If you're beginning to care for mushroom corals or disc anemones, this gallery of Order Corallimorpharia, Family Discosomatidae or Actinodiscidae, and Ricordeidae will help you identify which types of soft corals you may like best. These species have other names such as giant cup, elephant ear, hairy, frilly, spotted, speckled, metallic, fluorescent, umbrella, warty, forked tentacle, and Ricordea.
With many colors to choose from, being solid or multi-colored, spotted, striped, or textured, and because they are easy to care for, one can see why these corals are among the most popular with reef aquarists.
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Red Mushroom (Discosoma sp.) Corals
These make great occupants for a tank.Continue to 2 of 21 below.
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Due to their tolerance of less than perfect water and lower light requirements, mushroom corals make an excellent coral for beginners.Continue to 3 of 21 below.
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Since they derive much of their nutrition from the water around them, mushrooms prefer dirtier (small suspended particulates and dissolved organic matter) water than many other types of corals, making their care in an aquarium much easier.Continue to 4 of 21 below.
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Pink/Red Mushroom Corals
The multitude of mushroom colors (red, blue, purple, and green) makes them a terrific addition to almost any marine aquarium.Continue to 5 of 21 below.
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Green Mushroom (Actinodiscus sp.)
Mushroom corals can be easily purchased either online or at most local fish stores that carry saltwater fish and invertebrates.Continue to 6 of 21 below.
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Pink Mushroom (Discosoma sp.)
Not responding well to bright lights or heavy currents, to allow for maximal expansion and reproduction, these corals are best kept under low lighting conditions (fluorescent lighting is ideal) with little water movement.Continue to 7 of 21 below.
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Spotted Mushroom Corals
These corals are safe with fish, crustaceans, and motile invertebrates but should not be placed next to other soft and stony corals and sessile invertebrates because of the detrimental effect they can have on them.Continue to 8 of 21 below.
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Speckled Mushroom (Actinodiscus sp.) Coral
How can you tell if your mushroom corals are receiving the right amount of light? Mushrooms that are exposed to too much light will tend to curl up. Mushrooms that are receiving too little light will extend, reaching for the light source and also lose some of their bright colors. Mushrooms that are getting the right amount of light will lay flat on the rock or substrate.Continue to 9 of 21 below.
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Mushroom (Actinodiscus sp.) Corals
Mushroom corals obtain much of their required nutrition from their surroundings as well as from light (the sun in the ocean).Continue to 10 of 21 below.
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Mushroom (Actinodiscus sp.) Coral
Using a highly developed mucus capture and transport system, these corals derive nutrients by collecting and ingesting particulate matter suspended in the water around them and from their zooxanthellae.Continue to 11 of 21 below.
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Blue Green Pimple Mushroom Anemones
With the right conditions, most mushroom corals are quite prolific in an aquarium, producing many offspring several times per year if they receive even less than perfect lighting and nutritional levels.Continue to 12 of 21 below.
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Fluorescent Green Mushroom Corals
While mushroom corals will tolerate less than ideal conditions, their optimum water chemistry parameters are:
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- Salinity: 1.024 to 1.026
- Temperature: 76 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
- Nitrates: As with most corals below 10 ppm is best over time; however mushrooms are quite forgiving and will tolerate much higher levels for long periods.
- Phosphates: Below 0.3 ppm.
- Water Flow: Moderate to low flow but not directed at the mushrooms.
- Lighting: Moderate to low.
- pH: 8.0 to 8.4
- Calcium: The ideal level is 450 ppm.
- Alkalinity: 3.2–4.5 mg/L considered optimum.
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Giant Elephant Ear Mushroom Coral
The elephant ear mushroom coral is usually brown or green with a large wavy surface, a leathery texture, and multiple mouths. It can reach 10 inches or more in diameter.Continue to 14 of 21 below.
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Striped Mushroom Corals (Actinodisc sp.)
These corals display a wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns. Some are solid colors, whereas, others are striped or spotted. Striped varieties are usually green.Continue to 15 of 21 below.
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Ricordea floridea Mushroom Corals
This type of mushroom coral is highly prized by the avid collector and makes a vibrant addition to the reef aquarium.Continue to 16 of 21 below.
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Hairy Mushroom Anemones (Rhodactis sp.)
The Rhodactis hairy mushroom occurs in many colors including brown and tan and the more colorful green. Just like the name suggests, the surface of these mushrooms is covered with many hair-like tentacles, giving it a hairy appearance.Continue to 17 of 21 below.
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Flower Anemone (Actina equina)
The Ricordea or flower mushroom coral has short, club, or berry-shaped tentacles. It shares some similarities to stony corals and is also termed a disc anemone. It is found in a variety of color forms, but green is the most common.Continue to 18 of 21 below.
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Spotted Red Mushroom Coral (Discosoma sp.)
The spotted mushroom (Actinodiscus sp.) corals display a wide variety of colors, textures, and patterns. Some are solid colors, whereas, others are striped or spotted. The spotted ones are usually blue or green with spots.Continue to 19 of 21 below.
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Stony Disk or Mushroom Coral
This is a stony disk or mushroom coral (Fungia scutaria). Other common names for this coral include plate, tongue, fungus, chinaman hat, dome, helmet, mole, Neptune's cap, plate, long tentacled plate, and slipper coral.Continue to 20 of 21 below.
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Ricordea corals are highly prized in the saltwater aquarium hobby.Continue to 21 of 21 below.
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Stony Disk or Mushroom (Fungia sp.) Coral
A stony disk or mushroom (Fungia sp.) coral covers the floor of the tank.