Toadstool coral a failsafe coral for beginner saltwater aquaristsThe Toadstool Coral is a soft, mushroom-shaped coral and is also arguably one of the easiest corals that beginner aquarists can raise with confidence. This type of coral has different variations, but all of them are beautiful to watch and definitely interesting to add to your saltwater aquarium setup.

In this article, you will learn all you need to know about how to care for a colony of Toadstool Corals. You’ll read everything from basic info such as where to place this type of coral to more detail-oriented knowledge such as feeding this coral and ensuring it has enough nutrients to grow.

What Is a Toadstool Coral?

The Toadstool Coral is, known as the Mushroom Coral or Toadstool Leather Coral, is a reef coral that can be found in oceans. Its most common variant is the Green Toadstool Leather Coral which is greenish-blue making it starkly different from the usual cream-brown and even yellow Mushroom Corals.

Toadstool Coral Stats

In this section, you will learn the basic facts about Toadstool Corals. Read on to find out this particular coral’s taxonomic details, as well as its growth rate, and preferred basic water parameters. This information should help you have a better grasp of how a colony of Toadstool Corals might fit in your current saltwater aquarium, or what you might have to consider if you plan on designing a completely new reef tank with these corals included.

Ideal Temperature Range 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
Light demands Low to Moderate Lighting
Growth speed Fast
Ideal PH range 8.0 to 8.2
Ideal GH range 8 to 12
Cultivation difficulty This type of coral is best-suited for beginner aquarists who have yet to get their feet wet in caring for corals. This type of coral is also recommended for experienced aquarists who want to add a soft type of coral to their current aquascape.

As mentioned earlier, here you will find the taxonomic details of the Toadstool Coral in the information table given below. Learning all about the Toadstool Coral’s taxonomic lines will help you have a better grasp of how it is related to other coral species, and which corals might or might not be compatible with it.

You can also use the taxonomic information given below to better understand the kind of environment that would be perfect for your Toadstool Corals.

Phylum Cnidaria
Class Anthozoa
Subclass Octocorallia
Order Alcyonacea
Family Alcyoniidae
Genus Sarcophyton
Species Glaucum

Toadstool Coral Care

Toadstool Corals release terpenes into the aquarium water whenever they are under a lot of stress. The causes of stress, aside from other encroaching corals, may include poor water quality, lack of food, or the presence of disease-causing pests.

Furthermore, a Toadstool Coral dying due to health issues or a poor environment can be safely assumed to be under heavy loads of stress and will therefore negatively affect its aquarium. Another sure sign of stress is the Toadstool Coral not opening.

To prevent your Toadstool Corals from succumbing to stress, you need to provide them with an appropriate environment and a balanced diet. While the Toadstool Coral might not be the most delicate of coral species, it does still have environmental, diet, and care requirements that must be met for it to thrive.

In this section, you will learn all about how to set up the best Toadstool Coral tank, as well as how to care for your new Mushroom Corals properly.

– Tank and Water Parameters

The Toadstool Coral is known to be quite hardy and low-maintenance. Keeping this in mind, as long as you are able to provide an environment that is as close as possible to the parameters given below, your colonies of Mushroom Corals should be fine.

In fact, Toadstool Corals are so resilient that some of them have been around for at least 100 years! This has generally been taken to mean that Toadstool Corals are capable of withstanding tanks that suffer from fluctuating or drastically changing parameters; still, you should endeavor to keep your Mushroom Corals in a high-quality reef tank.

These Corals are happiest in environments with low to moderate water flows. However, they have also been known to survive and even thrive in high water flow tanks. If your Toadstool Coral is new to the aquarium, it would be best to keep the water flow on a low to moderate level for the first two weeks.

New Toadstool Corals are bound to be under a lot of stress after moving from one aquarium to another. The easiest way to keep these new corals comfortable is to maintain consistent water and tank parameters. For Toadstool Corals, it is important to keep your nitrites, nitrates, ammonia levels as close to 0 ppm as much as possible, the pH level between 8.0 and 8.2, and the calcium value between 400ppm to 450ppm.

– Light Requirements

If you have dutifully maintained high-quality water parameters and your Toadstool Corals are still not opening, it may be that they are exposed to too much light. Try gently repositioning them in a more shady and lower area of your aquarium. This should increase your Toadstool Coral’s comfort and encourage it to open up soon.

Some aquarists have reported their naturally detaching from their original areas in the aquarium to look for shadier places or cooler spots where they would be less stressed. These same Mushroom Corals eventually opened up when they were satisfied with their real estate in their new home.

– LED lights

Alternatively, you may want to invest in an LED lighting system to help you control the amount and intensity of light that your Toadstool Corals are exposed to. LED lights are a great investment for most aquarium setups because they can be customized to meet the lighting requirements of the tank inhabitants, and they can be programmed to provide a consistent intensity of light without heating the aquarium water.

Having this equipment is optional, but it will save you from a lot of stress especially if you plan to keep different kinds of corals in the same tank as your Mushroom Corals.

– Substrate Requirements

The Toadstool Coral fares best in deep sand beds or fine-grained substrates. Another option would be to have reef-grade sand pits surrounded by larger gravel pieces. This will help you plan out where to place your Toadstool Corals more efficiently, and it will also give your aquarium a distinct look.

Having this in mind, you might want to consider the following factors when planning your Toadstool Coral placement. For instance, you might want to think about placing your Toadstool Coral colonies in the lower or substrate layer of your aquarium.

In addition, you can also place this type of coral in areas that are dim or shaded. However, if you are planning to run a high-intensity reef tank, you can also place your Toadstool Corals in open areas that receive moderate light exposure.

Wherever you decide to position your Mushroom Corals, just be sure that they are spaced at least five to seven inches away from each other. This will prevent the corals’ wide caps from touching, and it will also ensure that each of your corals has enough space to grow without suffocating the other corals in the tank.

– Fertilizing Requirements

Generally speaking, Toadstool Corals do not need targeted fertilizing or feeding as often or as heavily as other corals might. This is because the Mushroom Coral is a photosynthetic coral. Organisms called Zooxanthellae live within your Toadstool Corals and help them get the nutrients and food they need by processing light energy. Of course, this is not to say that you should never feed your Toadstool Corals.

As with any living thing, your Toadstool Corals will certainly appreciate it if you supplied them food from time to time. They are not picky eaters, and they will most likely respond to targeted feeding sessions with microplankton, algae, brine shrimp, and other small seafood particles.

Hence you can simply use a turkey baster or Julian’s thing to shoot gentle waves of food-enriched water at the polyps of your Toadstool Corals and you should see them extend slightly to catch whatever food is provided.

You can try direct feeding with your Mushroom Corals if you notice that their polyps have not opened in a long time or if you observe any signs of malnutrition or growth stagnation. Otherwise, you may leave your Toadstool Corals to fend for themselves or rely on the floating food particles that your other corals might not have grabbed during their feeding sessions.

– Trimming

In general, Toadstool Corals do not need to be trimmed. This is because they shed a few layers every two months, they often take about a week to reopen and present the new coral membrane. During this time, your Toadstool Coral will be quite vulnerable. It is important to keep other corals away and discourage the animals in your tank from disturbing this natural process of the Mushroom Coral.

Remember to remove the discarded layers from your aquarium as this can easily contribute to the debris floating in your tank. After successfully shedding off old layers, you should witness your Toadstool Coral become bigger, fuller, and even more beautiful than before.

– Propagating

If you want even more Toadstool Corals in your aquarium, then you can increase their population through a common coral propagation method called fragging. To do this, you need a pair of sharp scissors or a whetted blade as well as a separate fragging tank.

Use your scissors or blade to make a clean cut that will separate a fragment from the coral’s main stem. Try to cut as close to the base of the fragment as possible, so that your Toadstool Coral will have an easier time growing out a new cap from the injured portion.

Repeat these steps until you have your desired amount of coral fragments. Then, place these Toadstool Coral fragments in a separate aquarium where they can grow and develop without being threatened by neighboring corals or curious tank members. You may want to tie these coral fragments to a layer of mesh to help stabilize them during the first few weeks after the fragging session.

Our experts recommend that you proceed with the fragging session of your Toadstool Corals in a different aquarium to avoid spreading too many terpenes in your main tank. Your Toadstool Corals will be stressed after the fragging session and will most likely release toxins into the water. That said, it is better for your Toadstool Corals to be in a separate tank after fragging so that they can rest and recover in peace.

Tank Mates

The common Toadstool Coral is known to be both aggressive towards other corals and a heavy producer of toxins that could negatively affect the water quality of any saltwater aquarium. However, these issues are normal and can be resolved with a little foresight and proper planning when it comes to introducing tank mates.

– Ideal Tank Mates

Some of the best tank mates for your Toadstool Coral hail from the Euphyllia group of corals. Hammer Corals, Torch Corals, and even Frogspawn Corals can share the same aquarium with Toadstool Corals. The Euphyllia Corals will serve as complements to your Toadstool Corals neutral shades and mushroom shape.

Aside from the aforementioned corals, Mushroom Corals make great neighbors for most reef-safe fish. They can even handle coral-nippers or small fish that like to take a bite out of corals every once in a while, because Toadstool Corals do not really present themselves as  snacks for saltwater fish.

Having this said, you can include species of fish that would not usually be recommended in tanks with delicate corals. Some examples of fish that you can pair with your Toadstool Corals with peaceful species such as the Clownfish, Surgeonfish, Wrasse, Cardinalfish, as well as more coral-aggressive species such as the Butterflyfish and the Parrotfish.

You can even include crustaceans and other invertebrates to make your reefscape more diverse and full of life. Just remember to provide enough space for both your fish and your Toadstool Corals to grow, and you should have no problem maintaining peace and order in your aquascape.

– Tank Mates To Avoid

Be sure to keep your Toadstool Corals as far away as possible from stony corals that are not from the Euphyllia group. Toadstool Corals will not hesitate to release terpenes into the surrounding water columns if it detects any stony corals nearby. Smaller, stony corals without efficient defense systems will be at the mercy of your Mushroom Corals and will certainly suffer if they are forced to share a small space with the former.

Though some aquarists have been able to sustain a mixed-reef aquarium where they have Mushroom Corals sitting with other coral species, this requires a certain level of experience and expertise that beginner fish keepers do not have yet. Furthermore, it would be safer to err on the side of caution and just avoid these types of corals in the meantime.

You can always adjust your aquascape to include more difficult and demanding coral combinations when you are confident of your skills in managing the aggression level and reactions of Mushroom Corals.

However, if you really want to try your hand at creating and keeping mixed-reef corals, then one of the easiest coral chemical warfare prevention methods you can execute is to just have the biggest aquarium possible. If you are able to provide all of the Toadstool Corals, fish, and other aquarium members with more than enough space, you should have fewer aggression episodes to deal with.


Toadstool coralThe Toadstool Coral is a wonderful addition to any saltwater aquarium. Its unique appearance and hardy nature make it easy to maintain. This particular type of coral is often considered a perfect introduction for beginner aquarists to coral care and reef aquarium maintenance. Below is a rundown of the most important points that we covered in this article.

  • The Toadstool Coral is a soft coral that is known for its large size and mushroom-like appearance.
  • The Toadstool Coral should be placed in the shady, lower levels of your aquarium.
  • This coral is aggressive and can be quite toxic; thus it should be provided with a lot of space to grow without coming into contact with other corals.
  • Toadstool Corals are easy to maintain for as long as they are kept comfortable and happy; this is best done by maintaining high-quality water parameters.
  • You can create more Toadstool Corals by fragging mature ones with a pair of scissors or a sharp blade.

Despite its simple appearance, the Toadstool Coral is by far one of the most interesting corals known to the saltwater aquarium community. With everything you have learned so far, you should be able to care for this wonderful coral with the utmost confidence. Go ahead and try your hand at growing the Toadstool Coral as part of your own reef aquarium.

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