When it comes to mushroom corals for your reef tank, there are several different types. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. These are popular in saltwater aquariums due to their wide range of colors and low cost options. These are also easy to take care of, and they will replicate quickly in your tank.
Mushroom corals are corallimorphs which belong to the order Corallimorpharia. They have a soft body and no skeleton, so they are often considered soft corals because of this. But, true soft corals have polyp segments of 8. Mushrooms have polyp segments of 6 like stony corals.
Let’s take a look at the different varieties of mushroom corals that you can put in your reef tank.
6 Different Types Of Mushrooms For Your Reef Tank
1. Discosoma Mushroom Coral
One of the most common types of mushroom corals seen in reef tanks are Discosoma. These corals are popular due to their hardiness and availability. There are so many color patterns available. This makes them popular for both beginner and experienced hobbyist. They usually come in single colors like blue, green, red, and brown. These are the low cost options which can usually be purchased for around $20-$30.
The higher cost ones are colors like bright orange and gold. The ones that are collector level are given names like Eclectus and Kryptonite mushrooms. These typically cost several hundred dollars for one polyp.
This type of mushroom coral is usually smooth. You can see very tiny bumps on it if you get close. There is a distinct difference between a Discosoma and other mushrooms like Rhodactis and Ricordea. If it looks smooth without bumps or texture on it, then it is likely a Discosoma.
These corals are considered to be beginner friendly due to their hardiness and ability to self-propagate. If you are new to the hobby, then this is the type of mushroom that you should start with.
2. Rhodactis Mushroom
Rhodactis mushrooms look fuzzy, and you can find these in almost any color imaginable. They are the most diverse mushroom coral that you can keep in a home reef tank. These come in almost every color combination imaginable.
Prices for Rhodactis range from around $30 for a single color shroom like green to several hundred dollars for a unique rainbow colored mushroom.
These corals are easy to care for, and they can tolerate a wide range of lighting. You should be able to keep them in low light areas of around 50-75 PAR. And you should be able to keep them in SPS style tank around 150 PAR. However, it is best to slowly introduce them to higher light over 100 PAR.
Like Discosoma, these also prefer low flow. This helps to keep them from loosening their foot and floating away.
These reproduce by longitudinal fission. They will pinch themselves apart and form a new mushroom that will grow. This is a different and slower process than Discosoma mushroom.
There are two other types of Rhodactis corals. These are Bounce Mushrooms and Hairy Mushroom corals. Both are in the same genus, but people in the hobby refer to them by these names.
3. Bounce Mushroom
The Bounce Mushroom is basically a Rhodactis that has bubbles on it. This is how it gets the name “bounce.” These bubbles look like tiny balloons stuck to the surface of the shroom. There are theories into what makes these corals “bounce.” One theory is that LED lights create a tumor on top of the disc that makes these grow bubbles on it. Some hobbyist believe that they are being burnt by too much light which causes the bubbles on the top.
Overall, it is still a mystery on what makes these mushroom corals bounce. Several years ago, this was one of the most sought after corals on the market. These can fetch hundreds of dollars for a single shroom. While the price has come down lately, there are still several colors that cost hundreds. Twenty years ago, most hobbyist would not have believed that mushroom corals would become so highly sought after.
4. Hairy Mushroom
Hairy mushrooms (Rhodactis indosinensis) or sometimes called fuzzy mushroom corals are a type of Rhodactis. These shrooms are also hardy and a great choice for new tank owners. These corals can grow fast. Make sure to place them in an area of your tank where they cannot overtake other inhabitants. These can get to be around 4 inches in diameter.
They get their name “hairy” because they look similar to green star polyps. Their oral discs look like they are covered in hairs. One of the most popular is the neon green hairy mushroom. These are purple and green colored.
5. Ricordea Florida
Ricordea have a unique appearance to them because they are covered in round vesicles. These corals come from the Caribbean. They are a little more difficult to care for, but they are still on the easy side of the saltwater aquarium hobby.
This corals mouth will be isolated and not have tentacles around it which is different than the Yuma. This will also have a uniform coverage of tentacles. This is one way to identify it as a Ricordea Florida vs. a Yuma.
These corals are on the smaller side of mushrooms as they are usually only about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. They are mostly orange, yellow, and green or a combination.
6. Ricordea Yuma
Ricordea Yuma come from the Pacific, and they are the most difficult mushroom coral to care for. These can get to around 4-5 inches in diameter, and they usually grow faster than the Florida types. These also seem to come in more beautiful color patterns.
At first glance, they look similar to Ricordea Florida, but there are some differences. This coral will usually have tentacles around its mouth. This is one way to tell a Yuma from a Florida. The Yuma will also have rows of tentacles that look like they are radiating away from its mouth.
Because of their unique color patterns and different variety of colors, these corals typically have a higher price point as well.