Zoanthids and Palythoas

The term "Zoanthid", belonging to the Zoanthidae family, includes many species popular in the reef keeping world among hobby Reef Chasers and Pro Reef Chasers. Zoanthids are known by some as "carpet coral," "button polyps," and "zoas," and are considered soft corals.  They appear as a single flower, but proliferate into glorious bunches of sea flowers and will often spread to cover rocks with their bright circles of colors. Zoas are relatively easy to keep alive and healthy, making them a common resident in most saltwater aquariums. Palythoas are very similar to Zoanthids and will often be found growing in close proximity.

Zoanthids feed both by aid from photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae that they contain inside of their structures; as well as, by capturing plankton and floating nutrients in the water. Although photosynthesis aids in their nutrition, even species that do not actively capture plankton cannot live by photosynthesis alone. Consider adding a nutrition supplement to keep your Zoas healthy. Zoanthids can also eat meaty foods, such as shrimp, krill, and blood worms.

Zoanthids reproduce by budding. When a new polyp is formed, it remains attached to the original polyp. The continued reproduction of polyps forms a colony. Zoanthids are hardy, but like most corals, they like their environment to be consistent. When placing your zoas in your aquarium, be sure to choose an area with moderate flow and low to moderate lighting. We recommend 100-150 PAR.  Be mindful not to crowd others corals too close to your other zoanthid frags or colonies. Zoas can grow and cover other corals if left to their own devices.

It is important to note that some Palythoas contain a powerful neurotoxin called palytoxin in their flesh that can be extremely harmful when it comes in contact with your bloodstream. In some cases, exposure to the toxin can lead to death. Take special care when handling Zoanthids and Palythoas for this reason - especially if you have open wounds on your hands or arms. Most injuries from this neurotoxin occur from breathing in the fumes after someone, trying to clean a a piece of live rock, boils a rock that had Palys on it. Never boil your tank rocks.


CoralCoral care guidePalythoasReefReefchaserSoft coralZoaZoanthidZoanthidae

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