Sunday Invertebrates - Discosoma Mushroom Corals
Mushroom Corals are in the Order of soft corals known as Corallimorphs. There are many varieties of Mushroom Corals, so today we'll look at the most basic of the group, the Genus known as Discosoma (Actinodiscus) spp. Discosoma Mushrooms can usually be identified by their smooth surface, as opposed to the bumpy or 'hairy' surface of other mushroom Genus.
Discosoma Mushooms are found on reefs all over the world ranging from the Caribbean to the Indo-Pacific region. They can grow to a maximum size of about 4" inches, however most in the aquarium trade tend to be between the 0.75" inch to 2" inch range.
The minimum tank size they can be kept in is 1 gallon or more, making Mushrooms an excellent choice for Nano Reef Aquariums. Further adding to their nano reef appeal is the fact that they do not require bright, intense light, preferring moderate to dim lighting instead.
Discosoma Mushrooms feed on Zooxanthaelle, but also benefit from small particulate feedings and newly hatched Artemia. Given the proper conditions, these mushrooms will readily reproduce and spread all over an aquarium, often blanketing entire regions of rockwork.
Discosoma Mushrooms come in a dazzling variety of colors and color combinations. In fact there are so many possible variations, that it makes identifying them very difficult. Given their ability to reproduce rapidly in small aquariums with low to moderate light, their wild and vivid colors and variations, and combined with the fact they are not demanding corals, makes the Discosoma Mushroom a perfect candidate for coral beginners.