Scientific Name: Sarcophyton alcyonidae
Classification: Soft Coral - Leather Coral
Common Names: Gold Crowned Toadstool, Sarcophyton
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.
This coral is normally collected in the wild, but it is easily
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.