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FAQs about Zoanthids 2

Related Articles: Zoanthids, Sea Mat: An Ocean Of Color For The Aquarium by Blane Perun,

Related FAQs: Zoanthids 1, Zoanthids 3Zoanthid ID, Zoanthid Behavior, Zoanthid Compatibility, Zoanthid Selection, Zoanthid System, Zoanthid Lighting, Zoanthid Feeding, Zoanthid Health, Zoanthid Reproduction

Amphipods are attacking my zoanthids 1/2/04 Hi I've always heard that amphipods are desirable, but.  I am returning to the hobby after 20 years, encouraged by new techniques. <Happy new year, Malcolm, and welcome back to the hobby!> I have a 125g tank with a 30 gallon home-made eco-system style sump (using Kent Marine bio-sediment and Caulerpa taxifolia) - the sump also has a Prizm pro skimmer at one end and a 9 watt UV hanging at the other.  Between the pump and three powerheads (on a Red Sea wavemaker) I have about 1200 gph total flow.  300 watts of compact pc lighting on 14 hours a day.  90 lbs of Aragamax plus 20 lbs live sand, 150 lbs of live rock. <All sounds good.> The tank has been up for two months.  Temp 79; SG 1.024.  After the water had settled down (zero ammonia, nitrites, nitrates) I added a cleaner crew (~25 assorted snails, a brittle starfish, six red and three blue-legged hermits) and 3 Lysmata wurdemanni.  About two weeks ago I added a rock with a healthy colony of zoanthids.  A few days ago I added a Randall's Goby that had been in quarantine for three weeks. <All still sounds good.  Kudos on your patience and quarantine practice!> All was going well until yesterday when I noticed that the rock with the zoanthid colony was becoming infested with amphipods.  Amphipods and other small invertebrates are plentiful in this tank.  There is a lot of life in both the sump and the main tank, but so far I have not seen anything that I thought was harmful.  The worst the amphipods have done up to now is occasionally to irritate the Astraea snails. <Lot's of life is the benefit of having the patience to let the tank stay fish free for a while.  I am curious about the amphipods irritating Astrea snails.  Might it be possible to get a pic of one of these 'pods?  You may have to capture a couple and put them in a dish.  Get as close up as possible.> I have attached a photo of the zoanthids.  Three days ago they were all wide open and bursting with health.  Now I can see amphipods apparently eating tentacles - most of the polyps stay retracted most of the time.  Some seem to be unable to protect themselves and amphipods appear to feed at their tips - these are the polyps that appear to have had their tentacles eaten. <I can't rule this out as impossible, but amphipods are generally vegetarians, and have mouth parts highly adapted to grazing algae.  My hunch is that this would prevent them from being able to eat zoanthid flesh.> I've moved the colony rock off its perch on a live rock shelf and onto sand - I tried to shoo the amphipods off with blasts from a baster (this may have worked partially). <It is possible that the 'pods are physically irritating the zoanthids, but even this seems unlikely.  They don't look too bad, and sometimes just need some time to settle in.> What can I do? <I would see if they improve on their own.  Please do try to send a pic of one of the suspect amphipods.  There is a possibility that you have some parasitic or predatory 'pod, but these are quite rare.  Also, inspect the colony carefully for predatory snails.  They would be turbinate with a cone shaped opercular cover.> This is my first question, but the advice I've read here has always been terrific.  Thanks in advance and happy new year.  Malcolm Young <Glad you have found the site helpful!  Best of luck.  Adam>

Re: Amphipods are attacking my zoanthids 1/4/04 Dear Adam et al:  Thanks for your quick response to "Amphipods are attacking my zoanthids". Since I wrote (but before your reply), I moved the zoanthids to a PVC pedestal in a 10 gallon quarantine tank (see photo).  During acclimation I tried two 10 second freshwater dips.  These did the zoanthids no harm, and each time 4-5 amphipods dropped off.  My girlfriend and I have extracted half a dozen more amphipods using a baster. We have seen no snails.  I previously attached a photo of the zoanthids after the attack was a day old.  I am attaching photos of some suspect amphipods and of the zoanthids in their new home.  There is also a photo from a couple of days before the attack showing how the colony had looked for a couple of weeks. I should add that during the attack, before the move, my girlfriend and I both caught amphipods clearly feeding at the top of polyps that appeared to have lost their tentacles. <I did a bit more digging, and amphipods lean more toward carnivore than I originally thought.  It is still my assertion that typical amphipods will not actively prey on live corals under normal circumstances, though.> I estimate that slightly more than half of the colony is damaged.  These amphipods (which I have thought of as Grammus shrimps) are the same as I have had since getting my first ten pounds of live rock in August.  They range from a few millimeters to perhaps as large as 1.5 cm.  They are ubiquitous and abundant - at night I might see more than one per square inch on average all over the tank- there must have been a couple of dozen inhabiting the rock with the zoanthids.  The demise of the polyps seemed to coincide with a population bloom of the pods. <It may be that the once the initial population of pod's grew, they ran out of food and turned to the zoanthids.  Providing them with more food or waiting for the population to fall back in line with the amount of available food might help.> There are still a couple of amphipods in the colony rock - I am trying to suck them out with a baster when I see them - one of these is in a photo (4mmAmphipod-alive.jpg).  The polyps contract when the pods contact them. <All of my zoanthids always seem to have a lot of pods among the polyps.  You are describing some really big pods though!  Usually, .5-.75cm is pretty big, so if you have some 1cm+, they are monsters!  It is possible that their sheer size is irritating.> The zoanthids appear to me to be recovering after 24 hours in the quarantine tank.  However, most have been pretty chewed up.  This tank has a few pods, but maybe 5% or less of the density of the main tank.  Will the polyps regenerate?  Or are the damaged polyps doomed?  Most important, do I have mutant pods? <Your zoanthids should recover fine after the pressure is removed.  It is possible that you do have a particularly predatory strain of pods, but probably more likely, you just have some really big and hungry ones that have gotten that way from lack of predation pressure.> One more amphipod photo - this one is about 3mm long.  He was crawling around the polyps (spotted because of their contraction). You mentioned that amphipods tend to be vegetarian.  Although these seem to feed primarily on algae, I have often noticed that they go after  small bits of seafood that I feed to my 3 peppermint shrimp, so I don't  think that the ones I have are pure vegetarians. <As I said above, I did re-check and find that they do tend toward carnivore, but rarely on living tissue.> One last thing.  I intend to put a six-line wrasse into the quarantine tank in a week, my second fish.  I hope he will eat the amphipods  in the tank and on the zoanthid colony. <Six line's are extraordinary 'pod predators.  It will certainly help limit the population.  Best Regards!  Adam>

Re: Amphipods are attacking my zoanthids Dear Adam et al: Thanks again for your spectacular help! Don't bother to reply to this, as I think I agree with all the advice I have gotten and things are getting under control.  Just some further observations: I agree that it was only the larger pods (>1cm) that were seen eating tentacles on otherwise healthy looking polyps. The smaller pods have only been seen feeding on injured tissue. I agree that the population seemed to be a trigger - but there is always a supply of varied algae.  On the other hand, they do go after any crumbs from feeding the 3 peppermint shrimp voraciously, so maybe they are extra-hungry. The only other suspect for initially injuring the zoanthids is a pure white bristleworm that I believe to be benign (.3-.4" diam; two inches of length has been visible three times in a month- never near the zoanthids). Again, thanks for your help.  You've put me on the way to a solution. Malcolm Young

Orange zoanthid 12/5/03 hello all,<howdy> I recently bought a very nice rock that has both colony of  star polyps and some orange zoanthids on it. However, the star polyps are encroaching on the zoanthids and so I want to trim the star polyps back. I have found this is normally very easy .  However I'm worried that when I try to remove the star polyps form the zoanthids, they will tear and release Palytoxin.    <a legitimate but small concern. Wear gloves and use carbon in the tank and all will be fine for this small maneuver> I will wear gloves when I do this to be safe.  However, should I be  I worried about the effects of the toxin on the other organism in my tank? thanks! -matt <no worries... and time it with a water change afterwards if you like. Best regards, Anthony>

Zoanthids     I have a 280 gallon tank that was a FOWLR until the recent hurricane that we had on the East Coast. I'm currently re-setting my system up and have approximately 215lbs. of Rock in the tank. Can't say that it is live because it was sitting out of the water for about two weeks while I was out of power. My question is that I would like to set up a system with lots of zoanthids covering the live rock but still want to have fish in the Tank.  Is this possible? <Yes> The fish in the system would include: Naso Tang, Red Coris Wrasse, Goldentail Eel and possibly a Australian Harlequin Tuskfish or Queen Angel (haven't decided). <queen angel might eat them> Fish will be kept to a minimum. There is currently two Turbo-Flotor 1000s running in a 75 gallon sump along with 3000gph closed loop circulation with (20) 160watt VHO lights operated by a Ice Cap Ballast on my system. My Tank Measures 60"x30"x30", how much more light will be needed if zoanthids are possible since tank is 30" deep? <since the tank is so deep I would put 2 175 watt halides on it and use you ice cap for actinics> Any certain Kelvin rating that will work better than another? <for what you are trying to keep, not really, go with what color you like. the lower the Kelvin the yellower the light will look> I talked to someone at custom aquatic and they said that using the double ended 175watt  MH would be the way to go. <double ended or HQI fixture or regular halides either one is good (I like the HQI better..> Your opinions on this? If zoanthids are not possible is there anything else that can be placed in a aquarium with fish to make it more appealing to the eye besides fish? <you can also get away with some other soft corals to like mushrooms good luck MikeH>  

Zoanthid - 11/25/03 Hello,     I have had some coral branch rock with small green button polyps (563.jpg) which had been doing fine for some weeks. <Very nice pictures> Recently they closed up and remained that way while other polyps in the tank have not (other.jpgs)<Interesting> I noticed some fine "smoke" trails emanating from some of the polyps and a jellylike mass from at least one. <possible zooxanthellae bail out or just some excrement. Not too sure here>  I have executed a partial water change of 30% and my chemical levels are good from the standpoint of what most others report (Ca 400ppm, etc.).  I am mystified as to what might be happening. Any suggestions? <What has changed or been added recently? So hard to say what the issue could be here. I would leave them be and be sure that there are no other corals near them that may be affecting their ability to expand. How old is the lighting??? Are you dosing anything?? ~Paul>  Thanks!       From Sunny Misawa Japan       Richard Schulde

Follow-up on closed zoanthids - 11/25/03 Thanks for the quick reply. <We aim to please> Lighting is very new, in a 30 gallon reef, and runs up to 260w (2x65w Act., 2x65w 10k) depending on time of day. <Did the closing of these polyps coincide with the addition of these new lights?> I add some Tech-I and have a Firefish and lemon goby which I have fed some garlic and Metronidazole soaked food for illness. <Were the polyps open during this time??> they appear to have recovered and now only get straight food. <Good to hear> The other corals (hammer, red mushroom, polyps) have co-existed fine until now and no-one else seems to have any troubles. <Means nothing to the captive animal world. Corals use allelopathy plain and simple, as a form of territory control. Some limit coral growth through the release of terpenoids (explains the smell of some soft corals when touched or cut. Smell your hands after a fragging. Smell funny after???)Other corals use there feeding tentacles as a means of defense. (nematocysts - stinging cells) So never count out corals within as far away as six inches and in some cases even further. Everything is fine until one day one of your corals begins to decline rapidly. I am not saying this is definitely the cause...... just something to think about> One small group of 4-6 green polyps had broken loose from the rest and settled across the tank exhibits the same behavior which I think is odd as well. <Agreed. I would just leave things be for a while. How long have they been like this, again?? Don't move them, only dose what you are testing for. See if this helps. Keep the water changes up and do about 10% twice a week maybe even three times a week in case there is some pollutant. Otherwise these corals actually live in very extreme areas. High flow and sometimes no flow, exposed to air even in some cases. I have seen them in polluted stagnant backwater areas in many tropical areas.> I am thinking about removing them to a smaller tank alone where I can control conditions for them and see what happens. <I would wait. No need to add the stress of a new acclimation to the fold. Leave them for awhile and see what happens. If they start to disappear then maybe move them> Any other thoughts? <Lots, but lets just stick to the topic at hand, eh? Hehheheheeh> Thanks again! <Oh my pleasure indeed. You are most welcome. ~Paul> Rick

Protopalythoa toxica?  11/17/03 Hello WetWeb, I recently acquired a star polyp that I believe is a Protopalythoa Toxica. A photo is attached. <alas... we cannot ID to species reliably by photograph... but similar/same agreed> I purchased this at a LFS and was told it was from Hawaii. The polyps were not attached to any kind of rock and was told rock cannot be removed from Hawaii. <correct, I believe... but the do get shipped occasionally. Wish it weren't so> I have placed it in substrate. Lighting is PC 220 watts (110 watts at 10,000 and 110 Actinic) on a 55 Gal. tank. <heavy blue light indeed... great for LPS and some softies., corallimorphs> This tank is about 17" tall. The LFS told me they feed theirs frozen Mysis shrimp. Mine does not seem to want Mysis. What else do they eat? <they will eat small/tiny minces meats of marine origin... mysids are good. Yours may simply need more time to acclimate. Feed zooplankton substitutes> Next question: A few of the polyp heads have changed from a gray green mottle to having yellow in them. Is this normal? <yes... variable color and adaptations to the change in lighting> Not sure you can tell from the picture. I have been reading Anthony's book and realize they are poisonous and will heed warnings. John <heehee... true my friend... and the species name underscores it all <G>. best regards, Anthony>

Re: Protopalythoa toxica 11/18/03 Anthony, Thanks for the quick response. Will these attach to LR? <yes... in time they will easily> As stated I have them placed in substrate. Should I attach to LR using maybe fishing line? <personally preferences... they will grow and spread across rock or rubble just the same> I had them placed on LR at first without attaching. Turns out my clown fish didn't like it there and kept knocking it off the rock. <my guess is a maroon clownfish? They are notorious for this <G>> I am enjoying your  book. Very informative. Keep up the good work! John <ahh... thanks kindly for your interest/support! Best of luck :) Anthony>

Got zoos? Moe Kirby and crew came down Sunday for a meeting and took some nice shots of my tank. Thought I'd share this one since it came out so nice! Kevin
<Very nice. Bob F>

- Palythoa w/ white dots - Hi, Bought some Palythoa on Sunday the 6th today is the 10th I have noticed some small white spots on about 4-5 out side polyps only that the white spots are on the edges of the polyps ,what might be causing this in just a few days.. some say it could be from bumping it , ruff handling.. rest look great.. Ph.8.2,salinity 1.023,alk 9 dKH, mag 1330,calcium 280.. (low) lights 65 watt each 10,000k and 1 blue actinic on for about 8 hrs day. <Sounds like it may be getting stung by something, hard to say without a picture but likely nothing to worry about. Just keep an eye on it! -Kevin> thanks Scott

Sick Zoanthid 7/7/03 Thanks Anthony... I'm down to 1 healthy polyp left. <sadly common.... quick necrosis with cnidarians that have little skeletal/"muscle" mass> He (she, it) is hanging on for dear life in a very stubborn fashion. Curiously, it's at the outer rim of the colony, farthest from the 'ground zero' of the atom bomb analogy I used (and you metaphorically elaborated on with your Mexican food anecdotes.) <VBG> I dipped this colony into a commercial reef dip composed of iodine and other mysterious things, and the disease seemed to have stopped, albeit there was only this one healthy polyp - and a few stragglers - left by then. The stragglers seem to be permanently closed up, not necessarily dead, but they don't look good. <Hmmm... may survive after all> Thanks for the 'not for free' advice on those products. Curious what out there on my LFS's overpriced supplement shelves are really helpful in any context? <phytoplankton used correctly is good... Dick Boyd's Vita Chem is excellent... and Selcon is simply outstanding (source of lipids/HUFAs)> I'll keep the daily iodine dipping up on this last polyp, and I'll probably get the Dremel drill out and attach a polishing scrub-brush-wheel and dermabrade all of the polyp corpses completely off (instead of chiseling the rock in 2.)> I sure have a funny taste left over in my mouth now after brushing with my Sonic Care. <Don't even joke about it mate... some zoanthids are fatally venomous. Always handle inverts with gloves... and no licking fingers afterwards <G>> Thanks again, slc <kind regards, Anthony>

Zoanthid Meltdown/Necrosis 7/4/03 Anthony, I've moved this colony into a stronger current flow area (albeit somewhat laminar right now, but I'm fixing that in a few days), and I have scrubbed off necrotic tissue as you recommended. I actually used a Sonic Care tooth brush and it seemed to work well. <excellent and ingenious> I also added CoralLife Liquid Reef Gold Pro Plus (!) and tried to syringe-feed the polyps with CoralLife MicroVert...but they didn't seem to notice. <No exaggeration... I would not take either product for free and I sure as heck would not use them in my tanks. Do consider feeding thawed mysis shrimps, Sweetwater plankton, Pacifica plankton, etc... any or all soaked in Selcon/lipid rich supplements> I sound like a product placement ad. Again, they're under about 8-12 inches of water, under 2X65 watt CF actinics & 2X65 watt 10,000K full ranges. I have lots of bristleworms, but they don't seem to bother this colony and the way the colony is melting down reminds me of the way bacteria spread in a Petri dish, if you've ever seen this behavior. <Yes... occurs in my refrigerator in a weekly basis <G>>  (like a slow-motion atom bomb from the ground zero point of impact outwards.) <Hmmm... and that reminds me of the morning after if I eat the food item by mistake. Or is that what happen to me with Mexican food? One of the two> Not what I'd call predator attack patterns. Any more info would be helpful and most appreciated. <As will all afflicted animals... QT is usually the best. If not before entry to display... then after for isolation away from healthy animals if nothing else. Daily iodine dosing may be helpful too> I have only about 10 good specimens left, out of 60 or so, and I think the battle is slowly being lost. Perhaps I should chisel off the good section of the host live rock and go from there ? <Indeed may be helpful.> As a final bit of info., the remaining polyps don't seem to have their tentacles raised anymore when they're open...they just kind of droop. I have my salinity @ 1.0235, temp about 81.5, pH 8.2, <pH is flat if that is a daytime reading... aim for 8.3-8.6> .. and ammonia 0-.25 ppm (can't get more accurate with my test kit), nitrates & nitrites 0, copper 0, phosphates 0. Thanks, SLC <Do allow some nitrate (under 10 ppm) for coral health/feeding. Best regards, Anthony>

Sick Zoanthids 6/29/03 Thanks Anthony/WWM. <cheers, mate> I believe these corals are "zoanthids" in the (of course) Zoanthus spp. The common names appear to be Sea Mats, Button Polyps. I think the term 'colored' means they are naturally of different colors. My LFS would be very unlikely to sell colored corals, given their reputation. <ahhh... good to hear> The closest picture I've found is in the book "Reef Secrets" by Nilsen & Fossa, on page 115. I can't send you a photo because my camera auto focuses on the tank glass instead of the critters, <to help photograph in the future... turn the room lights off and leave on the tank lights only... taken at night if you must to avoid indirect room light> and I don't want to stress the remaining guys out anymore than I have to (by pulling them out of the water for a photo shoot.) Yes, I goofed big-time by not quarantining this small colony, for the first and last time. <alas... many of us have learned this lesson the hard way> These are the only corals in my tank, so a complete meltdown of this colony won't affect other corals (for the now, but later on ....) Does it makes sense to have a tank lie "coral-fallow" for a month or more? <may be helpful... but do help/heal this animal with good strong water flow on the colony... even taking it out of the aquarium and scrubbing softly with a toothbrush (not your daily hygiene one). Indeed... do liberate the loose and necrotic tissue> I keep these guys about 8 inches below the surface, under blue actinics/10,000K CF lights, according to the Reef Secrets suggestions. They apparently need no supplemental feeding, <quite the contrary for some species... you will need to research the given genus. Zoanthus tends not to need much food, but Palythoa tends to be quite hungry and will starve in months without feeding> although some species may 'benefit', from what I've read, by occasional filter-food injections into the water near the colony. <really much more than that... too many corals are underfed> So much to learn...thanks for any meltdown-advice, SLC Born Again Invert Quarantiner <best regards, Anthony>

Zoanthid ID 6/7/03 Hey Guys, <Howdy> I bought 45Lbs of live rock about 8 months ago and noticed this little guy starting to grow. It seems to be doing pretty well considering my lighting in my take is minimal(2X40 watt bulbs 1 power glow and 1 actinic blue) I suppose its some type of coral but not sure what. <it is actually a zoanthid: AKA "Button Polyp"> I know the pictures aren't great but it was hard to get the camera focused. Any Ideas? <yep... bring the subject closer to the front of the glass for a sharper focus and shorter field of depth <G>> Best Regards, Jason Hester Mobile, Alabama
<best regards, Anthony>

An Eye For An Eye (Or, The Zoanthids Strike Back...) Hello WWM Readers...Scott F. here.. Just thought that I might pass on an experience that I had this weekend which we all might benefit from... I was "pruning" some zoanthids off of a rock that I had removed from  my reef system , and got a bit careless with a razor blade, ended up cutting into one of the polyps, and some of the fluid from the zoo spurted out directly into my left eye...(I can hear Anthony sighing right now...). Naturally, my first reaction (after I stopped cursing) was to rinse out my eye (which was burning a bit) with fresh water... All seemed well for the remainder of the day, except for a little redness and itchiness...Well, Sunday came around and I had a full-on infection in my eye, courtesy, no doubt, of the bacteria-laden fluid from the unhappy zoanthid!  The infection is beginning to subside, but it was not the most enjoyable experience I've had lately! My plea to all is to be VERY careful when cutting into coral tissue, particularly soft corals and zoanthids, which may spurt fluids out under pressure if you make a careless incision. Anthony has humorously documented the very real danger of palytoxin from zoanthids in his "Book of Coral Propagation", and it deserves careful reading by all who attempt to impose propagation on corals. Fortunately (I guess), the toxin did not appear to cause any problems for me (bacteria no doubt did), but I was definitely lucky! I would highly recommend the use of plastic goggles (like the kind you use when working with power tools) to avoid "incidents" like the one that happened to me!  A really good idea! I think I'll stick to regular 5% water changes, play with my fishies,  and leave the coral propagating to hardcore reef nerds! Maybe that's why everyone is so into SPS corals...? May all your skimmate be dark and stinky, and may all your incisions be accurate! Scott F.

Algae or coral ?? These just appeared on live rock from a crevice after having it for four months. They are like a bubble but not sphere shaped, flat on top. The bottom is reddish-purple with small tan spots and transparent. The top is cream color with dark spots. There were two at first but now seem to be growing more small ones from base. Have looked at all kinds of pics and never saw these. I'm attaching a picture and I hope it helps. Algae or coral??   This rock was covered with Aiptasia anemones and reading on your cite helped rid my 90 gal. tank of them. they were spreading all over. I got two peppermint shrimp and they ate all of them. large and small...I wish I had a before pic. They were gone when I got to borrow a camera.                                                           Thank you.                                                                    <Actually... looks like a zoanthid to me. Please see here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm Bob Fenner>  

Those Darned Yellow Polyps Have Him Seeing Red! Hiya guys, <Hey! Scott F. your guy today!> Quick question about those common yellow parazoanthids you always run across. <Sure> I haven't been able to keep a rock of them alive for more than two months. They invariably close, turn beige, and then die in small clusters (6 or so at a time) until the whole rock is bare. Conditions: 55 gal. w/ 20 gal sump., 15 gal refugium w/ Chaetomorpha, & 5 gal DSB 130 lbs. rock (split between main tank & refugium) 260 W of PC light, Euroreef CS6-2 skimmer EHEIM canister for carbon & PolyFilter B-Ionic is only additive (I'm thinking of starting CaOH too). NH3, NO3, NO2, PO4 - zero ,pH - constant 8.3 kH - 11, Ca - 460, sp.grav - 1.025, temp - 79 F. <Conditions certainly sound good!> I currently house LPS, leathers & other softies, mushrooms, polyps (including plenty of other zoanthids), clams, all with no problems.  I consider my tank to be in good health... How is this beginner coral getting the best of me?  I have tried different placements in the tank to vary light & flow. The die-off occurs in randomly located clusters, which makes me think it is not aggression from another coral or predation, but rather environmental.  I am stumped. Any help you can give me is most appreciated.-Mario <Well, Mario- my first thought was some chemical warfare between the zoanthids, but if this happens anywhere that you place them, it may just be an environmental factor. They really seem to do well with a heavy amount of blue (staying a bright yellow color). Ya know...I'm still thinking that some form of allelopathy is happening here...With lots of zoanthids and soft corals in this system, it seems entirely possible that there is serious competition going on, regardless of placement. I'd try increasing the water change schedule to two 5% changes weekly, to help possibly dilute some of the allelopathic compounds that may be in the water. Also, continue your use of Poly Filter and/or carbon to help assist with removal of these compounds...Try these steps as experiments to see if there is any impact on the problem...Eventually, you'll get it right! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Propagating Zoanthids- serious concerns with Palytoxin WWM Gang- <dude> Have any of you done any experimentation, or know of any, to increase the growth rate of zoanthids (or polyps in general) by splitting the polyp in half on the vertical axis?   <yep... and poisoned myself with Palytoxin three times in 10 years for my pains. It is a potentially fatal toxin. I only lost my sense of taste (for a day) with the brief encounters> Secondly, the reason I'm asking is that I came across some zoanthids that are an amazing fuchsia color, they popped up in a friend's tank a month or so after he added the standard yellow polyps.   <much easier to grow them faster by addressing their needs in husbandry. The larger polyps (Palythoa and Protopalythoa usually) favor moderate light and heavier feedings. The tiny polyps (Zoanthus) generally favor VERY bright light and will not feed organismally well or at all. Absorption instead (ammonium chloride and nitrate solutions used carefully)> The only guess I can make is that they came in on the rock after having very recently settled upon it, maybe after a spawning or some other event.  Have any of you ever run across zoanthids even close to this color morph.   <hard to say... I haven't seen yours yet <G>. I attached a color swatch to give you an idea of the color I'm talking about.   OK... looks sexy indeed. If you want to prop them... set them up in a completely separate system. Their are many other concerns and complications with zoanthids being propped in mixed reef tanks. A precarious notion at best> And the answer is yes...I did get some frags ;-) <excellent dude! Do share in time> Darrell Daniels Sacramento, CA   <best regards, Anthony>

Re: Zoanthid Propagation Anthony- Yes I know...I read all about your Palytoxin encounters in your book (which I still read sections of from time to time even though I've read it cover to cover at least 3 times).   <Yowsa...humbling. And with great thanks!> I do have a 25 tall sitting empty that I could use just for these fuchsia zoanthids. <definitely the best way to go. The tank being tall is rather a pain though... only the top 12" or so will be useful for our purpose here. Treat that tank like a 10 or 15 gall in your mind>> What would you consider to be bright light, I can hang 110W (2x55) of power compacts or 175w of halide over it. <The pc's with a very good reflector will be fine. The MH would skirt the tank depth issue but not recommended for such a small tank. Simply too much light (penetration, waste of electricity, etc)> I took my very first batch of home grown coral into the LFS that I frequent. <awesome!> It was only nine pieces, but they had just received a large shipment from Walt Smith and didn't have much room.  They're offering me 50% of the retail price in store credit, or 30% of retail in cash.   <WOW! That is VERY generous... grow as much as they will buy... and take the cash> With your experience I'm guessing you have a fairly good idea what Walt Smith (or any wholesaler) is charging wholesale.   <most LFS need to triple livestock for price points. 30% to you is generous in that you are not a tried and true producer. You are getting full value as a grower. Kudos to that store. Find a reason to mention their name in another e-mail <G>. We need to hear of good retailers that have a long view> If I turn in a piece to the LFS and they retail price it at $30.00, what would you think they we're paying for the same piece from a wholesaler.   <its hard to say... for very hardy, rare or hard to sell pieces, the margin might even be smaller (50%). Retail is a tough biz... these are perishable items! A 3X markup is assuredly fair and necessary to keep the lights running in the store, pay for employees to sit and wait for customers like us to just show up and buy something (or not).. Oh, then there is paying the bills. Any doubts... take a peak at what the poor schleps drive to work in. I doubt that your favorite employee, the manager or even the owner roll in on chrome <G>.> I'm just trying to figure out if I'm getting a good deal or not.   <cash or credit... its very fair either way> I think the 50% is a good deal, but I would like them to come up on the cash. <the credit is good if you expect and need to buy a lot. That's not a habit I would encourage you cultivating though... heehee. Turning down cash that is :) Show me the money!> As always, thanks for your time and knowledge. Darrell     <get back to coral farming you slouch! I mean, best regards. Anthony>

Pest coral control? hello there- <cheers> I have a few corals in my tank that are spreading to rapidly and I would like to get rid of.  I have some yellow polyps that are growing like wild fire but worry me because I have a few sps corals and don't want the polyps to grow towards them and sting them.   <agreed... this is a common problem with mixing unnatural/incompatible species> After I remove the original rock of yellow polyps, how can I kill the polyps that have spread onto the live rock (aquascape)?  White vinegar in a syringe or calcium in a syringe? <is there any way I could convince you not to kill a living coral... these precious creatures that you once admired? Perhaps a local aquarist, aquarium club or pet store will buy them from you or at least take them so they can live. Coral and Polyps can be extracted from anything safely. Trust me... I wrote a book about it ("Book of Coral Propagation"- Calfo)> Thank you for your help josh <best regards, Anthony>

Enquiry about yellow polyps I have bought  'Parazoanthus axinellae' <that's a taxonomic misnomer... but no worries, most hobby literature still call it such> three months ago as I was advised that this is a low light coral and that it propagates quickly and easy to maintain.   <hardy and easily propagated with strong water flow and regular feedings (fine food particles). It is adaptable to a wide range of light> I currently have a UV sterilizer and prism skimmer running on my tank that holds 100L.   <please upgrade that skimmer ASAP. A poor design that is very difficult if possible at all to get to produce a full cup of skimmate 3-5 times weekly let alone daily like it should> I  noticed that these polyps have become fewer and have grown longer in size. I have been feeding them with liquefy marine food. <liquid marine food is essentially pollution in a bottle. My advice if to stop if immediately. You can literally feed small food pellets... and try to target feed the polyps (a saltwater slurry of small pelleted food or better yet... mysis shrimp (frozen)). Liquid foods squirted in the water simply grow algae> What could be the problem if there is one? Dave <better water flow and improved feeding technique my friend. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Buttons / Mushrooms Well I was sitting watching my first addition to my (hopefully) newly started reef tank. Last night, as posted earlier my green buttons started curling up...I realize now this is normal from the stress of the move.  This rock with four buttons is just my first piece to test the tank.  Anyhow, all was good but when I fed the few fish in the tank, blenny and few damsels I cycled it with, the buttons started to curl back up, but very tight. I only fed a small piece of frozen brine shrimp to the damsels.  Well the buttons shriveled up so tight, from the size of a half dollar to the size of a dime.  They then started to secrete a white stringy material from their centers.  Only 2 of the four did this.  The small tentacles on the buttons swelled as if they were going to burst.  I did an emergency water change of about 15%.  All tests were fine except pH a little low.  I have no idea what happened and was hoping that someone else might have had experience with the same fate.  Are these buttons dead now...I've just left them to see.  Any info would be appreciated. <Boy John, relax it's alright. It is normal for zoanthids and mushroom/corallimorphs to change size and shape and to react to food and sometimes movement in the water from fish, etc. Your water is likely fine and in a new tank, a slightly depressed pH isn't all bad, i.e.: ammonia toxicity. If you have the proper lighting and water movement it is unlikely anything negative has happened to your new inhabitants. These are some of the hardiest of all captive corals. This is the first of many such experiences, more than you can imagine! Don't hesitate to write to us again if you have any other questions. Enjoy!  Craig>

Heliacus Box snail eating invertebrates Hi Gentlemen: <none were available... I'll answer instead> I have been reading your site for months now.  It is a font of helpful information.  Thank all of you for your time and energy in helping to keep these beautiful creatures alive and happy. <thank you kindly> Generally, I find the answers to my questions or concerns among the FAQs and articles, but...We have a 21-gallon tank with about 30 #s of live rock that we are slowly working on as a mini reef.  The only animals in there now are a true perc, a few margarita and Nassarius snails, and a nice rock with some Parazoanthus gracilis and two species of what I believe are Protopalythoa spp.  Yesterday, I found a snail that appears to be eating (?) the polyps.   <very common. You have a Heliacus sp Box snail.  I could not find a picture of one on WWM (will post one of ours shortly). I did a search on google at large and found a many site hits ("search Heliacus picture" for image sites.) Here's the first one I followed with an image (please not the color is variable): http://reef.esmartweb.com/polyps.htm> He was attached to one of the yellow polyps and I had to pull him loose.  I searched your site and others, but have not found any identification for him.  The snail is perhaps 1/2 inch in diameter and is disk shaped (i.e., very flat).  He is somewhat variegated in brown and white markings and has a notable spiral to his shell.  (Sorry, I tried to take a photo but my camera is not up to the small scale of the creature!)  I removed him to the sump of my larger aquarium, but now wonder if he might reproduce and become a menace later.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks again for all the hours that you guys give to all of us!!!! Greg Fickling Washington, DC <pull the bugger out soon... reproduction is possible. Spot check months after wards... little reason for concern though. And I noticed you are in DC... how about a road trip in May to NY when Bob speaks to Brooklyn or me at the Atlantis Aquarium (20,000 gallon reef tank!)? Rock on my brother. Anthony>

Snail ID- spot on. Heliacus box snail Anthony: Thank you for the rapid response (are you guys chained to the table by the computer or what??).   <Bob has us duct-taped to office chairs and he feeds us applesauce with a slingshot> You were exactly on the ball with the ID!   <yeppers... been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt and cut the sleeves off to make it a muscle-tee (Italian heritage)> It is amazing what information you can get from the web once you know what you're looking for! <agreed... I have often thought that I could learn a new language on the web if I spend just half of my time on linguistics sites rather than browsing picture galleries of 'naked women. But enough about me... you have another aquarium-related question?> Another interesting aside to my question...I labeled this query "Dangerous Looking" and then realized that I had not included the dangerous looking part of the critter.  The snail that I found looks exactly like the darker versions of some of the Heliacus sp (I'm sure that is what it is), but it also has a "horn" covering its opening.   <all in this genus do> That is what initially worried me about it.   <and it should! That proboscis is the business end of the animal. Venomous in some other gastropods> It looks as if it could puncture the polyps (I was a little wary to pick it up even...please don't tell anyone that I was afraid of a snail <laugh>!!)   <don't worry... we won't even post this for 7-10K people to read on the daily FAQ page tomorrow... or in the archives after that for the tens of thousands of readers in the future to see ;) Ahem... have you ever checked out this fascinating daily page?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs.htm > Ever seen that?  Thanks again for your help.  G. <hmmm... yes, my friend. I must admit that I have. A few hundred times in fact :) There's a picture of that Heliacus "snout" on page 231 of my "Book of Coral Propagation". Wow... I wish everyone gave me such convenient segues to shamelessly plug my books <G>. With kind regards, Anthony>

Coral poison to humans? I know when you agitate corals, some can spew water or perhaps a chemical out to make the agitation stop.  I was recently moving my corals and tank and was pruning some Zoanthid polyps and while removing some of them from a rock, I got "spewed" right in my eye.   <Oh, no> My eye is all red now and I am wondering what if any information you can give me as to what this is or what I can and should do to combat this.  Thanks, as I do not want to go blind!-D <I do not with to sound like an alarmist... and I suspect that you will be just fine. But... get to a doctor promptly. Zoantharians have some of the most potent toxins (including Palytoxin) known to man. More commonly, there are issues with various bacteria simply from the organic/biotic nature of it all. Concerns with Vibrio, mycobacterium. etc. Please see your doctor promptly... take the antibiotics... and later come back to WWM and read here (with both eyes <G>):http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm best regards, Anthony>

Green Button Polyp propagation naturally Hello all.  I have a colony of green button polyps on a piece of live rock. They all show great extension and there are many new polyps forming all of the time.  I have had three 'knots' of polyps either detach or be pulled from the rock.  The 'knots' show no sign of being damaged in any way, in fact soon after they drop, new polyps begin forming on the piece that has detached.   <this is quite common in mature colonies. A natural mode of propagation and distribution of the species> The original colony is fairly crowded, <ahhh, yes... as per above> and once the piece detaches, the space is quickly filled by the remaining polyps.  Is this normal, a good sign / bad sign.   <indeed normal and natural. Sounds like you are doing quite well my friend. Growth> Thank you for all of your help and advice. Ed <our great pleasure. Kindly, Anthony>

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