Care Level: Easy
Type: Soft Coral
Growth Rate: Slow
Jawbreaker Mushrooms are a spectacular strand of Discosoma mushrooms and are highly sought after by hobbyists. They are one of the brightest and most uniquely coloured corals in the saltwater hobby and make a stunning addition to any reef tank. They get their name from their vivid swirl patterns, similar to the patterns found on its namesake candy. While they come in a wide variety of colours, they most commonly consist of variations of red, orange and yellow. They also often have a more textured polyp than ordinary Discosoma mushrooms, which tend to be fairly smooth. They multiply by leaving a small piece of themselves behind as they move very slowly around the tank. This new piece will then grow into a new mushroom. Don’t worry about them moving all around the tank however, as they may only move a few inches a year.
Due to their popularity and relatively high price, Jawbreaker Mushrooms are extensively aquaculture and it would be very rare to come across a piece for sale that was not captive bred. However, since they are a Discosoma mushroom they would, theoretically, be found in the Indo-Pacific region. In a home aquarium they should be placed in an area of low to medium light and flow. While they can generally be acclimatized to higher light levels it is a good idea to place them in a lower light area first and slowly move them into more intense lighting.
Jawbreaker Mushrooms are photosynthetic and are able to use aquarium lighting to meet their energy needs. However, they will grow faster if they are spot fed. They can be fed microplankton or brine shrimp and a good choice is Vitalis Soft Coral Food. Be aware, however, that overfeeding can cause nutrient levels to rise and may upset more delicate corals.
Propagating Jawbreaker Mushrooms does require patience and creativity. The easiest way is to remove a small, newly growing mushroom from the rockwork and place it in a low flow area of the tank with a piece of rubble rock and allow itself to attach naturally. This may take some time and some hobbyists use a small basket for this. It is important to note that mushrooms cannot be glued to a frag plug.
While they are somewhat rare and come with a hefty price tag, Jawbreaker Mushrooms simply are one of the most colourful and vibrant corals available. Combine this with their ease of care and it is easy to see why this particular mushroom is so popular.