Jawbreaker & Bounce Mushroom Propagation

Sunkist Bounce Baby

This is a hit or miss topic for most aquarists who have Jawbreaker’s and Bounce mushroom’s.  Having the right water parameters is essential to long term success and growth.  The same is true if you want a chance to get your Jawbreaker’s or Bounce’s to split off into a “baby”.  These water parameters will probably be a little off compared to traditional reef aquarium care, but our strategy involves keeping the mushroom’s happy, but pissing them off a little too.  I’ll explain in further detail later.  

Care level:  Easy

Temperament:  Semi Aggressive

Water Flow: Low to Moderate

Lighting:  Low to Moderate

Temperature:  77 -80 Degrees Fahrenheit

Specific Gravity:  1.023-1.025


Calcium:  420-440 ppm

dKH: 8-10.5

Magnesium:  1300-1350

Nitrates: < 10ppm

Phosphates: < .05 ppm

Nutrition:  No special requirements.

Aside from water parameters, we’ve noticed a few characteristics of propagation that have been just as essential;

  • Light – Not strong, but not too dim either.  (PAR under 100)
  • Placement – Lighting and placement go hand in hand.  The PAR reading is naturally highest towards the top of the tank.  Discosoma’s and Rhodactis’s generally do better towards the bottom of the tank. 
  • PH – Above 8.2 
  • Nitrates – Most aquarists try to eliminate nitrates, however we’ve taken notice that our mushrooms seem to be happier when nitrates are between 5-10 ppm.  
  • Feeding – All of our LPS coral gets hand fed Mysis Shrimp along with Nyos LPS power.  Our softies seem to enjoy an occasional Reef Roid’s mixture. 

Here is where propagation methods split between the Jawbreaker Mushroom and Bounce Mushroom.  

Bounce Mushroom

To tell you the truth I’m not really sure if this is relevant or not, but while feeding our LPS corals a large piece of Mysis Shrimp drifted onto a Sunkist Bounce Mushroom.  The Bounce mushroom then enclosed itself over it.  About an hour or so later it re opened and the Mysis was gone.  Every other night I fed the Sunkist Bounce Mushroom directly for 6-8 weeks.  One evening I noticed that a baby Sunkist Bounce split from the mother colony.  Please see image in gallery above.  The placement of this particular bounce is towards the bottom on the tank with a PAR reading of 75 and very little flow.  

related: Bounce Mushroom Care

Jawbreaker Mushroom

The traditional Orange Jawbreaker is by far the easiest to naturally propagate.  A happy but not too happy Orange Jawbreaker will “move around” a little.  Every time I see one move it has left a little Jawbreaker baby.  Inside of 10 months two Orange Jawbreakers have turned into 15.  The Kryptonite Jawbreaker has been harder to get to propagate and the Eclectus Jawbreaker has been the most challenging.  From our experience, all Jawbreaker mushroom propagation had one thing in common – WATER MOVEMENT.  All mushrooms were placed on a frag rack and adjusted every so often.  They key is getting the mushroom to move on its own to a different position on the frag plug or rock.  To much water movement and the mushrooms won’t open at all and become stressed.  Too little water movement along with the perfect parameters and environment, the mushroom has no reason to move.  Coaxing the Jawbreaker to move on its own has been by far the most effective.  This has been effective in propagating four Kryptonite Jawbreakers, three Eclectus Jawbreakers and fifteen Orange Jawbreakers within ten months.  

Have a question?  contact us at info@saltwateraquarist.com

*Disclaimer – We are in no way guaranteeing positive results.  We are simply sharing what we have done, which has allowed various species of mushroom to split.

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