Killer Hairy Mushrooms!! - The Reef Tank

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Old 04-14-2004, 10:10 AM   #1
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Killer Hairy Mushrooms!!

Okay, so a friend gave me a nice rock of hairy mushrooms last year. They've expanded and grown to about the size of softballs, and are beautiful.

Also during this time, I've had 2 firefish, 1 clown, and 3 bangaii cardinals completely disappear without a trace. I've torn up the tank looking for predators such as a mantis shrimp, and never found anything.

Well last night I'm scrolling thru Borneman's Corals book and I find a picture of hairy mushrooms, just like mine. The caption to the image says that they can eat small, slow moving fish. Then I look to the image below, and I see a hairy mushroom completely closed with 2 hi fins from a bangaii cardinal sticking out! The mushroom had eaten the cardinal.

So it appears I may have found my predator. Has anyone else had an experience like this with hairy mushrooms? I'm thinking of giving them back right away now, but wanted to get everyone else's opinion. I've never heard of this.

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Old 04-14-2004, 12:42 PM   #2
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I've never SEEN my hairy mushrooms eat any of my fish, won't say they haven't. They will eat flake food and blender mush, but they close so slowly I can't imagine they could catch a fish, unless they stunned it first with some chemical. I think Borneman or Calfo postulated something like that.
I'm not totally enamored of the behavior of mine, they're not so compatible with acros, but my very first frag operation involved a pair of scissors and a hairy mushroom, which has since multiplied to more than ten, so I'll probably keep some of them around. Besides, the popularity of the hairy's at my lfs has caused a bidding war there, so I'll saunter in tonight with four on a rock and see what I can get in trade!!!
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Old 04-14-2004, 09:15 PM   #3
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Cooper: I've seen that picture you are talking about. IMO I do not think that the mushrooms ate your fish. I have hairy mushrooms in my breeders tanks and they have never eaten the small baby fish (peppermint shrimp have though!). I have a green goby in one of my tanks that sits directly on my hairy mushroom and the mushroom never closes to eat it. I do feed the mushrooms occasionally and they will close up and eat the food. I could have a different type of mushroom than you though so anything is possible. Just my .02 PS. Good seeing you again last night!

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Old 04-15-2004, 02:07 AM   #4
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Those are not "hairy shrooms", but are giant browns. I know cause I have 6 of them. I would not classify them as such as the "hairy shrooms" have a finer "polyp" and sways in the current.

If the fish were to land in it and sleep - I can see that happening as I feed mine scallops, shrimp chunks.

just my .02
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Old 04-15-2004, 02:27 AM   #5
Big Dave
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Here is a pic of my hairy shroom I had. I used to have (no longer have my tank) a midas blenny that would sit on these shrooms. The shrooms would close up and the midas would sit inside of the shroom with his head poking out. It was the craziest thing but I never had a casualty from these. Are these the same hairy shrooms you have now? No worries if it is!! I had a ton of these and the reproduce like mad! Just look under the lips of the big ones and you should find babies growing. Take a knife, cut them off and strap them to a rock - they will grow. Very hardy shroom! I had 3-4 that were 7-8 inches across when open!!

-Big Dave

PS - I am really jonesing to get another tank!!!
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:00 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone!

Sally: thats reassuring to know that you have them in your breeder tank and never have problems.

Dave: yes, those are the same shrooms that I have. They are quite hardy and do grow quite a bit. Like I said, some of mine are probably the size of softballs, so maybe what I need to do is slice them up and go a bunch of smaller ones.

I guess I was in a sense 'hoping' that I found the silent killer in my tank. Guess I'll have to keep looking.
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:04 AM   #7
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and from what i hear about green hairy shrooms they are really hard to get just about ne place
sigh... its funny how things change.
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:22 AM   #8
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There are "green hairy shrooms" and then again, there are "green hairy shrooms."

Actually, that may be fuzzy and hairy, lol.

Discosoma sp. can be smooth, fuzzy or hairy and while they will eat bits of food, they just don't have the equipment to eat fishes.

Rhodactis sp. on the other hand, are quite a different story. They are indeed capable of eating small fishes.

Then you have the big Elephant Ear shrooms, which are definitely predatory.

I wouldn't discount your shrooms as your fish killer, but with as many as you have missing, you might want to look for hitcher crabs or signs of a mantis.

It's all food on the reef.
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bangaii cardinal , bangaii cardinals , green hairy shrooms , hairy mushroom , hairy mushrooms , mantis shrimp , midas blenny , peppermint shrimp

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