Fungia scutaria

Author: Bob Goemans

Common Names: Plate coral, mushroom coral, disc coral

Phylum: Cnidaria (stony coral)

Class: Anthozoa

Order: Scleractinia

Family: Fungiidae

Range: Eastern Africa to the Central Pacific Ocean, and the Red Sea

Natural Environment: This is a solitary and usually saucer-shaped photosynthetic single-polyped stony coral with a slightly raised central dome and a single central mouth. It inhabits fairly shallow soft sand and coral rubble zones on reef slopes and lagoon flats.

Water Requirements: Calcium 380 to 430 ppm, alkalinity 3.5 meq/l, pH 8.1 to 8.2, specific gravity 1.024 to 1.026, and a temperature range of 74° to 83°F (23° to 28°C).

Captive Care

Locate on sandy or coarse substrate in areas receiving bright light and moderate water movement. Even though photosynthetic, it should be fed at least once per week with meaty foodstuffs, e.g., fortified brine shrimp, mysis, products containing cyclops, and/or other marine diced/graded meaty foods. However, its normally short tentacles are usually only slightly extended during the day, with further extension in the evening hours. Feeding, if feasible, should be done when tentacles are the most prominent.

Keep in mind that these corals are phototaxic, i.e., move towards light, and can move (even up a slight grade) up to 12 inches (30 cm) per day. Should they touch another coral other than their own genus, the encounter may generate mucus that could cause damage to the species touched. And since they are capable of moving, they should not be placed on ledges where they can fall and be injured.

Otherwise this is a very hardy, disease-resistant coral. Note: Do not remove a specimen with highly inflated tissue from the water, as the weight of the water in the polyp may damage or tear its flesh. Gently shake the specimen and allow the flesh to retract somewhat before removing.