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FAQs about Lighting Zoanthid Systems

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

Related FAQs: Zoanthids 1, Zoanthids 2Zoanthid ID, Zoanthid Behavior, Zoanthid Compatibility, Zoanthid Selection, Zoanthid System, Zoanthid Feeding, Zoanthid Health, Zoanthid Reproduction

Re : Yellow Polyp Unhappy/ Not enough info 3/7/10
Today the polyp seemed to look better.....but can you help explain what to really look for in lighting and bulbs, because all the LFS talks about is wattage, but T5s and others may produce the same light as a higher wattage bulb of a different type. So what are you really looking for??
< Lighting really depends on what you are planning to keep, depth of your aquarium and placement of the animals. As a rule of thumb T5's would be my choice for animals with high to medium light requirements in a tank (or placed) less than 20" deep. Animals with high light needs kept at greater depths will require metal halides. Wattage is a measure of electricity used by the light. Although it does give an indication of depth of penetration it is not a good measure of applicable light. More important measures of aquarium lighting are Lumens, PAR and Kelvin. For an explanation of these please read:
Nikki, I apologize for the long delay in my response. Seems I overlooked your email. Please forgive. GA Jenkins

Assorted SW Questions; reef stkg., clown beh.... Zoa sys./ltg.   1/24/10
Hello WWM Crew!
<Hi Drew>
I'd like to start by thanking you all from the bottom of my heart for this resource you provide to the community.
<You're welcome.>
I'm new to the hobby, and you have all been an invaluable help. I've been reading/searching your site vigorously for the last 9 months, and I've accumulated some varied questions that I haven't been able to find satisfying answers to. I'd appreciate any advice you could all give, and I apologize if some of them could have been answered by Googling harder :) I also apologize if this is too lengthy or too many questions, but these are questions I've accumulated over quite some time.
My tank information:
9 months old
55 gallon cube (apprx. 23"x23"x23") with an open top
10 gallon sump with Aqua Euro USA Skimmer (not sure of more specifics than that unfortunately, I was told it's a bit overpowered and seems to be pretty beefy)
<No such thing as overskimming.>
100 lbs. live rock
1 250W 14K HQI
Koralia 3 powerhead
Fine CC Substrate
Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite: 0
Alkalinity: 3.0 mEq
Calcium: 330 (I need to raise this a bit)
pH: 8.2
Temp: 78F
Spg: 1.026
I do three 10g water changes per month
Livestock: 2 tank-bred Ocellaris Clowns, 1 Firefish, 1 Yellow Watchman Goby, 1 Psychedelic Mandarin, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, assorted snails/crabs in the CUC.
Corals: Several Euphyllia, 1 Goniopora (I know, beginner mistake, but I may have lucked out and it's looking gorgeous after 8 months), 1 Tridacna Crocea, 1 Bubble Coral, some Leather and Mushroom coral, 1 Green Birdsnest Coral.
Question 1: I'm trying to decide the last fish(es) to add to my tank. It's important that they are harmonious with the current inhabitants, attractive, and appropriate for my system. Active is also a plus. I'd possibly like a wrasse (Mystery or Flasher perhaps), but I'm concerned with them out-competing the Mandarin or jumping out of my open top. Are there any wrasses that would fit that bill?
<No, not with an open top, and most would definitely compete with your Mandarin. Mandarins actually do better in larger systems, not so much because of their size, but to ensure enough rock is present with pods, etc.
for them to graze on.>
I don't really care for Grammas or Anthias.
<You're tank would be too small to properly house Anthias.>
I've entertained the thought of a Clown Goby, but I'd like something more active. If needs be I could try to find a new home for the Mandarin, as I don't see him much and sometimes fret over his food supply (although he's currently happy and fat as a little sausage). Any thoughts?
<With a 2'x2' tank, I would not add any more fish. As it stands now, each fish has about 10 gallons, adding more may cause environmental stress.>
Question 2: I'm curious about one facet of my Ocellaris Clowns' behavior.
When I first got them (apprx. 6 months ago) they were very young and completely fearless. They would practically eat right out of my hand.
Over the last few months, however, they seem much more timid and easily frightened. They freak out and hide in one of their favorite spots every time I come near or do any tank maintenance. I can't think of anything that is particularly stressful for them. I don't do any messing around in the tank other thank routine maintenance, and there are certainly no fish bothering them. Is this a routine behavioral adjustment that happens as they grow older, or is this reason for concern? They seem pretty healthy and happy otherwise.
<No cause for concern, all of my fish exhibit the same behavior when I enter the room. This behavior can result from the tank being in a low traffic room such as I have and you may have.>
Question 3: I have extremely little algal growth anywhere in my tank, but I have regular diatomic growth on my CC substrate and it's quite unsightly.
I routinely vacuum it out about once a month, and I don't think I overfeed. I've ordered a Tongan Fighting Conch to hopefully address the problem. Do you think this is appropriate, and is there anything else I should try? I've considered the idea about replacing the CC with sand, and I wish I had went with sand in the beginning, but the thought of that undertaking is pretty horrifying. I'd like to avoid it if possible.
<Using a good chemical media such as Chemipure or a Poly Filter will help here.>
Question 4: I'd really like a Pistol Shrimp to accompany my Watchman Goby, as I think he'd REALLY enjoy a burrow and a friend. However, I'm quite attached to my Cleaner Shrimps (who'd have thought shrimp could be so personable?) and I've read that there's a very good chance a Pistol Shrimp would eventually kill them. In my system, do you think this is a likely occurrence?
<The risk is there especially in smaller systems, enjoy the cleaner shrimp.>
Question 5: After some experimentation and experience, I think I've come to the conclusion that I'd like to focus heavily on exotic Zoanthids in this tank. I've heard that Zoa tanks tend to do better, and have better coloration, with higher K lights. Should I switch to a 20K 250W HQI, or add some fluorescent actinics, or just stick with what I have? Retaining the intense coloration of expensive Zoas is the goal.
<If you are looking for that "pop", consider adding one of the newer LED actinics such as Ice Cap recently released. I wouldn't go with a 20K, there is plenty of blue present in the 14K lamp but it is masked by more intensity in the other colors that are more favorable to shallow water photosynthetic invertebrates.>
These are all the questions I can think of now. I'd greatly appreciate any help you all could offer, and hopefully it wasn't too lengthy and the questions were appropriate.
Thank you!
<And thank you for your fine grammar and well written email. James (Salty

Zoanthids and lighting 2/209
Hello crew. It is me once again....sorry if you find me annoying by now with all the questions, but i am trying to make my tank a better place for all my corals and inhabitants. I have a question about Zoanthids today. I have a Zoa that is placed at the bottom of my tank, and the polyps have grown long and ugly ever since...
<Long? Might be "looking" for food>
some of which have even dropped off.
About a week ago, i shifted it up to the upper-middle portion of my tank, where there is more light, and the polyps are now short and stubby again.
They also look much better. Here is the question however....i am currently using T5s fluorescent bulbs. 39W each, and there are 4 bulbs in total. 2 white and 2 actinic blue. Total of 78W of both white and blue. Is this sufficient lighting for my Zoanthids?
<Perhaps not>
If i place all of them in the middle section of my tank? My tank is 3ft by 2ft by 2ft.
<Two feet away? Too far>
They seem to be doing well so far..All my other corals are doing very well. i have some torches, hammers, bubble, green star polyp, fox coral and a mushroom coral. I am a little under budget right now, so i am really hoping that my lights are good enough for my Zoanthids... Once again, sorry for the continuous flow of e-mail. I would rather ask someone with good knowledge than to post on forums and receive mixed remarks from different reefers. Thank you for your time :)Regards - Kai
<Please learn to/use the search tool on WWM... For this time, read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Zoas and lighting 02/03/09 Thanks for the prompt reply mr.bob.F. The height of my tank is 2ft, and i place my zoos in the middle, which means they are 1ft away from the light, and the surface of the tank. Will be changing my bulbs tomorrow to ATI bulbs, of equal wattage. Currently i am using bulbs of an unknown brand....maybe the new ATI bulbs will be brighter and better. If my Zoanthids start to show some decline in overall health, maybe it is best i buy a new lighting fixture altogether. However, i keep chancing upon the fact that Zoas can withstand a myriad of different lighting, from high to relatively low. I am quite sure that my lighting, 2X 39W white (10k), and 2X 39W actinic blue should suffice....with my Zoas places 1 feet from the surface of my tank...i don't understand why it is not enough...have seen tanks with Zoas thriving in environments with lesser light than what i am providing. <Some Zoanthids are more tolerant/adaptable than others...> Anyways, my Zoas look fine...now...will continue to monitor growth and overall health for the next couple of weeks/months. Have another question, since i am at it, and i hope you do not mind. Sometimes i see my torch coral and bubble coral expel this brown stringy substance....are they expelling waste? <Yes, waste, and maybe also some zooxanthellae, undigested food, etc.... > Or are they expelling their zooxanthellae... I am so confused right now...if all these problems are caused by my lighting, i will replace them soon. Everything seems to be doing very well.....perhaps i am just paranoid. Seems like i consistently find new things to worry about everyday... <If your corals are doing fine, then why are you worrying? Your lighting is not great for a reef tank, but you might be ok if you feed the tank well and don't mind your corals turning less than pretty corals.> A relaxing hobby turned stressful? haha :) thanks again for helping me in my journey to be a better reefer. Regards....kai =D <Keep reading, learning! Cheers, Sara M.>

Lighting for Zoanthid tank/ Frag tank 12/02/08
Hello All,
I have a 29 gal. with 4 inch DSB and 40lbs of LR, a 15 gal. refugium with 4 inch DSB and 20lbs of LR and Chaeto and 1 65K blub being gravity feed into the main tank, I also have a 10 gal. sump that is teed off so that it feeds
the sump raw water into a micron sock.
My question has three parts, the first one is I have a nova extreme 48 watt T-5 with one 10k(24w) and one actinic(24w) and one single light fixture 20w 67k N.O.
1. Would this be too low for Zoanthids or should I just replace the fixtures? or just get rid of the actinic and add a 50/50 instead?
<It should probably be enough light... most Zoanthids can adapt to rather "low" light (relatively). However, they might change color and/or not grow as fast as they might under more light.>
2. I want to add a frag tank to my setup, I was thinking of adding it before my sump and have it gravity feed into the micron sock then the sump.
Would this be a good idea or do you see any problems with this setup?
<It really depends on what you want to frag and propagate.>
3. If I need to get a new light fixture can I use my nova extreme for the frag tank lighting?
<Again... it really depends on what corals we're talking about here. For Zoanthids? Likely the Nova would be fine... assuming a shallow frag tank.>
I would like to stay with T5's if possible, MH are a bit too hot for what I want plus my lights already flicker on and off sometimes. A backup battery system is in the works for the beginning of next month together with an Aqua C urchin pro.
Thank you for the help and as always I enjoy your site which is the best kept secret out in the open.
Sara M.>

Re: Lighting for Zoanthid tank/ Frag tank 12/02/08
Thanks for the fast reply, I was just going to stay with Zoanthids so that I won't have chemical warfare in the tank.
<Good for you for being mindful of such things.>
I might add another type of species to go with the Zoa's but I don't know any suggestions, as long as it is low to moderate lighting.
<Hmm... for a low-light Zoanthid tank? I can't think of any off the top of my head... but that certainly doesn't mean there aren't such corals. Look about for similar systems/set-ups and see what others have growing under similar conditions.>
Thanks again
<Best and good luck,
Sara M.>

Re: Lighting for Zoanthid tank/ Frag tank 12/02/08
Thanks for the fast reply, I was just going to stay with Zoanthids so that I won't have chemical warfare in the tank.
<Good for you for being mindful of such things.>
I might add another type of species to go with the Zoa's but I don't know any suggestions, as long as it is low to moderate lighting.
<Hmm... for a low-light Zoanthid tank? I can't think of any off the top of my head... but that certainly doesn't mean there aren't such corals. Look about for similar systems/set-ups and see what others have growing under similar conditions.>
Thanks again
<Best and good luck,
Sara M.>

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