What Do Mushroom Corals Eat?

If you are new to the reef-keeping hobby, mushroom corals are a perfect choice. Mushroom corals are a good beginner coral not only because they are one of the most versatile corals, but they are also stunning, creating the perfect mini-ocean display. 

Despite much confusion, corals are in fact animals. So, just like us, they also like to occasionally tuck into a delicious meal! 

Do Mushroom Corals Need Feeding?

This is a common discussion among hobbyists, and this really depends on how well your mushroom coral grows. While some mushroom corals will grow and multiply like crazy with just lighting, some may need a little encouragement through feeding. 

Most mushroom corals will get the majority of their nutrition from the symbiotic algae that live inside their tissues, called zooxanthellae. 

Zooxanthellae metabolize carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and phosphorus, providing your coral with nutrition, and in return, your mushroom coral provides the algae with a safe place to live and carry out photosynthesis, therefore lighting plays a crucial part when keeping mushroom corals. Mushroom corals require low to moderate lighting (PAR 50-150) to keep the zooxanthellae happy. 

In addition to the zooxanthellae and nutrients in the water, many hobbyists will also feed their mushroom corals to promote faster growth.

Mushroom corals contain individual polyps, each equipped with a mouth to ingest food. Depending on the mushroom coral you have, will determine the size of food they can eat. For example, larger mushroom corals like the elephant ear can be fed larger meaty foods than hairy mushrooms, which eat small pellets or powdered foods. 

The Best Foods For Mushroom Corals

Mushroom corals love to munch on something meaty like phytoplankton, rotifers, or mysis. 

Reef Tank Advisor’s Top Picks!

  • Oyster-Feast: A perfect meaty treat containing oyster eggs and ovarian tissue, giving your coral one of the best nutritional value foods. Mushroom corals have a strong feeding response to Oyster-Feast, you just wait and see them go crazy for this!
  • TDO Chroma Boost: Another fantastic choice for mushroom corals! TDO Chroma Boost comes in multiple sizes, catering to every mushroom coral’s mouth size. The pellets are nutritionally dense containing Heamatoccus pluvialis, known for improving the antioxidant capacity, immunity, and disease resistance of corals and fish.
  • Coral Frenzy: Coral Frenzy is perfect for broadcast feeding, jam-packed with nutrients and high-content proteins. This powdered food also contains probiotics to help maintain better water clarity in your aquarium. 

As mushroom corals also absorb nutrients from the water, you can supplement your aquarium water with magnesium, strontium, calcium, and iodine. This is easily achieved with a dosing pump. 

How Often Do Mushroom Corals Need Feeding?

For maximum growth, it is recommended to feed your mushroom coral two to three times per week. This allows your mushroom to get plenty of nutrition without overfeeding them. 

Do Mushroom Corals Eat Fish Poop?

Now, you may have heard reef keepers say that ‘fish poop is one of the best coral foods’, and they are not lying to you. 

Fish waste is a natural process, which plays an important part in maintaining healthy corals in both the wild and in aquariums. Fish poop is a balanced coral food, meeting your mushroom coral’s nutritional needs without the additional cost of buying coral-based foods. 

So yes, mushroom corals can eat fish poop, however, be careful to not overstock your aquarium with too many fish, as this can lead to elevated nutrient levels. 

Elevated ammonia, phosphate, and nitrate levels can be harmful to corals (and fish), therefore, it is critical to maintaining tank stability in your aquarium by regularly testing the water and performing frequent water changes. 

How To Feed Your Mushroom Coral

Mushroom corals do not have long, retractable feeding tentacles like LPS (large polyp stony) corals. Therefore, you should target feed or broadcast feed to your mushroom coral.

Target Feeding vs. Broadcast Feeding

Target feeding is just what it sounds like, you target the specific coral you wish to feed with a tool such as a turkey baster or pipette. This method is very precise and reduces waste.

However, many hobbyists swear by broadcast feeding, especially if you have a large collection and variety of corals. Broadcast feeding involves preparing coral food in a container and pouring it directly into the aquarium. While this is a much easier method than target feeding, often corals with no feeding tentacles like mushroom corals, find it more difficult to capture prey this way. 

Whichever method you choose, it is important to reduce the water flow or turn off your pump to allow your mushroom coral to grab a meal. 

Summary

If you are looking for a coral that is low maintenance but will grow like crazy, look no further, mushroom corals are your perfect match! Mushroom corals thrive in low light and flow conditions, and their feeding care is very simple. 

If your aquarium is healthy and your mushroom corals are growing fast, you do not need to manually feed them. As they are filter-feeding corals, they are happy to survive from zooxanthellae, phytoplankton, and waste products from fish. 

Although, feeding them an extra treat of mysis/brine shrimp and rotifers a couple of times a week will keep them happy to be part of your aquarium!

    by
  • 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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