Care Level: Easy
Type: Soft Coral
Growth Rate: Fast
One of the most common and readily available mushrooms available are Discosoma mushrooms. Discosoma mushrooms are from the Corallimorpharia order and are also known as mushroom anemones, disc anemones and elephant ear mushrooms. They are not technically true corals and share some characteristics with anemones.
Discosoma mushrooms are available in a wide variety of colors, with the most common being green, blue and red. Orange varieties are less widely available, and often come with a slightly higher price tag. The majority of Discosoma mushrooms are a single color but they can sometimes be found with stripes or bumps of contrasting colors. The ultimate Discosoma color morph is the rare, and wildly popular, Jawbreaker variation with its vivid, almost unreal color patterns. While there is a high degree of variation, most Discosoma mushrooms are relatively smooth, although some, especially Jawbreakers, may have some texture.
Regardless of colour, texture or trade name, Discosoma mushrooms are a great way to add color to lower light and flow areas of a home reef tank. They are incredibly hardy and are a great choice for both novice and experienced hobbyists. While all mushrooms generally prefer lower levels of both light and flow, Discosoma mushrooms are among the least light demanding of all the mushroom species. They should be placed in a low light and flow flow area, generally near the bottom of the tank. A Discosoma that fails to open is likely receiving too much light, and one that appears to be reaching towards the surface is probably receiving too little light. Lower flow areas of the tank are preferred as too much flow will cause the mushroom to fold over on itself, or possibly even detach from the rock. These mushrooms do not possess any sting and will not pose a danger to any other corals in the tank.
All mushrooms are photosynthetic and are able to meet their energy needs using the aquarium lighting, however they can be spot fed with a coral food designed for soft corals such as Reef Roids. This will increase their growth rate and may help to improve coloration.
Fragging Discosoma mushrooms is fairly straightforward. A razor blade can easily be used to cut a piece off a larger specimen. However, attaching mushroom frag to rubble rock or a frag plug is a bit of an art form. Since mushrooms can’t be glued, some hobbyists will place the new frag in a low flow area of the aquarium with some rubble rock and wait for the frag to attach naturally. A small basket hung inside the tank can also be used to achieve this same goal.
Discosoma mushrooms are a great choice for reefers of all experience levels. They are hardy, come in a wide variety of colors and, apart from a few color morphs, are quite easy to find and fairly inexpensive.