Toadstool Leather Coral Not Opening? Possible Reasons & Solutions

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Your toadstool leather coral is not opening, and it stays closed for days? You don’t need to worry because in this article I will cover all the reasons causing toadstool corals to close and why it is nothing serious most of the time.

Toadstool Leather Coral Not Opening

Leather corals were never my favorite. I wasn’t fond of leathers because they have plain colors, grow too fast, and have chemical warfares with other corals.

However, in the past year, I changed my mind. I started to appreciate the beauty of leather corals with their merits and demerits.

I decided to buy a small frag of toadstool leather coral. I have been keeping the toadstool coral for a couple of months, and in that period, I have seen it open and closed for several days.

That coral is still in my tank, and it’s still thriving and keep growing to this day.

In this article, I will explain all the reasons causing leather corals to stay close for a prolonged period. If you are interested, keep reading.


Why is my toadstool coral not opening?

Toadstool leather corals may stay close for a week when adjusting to a new reef tank. They also shed to remove detritus and algae build-up on their surface. During the shedding period, toadstools stay close for a couple of days to a week.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the shedding process plus other reasons that may cause toadstool coral to close.

toadstool coral closed up


Many new hobbyists might be alarmed by the particular behavior these corals exhibit. On many occasions, toadstool corals act like something is wrong, but it’s their natural behavior.

Toadstool leather corals have the ability to shed. It is their way to get rid of all the detritus and algae build-up. They develop a waxy coating on their surface that enables them to shed.

If you see this behavior, you don’t need to worry. It’s perfectly normal, and in several days the toadstool will open again, better and bigger than before.

Water Parameters

Toadstools are very hardy corals, almost bulletproof. They can adapt to a wide range of conditions and thrive in different types of reef tanks. 

However, like any other coral, they prefer stability and constant water parameters. They don’t like large fluctuations, and they will stay closed for days, sometimes even weeks, when the water parameters are off.

The best way to keep your reef tank stable is to test your water and make regular water changes.

Coral Warfare

Soft corals can release chemicals in the water and have warfare with other corals. Ironically, leather corals are notorious for releasing toxins to inhibit the growth of their neighboring corals.

If you have other leather corals in your tank, that might be the reason why your toadstool coral is not opening. 

The best way to act on this is to do regular water changes and to put an activated carbon in your system.


Different critters may bother your toadstool coral and cause it to close. 

If this is the case, monitor the tank and find out who is bothering your toadstool. 

If this happens regularly, you might consider finding another position for your coral or removing the particular critter.

Water Flow

Leather corals require moderate to high water flow to thrive. If the flow is inadequate, your toadstool may stay closed.

Low flow can cause a lot of debris and algae to build on your toadstool surface, preventing it to shed. Higher direct flow can also be the reason why your coral is not opening.

How long can a toadstool coral stay closed?

If your toadstool leather coral stays closed for several days, it’s probably shedding. It’s a natural process, and there is nothing to worry about. On some occasions, it might take a whole week.

However, if it is more than a week and your toadstool is still closed, you need to start testing the water parameters. There might be a problem in your tank.

Don’t get discouraged if your toadstool coral is not opening. As long there is a tissue, and it’s not dissolving, there is a chance for your leather coral to come back. 

Some people had leather corals not opening for months, and then suddenly, they opened and grew bigger than before.

How do I know if my toadstool coral is dying?

Learning the difference between a dying toadstool and one that’s just not opening is important. You don’t want to get rid of alive leather coral.

A dying toadstool will start melting and slowly dissolving. If you get it out of the water, you will feel an unpleasant smell. 

Final Thoughts

Toadstool leathers are hardy but temperamental corals. 

At first, you will be scared whenever your coral closes up. Later, you will get used to it because you will know that’s just their natural behavior.

The toadstool leather coral makes a great addition to every reef tank. Don’t let their weird behavior stop you from purchasing one. 

Get one! You won’t regret it.

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