Zoanthids are colorful corals that bring vibrancy and aesthetics to any aquarium. They grow pretty fast under the right conditions and are easy to take care of.
However, if your zoanthids are growing at an alarmingly slow rate, you can easily counter this by following the methods discussed in the article.
The key to a fast-growing zoanthid population is to provide them with requisite lighting, adequate food, and high-quality water.
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What Are Zoanthids?
Zoanthid is a term collectively used to refer to three types of coral. They all have similar appearance, characteristics, and growth.
The types include Zoanthus, Protopalythoa, and Palythoa. Also known as “zoas” or “zoos,” they are typically found in shallow and deep subtropical or tropical reefs.
They are made up of colonies of individual polyps which are joined together. Botanically, zoanthids are classified as animals.
They reproduce vegetatively, and the offsprings remain connected to the polyp. These corals do not require too much food as they also photosynthesize.
Zoanthids are one of the best corals to add to the aquatic life in your tank because they proliferate quickly, are adaptable, and are easy to look after. They also do not sting like other corals.
How To Achieve Fast Growth In Zoanthids?
1. Proper Lighting
Unlike other corals, zoanthids do not require a lot of light, even though they photosynthesize. The amount of light differs for various types and usually depends on how bright the color of the zoas is.
The brighter colored zoas require more lighting. Overall, you should give them 8-10 hours of full lighting, then turn it down for about four hours.
To increase their growth and vibrant color, invest in blue LED lighting.
2. Adequate Food
Feeding your zoas regularly is one of the ways you can increase their growth rapidly. Feed them at least two to three times per week.
The best option is fresh fish food which you can turn into a semi-liquid by putting it in a blender and adding tank water. This ensures quick absorption.
You can also easily buy frozen coral food from a pet store or local fish shop.
Before you feed your zoanthids, remember to turn off your aquarium pump to prevent the food from being swept into the current.
Use a turkey baster or a syringe to get the food into the tank instead of pouring it straight. Feeding this way will reduce unwanted debris and algae growth in your tank.
Overfeeding your Zoanthids will not guarantee their growth but will only cause more problems. Please note that these creatures are subtle eaters.
You might not see them eating, but they definitely are, so be patient. Do not feed them too much at once.
3. Quality Water
You should aim to change the water in your tank once a week or more if necessary.
It is a good idea to prepare the water in advance so you can test to see if all the necessary nutrients your zoas need are present. Do not use tap water as a base.
Although zoanthids rarely experience shock, it would be wise to keep a little bit of the old water to add to the new one to prevent the likelihood of it happening.
There’s a popular belief (although without concrete evidence) that zoanthids will thrive in dirty water as long as all the right nutrients are present.
However, if you have other aquatic life in your tank, you should change the water regularly.
4. Control Algae Population
The presence of algae in your tank is a big threat to the growth of your zoanthids, especially if their population is large.
Algae can cover the polyps of your zoas— blocking essential nutrients and light from reaching them.
Overfeeding and too much lighting are the reasons why algae multiply in your tank. Silicates found in tap water are also a cause.
You can reduce the growth of algae in your tank by:
5. Eliminate Predators
Sea spiders are a common predator of zoas. They have eight legs and other appendages that look like legs.
They are tiny and very hard to spot. If left alone, they can crawl up to the polyps of your zoanthids.
One method that gets rid of them efficiently without disrupting the pH of your tank involves dipping the zoanthids in a solution of hydrogen peroxide and saltwater.
You can also use commercial dips such as CoralRx or remove the spiders manually using tweezers.
Do not place your zoanthids close to the power head. Instead, they should be put at the bottom three-quarters of your tank where there is a moderate flow.
When zoas retract their tentacles, it is a sign that the water currents are too high. On the other hand, too little flow will cause algae to grow and reduce oxygen levels in the tank.
Please note that many species of zoanthids produce a toxic chemical called palytoxin. The chemical can cause neurological damage if it gets into your mouth, nose, eyes, or cut.
Whenever you’re handling these creatures, be extra careful and always wear gloves, goggles, and other protective gear.
Make sure that you’re handling them in a secluded area, and if not, everyone around you should have safety gear on. This applies even if they do not come in contact with the zoas.
Zoanthids are relatively easy to grow and do not require extensive maintenance. If you do all that is needed to keep them happy, they will grow fast and flourish.
All you need is a little bit of patience.
I have found gardening to be my calling since being restricted to my apartment. I love studying rare species of plants and giving them a mention on my blog. I also love growing organic vegetables in my backyard.