Weeping Willow Leather Coral Care

I still remember the first time I saw a Weeping Willow Leather coral. Because of their very long polyps, I originally thought it was an anemone! It wasn’t until my hobbyist friend said take a closer look, and then I realized I was not only looking at a soft coral, I was looking at one of the most unique and cool Sarcophyton Toadstool corals ever. I now understand why they have been dazzling hobbyists for over a decade!

You may have come across Toadstool Leather corals before and noticed most of them are tan-colored or fairly boring, however, the Weeping Willow is a very special coral because of its beautiful coloration. 

The name comes from their long tentacles that can reach up to four inches in length. Their mesmerizing tentacles drape over the top of their mushroom-shaped base if you are to turn off the water flow, making them look like a weeping willow tree.  

Summary:

  • Common Name: Weeping Willow Leather Toadstool
  • Scientific Name: Sarcophyton sp
  • Origin: Australia, Indo-Pacific, Fiji 
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Lighting: Low – Moderate (PAR 150-300)
  • Water Flow: Moderate 
  • Placement: Middle Region

Weeping Willow Leather Coral Care

Weeping Willow Leather corals are a soft coral from a group commonly known as “Toadstools”. The elegant Weeping Willow Toadstool Leather coral has relatively fast growth and is pretty hardy, making it an easy coral to care for, perfect for beginner hobbyists. 

There are no specific guidelines when it comes to caring for Weeping Willow corals, however, like all living animals, leather corals have requirements to thrive in saltwater aquariums, and this starts with keeping the following water parameters within range:

  • Temperature: 75° – 80 °F
  • pH: 8.1 – 8.4
  • Salinity: 1.024 – 1.026
  • Alkalinity: 8 – 9.5 dKH 
  • Nitrates: <10 ppm (0.05 ppm recommended)
  • Phosphates: <10 ppm (5 ppm recommended)
  • Calcium: 420 – 440 ppm
  • Magnesium: 1260 – 1350

As you probably noticed, their requirements are what you would expect in most reef aquariums. This makes Weeping Willows perfectly suited to most saltwater aquariums and makes them easier to care for. 

For optimal growth, you should consider providing more iodine for your Weeping Willow in addition to checking magnesium and calcium levels. This keeps your Weeping Willow Leather coral free of excessive algae and helps them grow. 

To help maintain water parameter levels, it is recommended to do at least a 10% water change every 7 to 15 days to help remove toxic elements and excess waste that can affect your Weeping Willow coral’s growth.

Weeping Willow Leather Coral Placement

Weeping Willows are not fussy when it comes to their placement. They will quite happily be placed anywhere in the aquarium as long as they get proper water flow and lighting that is required for growth and coloration. 

However, most experienced hobbyists will agree the best placement for Weeping Willow corals is in the middle of your aquarium. 

Once you find the perfect placement for your Weeping Willow, use IC gel glue or reef-safe putty to secure it on an exposed rock or a ledge in your aquascape. You should always leave a few inches between other corals as they are easy to shade others from the lighting. 

Weeping Willow Leather Coral Water Flow Requirements 

One of the most important factors when looking after your Weeping Willow Leather is the water flow. 

As your Weeping Willow coral has a soft exterior and hard interior, they can tolerate both moderate and high water flow. However, it is always best to stay on the safer side, so a more moderate water flow is recommended.

Weeping Willow Leather Coral Lighting & PAR Requirements 

Correct lighting is just as significant as water flow for your Weeping Willow. Your coral contains special algae called zooxanthellae that require lighting to function and undergo photosynthesis. 

The zooxanthellae provide your Weeping Willow with food, and in return, your coral provides a protected environment for them to live in. Because of their relationship, you need to provide adequate lighting for both. 

So, how much light will make both of them happy? 

You should aim to keep the lighting low to moderate, with a PAR range between 150 and 300. This will give your coral enough lighting for healthy growth and keep the zooxanthellae happy inside the coral’s tissues. 

Weeping Willow Leathers are not fussy in terms of lighting fixtures. You can use T5’s, Metal Halides, or LEDs, all will grow your coral perfectly when the proper PAR levels are provided. 

Weeping Willow Leather Coral Shedding

If you have never heard of coral shedding, then it is much like how a snake sheds their skin. A cool fact many aquarium hobbyists do not know about is that Weeping Willow coral sheds too!

Many leather corals go through a period where their polyps will not extend. This is not to be confused with providing water flow that is too strong. When your Weeping Willow starts shedding, you may notice some shrinking and shedding of their skin. 

Do not worry if your Weeping Willow does this, this is totally normal, and they may even remain closed for a few days. Just wait and be patient as they will soon open up much bigger and even more beautiful than before!

Weeping Willow Leather Coral Feeding & Nutrition

As already mentioned, Weeping Willows contain zooxanthellae, tiny microscopic algae that provide your coral with food. However, you may want to occasionally feed your coral with phytoplankton and marine snow a couple of times a week. 

Much like us, Weeping Willows will also benefit from supplemental vitamins. You can easily provide these by soaking their food in the vitamins. 

Conclusion

Weeping Willow Leather corals are a soft coral from the group known as Toadstools. These leather corals are easy to care for making them great additions for both novice and experienced hobbyists. 

Their unique long tentacles, mushroom-like shape, and mesmerizing colors make them fascinating to watch as they take center stage, standing out from neighboring corals.

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  • Roy Lee

    I have an unhealthy obsession with reef keeping and maintaining successful tanks. If you haven't noticed from the website, I love everything related to saltwater tanks like coral, fish, and everything else in between.

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