• LIGHT: MODERATE (150-200par) is what we find best. Some people think low light with these corals but we have found that they tend to do best at the higher end of moderate. You can learn more about Lighting and it's overall impact on your reef tank in our article Lighting and your Reef Tank

  • FOOD: We haven't noticed that any specific feeding strategy is required for Zoanthid / Palythoa corals. Like most corals they capture nutrients from the water and will do best when supplied a healthy amount of food. Our method is high import, high export. You can learn more about Feeding and Filtration in our article Feeding, Filtration and your Reef Tank.

  • FLOW: MODERATE. Zoanthid and Palythoa Corals tend to benefit from moderate-high indirect water movement. Their polyps arent overly sensaitive to water movement and it's important to keep detritus clear. Too much flow, especially direct flow, can cause damage to the coral's tissue or an inability to capture food. You can read more about Flow and its overall impact on your reef tank in our article Flow and your Reef Tank

  • DIFFICULTY: BEGINNER. Zoanthid / Palythoa Corals are readily available in aquaculture which means many hobbyists have found long term success. Zoanthid / Palythoa can grow very quickly in ideal conditions and are not as susceptible to coral diseases like STN, RNT, and the like. Zoanthids are a soft coral (not a coral at all really) and do not have a calcium carbonate skeleton and therefor do not require extreme maintenance of Calcium and Alkalinity. Like with all corals, specimens have been seen to do well in captivity when the right combination of Food/Light/Flow and Filtration are achieved. 

  • PRICE: LOW-HIGH. There are so many unique types of zoanthids and palythoas on the market. Colors vary wildly and can be duller or more vibrant. Rainbow varieties exist, with splattered or speckled discs. The color variety and availability of these corals in aquaculture make them highly sought after in the hobby. For more common varieties, the price per frag is often low. For more unique/rare varieties, the price per polyp can get quite high!

  • COLLECTION ZONE: Indo-Pacific

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Zoanthids / Palythoa are an order of cnidarians commonly found in coral reefs, the deep sea and many other marine environments around the world. These animals come in a variety of different colonizing formations and in numerous different colors

  • AGGRESSION: PEACEFUL. We haven't noticed much aggressions out of this type of coral however we still recommend allowing some space for growth and health. It is important to note that these corals in rare circumstances can carry Palytoxin poison, one of the most lethal toxins on the planet. It can be deadly especially when aerosolized such as when boiling rocks in a pot on your stove. It is always recommended to boil rocks out doors. You could also receive palytoxin poisoning if you handle a colony that carries it without gloves, or touch your eyes / mouth without washing. 
    Vigilance is required and practicing common safety (such as gloves when handling, eyewear when fragging) will make sure that you stay 100% safe at all times.

  • NATURAL TEMPERATURE: 82 °F / 28 °C  although most corals can adapt and survive in temps as low as 77 degrees and as high as 84 degrees. You can read more about temperature and how it affects your reef tank in our article Temperature and your Reef Tank.

  • PH: Recommend 8.0-8.4, we tend to run around 8.2-8.3 over 24 hours. You can read more about pH in our article pH and your Reef Tank

  • NITRATE: 5-10, try to keep stable. You can read more about nitrate and our approach to maintaining it in our article Nutrients and your Reef Tank

  • PHOSPHATE: 0.05-0.1, try to keep stable. You can read more about Phosphate and our approach to maintaining it in our article Nutrients and your Reef Tank

  • ALKALINITY: While these are soft corals and are not consumers of calcium/alkalinity as they do not lay a calcium carbonate skeleton, we still recommend 8-9 dKh. You can read more about how we maintain our alkalinity in our article Alkalinity, Calcium and your Reef Tank

  • CALCIUM: While these are soft corals and are not consumers of calcium/alkalinity as they do not lay a calcium carbonate skeleton, we still recommend 400-450 Calcium. You can read more about how we maintain our calcium in our article Alkalinity, Calcium and your Reef Tank

More About Zoanthid Corals

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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