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Why Your Mushroom Coral Is Splitting!

Due to mushroom corals being so hardy, they are a very popular coral for beginners to the coral keeping hobby and can be a great addition to dedicated reef tanks or a regular marine tank.

With mushroom corals being recommended by so many people so frequently as a good coral for beginners, we always see a spike in questions about caring for mushroom corals whenever there is a spike in interest in coral keeping.

Over the last six to twelve months, there has been a surge in people asking a number of questions about caring for a mushroom coral due to the spike in interest in coral keeping.

After we published our article going over how you can improve your mushroom coral growth rate, we noticed a number of people reaching out worried due to their mushroom coral splitting.

So many people who are new to keeping mushroom corals misunderstand what’s actually happening to their mushroom coral when it starts splitting so we decided to publish this article to try and clear some things up.

Is It Normal For A Mushroom Coral To Split?

It is totally normal for a mushroom coral to split in the wild but it can be rare for a mushroom coral kept in an aquarium to split as it is difficult to get the correct conditions in most tank setups.

So many people think that a splitting mushroom coral means that the coral is dying but it usually means that the coral is reproducing.

Even though most experienced coral keeping community forums can help beginners work this out, there are still always people on social media groups worrying people who have a splitting mushroom coral for no reason.

Why Is My Mushroom Coral Splitting?

Mushroom corals are able to use asexual reproduction to boost their numbers if conditions are correct and this is the most common reason that your mushroom coral may be splitting.

Unlike most other types of coral that are capable of asexual reproduction, mushroom corals are able to do two different types of asexual reproduction.

The Split

The first type is to simply split in two and then each half of your original mushroom coral will heal once the split is complete and then be two unique, independent corals.

This is the most common type of asexual reproduction that a mushroom coral will do in an aquarium but even then, it is still pretty rare.

The Release Of Gametes

The second and less common type of asexual reproduction that your mushroom coral can do is to release gametes into the water.

Gametes are essentially a reproductive, self-sufficient cells of the coral and once they are released into the water and find a suitable surface, they can grow into their own, individual mushroom coral.

If your mushroom coral is splitting to release gametes into the tank then your initial mushroom coral will usually melt and die after the release of the gametes rather than form two new mushroom corals.

In addition to the main mushroom coral usually dying with this method of reproduction, each of the gametes that are released can technically form into a unique mushroom coral.

This means that you can quickly go from one mushroom coral to twenty or thirty if conditions in your tank is right causing issues with space.

Thankfully though, this method of asexual reproduction in mushroom corals is very rare and it is very unlikely that this is the reason that your mushroom coral is splitting.

Do I Need To Do Anything To Help My Mushroom Coral Split?

People who keep mushroom corals in their aquariums often get excited when they notice that their coral is starting to split due to how many people try and fail are getting their mushroom corals to asexually reproduce and then fail.

Due to being excited, they try to tweak things in their aquarium while their mushroom coral is splitting that ends up causing issues and can cause the mushroom coral to die.

Our advice would be to try and maintain the current water parameters that your tank has or at least keep them as steady and consistent as possible without causing issues for anything else in your tank.

This means that even if your water parameters are slightly out of the recommended normal parameters for a mushroom coral, we would recommend that you leave it as is without changing anything.

Your mushroom coral decided to start splitting in its current water parameters so we would recommend you just leave it as is.

As we said back at the start of the article, mushroom corals are hardy and can usually live in water that is slightly out of their normal parameters for a short period of time with minimal issues.

How Long Does It Take For A Mushroom Coral To Split?

Your mushroom coral can split in a matter of days or a matter of weeks, there are just too many variables at play to give an accurate estimate for the time frame required.

In most cases, a mushroom coral splitting into two separate mushroom corals will usually complete the process quicker than a mushroom coral that is splitting to release gametes into its tank.

The health of the coral prior to starting to split can also play a large role in how long the process will take as well as tank mates nipping at the coral during the split.

Even reef safe tank mates can sometimes nip at your mushroom coral when splitting so if you notice this, moving the offending tank mate to a separate tank may be the best option to allow your mushroom coral to complete its split safely.