Does your aquarium look a little empty right now, and you are wondering when you can expect your mushroom corals to flourish?
Patience and stability are key when keeping corals, but having to wait for new coral frags to grow, particularly if you are a newbie reefer, often doesn’t feel very rewarding. So, how fast can you expect your mushroom coral to grow?
Do Mushroom Corals Grow Fast?
Well, it is hard to say, as mushroom corals have a different growth rate depending on the species you have and the environment it is living in. In the hobbyist world, no reef tank is the same, so it is likely your aquarium setup is different from your friend’s or even the local fish store (LFS), where you bought your mushroom coral from.
However, do not lose hope yet!
Mushroom corals thrive in aquariums with lots of nutrients, low to moderate lighting, and low water movement. Keeping these care requirements stable, particularly the water parameters, will help your mushroom coral grow faster. If everything inside your aquarium is stable, you should expect to see your mushroom coral at least double in the first six months after the acclimation process.
Many experienced hobbyists have also found that mushroom corals with more interesting color variations take much longer than common colored ones. While some mushroom corals like to expand and take their time, other mushrooms will grow like weeds, taking over your aquascape as fast as they can.
Fastest Growing Mushroom Corals
If you are particularly looking for fast-growing mushrooms, check out these:
- Discosoma are the fastest-growing mushroom corals, because of their thinner, smooth disk. They are also some of the cheapest mushroom corals.
- Rhodactis are also known to grow fast and very large.
Once you have a display of mushroom corals, you can opt for slower growers like Ricordia, as these often come in more fancy colors and morphs.
How To Grow Mushroom Corals Fast?
To promote fast growth, place your mushroom coral on a large rock under the correct conditions, monitor their feeding, and keep the tank parameters stable.
Also, when searching for fast-growing mushroom corals, look for rocks that already have mushroom frags on, and ask your LFS which mushrooms they have experienced growing the fastest in captivity.
Recommended Tank Parameters
- Temperature: 76° – 82 °F
- pH: 8.1 – 8.4
- Salinity: 1.023 – 1.025
- Alkalinity: 9 – 11 dKH
- Nitrates: <10 ppm
- Phosphates: <10 ppm
- Calcium: 350 – 450 ppm
- Magnesium: 1250 – 1350
Feeding Mushroom Corals
Mushroom corals respond very well to feeding, let’s just say they are never late to the buffet!
As with any coral, be careful not to overfeed your mushroom coral, as this can cause spikes in nutrients like nitrate and phosphate that can affect your coral’s growth and overall health.
Manually Splitting Mushroom Corals
If it has been over a month, and your mushroom coral has still not split, you can manually split it, by cutting it in half.
When cutting your mushroom coral, firstly, ensure it is healthy. Next, cut it directly down the center where its mouth is, all the way down, through the base.
How Long Does It Take For Mushroom Corals To Spread?
As long as your water conditions are within range, your mushroom coral should start to spread after a few weeks to one month, possibly even faster if you manually split them.
Also, do not be alarmed if your mushroom coral has moved, as this is normal behavior. Mushroom corals move to seek more suitable locations inside your aquarium, let’s just say, they are pretty good at finding their sweet spot, so do not take their movement personally!
If your mushroom coral moves, it is also not a bad thing. Because their new location has more favorable conditions, it will also benefit your mushroom coral’s growth, hopefully speeding up the process. Also, when mushroom corals move, they leave behind tiny parts of themselves, which will grow into more beautiful mushroom corals.
How To Control Mushroom Coral Growth
As mentioned, some mushroom corals can grow like weeds, and soon enough those empty spaces you wanted filling, will be full of mushrooms, possibly, even getting a little out of hand.
Once mushroom corals have been established, they can be very difficult to control. If your mushrooms are confined to one area in your aquarium, it makes your life much easier to remove them, as you can remove the whole rock. However, this will remove some beneficial bacteria from your aquarium, which can affect the aquarium water’s nutrient levels.
If your mushroom corals have crawled across different surfaces, removing them can be a challenge because it requires you to remove them with your hands, one by one. When removing mushroom corals from a rock, ensure you scrape as much flesh off as possible. Even the smallest part of a mushroom coral left behind on a rock can quickly regenerate into a new mushroom frag.
Mushroom corals have variable growth rates depending on the type of mushroom you have, and the conditions inside your aquarium. The key to coral growth is patience and stability, so, if your mushroom coral frag is taking a longer time to grow than expected, don’t give up!
The patience you put into growing your mushroom coral will be worth it when it flourishes and stands out from the crowd. Within no time, you will have that mini-ocean display you have always wanted!