Ricordia florida

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ricordia florida

Corallimorphs can be kept with many types of soft coral in the brood stock aquarium. They often grow in among the Zoanthids and Protopalthoa colonies without causing harm to either species, the larger types of Zoanthids can crowd the Ricordia for space. Most Mushrooms do seem to do better in older tanks, and many of them often need less light than many corals. You can use the bottoms of your systems to produce the other types of Mushrooms, but give your Ricordia the top center of your reef.

Our favorite Mushrooms that we are working with here at GARF are in the genus Ricordia. Ricordia are one of the most popular corallimorphs in the hobby because of their beautiful colors and their tentacles that terminate in round balls, called clavate tips. Ricordia often have several different colors on one mushroom.

One of the most beautiful Caribbean Ricordia in GARF's collection is neon green with a contrasting colored mouth. Collection of Ricordia Mushroom rocks in the United States was made illegal in the early 1990's but it is often possible to buy single polyps that are farmed. Fortunately we were able to purchase some farmed Ricordia that are bright multi colors.

Ricordia can be kept in brighter light than the Mushrooms from the group Discosoma. We have found that they do best when we place them under VHO lighting in parts of the reef aquarium that receive a good amount of light. You do not want to place these types of corallimorphs too close to the surface if you have Halide lighting.

The Ricordia in this picture have been mounted on reef plugs using super glue to attach the gravel that they attached to in the cutting tray . These Ricordia will be a beautiful blue green and several of them have distinct turquoise mouths. It is very easy to propagate this size of Ricordia. I simply split them in two with a pair of scissors and place the cuttings in a tray of course gravel. These Ricordia plugs are thriving in a 30 liter tank with one-22 watt power compact light.

The new cutting trays at GARF are 4 ft. long and 2 ft. wide. These trays are 8 in. deep. We are using three - 40 watt bulbs above each of these trays. The water for each set of these cutting trays come from one of our large reef aquariums. Our newest cutting units have two of these trays above a 1 ft. deep tank that is also 4 ft. long and 2 ft. wide. This deeper tank acts as a sump and a brood stock tank.

ricordia yuma
ricordia florida yuma
This picture shows the Ricordia plugs in one of the plastic trays that comes with a Farm-In-A-Box. This 30 liter Farm-In-A-Box holds 36 reef plugs and has enough space under the racks to allow several dozen cuttings to attach to the Coralline covered Grunge. After these cuttings have attached to the gravel we use GARF Reef Glue to mount them on a Reef Plugtm. If you have an opportunity to purchase or trade for any captive raised Ricordia I am certain that you will be very happy with your new coral. GARF is in the process of collecting as many types of Ricordia as we can. Our colonies will be grown for several years until we are certain that the oldest individual polyps are fully mature. These corals will join all of the other species that will be moved into our future breeding greenhouse.

There are several species of Ricordia, but the most beautiful one comes from the Caribbean. The Caribbean Ricordia can be propagated using several different methods. The easiest method involves simply cutting the caps from several Ricordia and then dividing the caps into four equal pieces. These pieces can be placed in gravel until they attach.

orange ricordia

The Ricordia in this picture is one of the more rare colors that we have in our genetic bank; it has a beautiful orange center. We have been collecting Ricordia for five years and we're starting to learn how to grow them very well. At first we often treated Ricordia like we do other Mushrooms. Now, we treat them more like SPS corals. The Ricordia in LeRoy's 300 gal. sps reef are growing at the very top of the tall Aragocrete Arch Sculptures. These Ricordia are pictured on this page and they are grown less than 6 in. from VHO Bulbs. Many of these Ricordia have naturally reproduced creating colonies of from 6 to 12 new Ricordia in just one year.

blue ricordia This beautiful blue Ricordia is in the process of dividing. When Ricordia start to divide you will notice that they have two mouths. As these two mouths mature they start to move apart so they can divide into two Ricordia. You will notice that the space between the two mouths seems to be pinching toward the center. Soon you'll notice that there are two separate Ricordia. When the conditions are right these two Ricordia can start to divide in two months.

Natural reproduction of colonies is one of the very safest ways to propagate rare strains of Ricordia. After they have started dividing by themselves you may want to increase the number of Ricordia using one of the methods listed on this page. If your Ricordia are dividing by themselves a simple way to distribute them among your systems is to split the rock they are growing on into several pieces.

Ricordia seemed to thrive in older systems with intense lighting and strong water current. The beautiful Ricordia in this picture has been grown in a 55 gallon bulletproof reef with three-40 W bulbs using 3 Bulbs and the new electronic 40 W ballast we are testing. This reef has two White Actinic bulbs and one Actinic 03 bulb.

These two beautiful colonies of Ricordia grew from two single polyps in just one year. The large colony of orange polyps is one of three colonies that we have of this color. Each of our colonies of orange Ricordia have different colors of polyps around the outer edge and each colony has different colored mouths. These colonies show why it is so important to collect different brood stock. As these Ricordia are propagated each new set of clones grow faster in our closed systems.

All of the different color Ricordia are able to live together on the same rocks. In nature many different colors grow together to form large colonies.

Ricordia are able to catch and consume many different types of food. Our systems contain a large number of food organisms so the Ricordia are constantly being fed. Each of our systems was started using GARF Grungetm and we reinoculate each reef every six months. The GARF Grungetm is a rich source of food organisms.

ricordia proagation


The Neon Green Ricordia in this picture is one of most hardy and fastest growing Ricordia. When we are ready to propagate these Ricordia we will fill a bowl full of reef water. We will then slip the points of our stainless steel scissors under the heads of the Ricordia. After we have pulled the scissors as far up the stalk as we can we will cut off the head of the Ricordia. Each of the stalks will soon grow a new head.

Because this is a very good color, and we do not want to take any chances of losing the cuttings in the gravel, we will use the netting method of attachment.

After we have collected several Ricordia caps we will cut them each into three or four pieces. Each of these pieces will be mounted on a Reef Plugtm. We will use pieces of bridal veil netting and rubber bands to hold the cuttings in place while they attach to the Reef Plugstm.

We are having a special on all of the coral cuttings. WHEN YOU PURCHASE 5 AT THE REGULAR PRICE OF $100 WE WILL GIVE YOU TWO FREE CORALS!. We will continue to provide the most current data on reef farming for both education and profit.

Sometimes I forget how fun it can be to watch the Reef Janitorstm as they go about their duties. It is important to have the mixture of crabs and snails custom picked for your reef aquarium. Both Leonel and Brian are experts in algae control. You can be sure that they will choose the right mixture from GARF's extensive collection of algae eaters.

The GARF staff knows that each aquarium is different and they will ask about the size, lighting, and age of your reef. Summer is the most important time to add extra janitorstm because there is more light and the reef will be a bit warmer. When you order any Reef Janitor pactm you can pick a free coral or two pounds of GARF's FAMOUS GRUNGE LIVE SAND ACTIVATOR Reef Janitors tm or call toll free 800-600-6163.





Use this site to solve your reef aquarium algae problems, and help support our research!!!

Many of the rare corals are offered to our members for 2 years before they are put on sale. We will soon have an E-mail list that will list the rarest color forms of sps corals and soft corals such as Xenia and Mushrooms.

You can support our research and learn more about reef aquariums and wetlands
1726 Merrill St.
Boise Idaho 83705


Order: Corallimorpharia ( Mushroom false coral )
Family: Actinodiscidae
Actinodiscus ( disk anemones - false coral )

Corallimorphs also known as the Mushrooms are easy to keep in captivity. As a matter of fact they often thrive in marine aquariums that are too nutrient rich to support any other types of corals,therefore they make a very good beginners coral that can be kept in very simple aquariums.

Their beautiful colors and ease of maintenance make them one of the first corals that most people purchase. Producing a beautiful crop of colored Mushroom corals takes patience more than the ability to maintain the most expensive reef systems. Corallimorphs are able to withstand high nitrate levels, but they do expand and reproduce more when the pH is kept at 8.2 or higher .

Corallimorphs come in many forms and colors

and this makes them one of the most collectible reef animals. There are many body forms and surface textures in the family. Some of the most beautiful and valuable mushrooms are the metallic blue and brilliant red smooth mushrooms in the genus Discosoma. The corallimorphs in the genus Discosoma also come in bright green, brown, orange, and many shades of purple. The surface of these mushrooms can be smooth or bumpy. The colors can be solid, striped, or spotted. The mushrooms that we have found to be very popular in the market are the large body, smooth shiny blue mushrooms.

mushroom coral reef ricordia

mushroom farming details for the family project -

Because the Mushrooms come in so many different colors many people start a collection. Mushrooms that have been raised in captivity are much more valuable than the same type of Mushroom from the ocean because it can often take over a year for imported mushrooms to start to grow. When you purchase mushroom rocks from the wild they often stay static for months.

We are certain that during this period of time the Zooxanthellae inside of the Mushrooms are morphing into types that can better utilize the lighting in our closed systems. It seems funny but we often say that wild mushroom rocks will not start to grow until you have forgotten about them. After the rocks have been in captivity for several semesters they often start to grow and reproduce rapidly. Mushrooms that we receive in our trades or ones that we move from other reef tanks often do not go through this period of change for as long of time. Captive Mushrooms can start growing in a few weeks.

mushroom reef soft coral

Another group of Mushrooms that we are working with here at GARF are in the genus Rhodactis. This genus includes the Hairy Mushroom anemones.These Mushrooms have tentacles on the surface of the oral disk and they are often branched. We have been researching several strains larger Rhodactis because clown fish except them as a substitute host.

We have learned that the hairy Mushroom anemones are able to be grown in brighter light conditions than the smooth metallic Mushrooms. The hairy Mushrooms can also be grown in parts of the reef aquarium that have stronger water movement. We have discovered that you can often tell how much to feed a Mushroom by noticing how long the tentacles are. The smooth Mushrooms of the genus Discosoma do not rely on catching as much food as the Hairy Mushrooms in the genus Rhodactis.


The third group of Mushrooms that we are working with here at GARF are in the genus Ricordia. Ricordia is one of the most popular corallimorphs in the hobby because of their beautiful colors and their tentacles that terminate in round balls, called clavate tips . Ricordia often have several different colors on one mushroom.

The most beautiful Ricordia in GARF's collection have orange polyps, and a blue margin with a bright green upraised mouth. Collection of Ricordia Mushrooms in the United States was made illegal in the early 1990's but it is often possible to buy single polyps that are collected on shells. Fortunately there are some Ricordia yuma that have been imported from the Pacific Ocean.

Both Types of Ricordia can be kept in brighter light than the Mushrooms from the group Discosoma. We have found that they do best when we place them under VHO lighting in parts of the reef aquarium that receive a moderate amount of light. You do not want to place these types of corallimorphs too close to the surface if you have Halide lighting.

ricordia mushroom reef

Corallimorphs can be kept with many types of soft coral in the brood stock aquarium. They often grow in among the Zoanthids and Protopalthoa colonies without causing harm to either species. Mushrooms do seem to do better in older tanks, and they often need less light than many corals. You can use the bottoms of your systems to produce Mushrooms.

aquarium mushrooms Corallimorpharia

Making a Mushroom colony is a good use for some of the older tall show style aquariums. At GARF one of the most beautiful brood stock aquariums is in the laboratory in a 40 gallon reef tank that we made in 1986. This tank was made during the time when the first articles by George Smitt were published about wet and dry filtration.

We now have two of these tanks that we have kept active all of these years and both of them have filters that are twice as big as the show part of the aquarium. The tank in the lab has 1 - 24 in. power compact light. The other tank has one 100 W Halide light that is over 1 ft. from the water surface. Both of these systems have many species of Discosoma and a few Rhodactis. The tanks were both set up in about 1989.

Corallimorphs can also be grown in mixed brood stock tanks if they are not allowed to overtake and smother the other corals. Almost all of the types of mushrooms are able to live together and the smooth Discosoma seemed to thrive in colonies of many different kinds. If you are able to purchase or trade for any captive raised Mushrooms they will make a very good additions to your brood stock.

Many of the visiting coral farmers at GARF have laughed when I have told them that they should sell their IBM stock to buy blue metallic Mushrooms. Strong colonies of metallic blue and purple Mushrooms can produce hundreds of clones each year. We've talked with many coral wholesalers during the last two years who have told us that bright colored blue and purple mushrooms are very hard to find.


If you are able to meet people who have older reef tanks they may have so many Mushrooms that the Mushrooms have become a pest. If the Mushrooms are growing on large live rocks there is a very easy way to remove part of them. You will need a large pair of surgical forceps and the plastic bowl for reef water. The types of forceps that we use have notches so the blades can be locked closed.

When the mushrooms are not disturbed in the reef tank they fill with water and stand slightly away from the rock on the stalk. After you fill the bowl with reef water you can reach in with a forceps and pinch one of a larger Mushrooms very close to the rock. After closing and locking the forceps it is very simple to turn the forceps and pull the mushroom away from the rock. You just attemp to roll the Mushroom up like a sardine can lid and it will come loose:)

Do not be overly concerned that the Mushroom tears or breaks because any pieces left on the rocks will develop into full Mushrooms, and you're going to cut the tops up like a pizza as soon as you get back to your coral farm. :)

If the live rocks that the Mushroom are growing on are small enough to remove from the tank easily, then you can use scissors to remove the Mushrooms that you want to thin out of the colony. If you're not trying to thin an overgrown colony it is best to cut the stalk as close to the cap as possible. By leaving this larger stalk on the original rock a new head will grow on the Mushroom much sooner than it will on a shorter piece of the stalk. Some of the blue mushrooms in our lab are able to replace the cap to the same size it was before cutting in just 16 weeks.

There are many different ways to propagate Mushrooms and we have been working for the last four years to find a way that works almost every time and is both easy and quick. The method that we use now requires patience during the initial part of the process. We now trim the caps of the mushrooms into triangle shaped pieces and allow them to attach to gravel in one of our cutting trays.

These cutting trays are 4 in. deep with water from one of our large reefs circulating through them before it returns to the sump. The largest of these cuttings trays has six-40 W lights and polished aluminum reflectors.

When our inturn from England, Stuart Gould, was in Boise we did an experiment on Mushroom cutting. Stuart and I cut up some blue Discosoma Mushrooms and placed them in the cutting trays. We tried to cut each mushroom cap into six individual triangle shaped pieces. After three days we climbed up on the buckets and looked into the cutting tray from the top. We saw that many of the Mushroom pieces had turned into small round Mushrooms.

Corallimorphs Corallimorpharia mushroom corals

Because they had healed and attached to the gravel so fast I was certain that I must have left mushrooms in the tray from a previous cutting. I had Stuart remove every Mushroom from the cutting tray and we started the experimental over. This next experiment had the same exact results. The Mushrooms that we remove the top barely six months ago are now completely healed and they are ready to cut again.

Once the Mushroom cuttings have attached to small pieces of gravel it is very easy to use the GARF reef gel to attach them to larger rocks. We have been able to purchase some captive raised Mushrooms from the Solomon Islands. These Mushrooms were sent on thin six inch disks of cement that had been formed on a sandy beach.

Small holes were dug in the sand and pieces of rubble rock were put in the holes. A mixture of sand and cement was then added to form a small pancake of concrete. There is a small colony of about six 1/2 inch wide red mushrooms on each disk . The same product can be grown in the land based Aquaculture project saving the high freight charges that made up over one half of the landed price. The wild Mushrooms will take months to adapt to captivity - they do not know they were farmed.

Corallimorpharia propagation

Allowing Mushroom fragments to attach to gravel before they are super glued onto the live rock is one of the easiest ways to propagate Mushrooms, but there are several other ways that we have been experimenting with that show great promise. One of the most interesting ways that we have been able to make live rocks with Mushrooms is by sewing them on with cotton thread. First we pick a live rock that is approximately the size of a small apple with one flat side so it will set in the reef aquarium. After it is decided which side will be up, we prepare the Mushroom cuttings. Depending on how the mushrooms are attached we either remove the live rocks they are on or we remove the mushrooms from the rocks that stay in the reef aquarium.

After we have collected several colors of mushroom caps we cut them into triangle shaped pieces. These pieces are then put into a small bowl of reef water so we can string them on the piece of cotton thread like small beads using a small sewing needle. When we have threaded 4 to 5 small pieces of Mushroom onto our thread we then wrap the thread around the live rocks so that the mushrooms are on the top.

It usually takes about 10 days for the Mushroom fragments to attach to the live rocks. Luckily this is just about the time that it takes for the cotton thread to disintegrate. It is important that the Mushrooms are not placed in a tank with a wave maker because the constant back and forth motion will cause them to to be cut by the thread. This is a very interesting way to make combination Mushroom rocks because you can control both the color and the placement of the small Mushroom pieces very easily .

Mushroom Rock Production

Mushroom anemones can be cut and grafted onto base rock. When a colony of mushroom anemones is thriving in a tank, starts can be removed with a pair of sharp scissors.

Several methods are often used to attach the cuttings to base rock.

The easiest way to start new mushroom rocks is to cut the top off of a healthy anemone and attach it to a fresh base rock. This is done by holding the mushroom up with the heads hanging down. Hold the mushroom rock above a bowl of reef water and cut several pieces off. The cuttings will fall into the bowl.


Corallimorphs reef aquariumbefore - after Corallimorphs ricordia"

This type of mesh netting is sold in fabric stores in wedding dress section

When you use bridal veil netting to hold the Mushrooms onto the live rocks it is very important that the new cuttings be placed in a strong water current. The netting tends to stop the water movement around the Mushroom cuttings and if this happens bacteria can form under the netting and destroy the cuttings. When we use bridal veil netting to attach Mushroom cuttings to reef plugs we place a maxi jet 1000 power head so that the water current moves down the plastic rack and washes over the top of the reef plugs. We have found out that you should always use the largest bridal veil netting that will hold the fragments on to the reef plugs because the netting with very fine holes will not allow water circulation.

The method that we use to attach mushrooms is with a 1/16 inch mesh net. Several cuttings are placed on the base rock and the group is held in place with a 2" x 4" square of mesh.

Rubber bands or super glue can be used to hold the cutting until the anemone attaches.


Mushrooms of several colors can be attached to different parts of the same rock. These rocks are then placed in a tank with bright lights and medium current.

One of the most interesting ways that we have seen to produce mushroom rocks uses small Aragonite rocks with 1/2 inch holes drilled into them 1/2 inch deep. We use a small Carbide drill bit. These rocks can be formed out of Aragocrete and the hole can be put into them while the AragocreteTM mix is still wet. The Mushroom heads are removed using either of the two methods that we talk about here. This method works very well with the smooth Discosoma type Mushrooms because the many different colors can be mixed together. The heads are cut up into small fragments with each mushroom cap being cut into 6 pieces.

The Aragocrete rocks with holes are place so that the holes are facing up and a power heads is positioned so a slight current moves across the top of the AragocreteTM rocks. All of the Mushroom fragments are mixed together in the plastic bowl of reef water and baster is used to remove four or five fragments at a time. These fragments are then gently squirted into holes so that they settle to the bottom of the hole and do not wash off of the rock. After a few weeks the Mushroom fragments have attached inside of the hole and they soon start to creep out a hole and across the Aragocrete rock.

Mushroom rock production in closed systems



  • 4.) SEWING ON WITH MONOFILAMENT - not recommended because loose line destroys power heads


  • SMOOTH MUSHROOMS - Actinodiscus sp - 1. 3. 5.
  • RICORDIA - Ricordia - 1. 3.
  • GIANT MUSHROOMS -Rhodactus sp 1. 2. 5.


Learn to start an inexpensive mushroom aquarium

1. The best tanks for production of mushroom rocks are deep tanks with good water quality and medium water flow. We use two Maxi - Jet 1200 power heads in each tank.

2. The best lighting has been 40 watt florescent bulbs. We have had good production using three 40 watt 4' foot bulbs - WE ARE USING THREE BULB 40 WATT LIGHT BALLASTS

3. We use SeaChem Reef Plus at twice the regular dose for good growth and fast attachment.







Corallimorpharia Corallimorphs

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