Newer hobbyists usually learn about the potential toxicity of Zoanthids pretty early on. Many of them are scared away from Zoanthids because of this. Before you make this decision, let’s discuss the risks and how to keep Zoanthids safely. Zoanthids are not guaranteed to carry playtoxin, where as most palythoas do. Regardless if you are adding Zoanthids or playthoas, there are things you can do to ensure that no one in your home is exposed. First, never ever boil your rocks. Even if you didn’t add Zoanthids, do not boil your rocks. It’s a pretty easy thing not to do, but people have gotten very sick from accidentally boiling Zoanthids. Second, where gloves and eye protection when handling these corals. Usually, the toxins only come out when the coral is damaged, but you should still wear gloves when putting your hands in the aquarium, especially if the coral might be stressed. If you are fragging the coral, wearing gloves and eye protection is especially important. Palytoxins are a very real thing that can be deadly and should be taken seriously, but at the same time, they are fairly easy to avoid. It goes without saying, but make sure pets and children don’t have access to your aquarium.
With that out of the way, let’s go over the basic care requirements so you can keep your Zoanthids successfully.
The term Zoanthids refers to an order of corals. Technically, the correct term for this specific coral is zoanthus. However, calling them Zoanthids isn’t technically wrong either. Zoanthids come from all over the Indo-Pacific, but these particular corals are aquacultured by ORA. Aquacultured corals are grown in aquariums instead of being collected from the ocean, which comes with benefits that we will discuss later.
Zoanthids can be placed under a wide range of lighting conditions. It depends on the specific coral and coloration. This Orange Zoanthid prefers low to moderate light. It is best to acclimate the coral to high or moderate light by starting it in lower light and gradually moving it into the preferred lighting intensity.
Regarding flow, Zoanthids prefer moderate to strong flow. It is incredibly important to prevent detritus from settling on the coral, as this can slow the growth and cause recession. Ideally, the flow should be irregular and random to avoid dead spots.
Keep your nitrates around 1-5 ppm and your phosphates as close to 0.01 ppm as possible but not 0. The temperature should be between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit and stable.
Lastly, let’s discuss feeding. Despite their appearance, Zoanthids are not strong feeders. They may feed on certain coral foods that are small enough, but it’s a hit or miss. The coral gets most of its nutritional needs from its zoozanthellae, so feeding isn’t something you should go out of your way to do for this coral. However, dosing your aquarium with live phytoplankton and amino acids can be very beneficial for color and growth rate.
Purchase Size: 1″
Placement: You can place this coral anywhere as long as its lighting and flow requirements are met.
Lighting: Low to medium.
Flow: Moderate to strong
Parameters: 72-78° F, pH 8.1-8.4, salinity 32-35 ppt
Because these Orange Zoanthids from ORA are aquacultured, they are better adapted to aquarium life and better able to handle the stress of shipping. They are also far less likely to carry pests and disease though you should still dip and/or quarantine them to be safe. On top of all that, these corals are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than those collected from the ocean.