Zoanthid corals, commonly known as zoo polyps, are one of the most popular saltwater corals for reef keepers. They are small soft polyps that grow in colonies, creating a colorful blanket over a rock’s surface. Most beginner, intermediate, and advanced hobbyists collect zoos because of their easy care level, brilliant eye-catching colors, and inexpensive cost. With the proper care, zoanthids can turn any reef into that iconic aquascape.
Tips to Growing a Zoanthid Garden
Like most soft corals, zoanthid and palythoa corals are relatively easy to keep under stable water conditions. They typically thrive when given the proper lighting, water flow, and nutrition.
- Lighting: Zoanthid corals require moderate lighting so placing them in the middle to top range of an aquarium is recommended. However, they are sensitive to changes in light intensity so it is important to place them at the bottom of a tank or in a corner during acclimation.
- Water Flow: Zoanthid corals require medium to high water flow. As a guideline, small polyps tend to do well in medium to low flow while larger polyp colonies thrive in a stronger flow pattern.
- Nutrition: While most zoanthid colonies will do well without isolated feedings, many aquarists like to spot feed to accelerate their coral’s growth rate. Feeding zooplex, phytoplex, copepods, mysis, or reef snow should provide adequate nutrition for a zoo coral to thrive.
Zoanthid Care Recommendations:
- Care Level: Easy
- Lighting: Moderate
- Water Flow: Medium-High
- Placement: Middle to Top
- Water Temperature: 72-78° F
- Specific Gravity: 1.023-1.025
With their vibrant colors and these simple care recommendations, zoanthid and palythoa corals will make a great addition to any reef tank.