The Red Mushroom Polyp is a lesser-known member of the Actinodiscus group that looks awesome in any reef tank. Its brightness and vibrant colors is absolutely stunning and must be seen under actinic lighting, which further enhances its beauty. The Red Mushroom Polyp is very easy to care for and maintain, and since it grows and propagates quite easily in an aquarium, this coral makes a very good choice for novice aquarists. It is available either in pairs or singly attached to small pieces of rock. The Red Mushroom Polyp is semi aggressive in nature as compared to other marine aquarium invertebrates. It is recommended to keep the Red Mushroom Polyp away from other corals just to avoid the aggressive behavior in the aquarium. It needs low water flow and moderate illumination for its growth and development. The Red Mushroom Polyp can be placed anywhere in your marine aquarium. Often, you will find them closed when you introduce them into the tank. Once the Red Mushroom Polyp gets acclimated to the environment, it will open up within a weeks time. If there is bright light in the aquarium, the Red Mushroom Polyp coral has to be kept at the bottom of the reef tank. Photosynthesis is the major source of nutrition to the Red Mushroom Polyp and additional feeding is not that necessary. But it has to be ensured that the currents should be able to supply it with necessary nutrients and trace elements for its continued growth. The Red Mushroom Polyp undergoes photosynthesis with the help of the entrapped symbiotic algae, zooxanthellae. This alga manufactures food and provides nutrition to the coral using light energy. The Red Mushroom Polyp propagates easily in captivity simply by splitting. It generally expands during day and shrinks at night.
Mushrooms are hardy and adaptable specimens, often being the first corals a new hobbyist will purchase for their tank.These invertebrates are made up of three distinct areas; pedal disk (used for attachment), stem and oral disk.These corallimorphs prefer less intense areas of lighting and flow. It has been noted that if the mushrooms are in placed in bright lighting- browning may occur.Propagation is quite easy provided the mushroom is placed in favorable conditions. Propagation occurs through (a) fission-splitting into more than one piece or by (b) budding which is a new mushroom "daughter" growing from the original mushroom.These invertebrates are mostly photosynthetic, they will however readily close the oral disk around any prey which strays onto the mushroom and be digested.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 digestivesystem, this cavity acts in its place and after the food is broken down thenutrients are then sent through the rest of the body as food. There is also noexcretory system; therefore the waste is sent back through the mouth or secretedinto the surrounding water.Tentacles of varying size will usually surround the mouth of Cnidaria. Most Cnidariahave tentacles with stinging cells that can shoot tiny poison darts into their preyor can even be used as a defense mechanism. Some corals lack tentacles and insteadcover themselves with a thin layer of mucus and use that to collect bacteria andplankton as food. Some corals even use both of these methods. Cnidaria can either bean individual animal or members of a complex colony. These "Colony Corals" share thefood and nutrients taken in by each individual.Corals have tiny living organisms that actually live in their tissue. These arecalled zooxanthellae and they are the reason why such strong lighting is needed inthe saltwater aquarium. These algae-like creatures provide the coral with oxygen andother nutrients that are produced during photosynthesis. During this process, thezooxanthellae take up carbon dioxide and provide nutrients to the coral.Corals can use two different types of defense mechanisms. One of which is a sweepertentacle wherein the coral reaches its tentacles out to try to damage another coralwith nematocysts. The other is when the coral releases a minute amount of toxin intothe water to poison another coral within certain proximity. Most "Hard Corals"should not be placed within reach of another coral.Photo by Saltwaterfish.com member: Kim Thorpe