Zoanthid corals are some of the easiest types of coral to keep in your home’s aquarium build. With their characteristic bright colours and their unique polyp shape, they’re both pleasing to the eye and an effective part of any miniature ecosystem. Contrary to other species of coral, zoanthids have several tendrils that surround their central mouth. These limbs release toxins that allow them to poison and eat small crustaceans in the wild. As such, knowing all there is about zoanthid coral care is vital to running your tank long-term. These are the essentials to keep in mind.
Necessary Survival Conditions
- Water Flow – Zoanthids are incredibly durable corals that can withstand the stress from direct water flow. However, they tend to do the best in indirect flow areas that still have a low-medium or medium-high flow rate.
- Light – Since they expend energy and grow at a fast rate, zoanthids prefer medium to high amounts of light.
- Water Chemistry – The water parameters for zoanthid corals are similar to that of standard ocean concentration. This means a salinity of 1.025 and slightly warmer temperatures at about 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Overall water pH should be around 8–8.4.
- Location – The ideal zoanthid coral placement is in an area of the tank that receives the ideal water flow and a high concentration of light. This is most often toward the middle of the aquarium.
- Feeding – Feeding zoanthids isn’t typically required. However, you can increase their growth rate by occasionally providing them with small-particle food.
Handling Zoas Safely
As briefly explained previously, zoas are different from other corals in that they generate and release a potent toxin into their environment. This toxin is something important to consider during your general zoanthid coral care. Fortunately, when submerged in the water, this toxin doesn’t pose a threat to most of your fish or invertebrates. However, they can cause harm if you handle them improperly.
Palytoxin poisoning causes a series of serious physical ailments such as headaches, fever, hives, and respiratory distress. Because of this, you should never handle these corals above water and you must wear protective gloves when handling them. These measures will prevent the toxin from spreading through the air and skin and increase your level of safety involved with zoanthid care and routine tank maintenance.
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