Unlike other corals, the Toadstool Leather doesn?t have any hard exoskeletons like large polyped and small polyped stony corals. If provided with ample amount of light, good filtration and moderate flow, the Toadstool Leather adapts to aquarium conditions. The Toadstool Leather is also called ?octocorals? because of the presence of eight tentacles on individual polyps. The Toadstool Leather needs a brightly lit area where it can manufacture its food through photosynthesis. The zooxanthellae host Toadstool Leather and manufacture food using light energy. It also requires moderate water flow that clears the waste products away from the Toadstool Leather and delivers complementary planktonic foods that float in the water. The Toadstool Leather releases toxins into aquarium from time to time, as these toxins inhibit the growth of some delicate corals. But proper chemical filtration can lessen this effect on hard coral growth. The Toadstool Leather thrives well in a temperature range of 72-78 degree Fahrenheit, and pH of 8.1-8.4. Additional supplements of trace elements such as strontium, iodine, etc. have proved beneficial in its continued growth. The Toadstool Leather has a unique feature of self cleaning mechanism that keeps out harmful algae from growing on its surface. This coral closes up or retracts while forming a mucus layer, which later gets shed and is removed in order to maintain pristine water quality. It is very easy to propagate the Toadstool Leather in captivity by simply cutting its frags, which makes it a great coral for a beginner aquarist.
The Toadstool Leather is a very easy to keep species that will grow quite readily in the home aquarium. Their shape is similar to a mushroom or plateau, with an extended stalk and curved crown. Numerous polyps will extend from the crown under the right conditions.Leather Corals live in the shallow waters of Tropical Seas & Oceans in all parts of the world, and inhabit Reef Slopes and Lagoons. Leathers will go through a phase when they shrink their Polyps, and secrete a layer of mucus on their body, to be shed later. The mucus coat prevents any algal growth on Leather Corals. Moderate flow must be provided to help them shed this mucus layer or it can suffocate the coral.Leather Corals are moderately hardy creatures, which make them interesting additions to your tank due to their unique fleshy body and colors, especially Browns and Grays. Leather Corals do not have an exoskeleton and their skin has a tough, leathery touch.These easy to care for corals are great for the beginner and do not require high lighting. They do need moderate light and moderate flow.Corals are part of a biological group known as Cnidaria. Most Cnidaria have a mouth, or mouths, that opens into one big body cavity. Due to the lack of a true digestive system, this cavity acts in its place and after the food is broken down the nutrients are then sent through the rest of the body as food. There is also no excretory system; therefore the waste is sent back through the mouth or secreted into the surrounding water.Tentacles of varying size will usually surround the mouth of Cnidaria. Most Cnidaria have tentacles with stinging cells that can shoot tiny poison darts into their prey or can even be used as a defense mechanism. Some corals lack tentacles and instead cover themselves with a thin layer of mucus and use that to collect bacteria and plankton as food. Some corals even use both of these methods. Cnidaria can either be an individual animal or members of a complex colony. These "Colony Corals" share the food and nutrients taken in by each individual.Corals have tiny living organisms that actually live in their tissue. These are called zooxanthellae and they are the reason why such strong lighting is needed in the saltwater aquarium. These algae-like creatures provide the coral with oxygen and other nutrients that are produced during photosynthesis. During this process, the zooxanthellae take up carbon dioxide and provide nutrients to the coral.Corals can use two different types of defense mechanisms. One of which is a sweeper tentacle wherein the coral reaches its tentacles out to try to damage another coral with nematocysts. The other is when the coral releases a minute amount of toxin into the water to poison another coral within certain proximity.Photo by Saltwaterfish.com member: Mike Gartner