The Fish Guru

Zoanthids: A Guide to Care Designer Names and Propagation

Zoanthids, also known as Zoas, are a popular type of coral found in warm, shallow waters in almost every ocean around the world. These colonial organisms are related to sea anemones and belong to the family of taxonomic orders called Zoantharia.

They are highly sought after by aquarium hobbyists due to their diverse colors, unique patterns, and designer names. In this article, we will discuss the origins and habitat, designer names, poisonous properties, care and maintenance, and tank requirements of Zoanthids.

Origins and Habitat

Zoanthids are found in almost every tropical and subtropical ocean around the world. They can be found on rocks, sandy bottoms, or on the reef itself.

Zoas are known for their vibrant colors and unique patterns, which make them a popular addition to reef aquariums. They come in various shades of green, blue, purple, and red, and they can even have multiple colors in their body.

Designer Names

Zoanthids come in a variety of colors and patterns that make them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts. They have been given some designer names such as Rasta, Eagle Eye, Fruit Loops, Blue Hornets, LA Lakers, Sunny D, Ultimate Chaos, Grandmaster Krak, among others.

Some collectors are willing to pay top dollar to get their hands on some of these designer Zoanthids. If you are interested in acquiring a designer Zoanthid, it is essential to research the type you want to purchase and seek advice from an experienced hobbyist.

Poisonous Properties

While Zoanthids are known for their beautiful colors and patterns, they also have poisonous properties. Zoanthids have a compound called palytoxin, which is a dangerous toxin that can lead to serious health problems if ingested or inhaled.

Palytoxin can cause respiratory problems, vomiting, and even death in extreme cases. So, it is essential to be very careful when handling these organisms and always wear gloves and protective clothing.

Care and Maintenance

One of the benefits of keeping Zoanthids in your aquarium is that they are relatively easy to care for. They are suitable for low-tech tanks and do not require any special nutrient absorption requirements.

Zoanthids mainly obtain their required nutrition from photosynthesis and from the nutrients in the water column. Also, they can be fed with small, meaty foods like brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, or small bits of marine meat.

Propagation of Zoanthids is also relatively easy. They reproduce asexually by budding, where small polyps grow from the parent Zoanthid.

You can cut off some of the Zoanthids and move them to another location in the aquarium to create more colonies. Zoanthid colonies can grow quite quickly in optimal conditions, so it is essential to monitor them and cut them back if necessary.

Zoanthids and Tank Requirements


The lighting requirements for Zoanthids are relatively modest. They prefer moderate lighting levels.

It is necessary to consider lighting duration and acclimation when introducing new Zoanthids to your tank. It is always important to acclimate any new Zoanthids to the lighting conditions in your aquarium before introducing them into the tank to prevent any stress or damage to the coral.

Water Flow

Zoanthids prefer moderate flow in the aquarium. Avoid creating dead zones in the tank as it can lead to water stagnation, which can cause harm to the organisms.

To create the perfect water flow, use a reliable aquarium pump and ensure that there is enough water circulation throughout the entire aquarium.

Water Parameters

Maintaining the right water parameters in an aquarium is crucial for the health of your Zoanthids. They require a consistent alkalinity and pH, with an alkalinity range of between 7-11 DKH, and a pH range of between 8.0-8.3. It is essential to monitor water parameters regularly and make adjustments when necessary.

Also, keeping nitrate levels between 5-10 ppm is recommended. However, bear in mind that there are no fixed parameters for nitrate levels as it depends on the specific tank and may require some trial and error.


Generally, Zoanthids are suitable for most saltwater community fish. However, it’s crucial to avoid keeping large invertebrates and annoying fish such as damsels, pufferfish, and angelfish, which may cause harm to the Zoanthids.

Also, Zoanthids should not be kept with coral-eating fish as they will damage the corals. In conclusion, Zoanthids are an excellent addition to any reef aquarium due to their unique colors, patterns, and relative ease of care.

However, it’s essential to be aware of their poisonous properties and take precautions when handling them. Keeping them in the right lighting, water flow, and water parameters, along with proper feeding and propagation techniques, is key to their good health.

By following these tips, you can enjoy watching your Zoanthids thrive and add a unique beauty to your aquarium.

Propagating Zoanthids

Zoanthids are fascinating creatures that add beauty and interest to a reef aquarium. Propagating them is a great way to increase the number of colonies in your tank and provide stability to your reef system.

In this section, we will discuss the necessary tools, the fragging process, and spreading colony for propagating Zoanthids.

Necessary Tools

Before you can propagate Zoanthids, you need to acquire a few necessary tools. You will need a pair of bone cutters or scissors for cutting the rock or removing the colonies from the substrate.

A scalpel or scissors can also be used for carefully peeling off a colony piece. You must also have safety equipment such as gloves, goggles, and a face mask to protect yourself from the palytoxin that is present in Zoanthids.

It is important to remember that palytoxin can be very dangerous if ingested or inhaled, so it is always best to take the necessary precautions.

Fragging Process

The fragging process involves breaking up the rock that contains the Zoanthids or carefully peeling off a colony piece. Once you have separated the colony from the rock, you can attach it to a frag plug with super glue.

The glue will help secure the colony to the plug and allow it to start growing a new base. It is important to submerge the plug as soon as possible to prevent drying out the colonies.

It is essential to frag Zoanthids cautiously because of their poisonous properties. You will also need to wear gloves or use tongs when handling the colonies or rocks to avoid exposure to the palytoxin.

Reef-keeping hobbyists should be mindful of other tank inhabitants and keep a separate container for each individual Zoanthid colony during the fragging process to ensure there is no cross-contamination between different colonies.

Spreading Colony

Zoanthids reproduce asexually, and therefore, anything that you fragment is a clone of the original colony. This asexual reproduction allows you to propagate Zoanthids by creating multiple colonies from one.

Fragging Zoanthids helps to spread out the colony and can help stabilize your reef system. It is essential to create a stable environment when propagating Zoanthids.

An unstable environment, particularly with unstable water parameters, can cause stress to the Zoanthids, leading to disintegration and damages to the colony. A stable environment will promote the fragging process’ success and help the new colonies settle in and grow more quickly.

In conclusion, Zoanthids are easy-to-care-for corals that make a beautiful addition to any reef tank. Propagating them is not only an excellent way to increase the number of colonies in your tank, but it is also a lot of fun.

With the right tools and a cautious approach to the fragging process, anyone can successfully propagate Zoanthids. It is important to keep in mind that Zoanthids are poisonous, and adequate safety measures should be taken when handling them.

Additionally, creating a stable and consistent environment is crucial to the success of fragging Zoanthids. With these factors in mind, experience in propagating Zoanthids can add an exciting dimension to your reef-keeping hobby.

Zoanthids are a wonderful addition to any reef aquarium, providing a diverse range of colors, patterns, and unique names. To ensure their good health, it is important to follow the necessary care and propagation methods.

Propagating Zoanthids requires some specific tools, a cautious approach, and the consideration of creating a stable environment. It is essential to remember that Zoanthids are poisonous and require the use of safety equipment.

But with proper care and propagation, you can enjoy the beauty of Zoanthids in your reef tank for years to come.

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