Leather Coral

Scientific Name: Sarcophyton alcyonidae
Classification: Soft Coral - Leather Coral
Common Names: Gold Crowned Toadstool, Sarcophyton

Description:
Toadstools belong to the large group of leather corals. They are light brown in color. The coral has a large heavy stock with a rounded wavy cap similar to a mushroom. The cap is covered with tentacles which have lighter, golden colored polyps at their tips. These tentacles may be extended during the day or night. Toadstool corals can grow quite large and some tank specimens exceed several feet in diameter.

Natural Environment:
This coral is normally collected in the wild, but it is easily propagated.

Care:
Hardiness: Toadstools tend to be very hardy corals. They will sometimes withdraw their tentacles and get a waxy look to their surface for periods of time of up to a week or more. This is normal as the animal periodically sloughs off a layer of skin. Very extended periods of withdrawal can indicate that the coral is not happy with its environment. Usage of Phosguard and similar aluminum based phosphate binding agents can cause the leather coral to withdraw as well. This doesn't seem to cause long term problems for the coral.

Lighting: Very tolerant of lighting conditions. Does well from moderate lighting up to very intense.

Water Current: Toadstools like a low to moderate water flow that gently waves their tentacles like a field of wheat in the wind.

Temperature: Does well within a range of at least 75º to 84º F.

Aggressiveness: Very low. Sheer size as the specimen grows can shadow or crowd its neighbors.

Feeding: Toadstools are photosynthetic and do not require direct feeding.

Supplements: No special requirement are noted. Normal acceptable water parameters seem to suite it just fine.

Tank Positioning: No special requirements other than keeping them out of forceful water flow.

Propagation: Toad corals are easily propagated by cutting the cap off and dividing it into multiple sections. The stalk will start to regrow a crown within a couple of weeks. The sectioned crown pieces can be placed on a gravel bed in low water flow and they will attach to gravel particles within a couple of weeks. They can then be superglued to a suitable substrate such as a reef plug.


Leather Open


Leather Open


Close up of polyps

 

 


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