Long Polyp Leather Coral

Scientific Name: Sarcophyton SP

Common Name: Long Polyp Leather, Long Polyp Toadstool Leather

Type of Coral: Softie

Lighting: Moderate and Moderate to Low

Flow: Moderate and moderate to high

Care Level: Easy

Temperament: Semi-aggressive



Generally speaking, leather corals are a soft skinned coral with visible polyps all over their skin.  A leather coral can look one way in a aquarium and then (over time) look very different when placed in another tank based only on the water parameters, lighting and flow.

There will typically be a short light brown colored base with a head structure on top that will make it look a lot like a mushroom. It will have longer polyps on the head that are a little lighter color than the base and that can range in length of up to a inch.  The polyps can be gold to light brown in color.  The head of this coral can get as big as 5 inches so you should leave at least 8 to 9 inches of space all around this coral to help prevent any defensive response from this coral


Water Conditions

The below link highlights typical water conditions this leather coral will require.  I have had the best luck when they were kept in water with 1 to 2 ppm of nitrate when lighting and flow requirements were met and all other water parameters in line as described in the below link.



General Information

They do not have a calcified skeleton structure making them a little more tolerant of some water parameters like calcium. However, they will not be very tolerance to swings in pH, Temp, or salinity which is no different than any other coral or fish.  They are a very hardly coral making them a good choice for people new to the hobby. Most leathers have a very effective defensive ability.  Leathers commonly have the ability to sting other corals and some fish along with emitting chemicals to ward off other corals from entering their space.   For this reason it is very important to understand how big your leather coral can get and plan for enough space between your leather coral and other corals.  Just leaving a few inches may not always be enough as some leathers can get surprisingly large. It would also be a good idea to have some carbon in your set-up in case your leather will start to emit defensive chemicals.  This is one coral that will be the least likely to be picked on by most fish in the hobby.

As with all corals, the exterior slime coating can be a skin irritant or even highly toxic to humans so please, handle all corals with care.  I would recommend wearing rubber glove whenever you handle corals


Leathers can be easily fragged with very high success

2 thoughts on “Long Polyp Leather Coral”

  1. abel rodriguez

    how do i tell if my long polyp toadstool is dead ? He was very active and all of a sudden has not come out. I have moved him around in my tank and still nothing . He looks white and slumped over been this way for at least 3 weeks . PH 8.2 TEMP 79 MAG 1430 CAL 420 AMO 0 NITRITE O NITRATE .5 SAL LIKE 026 DKH 12


    1. Cliff Post author

      Put him in a area of mid level lighting and lower flow for a few days and see if this helps. Just make sure he is not close to any other coral and change your carbon or start using carbon if you currently are not using any


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