These are some of the same mushrooms as my header photo but I put this rock on top of another rock  to seperate it from the rest and it turned into a ball.

These are some of the same mushrooms as my header photo but I put this rock on top of another rock  to seperate it from the rest and it turned into a ball.

Orange Montipora Capricornis

Ever since I bought that PH probe and raised the PH in this display tank.  This orange Capricornis has really taken off.  The large one is the mother colony that the ones in the store came from.  The small one is one of the ones in the Aquatic Castle Store.  These pictures were taken under actinic blue light, which makes everything glow or change color a bit.  If you remember, the small one is one shown in the coral profile.  It had a bleached spot from some mushrooms lying on it.  The bleached spot has gone and the coral has grown.  

Coral Profile: Montipora Capricornis

Also known as “caps” for short.

Montipora Capricornis are easy to grow.  The come in a variety of colors with orange being a favorite of many.  They are great for beginners and experts alike. 

Lighting:  They can tolerate moderate light but they like bright light.  If placing them under T-5 Florescent lights try to keep them near the top of the tank.  Under metal halide lighting, they should be kept in the middle to bottom of the tank depending on depth.  They may also turn a different color under different lighting conditions.  Orange ones are known to turn pinkish in under metal halides. 

Feeding:  Montipora don’t need to be fed but a little plankton can’t hurt them. Make sure to maintain reef levels of calcium and alkalinity as spelled out in the Aquatic Castle Coral Care Guide.  Montipora are small polyp stony corals that require calcium uptake to grow. 

Placement:  Montipora will take the shape of whatever they are placed next to, as they grow around them.  It’s best to glue them to a rock so they are secure and can’t fall.  Also, if anything is placed above them, make sure it is secure and can’t fall on them. 

Water Flow:  They require moderate water flow, the pattern and direction of which can determine the shape they take on when they grow. 

Propagation: Montipora can be broken.  Glue the frags to a small rock and place them in a horizontal position.  The frag will begin to grow towards the light and water flow and take on its characteristic layered bowl shape. 

Aggression: Montipora have sweeper tentacles that come out at night if they are too close to other corals.  This generally isn’t a problem but it is something to remember.  Generally, Montipora need to be protected from encroachment of other corals. 

Other Information:  

  • Montipora corals are very fragile.  They will break off pieces if something drops on them.  It’s not such a problem if they occasionally break though.  Even if the initial break is unsightly, that empty space will fill back in and the edges will smooth over.  Just follow the fragging instructions above to deal with the piece that broke off.  
  • Montipora are air tolerant.  This makes them excellent candidates for placement near the top of tanks or placement on a lone rock out on the substrate.  Near the top, they may come out of the water during water changes.  You wouldn’t want to place many other corals there but montipora can fill this space.  On the lone rock, the whole rock can be lifted out of the aquarium and set aside during bed cleaning.  Keep it moist by dripping water on it, every 15 minutes or so, during long cleanings.  


Above: This is a fragment of Orange Capricornis that broke off of the mother colony in the picture at the top of this article.  The bleached area was caused by a mushroom growing over it quickly.  This prompted finding a new home for the montipora, attached to this rock.  

   Above: This is the same fragment as above; 6 months earlier. 

    Above: This is the same mother colony from the top a photo, a little less than a year from the original picture.  It is about one and a half to two times the size despite having pieces broken from it.  If you weren’t told, you wouldn’t know it was broken.  Having the front open has allowed sand to get in, which has killed the bottom.  This calls for gluing the ceramic disk to a small rock to raise it up a bit. 

   Above: A fragment of purple montipora capricornis

To see other corals in this series click the link in the side bar that says, A Guide to the Corals and Other Reef Inhabitants




Mushrooms, Discosoma

Click here to view this post on its own page

Discosoma mushrooms are one of two types of mushrooms commonly seen in aquariums. They come in a variety of color patterns.   They are a hearty invertebrate that lacks the skeleton of coral.  The other type of mushroom is ricordea. 


Great for Beginners and experts alike 



Feeding:  Some discosoma will eat if you feed them and some will not.  To tell if they are eaters, just drop some sea food on them and watch them to see if they fold up into little buttons as they put the food into their mouths.  They aren’t sticky so make sure you shut your pumps off before you drop food on them.  If you have a mushroom that eats, you can see noticeable growth the day after feeding. 


Lighting:  Discosoma are photosynthetic and require moderate light to grow.  If they aren’t getting enough light, they will stretch towards it and, over time, they will tend to turn an orangish color—if they weren’t orange to begin with.  Although they need light, Discosoma mushrooms are intolerant of light that is very bright.  If you have metal halide lights, put them in a shady spot. 


Water Flow:  Discosoma require moderate water flow to bring them nutrients.  If the flow is too much, they will fold up. 


Placement:  Be sure to give discosoma room to grow.  They are useful in covering vertical space in your aquarium.  If you place one on top a cliff or glue its rock to the side of a cliff, its offspring will eventually cover that cliff. 


Propagation: They multiply by first growing in size, then splitting into two or three.  This splitting process can take several weeks.  First the mushroom elongates.  Then it becomes scalloped more and more until it splits.  Sometimes a mushroom will just leave behind a tiny piece of its foot and a tiny mushroom will emerge.  To speed the process up, mushrooms can be cut into two or more pieces and they will heal quickly.  Just make sure that if you cut them, you cut through their mouths and separate the two pieces.  Follow the instructions below for attaching a mushroom to a rock. 


Aggression: Discosoma can aggressively compete for space in your tank.  They do this in two ways.  Some Discosoma grow fast and cover over corals.  A single mushroom can grow to 3 inches across and then split into two or three mushrooms that grow to 3 inches.  The new mushrooms will cover up corals and shade them. 


The other way that mushrooms can compete is through chemical warfare.  Mushrooms grow in deeper parts of the reef in the wild.  The rule of thumb is to keep mushrooms with other corals that live in deeper parts of the ocean because they have adapted to mushroom chemicals.  Like all rules of thumb, some experimentation is worth trying.  I have grown orange montipora capricornis right next to an eating type of green discosoma.  While the discosoma would damage the orange cap if it covered it and I had to keep moving it, to keep it uncovered; the orange cap didn’t seem to be affected by chemicals. 


Other Care Information:  Discosoma mushrooms sometimes become unattached from their rocks during shipping or during everyday life.  Discosoma are slimy and cannot be glued back onto a rock, yet they contain their own adhesive that can grab onto a rock when they are ready.  Once they are free of a rock, a mushroom will blow about in the current until it finds a slow spot.  Then it will attach itself to whatever is there.  To control this process, just put the mushroom in a dish, to limit water flow, and set it on the rock you want it to attach to.  Eventually it will attach itself. This process can take some time.    See Video.  

Cover photo: orange, watermelon, and green discosoma

           Above: A green striped discosoma shares a rock with some coralline algae.

              Above: A clownfish blurs the camera as it swims in front of a colony of bright green discosoma mushrooms.  This colony was started just under a year ago with a single inch and a half mushroom.  It now measures 8”X4” and has 7 mushrooms. 


                    Above: Green discosoma eating

           Above: watermelon discosoma

To see other corals in this series click the link in the side bar that says, A Guide to the Corals and Other Reef Inhabitants