Zoanthids, also known as zoas, are an incredibly popular and vibrant coral species that have captured the hearts of many aquarium hobbyists. Their hardy nature and wide variety of colors make them an excellent choice for those venturing into the world of reef tanks.
One of the most appealing aspects of zoanthids is their ability to thrive in various conditions, from low to high light and flow environments, making them suitable for beginners and experienced reef keepers alike.
To create a successful zoanthid-only tank, it’s important to understand their specific needs and preferences. When selecting your zoanthids for your tank, be aware of the different types available, both in terms of ease of care and rarity.
Ideal tank conditions, such as size, lighting, positioning, and water flow, are also essential factors to consider for the well-being of your coral inhabitants. Additionally, understanding how to frag your corals, feeding them properly, and recognizing potential issues will ensure that your zoanthid tank thrives.
- Zoanthids are popular, hardy corals that are suitable for both beginners and experienced reef tank hobbyists.
- Ensuring ideal tank conditions, such as size, lighting, water flow, and positioning, promotes healthy zoanthid growth and success.
- Knowledge of fragging, feeding, and identifying potential issues will help maintain the well-being of your zoanthid-only aquarium.
Which Zoanthids Are The Easiest to Keep?
Zoanthids are a popular choice for reef aquariums due to their stunning colors, unique patterns, and relatively low maintenance requirements. While many types of zoanthids are considered beginner-friendly, some species stand out as being especially easy to keep and care for in a zoanthids-only tank.
If you are brand new to keeping zoanthid corals then we would highly recommend that you start your zoa only tank with the following types and then build up as your experience develops.
Eagle Eye Zoanthids
Eagle Eye Zoanthids, often known simply as “Eagle Eyes”, are a popular choice for beginner hobbyists in zoa-only aquariums due to their remarkable resilience, stunning colors, and relatively low maintenance needs. They are characterized by their vibrant neon green and orange coloration, which can add an intense pop of color to any tank.
These soft corals are also particularly hardy and can adapt to a wide range of water conditions, making them more forgiving to common beginner mistakes, such as slight fluctuations in salinity or water temperature.
Additionally, Eagle Eye Zoanthids are prolific growers and can spread throughout a tank, filling in spaces and creating a lush, vibrant landscape. They have a low to moderate light and flow requirement which makes them easily accommodated in most aquarium setups.
However, despite their hardiness, a basic understanding of water chemistry and regular tank maintenance is still essential to ensure their optimal health and growth.
Kedd’s Reds Zoanthids
Kedd’s Reds Zoanthids are another excellent choice for beginners seeking to establish a zoa-only tank. These striking corals display a vibrant red and orange coloration that can add a unique aesthetic to any aquarium setup.
Kedd’s Reds are renowned for their durability and adaptability, tolerating a wider range of water conditions than some of the more sensitive zoanthid species. This makes them quite forgiving of minor inconsistencies in water quality that might occur as beginners learn to balance their tank’s environment.
These corals thrive under moderate to high lighting and flow conditions, which are generally easy to maintain even in novice setups. They are also robust growers, readily colonizing available space within the tank, providing a visually pleasing and active aquatic environment.
Still, it’s crucial for aquarists to maintain regular tank upkeep and monitor water parameters to ensure the corals continue to thrive. Their vivid color and relative ease of care make Kedd’s Reds a popular choice for those venturing into the world of zoanthid keeping.
Orange Oxides Zoanthid
Orange Oxides Zoanthids are a fantastic coral variety for beginners looking to create a vibrant, dynamic zoa-only tank. They boast a stunning color scheme of bright orange and contrasting black, lending a pop of color to any aquarium setup.
Apart from their striking appearance, Orange Oxides Zoanthids are also valued for their robustness and adaptability, which make them an excellent choice for those new to reef keeping. These corals can withstand a range of water conditions and are generally less susceptible to slight fluctuations in parameters such as salinity, temperature, or pH levels.
This flexibility makes them particularly suitable for beginners who are still mastering the art of maintaining consistent tank conditions. They flourish under moderate lighting and water flow, making them relatively easy to care for.
Smurf Blood Zoanthids
Smurf Blood Zoanthids known by a number of names with the word “smurf” in them, have alluring blue and purple colorations. They are another ideal coral species for those who are starting their journey in maintaining a zoa-only tank.
Their namesake color and captivating beauty can add a striking visual appeal to any marine aquarium. Smurf Blood Zoanthids are appreciated for their hardiness and ability to adapt to various tank conditions, but they can be a little more expensive than some of the other featured options.
Rare Zoanthids are a sought-after addition to reef tanks due to their distinct colors and patterns. They are considered collector’s items and are highly appreciated by experienced reef hobbyists. These unique corals contribute to the aesthetics of the tank and can become a focal point in any display.
We would not recommend that beginners use any rare zoanthids in their zoa only tank due to the increased prices for these coral frags.
Build up some experience with cheaper, easier to care for zoanthids and then try to integrate the rarer options once you are confident in your ability to care for them correctly.
Some rare zoanthids that experienced zoa keepers like to have in zoa only tanks include:
- Stratosphere Zoanthids
- Pink Krakatoa Zoanthids
- Pink Diamond Zoanthids
- Pink Krakatoa Zoanthids
- Magician Zoanthids
- Sun Eater Zoanthids
- Grogu Zoanthids
- Red Hornet Zoanthids
- Tangerine Dreams Zoanthids
There are plenty of other zoanthid options out there that are beginner-friendly and new morphs are being produced each year. If you are in doubt but have your eye on a particular zoanthid for your zoa only tank, ask the coral dealer for some advice and they will be happy to help!
Other zoas that can work well in a zoanthid only tank include:
- Blowpop Zoanthids
- Cat’s Eye Zoanthids
- Sakura Zoanthids
- Fire & Ice Zoanthids
- Kryptonite Zoanthids
- Black Hole Sun Zoanthids
- Gauntlet Zoanthids
- Incredible Hulk Zoanthids
Tank Size For Zoanthids
Zoanthids are relatively small corals, making them suitable for a variety of tank sizes. When considering a zoanthids-only tank, it’s essential to account for the number of zoanthid colonies you plan to keep and their potential growth over time.
A nano tank of 10 to 20 gallons can accommodate a small collection of zoanthids. However, as the colonies expand, it may become necessary to upgrade to a larger tank. Remember that most zoanthids thrive in low to medium flow areas, so ensure that the tank’s size provides adequate space for water flow around the colonies.
If you are new to keeping a zoanthid only tank we would recommend you go with a 10-20 gallon tank to try and keep your initial costs as low as possible.
For a more extensive zoanthid collection, a 30 to 50-gallon tank would be appropriate. This size allows for a greater variety of zoanthid species and color morphs, as well as the possibility of creating a captivating zoanthid garden. Additionally, larger tanks provide more stable water parameters, which can benefit zoanthids’ health and growth.
Most people who keep zoanthids in a tank over 50 gallons will usually use it as a general-purpose reef tank with multiple species of coral and various reef safe fish. In rare occasions we have seen people share photographs of these larger zoanthid tanks on social media but it is very rare.
In conclusion, selecting the ideal tank size for a zoanthids-only aquarium depends on the number and diversity of colonies you plan to keep. You can start with a nano tank for a small collection, but if you’re planning on an extensive zoanthid garden, a 30 to 50-gallon tank is recommended. Always keep in mind the growth potential of your zoanthid colonies and the importance of maintaining stable water parameters for their well-being.
Zoanthid Light Requirements
Zoanthids are popular coral species among aquarium hobbyists, primarily due to their vibrant colors and relatively easy care requirements. A crucial aspect of their care is providing the appropriate lighting conditions. Understanding the light requirements for zoanthids will help ensure a thriving and colorful coral display in your aquarium.
In nature, zoanthids are found at various depths and light qualities. Therefore, they can adapt to a range of light intensities in an aquarium setting. However, it’s important to acclimate them gradually to the desired lighting conditions, especially if the intended setup involves higher light intensity.
Zoanthids can tolerate low to high light levels, but it is essential to monitor their response to the lighting and make adjustments accordingly.
Blue light is particularly important for deeper water corals, including some species of zoanthids. It is advisable to research the specific zoanthid species you wish to keep, as their depth of origin may dictate their optimal light spectrum. In general, incorporating more blue light in the aquarium can benefit these corals and enhance their coloration.
Factors such as the size of the aquarium, the strength of the lighting source, and the distance between the corals and the light can affect the overall light intensity experienced by zoanthids. When setting up a zoanthid-only tank, it’s crucial to plan the aquarium lighting system accordingly, taking these factors into account.
Starting with moderate light levels and then adjusting to your particular zoanthid species’ preferences can help you find the optimal balance for healthy coral growth.
In conclusion, zoanthid light requirements can vary across species and their natural habitats. Acclimating your corals to the appropriate lighting conditions and adjusting the intensity and spectrum based on their response will ensure a thriving zoanthid tank.
Zoanthid Water Flow, Salinity and Water Parameters
Zoanthid corals are known for their adaptability to varying water flow conditions in a reef tank. They can thrive in both low and high water flow environments, making them suitable for different reef tank setups.
To maintain a healthy zoanthid-only tank, it is essential to ensure that water flow is regulated and fluctuates between low to high levels, preventing any stagnant or dead spots in the tank. That said, a large number of people who keep a zoanthid tank maintain moderate water flow without having problems.
Most people should start with a moderate water flow and then test and adjust from there as the vast majority of zoanthid coral morphs can thrive in a moderate water flow tank.
Appropriate salinity is crucial for the survival and growth of zoanthids. The recommended salinity for zoanthid corals 1.025 specific gravity. Maintaining stable salinity will help these corals retain their vibrant colors and ensure their overall health and longevity.
The water parameters for zoanthids must be carefully monitored and maintained to create an environment that promotes their growth. Here are the ideal water parameters for a zoanthid-only tank:
- Temperature: Most zoanthids prefer a water temperature of around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Consistent temperature levels are important to prevent stress and damage to the corals.
- pH: A pH level between 8.0 and 8.4 is ideal for zoanthids. Maintaining stable pH ensures the overall stability of the tank environment and promotes coral health.
- Alkalinity: Zoanthids require an alkalinity range of 8 to 12 dKH but keeping alkalinity as close to 8 dKH as possible is usually best.Balanced alkalinity supports skeletal growth and also aids in maintaining a stable pH level in the tank.
- Calcium: Although zoanthids do not have a calcifying skeletal structure, they still require calcium to support the development of their polyps. Calcium levels should be around 450 ppm for optimal health.
- Magnesium: Zoanthids need a magnesium concentration of around 1400 ppm. Magnesium plays a key role in maintaining stable alkalinity and calcium levels in the tank.
To maintain a healthy zoanthid-only tank, it is vital to carefully monitor these parameters and make appropriate adjustments when needed. Being consistent with water quality, salinity, and temperature is key to ensuring the vibrant colors and thriving growth of zoanthid corals in your reef tank.
Tank Positioning For Zoanthids
Zoanthids are popular coral species for reef tanks because they are available in diverse, vibrant colors and are relatively easy to maintain. When setting up a tank specifically for zoanthids, it is crucial to position them correctly to ensure their well-being and growth.
Start by choosing an appropriate location within the reef tank for your zoanthids. They are adaptable to a variety of light conditions, ranging from low to high. However, it is recommended to initially place them in a mid-range area where they can receive moderate lighting. Monitor the zoanthids, and if they show signs of distress or are not opening fully, adjust the lighting accordingly until they appear healthy and vibrant.
Proper water flow is also an essential factor in tank positioning for zoanthids. A moderate water flow is typically suitable for these corals, as it prevents the accumulation of detritus on their surfaces and promotes optimum nutrient absorption. Avoid placing zoanthids in areas of the tank with excessive water flow, as this may lead to the polyps closing up, hindering their ability to obtain enough nutrients.
If needed, you can reduce high water flow rates with rocks to protect your zoanthid coral colonies in your tank but maintaining a moderate water flow is usually the best option.
Lastly, ensure that zoanthids are not placed too close to other corals within the reef tank. They have the potential to release toxins as a defense mechanism, which could harm nearby corals. It is wise to leave adequate space between zoanthids and other coral species to maintain a harmonious and healthy reef environment.
In summary, positioning zoanthids in a tank requires considering factors such as lighting, water flow, and proximity to other corals. By optimizing these conditions, you can create a thriving environment for your zoanthids to grow and showcase their brilliant colors.
Fragging Zoanthids Correctly
Fragging zoanthids is an essential skill for those who want to correctly propagate the corals in their zoanthids-only tank. By fragging, you enable the growth of new zoanthids, allowing a more diverse and vibrant reef tank environment.
Correct fragging also allows you to give less developed zoas more space to grow in your tank if needed or allow you to take frags from your zoa tank to use in your reef tank. This process, when done correctly, ensures the health and well-being of the zoanthids.
Before you begin, gather the necessary tools, such as a razor blade/scissors, coral cutters, gloves, and frag plugs or tiles. Remember to wear protective gloves, as zoanthids may sometimes produce a toxic liquid called palytoxin.
Some coral dealers sell “fragging kits” that provide everything you need to frag your zoanthids at a price tag far cheaper than what you would pay if you purchased everything individually.
Start by carefully examining the zoanthid colony to identify the appropriate polyps for fragging. Select healthy, mature polyps for the best results. Create a clean and sanitized working area to minimize the risk of contamination during the fragging process.
We usually recommend that you gently prod the polyps you want to frag as this will close them and reduce the chance of you accidentally damaging the coral in its open state.
Use your razor blade or scissors to gently slice the tissue around the selected zoanthid polyps. Carefully trace along the line you made with the razor blade using the coral cutters, and the zoanthids should easily separate from the colony. Precision is essential to ensure minimal damage to the zoanthids.
You can technically use your coral cutters right away but we make fewer mistakes when fragging coral if we score the polyps with a razor blade or scissors before hand.
Once you have the zoanthid frag, attach it to a frag plug or tile using a gel super glue or reef-safe epoxy. Place the newly fragged zoanthids in a separate container with gentle water flow to promote healing and recovery. Over the next few days, monitor the zoanthids for signs of stress or infection, and once they appear stable, they can be reintroduced to the main zoanthids-only tank.
A proper feeding and maintenance routine must be followed in the zoanthids-only tank. Feeding zoanthids one or two times weekly and performing regular water changes promote healthy growth. Although fish are not necessary in a zoanthids-only tank, cleaning crew members such as snails and hermit crabs are recommended to keep the tank free from detritus.
By fragging zoanthids correctly and providing the right care, your reef tank will flourish with a diverse and colorful zoanthid population.
Feeding Your Zoanthids
Caring for a zoanthids-only tank requires providing the right nutrition to ensure optimal growth and vibrant colors. Zoanthids can obtain nutrients through both photosynthesis and direct feeding. It is important to provide the right balance of nutrients to keep your zoanthids healthy and thriving.
If you have an optimal lighting setup for your zoanthid tank then you may never have to direct feed your zoas with many people maintaining their tanks via photosynthesis.
This can be challanging for beginners though so here are some good options for direct feeding your zoas:
- Reef Roids
- Oyster Feast
- Reef Snow
- Coral Frenzy
- Reef Chili
These foods can be purchased from local fish stores or online retailers that specialize in reef tank supplies. Depending on your budget, it may be more cost effective to just upgrade your lighting rig for your tank and take the photosynthesis approach.
When feeding zoanthids, take care not to introduce excessive nutrients, as this may result in increased nitrates and phosphates, which, in turn, can encourage unwanted algae growth in the tank. It’s important to monitor water parameters regularly to ensure the health of your zoanthids and to prevent potential issues caused by nutrient imbalances.
One effective method for feeding zoanthids is to use a syringe to deliver food or a solution containing the desired nutrients directly to the coral polyps.
Alternatively, you can mix coral food with aquarium water before administering it to your zoanthids. Make sure to target feed each polyp in order to ensure each one receives adequate nutrition. This method provides greater control over the amount of food each coral receives and reduces waste in the tank.
Zoanthid Growth Rate
Zoanthids are popular corals for saltwater aquariums due to their hardiness and diversity of colors and patterns. Understanding their growth rate is essential for maintaining a healthy and thriving zoanthids-only tank.
Growth rate among zoanthids can vary depending on the species. Some types of zoanthids can grow one head per colony every week, while others might only see one head per month. Many hobbyists have reported an average growth rate of five polyps per month for certain zoanthid varieties. Factors such as tank conditions, water flow, and lighting may significantly influence their growth.
Water parameters need to be stable and within the recommended ranges for zoanthids to grow optimally. They generally prefer a temperature of 78°F, a salinity of 1.025 specific gravity, and a pH between 8.0 and 8.4. Meanwhile, maintaining adequate nitrate, phosphate, and calcium levels is crucial for optimal growth.
Water flow, as well as lighting, should be adjusted according to the specific zoanthid species in the tank. Maintaining a consistent moderate water flow and lighting intensity in your zoa only thank will usually be able to encourage rapid growth and maximise the number of polyps per month.
In conclusion, a successful zoanthids-only tank takes into consideration the diversity of species and the specific environmental factors influencing the growth rate of these corals. Maintaining stable water parameters, ensuring proper water flow and lighting, and providing enough space for them to spread out will contribute to a healthy and thriving zoanthid colony.
Recognizing And Resolving Issues
There are a number of potentially serious problems that can occur with zoanthid corals with zoa pox being a very common issue for beginners.
Zoa Pox And Pests
It is essential for aquarium hobbyists to be vigilant in identifying issues that may plague their zoanthids-only tank. Zoa Pox is a common ailment that affects these unique corals, causing small round lesions on the polyps. To treat this problem, it is advisable to dip the affected zoanthids in a solution of coral dip or iodine, following product instructions. Additionally, proactively maintaining water quality by monitoring parameters like pH, salinity, and nutrient levels can help keep Zoa Pox at bay.
Pests such as zoanthid eating nudibranchs can also pose a threat to your tank. Regular inspection of the corals is recommended to spot and remove these pests. Providing a good water flow and keeping the overall environment balanced in the reef tank will help prevent infestations.
Bleaching And Coloration Issues
Zoanthids come in numerous color combinations, making them an attractive choice for reef aquariums. However, factors like lighting can lead to issues related to their coloration.
Bleaching occurs when zoanthids lose their vibrant hues, often due to inadequate light levels or noticeable fluctuations. Whenever you encounter this problem, ensure the lighting source is designed for coral care and operates at a proper intensity. Gradually acclimate the zoanthids to the light to minimize stress.
Additionally, water parameters and nutrient levels can affect zoanthid colors. By maintaining stable conditions in the aquarium and closely monitoring nutrients, hobbyists can help improve their corals’ health.
Zoanthid melting can be a major problem for people new to keeping zoa tanks but rather than cover it again in this article, we will just link to our dedicated article on zoanthids melting that goes over everything you need to know.