FAQs about Zoanthid Compatibility,
Related Articles: Zoanthids,
Sea Mat: An
Ocean Of Color For The Aquarium by Blane Perun,
Related FAQs: Zoanthid Compatibility/Control 1,
Zoanthid Comp./Control 2, Zoanthid Comp./Control 4, &
Compatibility, Zoanthids, Zoanthids 2, Zoanthids 3, Zoanthid ID, Zoanthid Behavior, Zoanthid Selection, Zoanthid System, Zoanthid Lighting, Zoanthid Feeding, Zoanthid Health, Zoanthid Reproduction,
Zoas and regal angel dislodging but not eating them
Hi, i have an adult regal angel and recently tried a few different colored
Zoas in my tank with him. He leaves all my LPS alone. He does rip the
superglued Zoas from their frag plugs but does not eat them.
When they are sat on the sand he largely ignores them only occasionally
showing interest. He is well fed, and i can see this may not work. I was
encouraged as he ignores similar sized Palythoa.
<Interesting... What genus of Zoanthids are you referring to as "Zoas"?
Palythoa are Zoanthids>
I can see he will be a pain with Zoas but the fun (?) for him seems to be
ripping them from the frag plug. My question is, is there a more secure way
to bond a Zoa frag to a plug, or do Zoas hold better onto rocks with their
more contoured surface?
<I suspect that this Angel will continue pull at, otherwise destroy these
"Zoas" no matter how they are attached>
If he could not dislodge them it might be a start and i cannot return these
to my LFS, thanks for any advice, Toby.
<I myself would try other groups of Cnidarians. Bob Fenner>
Re: Zoas and regal angel dislodging but not eating them
Thanks for your reply Bob. Over here in the UK Palythoa, Palys are sold
under that name with variety next ,e.g. Paly purple death. 'Non Palythoa'
tend to be sold as 'Zoa space monster' for example.
<Ahh, so... "Zoa" refers to just members of the genus Zoanthus? Perhaps
The regal angel seems to know the difference somehow! I will try gluing the
Zoas i have left into crevices but like yourself, I'm not hopeful of
success. Thank you and the crew for your invaluable help to fellow hobbyists
including myself. Merry Christmas and have a happy new year, Toby.
<And to/for you and yours Toby. BobF>
Palythoa- sundial Heliacus. Removal 3/16/18
I want to remove Palythoa naturally.
<A fave, oft-misused adverb...>
My tank is only 16 gallons but due to corals on the live rocks and not easy to
take them out I wanted to try a natural method.
I read on your website that sundial snails only eat Zoas and Palythoa.
<Mmm; not only>
However another place online also mentioned they eat sea anemone.
This made me nervous as I have a mini-maxi carpet anemone in my tank.
I wanted to get a sundial snail to naturally eat my Palythoa but do not want to
irritate or have the sundial snail try to eat my mini-maxi carpet anemone. There
are Palythoa on the same rock as my anemone and the anemone has been on the same
rock for about 6-7 years so don’t want him moving of course.
Is there anyway to get verification from your experience?
<Not from me unfortunately; no>
Secondly- will they also eat clove polyps? Not worried if they did, just
<Again; I don't know>
Lastly, I searched online and cannot find anyone selling the snail should I even
want to try one. Are they illegal to bring in or just not sold since most
hobbyists don’t want them since they eat Zoas?
<Considered pests, yes; not illegal. Have only seen/encountered as hitchhikers>
Look forward to any assistance you can provide as not interested in covering
with Kalk, trying to chip off rocks, injecting with hot water or lime with a
<I STRONGLY encourage you to read/investigate further, and use an "unnatural"
means to rid your system of Zoanthids. As this is a small tank, likely little
rock involved to be replaced, I would remove the desired organisms and put the
Zoanthid containing rock outdoors, some place where animals can't get to it...
Allow it to dry, process for re-use as just rock, or toss it>
I do run carbon and gfo which helps neutralize the poison which is perhaps I
have never had any issues the 10+ years I have had them but I don’t want to take
a chance after reading more stories about how they can become airborne or even
affect experts unexpectedly at times.
<You are wise to be cautious here. Bob Fenner>
Three New MASNA Education Pages
The Marine Zoonotic Disease article (http://masna.org/masna-education/zoonotic-diseases/
The Zoanthids and Palytoxin article (http://masna.org/masna-education/palytoxin/
The Impacts of Releasing Marine Ornamental Species article (http://masna.org/masna-education/release-invasion/
Reef Tank Causing Respiratory Distress; Zoanthids...
<Hola, Earl here.>
A little back-story: My 130 gal reef was broken down into a temporary setup for
3 months due to a silicone defect while the new aquarium was built. Without
proper filtration dinoflagellates took root, smothered and killed most of the
corals, but the fish/inverts seem OK and 4 days ago I transferred the
inhabitants and rock to the new 240 gal system.
<OK Sarah I am sure Bob and some others will have more to say on this but I
wanted to give you an immediate heads-up because this is potentially as serious
as a heart attack, literally. Look up palytoxins. It is very likely you have
"Palys", button polyps, Zoanthids (zoos), such similar in your tank, no? Stress
or physical damage or attempts to remove them/kill them
can cause them to release a very dangerous neurotoxin specific to these animals.
This needs to be taken extremely seriously...I have heard incredulity from
people on the seriousness of this but please know it is definitely something
that needs to be dealt with asap, with a cool head.
The symptoms you describe are classic.
some good and detailed info. Also check the faq's on WWM regarding this. I have
some friends in my reef club who had a very similar occurrence which included
hospitalization for 2 of the family. It particularly attacks the respiratory
system. The CDC says:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6431a4.htm. The first
well-reported hobby-related instance commonly known
The last few days my husband comes home from work and develops an immediate
runny nose and if either of us work on the tank our sinuses burn, develop slight
chest discomfort, irritability, clouded thinking, watery eyes and sore throat.
We noticed a correlation between our symptoms and working in or near the system
and have ruled out possible irritants in the house. The aquarium is plumbed into
the basement and we notice the worst effects while in the sump room - last night
we set up the skimmer and carbon in a reactor and were quite uncomfortable
If it were hydrogen sulfide, I'd expect to have disturbed a sand bed, which I
If it were palytoxin, I'd expect to be severe.
<Please see above. See a doctor quickly for some alleviation and have some of
this printed out as it's unlikely to be known to most physicians.
Remember Rule 1: Don't Panic but do decontaminate (nuke with bleach) possibly
contaminated gear, etc.. And please follow up your email here with updates as a
follow-up as to how things go.>
There's about 10 heads of Zoas in the reef total, although, they are not open.
If it were toxins from the Dinoflagellates, I would expect my CUC to die off -
in fact, it's the opposite, the urchin has recently started eating it.
Please chime in, the unknown is making us uneasy.
Re: Reef Tank Causing Respiratory Distress
Thanks for the prompt response, I'm familiar with palytoxin and it's why I've
never been a Zoa gardener, but there are about 10 heads of stressed Zoas in the
tank, stressed from the dino outbreak I presume.
I think I'm going to cut the large stylo colony off and whip that Zoa rock in
<Will share this w/ Earl, but want to respond as well. Yes to (carefully)
removing the rock/Zoanthids to elsewhere. I would also run a good deal (pounds)
of GAC (carbon) and maybe PolyFilter in the system); do a few consecutive daily
water changes (to dilute)>
The tank transfer was 4 days ago and for the past 2 we've noticed the symptoms.
Didn't boil rock, or leave it out of the water for more than a minute or so. I
also wonder if disturbing the dinoflagellates released some kind of toxin. While
our symptoms are present, they aren't severe.
<See, read on WWM re others archived accounts. Trouble. Bob Fenner>
Re: Reef Tank Causing Respiratory Distress. Zoanthids
Thanks for the prompt response, I'm familiar with palytoxin and it's why I've
never been a Zoa gardener, but there are about 10 heads of stressed Zoas in the
tank, stressed from the dino outbreak I presume.
I think I'm going to cut the large stylo colony off and whip that Zoa rock in
The tank transfer was 4 days ago and for the past 2 we've noticed the symptoms.
Didn't boil rock, or leave it out of the water for more than a minute or so. I
also wonder if disturbing the dinoflagellates released some kind of toxin.
<Not likely discernible by humans>
While our symptoms are present, they aren't severe.
<I'd be reading (on WWM, elsewhere) re Zoanthid toxic effects, removing
these animals (the whole rock they're on);
running GAC and more... NOW.... READ here:
and the linked files in the series (above). Bob Fenner>
Re: Reef Tank Causing Respiratory Distress; Zoas 2/24/16
Thank you for the add'l info, I truly appreciate our correspondence.
<VERY glad to help>
After running 2 lbs of carbon, PolyFilters & w/c's we no longer experience
near the reef tank and then what seemed like a secondary cold set in for both of
us - 3 weeks of moderate to severe
sore throat, chest congestion and runny nose. All has returned to normal and
I'll share this info with the locals.
<Thank you for your report. Bob Fenner>
Mushrooms and Zoanthids... allelopathy, starvation knocked
on, reading and great self-discovery! 10/10/13
I have hard and soft coral systems that range from
Acros to polyps and everything in between. My levels are
acceptable if not near perfect for all of my tanks.
The tanks in question are a 75g drilled with 30 g sump. 80
watt led lighting, PhosGuard in a reactor,
<... you realize chemo- photo-synthetic life requires measurable soluble
carbon in a bag a week out of the month, SeaChem matrix, refugium, two
750 gph powerheads, 1250 gph
Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate 0
<... sigh: and measurable NO3. Please read on WWM re>
phosphate less than .25, alk11, ph 8.22
daytime, I feed a mix of flakes heavily, bribe
<Brine likely; Artemia>
shrimp once a week, phyto once a week.
<See WWM re this as well. Of little use in most settings>
Dose AquaVitro ions, calcification, 8.4, fuel once a week to where Mag
stays around 1300, calcium 420, iodine at .06, iron not registering with
my red sea test kit, but fuel has iron, so not sure if the test does not
pick up this particular type of iron or what. Potassium at 385.
This tank houses only soft corals and a tube anemone
<Cerianthus? Not compatible... see WWM re this as well>
along with fish and inverts. The problem I am having is with
mushrooms melting, Ricordea shrinking and detaching, and Zoas melting
<... after you're done searching, reading, you'll understand why. How to
put it/this: Your problems are obvious>
do great, leathers do great, polyps do great. Tank has been up for two
years and this started with just the Zoas 3 months ago. More recently, I
have a separate soft coral frag system, 200 g, 2200 gph pump, divided
into 4 stair step tanks.
One section has mushrooms and leathers, one has polyps , other two house
fish. My Ricordea are starting to shrivel and detach in this tank as
It has same readings and fixings except ph is 8.16 daytime, nitrates are
at 5ppm, and the lighting is 120 watts led 24" off the tank over a 75g
Both systems have skimmers, dsb, ample live rock.
<.... So... what are your choices? Provide or don't eliminate needed
nutrients, and either remove the Ceriantharian, or the other
mal-affected Cnidarian life. Keep reading. Bob Fenner>
re: Mushrooms and Zoanthids 10/10/13
What is WWM?
re: Mushrooms and Zoanthids... "I (don't) want to hold your ha ha ha ha
ha hand!" 10/10/13
I see, wet web media, what should I read and which section can I find it
<... the indices; search tool... on all 12k some pages... the topics
listed on your first query... B>
Re: Mushrooms and Zoanthids... comp. f's 10/12/13
So I read tons of post and answers on wwm. Thank you for the great
knowledge base and for answering all these questions so there is such a
vast reference to pull from. First I removed my tube anemone from my 75
and added carbon. I also added carbon to my 200 g frag system. Other
than carbon and a water change, which is coming tomorrow, is there
I can do to prevent this from happening again if and when it gets fixed?
<Mmm, yes; a few things. Principal amongst these is careful introduction
of any new stinging-celled life... The SOP mentioned over and over to
"mix water" back and forth from the isolation/quarantine with your
display system you intend to move the animal/colony to>
Also are the palytoxins from plays poisonous to the Zoanthids?
<Yes; some more so than others>
And why are they not affecting any polyps or leathers? Thx
<They are better competitors... less susceptible to Terpenoid warfare.
Re: Mushrooms and Zoanthids... allelopathy likely
So, I have done a 25g water change and changed carbon twice in my 75g
softies tank, and done 50g and changed carbon twice in my 200 g soft
only frag system. My Ricordeas in both systems, 5 different colors and
kinds, have either shrunk into nothing or shrunk under 1/4" from2-4".
I tried another Zoanthid in my 75 with no avail.
<Tried another? You added another colony to a system that is having
allelopathogenic issues? Why?>
I have continued adding AquaVitro fuel and Vibrance, iodine, alternating
days since iodine is so easily and quickly skimmed out. I just
don't know else to do, or what's wrong???
<Can't tell from the information provided... I would subdue the
lighting, keep up alkalinity... 9 plus... move the Zoanthids out, the
Corallimorpharians to if you have other established systems... and keep
reading. Bob Fenner>
Zoanthids exposure to air; sponge control
I have an opaque jelly like substance growing or the rock structure
around my Zoanthids. I have been told that it is a natural sponge
and to get rid of it I should expose the rock and inhabitants to the
air. This will kill the sponge and not harm the Zoas. HELP,
<Mmm, I don't think this exposure will work; and I want to super
reemphasize that you should take extreme care when handling Zoanthids...
I'd likely simply ignore the sponge... it may well recede on its own
(happens all the time). IF you are interested in moving/removing the
sponge. I would read the compatibility FAQs on WWM re... Bob Fenner>
Bicolor angel and Zoas, comp. 7/3/13
Just sent you an email regarding my CBB and now I would like your
thoughts on my Bicolor angel.
Quick info, DT: 500g soft coral reef that's been
running for 1.5 yrs. All param.s in check. tons of copepods and
amphipods living in an ever growing bundle of Chaeto. Fish include
regal, yellow tangs and a host of small fish (clowns, damsels, Anthias,
a bicolor angel and a flame angel)
The bicolor is one of my oldest fish and is now part of the family. I
currently have 3 large Paly colonies (had for a year) that he doesn't
even look twice at. So today I added 4 rocks of bright orange Zoanthids.
The Zoas are smaller polyps than the Palys and the first thing the angel
did was to come up to one rock and completely rip two polyp stalks out.
the stalks floated away and settled on another rock and the angel never
did anything about them. since then he keeps swimming around looking
curiously at one of the new rock colonies but not doing very much. I've
seen him nip the top of the colony again twice but he didn't uproot
anything. Not sure whats going on here.
<Likely "just" sampling>
The Zoas remained open through all this.
Question I have is: is it normal for a angel to show interest in
some button polyps but not others?
<Anything new is of interest, yes. Think on how you've trained the
fish/es to anticipate food/feeding>
why would it uproot the stalks but not eat them? the uprooting has
stopped and he didn't nip anything for the rest of the day. Should I be
was he just sampling them?
do you think his interest will die eventually? I feed my fish quite
heavily, so I'm hoping this is a phase.
Vibrio vulnificus and palytoxin. Warning, and question re
possible acuity interaction 5/5/13
Hi all. in last 4 months i had several problems with palytoxin ( 2 times
ended up to ER), all times by contact with intact skin (hands,
forearms)First time i removed the most recent Palythoa colony from
the tank, then sent it to a lab , resulting in strong presence of
palytoxin and Vibrio vulnificus.
After 2 months, as soon as i clean my tank i felt very bad and went to
ER again with severe symptoms including chills, muscle and joint
pains, very low pressure and high level of CPK (rhabdomyolysis), all
symptoms that confirm palytoxin poisoning.
So i removed the old Palythoa colony (in 10 years they never gave me a
problem , even while fragmenting, brushing, dipping in h2o2 for zoapox),
sent it to the lab and resulting venomous as well and infected by Vibrio
vulnificus. My questions are:- maybe this Vibrio turned my normal Palys
in a killer ones?
<Mmm, don't know>
- after removing all Palys, is there a risk that other kind of corals
<Also; but I strongly doubt it/this>
- how can i remove Vibrio vulnificus from the tank? (high salinity?
competing bacteria? Lourdes water?)Thanks and sorry for my bad English,
I'm Italian. Manuel Ricci
<... I'd keep my bare hands out (wear arm length gloves, use tools) and
use ozone to raise, sustain ORP; keep gravel vacuuming, changing good
volumes of water weekly (25% or so). Bob Fenner>
Boiling Liverock almost killed my household the other night.
Zoanthid/human mal-interaction 1/12/13
Good afternoon guys--
I am finally feeling well enough to get out of bed and fully function so
I wanted to send a documented email to you to explain our experience.
<Please do share>
The day of the 1/10/13 I purchased a few new corals for my 72g Bow reef
aquarium. On my way home I mentally played with changing my aquascape a
bit to fit my new corals, and open my tank up a bit for better flow.
5pm and the new corals are acclimating. Since the corals I purchased
were Acans, I needed real estate at the bottom of the tank since I am
running MHlighting mixed with130w PC actinics. I decided to start
re-aquascaping.630pm and the aquascape is now done and looks great. In
that time frame I decided to rid my tank of roughly 15lbs of Liverock. I
had the extra rock
that was moved sitting next to the tank in a pot. I wanted to save this
rock for later use, but I have nowhere to allow it to dry out since we
live in an apartment complex so I decided to boil it. Yes, this is where
the trouble started.
7pm and the rock is boiling on the stove and I am doing my daily duties
around the house before my wife comes home from work.
730pm my wife arrives home, and on a whim we decided to go out for
By this time the water in the pot is full boil so I cut the stove off
and place the pot on the back burner.
8pm we leave for dinner and I notice that my nose is tingling much like
having allergies. I suffer from hay fever so I know the signs of my
allergies coming on. Once we arrived at the restaurant my nose was
pouring like I had a cold and my wife started to complain of a tight
chest and a cough. We pushed through it not thinking anything of it.
10pm and we arrive home and we are both sick. Thinking that we are both
getting the Flu or a nasty cold we bundled up warm to take our dogs out
(110lb Lab and 70lb Golden Retriever) to do their nightly duties. I feel
short of breath and my wife and I have a nasty headache, even though we
are completely bundled up we are freezing cold. After the outing with
we sit down on the couch to relax and watch a bit of TV before we go to
bed. Both of us are sick and grumpy. Body aches, headache, sneezing,
running nose and labored breathing. We call it a night and go to bed.
1pm and the our Lab wakes us up to a flurry of vomiting. We clean it up
and go back to bed feeling worse than when we went to bed the first
Now we cannot fall asleep. My wife is moaning and stating that she feels
like she has the Flu. I feel the same and know something is going on in
the house. I don't want to alarm her so I refrain from teller her how
bad I actually feel as well.
130pm and she is asleep but I am noticing both dogs are breathing very
heavy and restless. Our Lab gets up and goes into the kitchen and from a
weird smell I realized that he defecated. I wake my wife up and we clean
it up. by this time she is moaning and groaning. I take the dog out and
he walks maybe 20 feet and lays down. Anyone that has a Lab knows this
is not typical behaviour for the breed. I got him up, he urinated and
the defecated and laid back down. I was finally able to get him in to
find my wife back in bed stating that she may want to go to the ER. She
stated she felt like she was dying. I have never heard he whimper and
moan like this.
I was feeling just as bad but pushing through it but felt horrid and
2am and I come up with the idea we have mold issues. We had a flood 2
weeks prior that flooded out my car and made its way into the crawl
space below our apartment complex. I search and search for mold but
cannot find any.
230am and I walk into the kitchen again. In the corner of my eye I see
the pot of boiled rocks and the light bulb in my head went off like a
Nuclear explosion. I jump on the PC and search for coral poisoning and
find that certain types of Zoanthids find their way onto Liverock. This
is evident in my tank as there are ugly zoos on some of my rock. I then
these types of polyps contain Palytoxin.
245pm and off to the ER for both of us. Prior to leaving I took to pot
of rocks and dumped them onto the lawn outside and rushed out.
330pm and we are rushed into the ER with difficulty breathing. The Dr
and Practitioner see us both at the same time and listen to my story. I
explain how I boiled life rock from my saltwater aquarium and think I
poisoned myself and wife as well as dogs by these little polyp things
that may have been attached to the rock. I still believe that he thought
we were nuts
and were looking for pain meds. After running our vitals, he finds me
with a fever of 101.5, wife @ 101.3 and both of us had high blood
pressure readings. He asks me, " do you guys want any pain meds?" My
answer was to the effect of "Doc, we aren't druggies, we don't need pain
meds, we need to know what they hell is going on." I think that squared
process away in his mind.
430pm and he comes back with questions about Palytoxin. Imagine that,
the doctor is asking me about a toxic substance in corals. He states he
has never come across anything like this before and needs more
information. I explain to him to read online as there has been a few
documented cases of Palytoxin being ingested causing serious side
affects. I also explain I am
not a Marine Biologist so I do not have any type of info that would
pertain to treating it. He states that he has researched it and found a
few documented cases, and also called Poison control. Poison control
stated that he could only treat the symptoms if the patient was still
"alive" and let it run its course. Prior to all this at around the 330
mark I would assume, they started IVs and took blood and urine samples
as well as chest x-rays. the chest x-rays came back with symptoms of
5am. After our conversation about poison control they gave us Steroid
breathing treatments to ease our difficulty breathing and Tylenol for
our fevers. He placed us on heart and oxygen monitors and said that its
just a waiting game and he will monitor us for a while and we should
both get some sleep.
We left the ER at roughly 9pm feeling much better but still in a lot of
chest pain. Two days later, both of us are still feeling the effects of
the toxin. When we take a deep breath our chest hurts like we have been
in a pool or water for too long. Growing up on the beach we called it
being water logged. Our abdomens hurt horribly from the violent coughing
experiencing. We are both on Ventolin Inhalers and 800mg's of Motrin as
well as Z-Pack's for any type of bacteria we inhaled. We were also
advised to see a respiratory specialist in the near future. Both dogs
are fine now, we opened the windows and allowed any residual toxins to
Going back to the point of boiling, I do not recall if there were any
polyps on the rocks. I can tell you I quickly examined them for any life
just out of curiosity. I guess I missed something.
<Something toxic there... but I don't know what. Am not a fan of boiling
I know this was a long and drawn out read so I do apologize. I felt
compelled to send this to you so you can publish it if you choose as a
warning to all novice and experienced reefers. We survived this horrid
Lesson learned the hard way.
--Mario and Stefanie
<Thank you for sharing. I do hope you have saved others from similar
trouble. Bob Fenner>
Re: Boiling Liverock almost killed my household the other night.
<Thank you Mario>
We both appreciate it and hope that it helps others in the future.
I posted this on Reefcentral.com as well as thereeftank.com prior to your
Any ideas on how I can rid my tank of these Hitch Hiker polyps? I cannot
remove my rock because there are a few on each rock.
<Well, the best course of action is to take all out at once and air dry,
bleach, rinse, air dry again... then re-inoculate the dead rock (after
restacking) w/ a bit (a few tens of percent) of new/live. Bob Fenner>
Re Clownfish/BTA Anemone Hosting
Thank you so much James!
<You're welcome Jillian.>
I will look over the links in detail. In addition, I have
Wilkerson's book on Clownfish.
I will remove the Zoanthids and Mushrooms as you recommend. Luckily,
they are on rocks that can be easily removed from the system and
haven't spread much beyond this. Most of my Zoanthids are
common Yellow Colony Polyps.
<The Yellow Polyps are a Parazoanthus species and not quite as nasty
as the Protopalythoa and Palythoa species which have high levels of
Care must also be taken when handling these animals; use throw away
examination gloves which can be bought at Home Depot in the paint
I was under the impression that they were less toxic then other
<You are correct but in your first email you did not state Yellow
Polyps and I'm not very good at mind reading. :-)>
but I will remove if you say to. I'm glad that the Ricordeas are
less of a problem. These are one of my favorites!
<Mine as well but wouldn't fair well in my high flow system and
I do not believe I have a low flow area.>
I have recently sold the Ocellaris pair in an attempt to try again at
finding a mated, hosting pair of clowns. I am constantly keeping my eye
out for mated pairs of Clarkii's for sale. I would prefer to avoid
the Maroons due to their nasty reputation but perhaps a tank-bred pair
<Frenatus (Tomato Clownfish) are also nasty in my opinion.>
Do you recommend the idea of adding several to the system in hopes that
2 will pair off and host?
<That's usually the best way to get a pair. You will know
when that occurs as the pair will drive the others away from the
Thanks for your time James! You're great!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Majano Wand (for
'pest' Palys too?) -- 08/19/11
Identification required 9/1/11
I have used your site extensively, but could not find the species
I have received as present. Thanks for a great site.
I would like to identify the coral in the image attached.
<This appears to be a Zoanthid, likely of the genus Palythoa.
DO make sure and wash your hands after they've been in
contact w/ this animal/colony, or even just the system water. DO
read here re:
Re: Identification required 9/2/11
Thanks very much for the reply. Would you recommend I remove this
coral altogether? After reading the posts on the website, I
gathered that they can turn into a pest due to their aggressive
I keep lots of other zoa's, buttons, cloves etc, fish,
bristle stars etc and as far as I am aware they are pretty
<Maybe... the fact that you have the other Zoanthids... you
may be fine>
My questions really: They are not the prettiest, should I
<I'd at the very least slowly acclimate each to each
through mixing water back and forth in separate systems for a few
<And you, BobF>
Good afternoon WWM crew,
I have a 120 gallon reef tank attached to a 20 gallon sump.
Unfortunately a good portion of my viable coral space has been overrun
<<Ahh'¦I can certainly relate. I have dealt/am dealing
with errant Palys and to a larger degree, out of control orange Rics.
Both of which were hitchhikers that I allowed to get out of control
'before' dealing with them>>
In searching WWM, it appears that the only recommended method for
combating these 'pests' safely is the physical removal of the
rock from the tank and subsequent manual removal of the Palys.
<<Mmm, this is likely the 'most' thorough and safe
method'¦but not the only thing that can be done. Though most
anything you do short of the physical removal is likely going to be a
continuous uphill battle>>
Unfortunately for me, the rocks that they've grown on are 'load
bearing' in my aquascape.
<<Yup, know the feeling>>
Removing them would require me to virtually tear down the entire
I'm not sure I have the fortitude for that at this current
Recently, a product has come onto the market called the Majano
<<Have seen it>>
It evidently works well to kill Aiptasia and majanos.
<<So it would seem>>
Some users have even reported success killing Zoanthids and Palys.
<<Have heard this as well>>
Do you think this would be a viable solution to my problem, if I only
killed a few Palys at a time?
<<If it does indeed work on the Palythoa. I have injected these
with straight Lugol's solution only to have them recover in a
week'¦very tough organisms. If you have the money to spend,
then by all means give the wand a try. If this fails, I have found that
'repeated' injections and/or coating (every few days) with a
thick Kalkwasser slurry will eventually knock them back for a while
(this method works 'slightly' better on the pest
Ricordea'¦another tough customer)>>
My intention would be to kill 5 or so, then immediately follow up with
a water change and a fresh Polyfilter.
<<Should be fine>>
Repeat every week or so until the colony is back in check.
<<Worth trying'¦ Like you say, the alternative is to
tear down your reef>>
Thanks for your time and all you do for the aquatic community,
<<A collaborative effort'¦happy to share, mate. Eric
Re: Sick zoos --
Thanks for getting back to me. See my answers below...
<Mmm, what is immediately above this Zoanthid
***Ricordea mushrooms and another colony of zoos... the
other zoos where added two weeks ago, but are easily 3
inches away. The Ric's are about 4inches away
<<Uhh... I see what is almost assuredly the issue in
your system pic you sent along... have cropped the area...
to the upper right there appears to be a healthy Euphylliid
of some species. It is almost doubtless sending out
mesenterial filaments, stinging the Zoanthid>
It appears that there
is some Cyanobacterial growth to the right...
***I am not certain that is Cyano? I have had Cyano before
but it looked a lot "softer" than this stuff.
This red stuff is quite hard. (I am assuming you are
referring to the red stuff on the bit of white pipe behind
the sick Zoos). I feed heavily, but skim aggressively and
my po4 is never over 0.03 (I test weekly with a Hanna
digital tester)... but obviously you would know this better
than I... so maybe it is Cyano.
<Easy to scrape, take a look under a 'scope... or
just feel... is it slimy?>
Are any other organisms in this system showing overt signs
***Actually just below the Zoos is a clam that is slowly
recovering from a rough time. It was previously getting too
much light ( at least I think that was the issue),
<I think it too was getting stung>
so I moved it to this location just below the sick
(3 weeks ago maybe?). I also have an SPS on the other side
of the tank that browned out last week (I got too close to
him with Joes Juice trying to get Aiptasia I think). I have
stopped using this and bought some peppermint shrimp. I
should note that I only used Joes Juice in that one spot on
the other side of the tank.
What other stinging-celled life is around this area?
***I have torch coral that is probably within 4 inches.
<<Ahh! This is IT>
It actually has grown into another colony of Zoos, and they
seem to not bother each other too much. Is it possible a
torch would touch one group of Zoos and have little effect,
and then sting another group of zoos that is inches away
and do so much damage?
I never actually considered this... I have attached a tank
shot so you can get an idea of the spacing.
What sort of (solid) supplementation do you do?
***The only regular form of supplementation I use is a
calcium reactor. In the last month my co2 controller
stopped working for a few days and I had to use reef
builder to get the ALK back up, but that was it. It was
added to the sump over a few days and has since
Is it placed directly in the tank?
Thanks for your time Bob.
<Welcome Jas... I know it's a pain, but I'd be
moving either the torch (with at least six inches, better a
foot) or Zoanthid colony apart. BobF>
|Re: Sick zoos
Thanks so much Bob. I'll adjust accordingly. If I could
please ask just one follow up question? To the right of the
torch coral, you see all the green Zoos that have grown
directly into the Torch coral? They seem totally
<Yes and yes>
So my question is, what makes this type of Zoos so tolerant,
and the sick Zoos being so affected and showing so much
stress after all this time? (almost overnight).
<Mmm, don't know, but I'll speculate that there is
some sort of chemical communication and accommodation that
occurs... but on what basis?>
The reason I ask is that I really like how the two have grown
into each other, but of course I don't want to have stuff
<Do try our new search tool (thanks Darrel) with this
string: +Zoanthid and +Euphyllia compatibility
Read the cached views. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick zoos -- 06/17/11
Will do. Thanks Bob
Flame Angel; Centropyge loricula comp.
rating w/ Zoanthids 5/19/11
Just a quick note to confirm what I think I understand from doing some
A fellow aquarist in my area has a beautiful red flame angel that they
need to move, and I was considering it. It looks like it would be a
good fit in my 65g with 110lbs of established live rock. I would need
to some rearranging of the rocks to make it happy as well as the two
clowns and Kole tang, every would get along, BUT:
The Flame will likely nip at Zoanthids, correct? And as I really like
my Zoas, I should probably pass?
<<Aquarists have housed this and other Centropyge angels in mixed
reef aquaria for decades with mixed results, many never report any
issues at all and others complain of predation on their sessile
invertebrates. In particular with this species tube worms, smaller
anemones and the mantles of Tridacnid and Hippopus clams are often
nipped at despite their primary diet consisting of benthic algaes,
zooplankton, and smaller tunicates and sponges. In short there are no
guarantees and there would be a risk even if a small one. Having said
that with the volume of water you have I wouldn't add this fish
considering the potential size of your surgeon (tang), it has a similar
color and behavior...despite their small stature Centropyges are some
of the most 'by sight' patrolling territorial fish there
Many thanks, as always,
Shrimp-Eating Zoa? Oh yeah -- 05/07/11
Hi all, as with most people I have been reading through your site
for information for a while now - thank you, it has been very
As you can see in the attached image, I seem to have an incident
of one of my Zoas having a (not so) light snack on one of my
cleaner shrimp. As far as I can tell, this is not a skin/shedding
but the shrimp itself.
<Looks to be the whole thing>
Is this normal behaviour?
This small 'Coral Garden' from my LFS is right next to
the 'hideouts' of both my cleaner shrimps and my
blood/fire shrimp - should I perhaps move the corals (which
appear to be thriving), or is this unlikely to become the
<If capture-able, Zoanthids will consume most all
Thanks in advance,
<Welcome Paul. Bob Fenner>
Is there a Zoa/Coral Expert in the House?/Zoanthid
Hlth., Compatibility 3/17/2011
I suspect there is someone with extensive experience and
knowledge of Zoanthid diseases and pests who can help me... and I
need help! I have what appears to be some sort of fungal or
bacterial ailment affecting several species of Zoanthids in my
tank. I've done everything I can to iron out the well-known,
well-documented diseases and pests. So far I have zero signs of
spiders, Zoa pox (large distinct raised white spots), Nudibranchs
after months of looking for them.
The behavior I have seen has spread between colonies, usually
adjacent (but not always). Some Zoas across the tank or even on
the same rock are open and happy, while others are miserable and
haven't opened in weeks or have shrunk to be almost
invisible. It is almost always the same set of symptoms.
- Bulging center disc/mouth
- Discoloration/matte/yellowish coloration
- Shrinking in size over time (some of mine have shrunk from
normal size to just a few millimeters wide and are very
pale/colorless, but have survived in that state for many
- Staying closed most of the time, rarely opening
- Recently I have also seen a couple of odd things, such as some
filamentous-looking material (fuzz-like, but not cotton-like) on
some ailing polyps
- Odd, long red strands, do not appear to be algae, coming off
of/growing around Zoas, and even coming out of the mouth a couple
times - Infrequently on affected Zoas (noticeable when closed)
what almost looks like the Zoa's skin sloughing off in a few
places, flapping in the current
My tank has been up and running for about a year and a half. I
take the stewardship of the tank very seriously and all my water
chemistry is stable and within range, with 15% PWC weekly. These
are not being stung by anything that I know of. I've ruled
out every commonly identified ailment and am at a loss here.
If it is something that can be fought back with dips, what would
you suggest? These Zoas are all attached firmly to and grown all
over a medium sized rock so I would have to remove the entire
piece from the tank and (ensuring that there are no snails or
other critters hiding inside) dip the whole thing at once in
matched pH/temp freshwater, possibly with iodine.
Would this help? Would it kill off enough animals in the rockwork
to spike ammonia or otherwise cause issue in the tank? If I do
dip the whole rock, is iodine a bad idea (since it will likely
get stuck in the rock and brought into the tank? If it looks like
a bacterial issue, shall I try dipping with Furazolidone?
I know that's a lot of information and I probably sound like
an aquarium hypochondriac, but this is extremely frustrating and
I don't want the animals to suffer. Attached are a few photos
that sort of illustrate what I'm seeing.
<Victor, please provide us a list of other corals you have in
I have a strong feeling that allelopathy may be playing a role
here. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Is there a Zoa/Coral Expert in the House?/Zoanthid
Compatibility 3/17/2011 - 3/18/2011
Hi James, thanks for the reply.
The other corals in the tank include...
Zoanthus sp (Various)
Pocillopora sp (green)
Pocillopora sp (pink)
Acropora sp (green, wild)
Acropora millepora "Palmer's"
Acropora sp "Lokani 20k"
Acropora sp (blue Staghorn)
Acropora sp (red planet)
Montipora capricornis (red)
Montipora capricornis (green, purple edges)
Montipora palawanensis (apple berry)
Montipora danae (Sunset)
Montipora danae (Superman)
Favia sp (Christmas)
Clavularia sp (Papaya)
Clavularia sp (tiny purplish cloves)
Sarcophyton ehrenbergi (neon green toadstool)
Acanthastrea sp (two types)
Actinodiscus sp "superman"
<Likely your worst customer here. Euphyllias can form long and
very powerful sweeper tentacles and very few corals survive an
attack by members of this genus.>
(Boy that's a lot now that I had to list them out)
<Is quite a few.>
Honestly I would rule out allelopathic causes. The reasoning is
that I'm using a small amount of carbon,
<Carbon is not a complete cure all for allelopathy. I know of
a couple of instances where aquarists who use Chemipure on a
regular basis and have introduced Mushroom Anemones into their
system which eventually wiped out their entire Zoanthid colonies
and Torch Corals within a matter of weeks.
Coral compatibility is just as important as compatibility among
and the Sarcophyton is only the size of a quarter. Furthermore it
has been in the tank for over a year and this is a more recent
development. The Actinodiscus specimen is new, the size of a
dime, and all of these issues predate the introduction of it into
<Like most Corallimorphs, the Actinodiscus have developed
effective chemical defense systems and can cause significant
passive destruction to nearby corals. Most corals will not be
able to settle in/live near these corals regardless of their
A bit more information that may or may not help. I've
experienced a recent Bryozoan bloom in the nooks and crannies of
my rock work; small root-like organisms that seem to be
flourishing. But more significant than that is an apparent mat of
fungus, bacteria, chrysophytes, or a saprophytic alga.
It's a thin translucent colorless fuzzy film over much of the
rockwork that does not look anything like green hair algae, red
slime, etc, and is also found on and around the affected polyps
(but not on any of my other corals). I am very confused!
<I suggest reading here and related files found in the
I'd also like to suggest getting yourself a copy of Aquarium
Corals by Eric Borneman, likely one of the best references on
coral care, health, and disease that I have come across.>
I forgot one coral, an Acropora yongei (green slimer).
In the pictures from my first email you can see the
aforementioned film/fuzz in a few places, but I didn't
photograph it specifically. I'll see if I can get some shots
<Won't be necessary. Since you mention nothing of your
tank size, lighting, filtration methods, etc,
I will assume you are using an efficient protein skimmer which
can help reduce allelopathic compounds
along with using more than "a small amount" of carbon
and/or chemical media such as Chemipure.
I also suggest dosing iodine/dide. I feel much of your problem is
a combination of stress related necrosis and allelopathy. Do
concentrate on improving water quality, good test results are not
necessarily indicative of good water quality. I will ask Bob for
his input here as well. James (Salty Dog)><<Nada
Holothuria edulis Behavior, incomp. w/
Hello WWM crew!
<Hello James, nice name by the way.>
I've noticed some interesting behavior from my sea cucumber I
thought I would pass along.
Last night I noticed in his pile of "pooped out"(lack of
better term) sand he had ingested a small colony of Zoanthids and given
them back to me intact. Today, neither of the involved parties looks
affected, but this is a behavior I had never heard of so I figured I
would pass this along! Keep an eye on what's laying in the sand
with those guys around!
<And thank you for sharing with us. Will post.
James (Salty Dog)>
Emerald crab eating soft coral picture
I do not have any questions for you today (its a wonder!) but I
did snap a picture of an emerald crab hitchhiker eating one of my
<That little bugaboo! Caught in the act!>
I had this hitchhiker in my tank for a longer time than my mantis
shrimp but figured he would be food for the mantis (when it was
added) so I never really bothered to fish him out. After adding
the mantis, I didn't see much of him so I figured the crab
was breakfast already. Today, to my surprise, he was out in the
open munching on my newly added Zoa frag that I had just added
about 10 minutes ago.
Guess he liked the colors so much on that one he finally went out
of hiding to eat it. I never had any evidence of him eating
<Mmm, Zoanthids aren't Alcyonaceans (Soft Corals)>
I guess now I know the reason why my LR coralline algae was
"bleaching." I always thought it was my lights.
He's in my FOWLR tank now with my other emerald. Guess he
could help my other aquarium stay clean without eating my
<Have oft mentioned that Mithraculus species are largely
are not "cleaner uppers", but eater uppers like most
Anyways, I figured you guys might like the picture and may want
to use it for future reference when people ask about emeralds
eating softies and other reef
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Emerald crab eating soft coral picture
<Just Bob please Pete>
Thanks for correcting me on Zoas not being "soft"
corals. I see them marketed under soft corals so many times I
fall into the habit of terming them softies =D
<Ahh, no big deal... Cheers, BobF>
Hello WetWeb Crew,
Is it possible for you to tell from my attached picture of
Zoanthid, whether or not this species contains Palytoxin?
<It's most likely a Zoanthus sp, claimed to be non toxic
in most of the hobby references. However, I have to note that
Palytoxin (ptx) has been found in most Zoanthids in doses
theoretically sufficient for an intoxication. Palythoa and
Protopalythoa are the ones said to be toxic in the hobby area,
but Zoanthus and Parazoanthus are also toxic. I'd like to add
that given proper care they should not be very dangerous to the
aquarist (see below) anyway.>
I'm rather fond of hand feeding my fish and do own gloves but
seldom wear, though I know the recommendation is always to wear.
As I currently have no other Zoanthids I would sooner part with
this specimen than be forced to wear gloves at every feeding. Can
you enlighten me?
<Do not grab into the aquarium with wounds at your hand. Be
very careful when fragging Zoanthids of any kind (surgical mask,
gloves, goggles). Don't stress these corals too much. Most
people don't need these kind of safety regulations and do
what ever they want with their Zoanthids without being harmed,
however, the reported cases of intoxication were always linked to
a lack of gear or severe disturbances of the Zoanthid
From my searches I've found info saying that the ones with
Palytoxin are not that commonly available, and a picture I looked
at of a toxic variety did not look like this one.
<As noted above there are no genera, which can be said to be
toxin free. Cheers, Marco.
PS: A little reading for the interested: "Implication of
Palytoxin in the coral reef ecosystem" by Mebs at al. found
in the journal Toxicon, Volume 33, Number 3, 1995 and
"Distribution and sequestration of Palytoxin in coral reef
animals" by Gleibs & Mebs in Toxicon, Volume 37, Number
11, 1999. To name just two studies out of quite a number. One may
have to read them in a library if they are not available on the
Loose Polyps, Re: mushroom behavior
question, & Zoanthid incomp. --
Still loving reading all the info that is on your site!
<<Excellent! Can keep one occupied a while for sure>>
I read and learn every day!
The new mushroom is now almost the size of a dime and another is
<<Amazing creatures, eh? Unfortunately this propensity to
propagate so easily can often lead to infestations'¦unless
this is the desired outcome.>>
I have a new question tonight.
I closely look into my tank several times a day
<<Ah yes'¦why have it otherwise, eh>>
and this morning nothing was amiss. Tonight however there is a polyp of
each yellow polyp and Zoanthid laying on the aragonite at the bottom of
These are both placed on top of my live rock so I am not sure how they
would have gotten loose like they are and why both on the same day.
<<Maybe merely coincidental>>
They are not side by side. They are probably about six inches or more
apart. Both colonies seem very happy. They are growing and spreading
<<Maybe a clue'¦perhaps the loose polyps are a result
of the colonies trying to expand/grow on to adjacent
Here is background so that maybe you can determine if something in my
tank caused this to happen.... 29 gallon with about 25lbs of live rock
and 40 lbs of aragonite. Inhabitants are one ocellaris clown and one
fire fish. I have a coral banded shrimp, four hermits (red & blue
legged) and two snails.
<<The shrimp/crabs may also be players here>>
There is also a spaghetti worm that I have recently discovered.
The levels are 1.024 salinity, KH 240, pH 8.0, nitrite 0, and nitrate
0-5. I can't think of anything that would have severed these polyps
and don't want that to continue.
<<May have been the shrimp/crabs'¦as eluded to
The polyps on the floor are open and healthy looking.
<<Yes'¦amazingly resilient organisms>>
I could scoop them up and put them in a container with limited water
movement with some rubble to have them reattach and begin new
<<Indeed'¦and a very common practice>>
What do you suggest?
<<Just as you just stated'¦and I see no need to be
concerned at present>>
Thank you for all of your advice!! What you do is really
<<Quite welcome'¦is our pleasure>>
<<Keep reading/learning/enjoying April! Cheers'¦ Eric
Re: Loose Polyps -- 03/12/10
Thanks for answering so quickly Eric!
<<Quite welcome April>>
One more thing.
Are they compatible species?
<<The yellow polyps and Zoanthids? Nope'¦ At least not
in the sense that they can touch or even be in 'very close'
proximity to one another. You can/will find folks who will state to the
contrary'¦but I assure you they will benefit and do better
if given at least a few inches separation >>
Or more clearly ... is it okay for them to attach on the same rock (if
<<Only if you wish to lock them in mortal combat'¦
It's rarely wise to mix species from the same genus in this manner,
much less species from 'differing' genera. If you do some
perusing on line you can surely find etailers who offer such mixing of
species/genera on the same rock/attachment point'¦but in my
opinion, with very few exceptions this is folly in the long term. As
with most all the organisms associated with reefs, these are very
noxious critters who are more than ready and willing to do battle for
every inch of available real estate>>
I learned a hard lesson with the striped mushroom and a pulsing xenia.
They attached to the same rock and being new to the hobby I didn't
realize what was happening to my xenia before it was too late.
<<Always welcome my friend'¦ EricR>>
R2: Loose Polyps -- 03/13/10
As always great advice!
<<Am pleased you think so>>
I will put in two separate containers with rubble in for them to attach
<<Always a pleasure to assist'¦
Re: Heteroxenia sp. & Caulastrea sp.,
allelo f' 3/11/10
Thanks, I've read some of the links you mentioned. I have moved the
Zoas to the bottom of the tank away from other corals, put in some
carbon to remove any potential toxins.
It almost looks like the Xenia's stalk has been stung or
I'm also moving the Xenia away from the Zoas. Any need to
"dip" the Xenia in something to help the tissue heal...
<Never... read on WWM re... worse than worthless... Perhaps
additional iodide/ate... BobF>