Toadstool Coral

Toadstool corals are a very common coral for beginners. This coral normally grows a stalk which
is attached to substrate and grows up into a flat cap at the top, which gives it the “Toadstool”
appearance. In my personal experience this is the hardiest coral I have ever come across and a
perfect beginner coral for a beginner.

Common Names:  Toadstool Coral

Skill Level: Beginner

Classification: Soft Coral / Leather Coral

Disposition:  Peaceful

Light Level: Low to Moderate

Water Flow: Moderate

Disposition: Peaceful (Somewhat – this is explained below)

Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025

The typical color of the toadstool is different shades of brown. A little rarer but still available
are purple toadstools and yellow toadstools. Toadstool corals can also have different color
polyps. Notice that the coral in the top of this article has white polyps, the coral frags at the
bottom of this posting have brown polyps and the coral directly below has green/yellow polyps.

While the disposition of this coral is considered peaceful it is very important to know that these
corals are known to leach toxins into the water to war with other corals. This is often referred
to as “chemical warfare” within a reef aquarium. Normally with proper filtration these toxins
can be properly dealt with and will not affect your reef. However it’s important to realize that if
your toadstool coral reaches a large size and your aquarium filtration cannot keep up these toxins
can build up and affect the health of your reef. This paragraph is not meant to scare you off of
purchasing a toadstool coral but it’s an important fact to be aware of.

Toadstool corals contain Zooxanthellae within their bodies to provide for the majority of their

nutritional requirements through photosynthesis. This means that they have the ability to get
their food from the lights on your tank. This coral requires a moderate water flow to keep debris
from building up on its cap.

Toadstool corals will occasionally slough-off a layer of its skin. This is usually done to rid the
coral of debris which has accumulated on its body. If the coral does do this the tissue which was
shed should be removed from the tank.

When it comes to lighting I have found this coral typically does best when located on the bottom
of a tank and not located directly under the light.

It’s very easy to tell if your toadstool coral is happy by viewing its polyp extension. If the lights
are on and your toadstool has no polyp extension and looks somewhat “shriveled” then your
coral is upset about something. Some of the common reasons your coral could be upset is that
it’s getting too much light, there is something off with your water quality, or if the coral has
been recently touched by something. I have found that toadstool corals are one of the slowest
corals to regain polyp extension. This can be very frustrating since it can take so long to figure
out if you have corrected the problem which made the coral mad in the first place. If you have
recently bought a toadstool coral and the polyps are not extended I wouldn’t worry. It can take
several days if not weeks for a coral to regain polyp extension. The toadstool coral below sat
there on the bottom of the tank with no polyp extension for two weeks before it finally opened
up again. After the two week period the coral began to extend its polyps again and was perfectly

Propagation of this coral is very easy. You can pull the coral out of the tank and literally cut the
Toadstool coral cap with a pair of scissors or a razor blade. You then can take your newly cut
toadstool frags and rubber band them to your frag plug or onto a piece of rock. In a week or two
the coral will have attached itself to the surface and the rubber band can be removed. When it
comes to fragging a coral it doesn’t get much easier than this.

If you choose not to frag your toadstool it’s very likely that eventually your toadstool coral will
drop small buds of tissue off its cap which will grow into toadstools just like the mother colony.
Below you will see three small toadstools which have attached to a piece of live rock after
dropping off the mother colony.



12 thoughts on “Toadstool Coral

  1. hey tom, cody again.i have some kind of fungus growing on my toad stool and devils has already killed one of my green mushys.its brown spots and I just seen a spot on my cup

    1. Hi Cody,
      Sorry I havent responded sooner. Been really busy. From looking at your pictures I cannot tell if thats a parasite or just coral die off.
      Could you send me a closer picture?
      I do know that my soft corals do not tolerate salt levels when it gets too high and almost looks like they begin getting cuts or die off on thier tissue. Have you tested your salt level lately?

    2. I’m gonna chime here, and yes, blind..lolz…Is it in the middle of the coral? or all over? also is it black or dark?

      1. I forgot…Toadstools and some leathers all like pretty strong current, especially when they get large. I have 2 giant bright green Jason Fox corals that I have had for some years. I noticed dark/black spots on it, but mostly was in the middle. The corals had gotten wrinkled due to their size and thats where the dark spots were..I checked everything, water, food, lights, etc. You don’t see bright green toads this size (12 plus inches long) so I was freaking out..Finally a guy a lot smarter than me told me to put a strong (er) current on them and get some flow..I did that and they healed up…

  2. I have had a Toadstool for about a month and it has not opened as well as when it was in the store. I am wondering if my lights are on enough hours. I have the whites on 3hrs 60% and full spectrum w/o white for 8hrs. I have put him at the top of the tank where he gets lots of flow. Also, I notice that he leans over a rock and does not stand straight up but water is impeccable.

    1. How long has it been in your tank? Toadstools are very hardy and it can be several weeks before it settles in and fully opens as it acclimates to your tank.

  3. I just dropped a piece of rock on my toadstool and it is split open in the centre, will it survive and should I do anything it is quite a large one about 250mm diameter would appreciate any advice Thanks

  4. I have a toadstool leather coral Wen I wen to the store to buy it it was all apen but now I have had it more than a week and it’s not apen some times it try’s to open but it won’t open what will it be?

  5. I have a small toadstool (About 3″), it jas been in my recently cycled aquarium for a few days; the polips are fully extended but the stall looks soft and the head is falling to the side… I can see it lifting up a little during the day (Not enough to be upright) but during the night it basically rests on the side.

    Under Radion Gen 4 at 60% and 19″ deep and moderate flow… Water parameters are solid and dosing Strontium only (No Iodine).

    1. Hi Juan,

      I have a similar situation to yours, except my tank is a few years old. The toadstool is on a small rock which I placed on the sandbed at 19″ deep. I too have Gen 4 Radions, it has taken me a week of troubleshooting to figure out why it closed (it was open for a few days after I got it).

      Changed the Radion program from High Growth to Radiant Color.
      Changed the acclimation period from 4 to 6 weeks.
      Changed the starting intensity down to 30%
      for a week, then reset acclimation timer to 50% over 6 weeks.
      I did 2 30% water changes a week apart.
      Physically pulled one of my hermit crabs off it once.
      Installed a Phosban style reactor full of Seachem Purigen (in 2 Seachem “The Bag” 180 micron bags) to combat chemical warfare between corals.
      Caught my lemonpeel angel nipping at another softy, so it’s likely he’s had a nip or two at this one.

      Today, it finally reopened after I added the Purigen. I think they just take a while to adapt, but it seems to be a methodical process of elimination of lighting, water flow, crawlies/crabs/nipping fish, water parameters, and just general adaptation.

      A clue that there’s likely chemical warfare going on, or that there’s some other type of toxin floating around seems to be that the skimmers go crazy. This stopped within a few hours of adding the Purigen.

      Good luck, hope this helps you or someone else.

  6. I’ve had mine for about a year it use to open all the time then it stopped it has entered grow at all and won’t open can’t figure out what’s going on everything else is happy and growing I’ve tried everything just don’t get it

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