Considered a soft coral, “mushrooms” are a type of coral that can attract both beginning and experienced reefers. Some mushrooms are hardy and can take over a tank, while others are considered designer and are very slow growing. There are three groups of mushrooms commonly available on the market- Ricordea, Discosoma, and Rhodactis. The care needed to keep them alive is limited and they tend to thrive in all types of tanks. Mushrooms can be found all around the world, from Florida to the Indo-Pacific, but due to their prolific nature and the ease to which they can be propagated, they are a commonly aquacultured species, especially among hobbyists. They will thrive in a variety of light and flow conditions and are very forgiving. They contain symbiotic algae called zooxanthallae that provide them with a food source, but they can also be fed with a variety of foods from pellets to meaty foods and even powdered coral food. Prior to adding them to a tank, make sure to dip them so there are no unwanted pests being introduced to the tank. After they are dipped, drip acclimate them to allow them to get used to the aquarium’s water parameters. As they do produce mucus, mushrooms should be handled with care, making sure not to touch eyes, mouth, or any other sensitive body parts as they can cause allergic reactions, in both humans and household pets.
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