Care Level: Easy
Type: Soft Coral
Growth Rate: Fast
Along with Discosoma mushrooms, Rhodactis mushrooms are one of the most popular and widely available mushrooms in the reefing hobby. While they are often classified as soft corals, they are not actually corals and share many traits with anemones, including the ability to move around the tank, albeit very slowly. Rhodactis mushrooms are from the Corallmorpharia order, which includes all other species of saltwater mushrooms.
Rhodactis mushrooms have a textured appearance and once they have grown in fully they will create a beautiful, flowerlike appearance on the rockwork. They are available in an almost endless variety of colors including many combinations. For example, the Superman Rhodactis is predominantly red with blue highlights. Over time they can grow quite large, often exceeding 6 inches in diameter in ideal water conditions. Like most mushrooms, they are considered to be quite hardy and a good choice for reefers of all experience levels.
Like many of the corals in the reefing hobby, Rhodactis mushrooms are native to the Indo-Pacific region, particularly the waters surrounding the islands of Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands. They are commonly found on reef slopes, bays and lagoons where waterflow is generally more gentle. In a home aquarium they are generally placed near the bottom of the tank in areas of lower light and flow. They also do better in more nutrient rich (aka dirtier) water than many other types of corals. Rhodactis mushrooms do have a moderate sting so care should be taken when placing them so that they don’t damage more sensitive corals. They can, however, be placed in a garden with other Rhodactis mushrooms.
Rhodactis mushrooms are photosynthetic and are able to meet their energy needs using aquarium lighting. However, they can be spot fed coral food, such as Reef Roids, if desired and this will help to improve growth rate and coloration.
Propagating mushrooms is both very simple, and a little bit tricky. It is very easy to cut a frag from a large mushroom with a razor. However, because the frag cannot be glued, getting it to attach to a piece of rubble rock or frag plug is a bit of an art form. One common method is to place the newly cut frag with some rubble rock or frag plugs in a basket hanging in the tank and allow the frag to attach naturally.
With their beautiful, flowerlike, appearance and multitude of available colors, Rhodactis mushrooms are a perfect way to add color and texture to a home reef tank.