Mushroom Leather Coral (Sarcophyton sp.)
Family: Alcyoniidae (Octocorals)
Habitat: reef flats and shallow lagoons
Light: High Water Flow: Medium Space: 50+ gal.
Reef Safe: Yes Care Level: Easy Temperament: Aggressive
Diet: The octocorals are generally polytrophic - getting nutrition from zooxanthellae (algae) in their tissues, nutrient uptake from the seawater, and feeding on microplankton.
Natural History: Mushroom Leather Corals are a common coral on reefs. Their body consists of a large stalk onto which a mushroom-shaped top is attached. Their polyps, when extended, give the cap a prickly appearance. The polyps are retractile and they rid of debris by shedding their outer tissue. This genus produces toxins, the most notable being sarcophytotoxide.
Husbandry: Sarcophyton are hardy soft corals that thrive better in slow moving water. They tolerate various lighting conditions and readily absorb nutrients from the water. They shed their outer surface layer periodically and temporarily appear sickly. Planaria and nudribranch infestations can be cured by dipping in freshwater. Sarcophyton can be easily propogated by slicing. They are aggressive through the production of toxins that can kill nearby corals. Colonies may reach over 1 meter across. They can be preyed upon by the Rapa rapa snail which eats them from the inside out. They are easy to propogate by cuttings.
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