Bounce Shrooms and Mushroom Mania in general is taking the reef aquarium hobby by storm. Not since zoanthids has a soft coral captured the collective collectoritis that is gripping the high end coral frag market in the U.S. today.
To be clear, very few of the bubbly Rhodactis, even the top shelf rainbow bullseye mushrooms, are anywhere near the same caliber as the O.G. World Wide Corals Bounce Mushroom with the enlarged orange vesicles. But before this shroom earned the title of “bounce”, it was simply a beautifuly colored rainbow Rhodactis with a lot of potential.
There is a phenomenon among Rhodactis in particular, in which a certain set of parameters give the corallimorph polyps the cue to develop enlarged pseudotentacles. In some cases the pseudotentacles are branched but in the more familiar instance, the namesake of the bounce shroom is the enlargement of spheroid shaped vesicles.
We’ve actually seen this in the wild, where one large colonial mat of Rhodactis mushrooms will be all one color, and just a select few polyps will display enlarged pseudotentacles. It’s worthwhile to note that we have only seen this development in shallow colonies of Rhodactis, but never in deep water colonies of will Rhodactis.
With these observations in mind, we personally believe that lighting is the main factor in the development of bounce, flame and other enlarged portions of Rhodactis polyps. It is completely reasonable to believe that the new lighting technologies we are currently using, particularly with huge spikes in blue spectrum, are partly responsible for the surge of the Bounce phenomenon we are seeing in more and more Rhodactis.
Aquarists have noticed unusual formations and developments in aquarium grown Rhodactis mushrooms for years now, but the development of the OG Bounce Shroom really put the phenomenon on the map. The huge demand for Bounce and similar Rhodactis shrooms has encouraged collectors to round up lots of colonies and single polyps of bullseye shrooms, and we recently had the chance to see a large crop of these in Jakarta before being distributed to the global aquarium market.
The basket full of rainbow bullseye and proto-bounce shrooms we looked over at ReefMaster Indonesia may look like quite a haul. Keep in mind that these are the cream of the crop, with three more kinda nice green Rhodactis for every one truly colorful rhodactis shroom with the potential for enlarged and bounce vesicles.
Furthermore, these thirty polyps are the only supply for a single exporter for a month, and these will be scattered to better importers and reef shops in all four corners of the globe. Such a limited supply countered by an overwhelming demand has made just about every kind of decent Rhodactis a pretty hot commodity.
While recently in Jakarta, we looked over this fresh batch of great looking Rhodactis and you can see all kinds of potential in each of them. Some of them have a rainbow of color, some stripes of brilliance and lots of smaller vesicles just starting to hint at the potential of these polyps. It’s quite fun to see what all these shrooms are looking like in captivity under blue heavy lighting, and compare them to the same shrooms fresh from the source under regular broad spectrum white lighting.
More than any coral in recent memory, what we find most fascinating about bounce and rainbow bullseye shrooms is how much special care they require just to show the enlargement of their pseudotentacles. Thankfully, there are no special care requirements for Rhodactis shrooms and the current craze and high prices currently being paid virtually guarantees that a huge abundance and diversity of these shrooms will be available for reasonable prices in the future.
Check out the full gallery of rainbow Rhodactis in the gallery below, all shot under plain white lighting. You can see where these shrooms are headed under the proper conditions. Do you have any observations about Bounce Shrooms and funky Rhodactis you’d like to share? With the Shroom Room being one of the hottest corners of facebook reef pages right now, a ton of you are getting these shrooms and we’d love to hear your experiences in keeping and coloring them in our reef aquariums.