Cantharellus is a genus of Fungiid coral that you’ve probably never heard of, but which is actually kind of really common and widespread on reefs around the world. Whereas the majority of disc corals that we get for our aquariums like Cycloseris and Fungia are super easy to collect because they are free-living and unattached to the reef, Cantharellus is very different in that it is usually encrusting, and it does so quite solidly too.
The other reason that we don’t really see Cantharellus in aquariums is that most of them are really doo-doo brown, not really a desirable trait for the general aquarium hobby. We’ve seen many hundreds of Cantharellus out in the wild, and every now and then a loose one comes into the trade, mistaken for a regular disc coral, or attached to the side of another coral piece, and nearly all of them are pretty bland, maybe showing the barest hints of green.
However while passing through Walt Smith Fiji on our return from the Solomon Islands we went perusing their stock of Fijian corals, and we were elated to find not one but TWO specimens of Cantharellus that are highlighter orange. It’s funny that orange Cycloseris are about as common as colorful corals get, yet these are the only two colored Cantharellus we’ve ever seen, and that makes them actually very rare coral specimens indeed.