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Darwin here with another blog like story time post! I've been talking about this subject with a couple of friends and it's very noticeable that the demand for these squishies has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. Some people even make it a mission to collect every new piece that comes out now (or even some people who make a vow to collect all the nicest jawbreakers out there *cough cough*). But it wasn't always like this, and I thought it would be interesting to dive a little deeper into what makes these shrooms so intriguing all of a sudden along with a couple of highlights on the hottest pieces going out.
A long time ago, in a reef tank far far away, mushroom corals have been passed down for generations as being the ultimate beginner's corals to the point where reefers would be telling each other to never keep one in their reef in fear of an invasion. That simple red or blue shroom that looked good in the local fish store quickly became more annoying than aptasia and was branded off as being a pest.
It all started with one harmless little blue shroom... That's now the size of a tang.
But oddly enough, lately it's been the opposite. There's been a surge of demand for all sorts of mushrooms from rhodactus, discosoma, ricordeas, st thomas, and the latest demand, bubbly sp. unknown. We've gone past the point where we see these corals as pests geared only towards beginners and started to scarf up any type of variety we can. Any unique kind of coloration demands top dollars now. Groups started to appear specifically made to appreciate these corals, and the amount of activity in these groups are growing everyday. These easy to care for softies are starting to get love from all over the country.
Over 2000 members and growing everyday! Who knew so many people would specifically love these squishies?
But it's not just the United States that's started to love these corals. People overseas are even creating groups just for shrooms! The trend and demand for mushrooms is definitely noticeable, and something that's only recently occurred in this scale.
People over in the UK are creating new groups to enjoy these squishies along with their cup of tea.
Where this latest craze came from is unknown. But thinking back on it, I believe what sparked this new found interest in mushrooms was the introduction of the WWC Bounce Shroom, which became the latest high end shroom since the Jawbreaker/ Tye Dye. Ever since the introduction of this unique shroom, the interest for all sorts of mushrooms started to appear. Simple shaggy looking mushrooms and rhodactus that just happened to get bubbly became top dollar pieces, sought after for the bubbly trait that makes the WWC Bounce so unique. Can we imagine what the demand for bubbly shrooms would be without the WWC Bounce??? I personally don't think it would be any where near what it is now.
A simple green and orange rhodactus. But now worth 10x as much because it's gained one bubble? The thirst for bubbles is real.
It's brown and grey in base coloration, but those sweet looking bubbles sure make up for it. IMO, the shroom that started the craze.
With the bounce setting a firey passion for mushrooms, hobbyist began to notice mushrooms again when new pieces came in. Let's view some of the unique pieces that have been hitting the scene, listed by species!
This was the first shroom species to start the craze with the infamous Jawbreaker/ Tye Dye. Now there are a couple of other heavy hitters that have joined the spotlight and are sought after by reefers all over (I believe this is the group that has the most famous pieces). These shrooms are characterized by their smooth shiny bodies. In my experience, these are the most finicky and most likely to float off when upset (all you disco collectors know this pain, especially those JB hunters).
This shroom is the first high end shroom to hit the hobby. Collected from Vietnam, this mushroom is infamous for gaining more colors as it matures. The colorations typically starts with orange/yellow, red, green, and (if you're lucky) purple. This is what I know of for how it got into the hobby (I'd love it if someone else who knew more about this shroom could shed light on it as well). The mushroom came into the Bay Area, California and went under the care of Dr. Lee of Aquatic Gallery. From there, pieces of the babies sold locally and the jawbreaker strain was spread. Now we'll go into the infamous The Tye Dye/ Jawbreaker debate. From what I've learned over the years, the Jawbreaker mother was purchased from Aquatic Gallery and sold through very few locals (1-2 people) until it got into the hands of TDF. When I was young, I do recall seeing a shroom that looked just like the infamous photo from TDF of the Tye Dye at Aquatic Gallery. So from what I can recall, it does support this story that the original Jawbreaker and Tye Dye are the same. This is just what I know of, so if someone else who has talked to these fine folks of the older reefing days please chime in! Based on the stories I've heard, I believe that Jawbreakers and Tye Dyes are the same, for I've seen Jawbreakers that get the infamous purple that people believe only Tye Dyes get (like the one we own in the photo :angel.
Excerpt from Kmaintl: SO TYE DYE AND JAWBREAKERS = SAME THING
"I am hardly ever on the forums nowadays... but someone (not RichieT) forwarded me this thread. BTW, Darwin, great writeup and looks like you and your partners are doing well with your new venture.
What you state is correct. I never disclosed Dr. Li's name nor the first hobbyist that purchased the original mother from Dr. Li because he asked me not to and I respected his wishes. The first hobbyist that owned the Mother Jawbreaker (assumed it was named by Dr. Li as he was first to receive this import around 9 years ago now) was one of my customers who purchase reef equipment and I purchased some corals from him for my other customers. He shall remain nameless until he changes his mind and would like to reveal his identity. He lived in San Jose area and I still remember the month he brought the Mother Jawbreaker home, my jaw dropped when I saw it. So, the name for the mushroom was appropriate.
My colony is shared ownership with my son-in-law's younger brothers and we still have our original 1st daughter that was produced by the original Mother Jawbreaker that now resides with Zack at TDF. Since we've owned the colony for 9 years now, we've kept at least 9 granddaughters with nice amount of green and one of them actually had purple before that tank crash and we lost her. 2 years ago, we split the mother colony among the 3 partners and each has several green polyps in their colony. We still keep a mother colony where we frag out for sales, so we do have frags throughout the year. The zoo location is SF is where our mother colony is located.
The 2nd daughter went to a hobbyist in Sacto area, who sold it 3 years ago when he was relocated to Hawaii. He sold everything before moving. The 3rd daughter is still in the San Jose area and I don't know much about the history behind the 3rd daughter. But as of 3 years ago, the hobbyist that owned the original Mother Jawbreaker said the 3rd owner never dropped a baby, just got very big and happily settled in one place in his tank.
Getting back to history, Rommel made the San Jose hobbyist an offer he couldn't refuse (to this day my San Jose customer regrets letting go of the Mother Jawbreaker) and Rommel flip it and sold to Zack at TDF. My only regret is seeing the original Mother Jawbreaker escape from the West Coast. Zack didn't know that the Jawbreaker already had a name and said that Rommel referred to it as a mystery mushroom, unknown and one of a kind. So, Zack named it Mystery TieDye as that's what the Mother looks like.
There is at least 3 lineages of mushrooms called Jawbreakers and that's what makes it confusing. Unless yours leads back to TDF's Mother, you don't have the one that grows to about 5"-6" across, comes in with green and purple as it matures. The other lineages that came in about 9 years ago only grows to about 2"-2.5" and only red and orange. The lineage that came in about 2 years ago is smooth and small, but has the 3 colors quickly. The newest lineage also faster grower. HTH so, yes, one of Jawbreaker lineage is the same as the Mystery TieDye, not the others. "
The Red Devil Shroom:
This shroom is one all hard core collectors know about. The red and blue version of a Jawbreaker... the Red Devil! This shroom starts off as all red and gains beautiful baby blue speckles on a maroon/ purple splotchy body as it matures. Very few reefers still have this unique mushroom.
The infamous Red Devil... This is the oldest photo I can find of this fine gem.
The Electus Mushroom:
The newest discosoma to make a hit in the reefing scene... The Eclectus Shroom! This one is very similar to the Jawbreaker but instead of red streaks it has unique looking spots. Whether or not it gets green or purple like the Jawbreaker does is unknown. It seems like the lucky few vendors that got their hands on one are growing them out.
The Vietnam Shrooms:
Vietnam is the origin of the Jawbreaker, so it's no surprise that there are lots of sweet shrooms coming in from Vietnam again. Most of these discosomas are a variation similar to the Jawbreaker (some even looking the same).
Let's talk about another shroom family now, this time it's going to get fuzzy!
These guys are characterized by their fuzzy bodies. It's argued that the Bounce is a type of rhodactus based on its body. I mean, if you think about it... Pop the bubbles off a Bounce and you're left with a grey rhodactus (who wants to volunteer and cut those bubbles off? :nerd. Rhodactus come in an assort of colors and patterns, even some with weird bodies.
This is one type of rhodactus, which is the smoother variety.
Yet this is also a rhodactus! This one is usually called a "hairy" rhodactus.
And this is also a rhodactus! This one is generally called a "carpet" rhodactus. They come in so many different body types.
And lastly... The debatable. Labeled as Rhodactus Sp. What reefers would do for such a rock now!
Ricordeas, Florida and Yuma
The last of the groups I'm going to be covering are the ricordeas. Sadly, this is the group that's been grouped altogether and uniqueness for these guys aren't as sought after anymore. They fall more so under a "grading scale" than desired traits. This is most likely because because the color variation from one piece to another is so different that it's hard for people to try to go after a specific strain of ricordea. These guys don't get any fancy names like the other shrooms but are still loved for their vibrant colors.
These guys are collected mostly from Florida, but some strains are collected from Puerto Rico or Haiti which get colors we don't see too often (such as red mouths). Both have similar care, with the Florida pieces coming in rubble the Puerto Rican/ Haitian pieces coming in rock. These guys are still a mystery to me, as some reefers can keep them without any issues while others have constant problems and can't keep them happy even with a full blown mixed reef.
So much color on a shroom. It's no wonder why they're so popular with reefers of all experience.
The infamous red mouths of Haitan Ricordeas
These guys are the risk takers of the shroom family. Known for being infamous melters, reefers still buy them in the attempt of being able to find one healthy yuma to oggle at home. It's almost a checklist of all established reefs to have a sweet happy yuma. These guys come in all sorts of colors and also follow a similar grading scale to Floridas, with green being the low end to pink and rainbows being the most sought after. Yumas are have a more hairy appearance and are also much larger than Floridas.
Finding a pink yuma that won't melt is on the list for many reefers!
I hope you enjoyed my little cap on mushrooms, would love to hear your thoughts on this new trend along with photos of your favorite shroomy!
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