Goblin Fire, Pink Hippos, Candy Apple Reds, Utter Chaos, Rainbow Infusion, Sunny D’s.
These are just a few of the common names for some of the most brilliant and eye catching organisms you can keep in a reef tank. Have you ever walked into a fish store and asked for a Blue Rhino? How about a Latin Lover?
It is definitely an interesting way to start to a conversation!
If you haven’t guessed already, today we are going to talk about keeping Zoanthids and Palythoas in your aquarium and provide you with some helpful tips to create a beautiful zoa garden in your tank.
Zoanthid and Palythoas polyps are extremely popular for beginner, intermediate and advanced hobbyists alike. Beginners love the fact that there is a large variety of different types that are fairly inexpensive and easy to keep. Intermediate and advanced hobbyists love them for the array of brilliant colors that can really add to an aquascape and create that iconic tropical reef look in your aquarium.
As with most cnidarians, the trick to keeping zoas and palys happy in a reef tank is stability. Stable water parameters will help ensure these colonial polyps grove and thrive. They are sensitive to sudden changes in light intensity; we find it is best to place newly acquired specimens in a corner of the aquarium that is dimmer and allow the polyps to acclimate to your aquarium slowly.
They will appreciate regular feeding of small-size coral foods, such as Reef-Roids, Coral Frenzy or one of the many liquid foods. Based on my experience, the best flow rate can vary depending on the size of the polyp. Smaller polyps do well in medium to lower flow areas while larger polyps tend to better with stronger flow patterns. You can tell that they are happy because they will stay open, reproduce quickly and maintain brilliant color. Too much flow will cause them to close up and not enough flow will typically cause them to slowly decline or even die out over a long period of time.
Once acclimated, your zoa and paly polyps will begin to grow and reproduce rapidly. With a mature garden of zoas and palys, you can easily frag them and trade with other hobbyists to broaden your collection. Zoas and palys are one of the most popular organisms to collect and many hobbyists take pride in how many different types and colors they have their tank.
To frag a zoa or paly, our ‘weapon’ of choice is a stony coral cutter that allows you to cut in to the rock a remove the polyp along with a small piece of the rock. Once the polyp is cut away and out of your tank, you can easily use coral glue to attach it to a frag plug or disc.
One important thing to remember is that zoas and palys can contain a deadly toxin call paly toxin which can be very dangerous if it enters your blood stream. Be sure to wear eye protection and gloves when handling these corals both in and out of water.
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Until next time… take care and happy reef keeping.
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*Special thanks to Cody from SCMAS for allowing us to film/photograph his tank!