretching their mouths so far that they are literally ripped apart. This is an interesting form of mushroom coral propagation. Others practice a form of mushroom coral propagation budding in which the coral will stretch its foot away from the rock or coral base and lodge the tip in place on another location- when the coral retracts its foot, the tip remains in the alternate location and the healing and new growth process beings. Both of these processes only take a couple weeks to generate new corals.

The simple form of mushroom coral propagation is to slice off its cap with either scissors or a scalpel and segment the piece into four separate pieces which will grow into whole, healthy mushroom corals through its quick healing process. The remaining coral will take approximately 10 days to heal, and another week for the colorization to take effect. The new coral(s) should be healed entirely before attempting to cut again for additional mushroom coral propagation.

More detailed recommendations do exist for mushroom coral propagation in a reef tank. If possible, for mushroom coral propagation the mushroom coral rock should be withdrawn from the tank and hung upside down in the water- this will make slicing off segments of the corals caps easier and less messier/slimier than other ways. After the tops of the caps have been sliced off, the mushroom coral segments should be removed and any extraneous water and mucus cleaned off of the segments. The broken pieces of coral should then be placed in a shallow container surrounded by rock segments and crushed shells and reinserted within the reef aquarium so that the fragments are not moved significantly by the tanks water movements and are protected while they are healed. Within a short amount of time, these coral segments will attach to the free rocks and shells and the cutting marks will dissipate entirely. After one week, the new corals should be attached to larger pieces of rocks so that they can grow into adult mushroom corals.

Another way is to create a mushroom rock for mushroom coral propagation is achieved by netting these fragments of coral on a piece of rock using a piece of nylon mesh and secured accordingly, either with a rubber band or by placing the specific rock on top of the edge of the mesh. The coral will then begin to grow out of the rock within one months time, at which time the mesh covering may be removed because mushroom coral propagation is successful. There is a large amount of pressure on the aquaculture community to harvest wild mushroom corals and for mushroom coral propagation. By learning about mushroom coral propagation, and doing so successfully, this pressure can be relieved- allowing colonies of mushroom corals to be developed without having to go through chancy periods of adaptation and adjustment.

Blane Perun

Diver - Photographer - Traveler

Whale in Ocean