Zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.)also known as Zoas are a type of soft coral that are very popular in reef tanks for beginners and advanced hobbyists alike. Slightly smaller than “palys”, Zoanthid polyp heads are typically ½ inch in diameter. They are loved for their bright colors and patterns and are native to the Pacific Ocean. Zoas like to be in moderate to high flow areas and will tolerate a variety of lighting. As a group of coral they are fairly hardy though some species will grow faster than others. This is a type of blanket coral, that once it settles in will grow and spread out over rocks, and glass with many polyps growing from the original. They can be fed with any coral foods on the market, phytoplankton, and zooplankton in addition to the nutrients they receive from their symbiotic zooxanthallae. Make sure to use precautions when dipping and acclimating them as they contain palytoxin that has been known to be dangerous to humans and animals.
Palythoa (Palythoa sp.)are a type of soft coral that are similar to Zoanthids. “Paly’s”like zoas come in a variety of different colors and patterns and their polyps can range in diameter from dime to quarter size. They are found in coral reefs around the world though most of them are native to the Pacific Ocean. Their care is minimal but they prefer placement in areas with medium to high water flow, and are tolerant of a variety of light levels from high to low. As with many corals they have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthallae, which provide them with a food source. Other things they consume are phytoplankton, and zooplankton as well as commercially available coral foods. Palythoas are a type of carpet coral and will form a mat along rockwork or glass, with many polyps offshooting from the original. When adding them to a new tank make sure to dip and acclimate them using caution as they produce a palytoxin that can be dangerous to humans. After they are added it may take several hours for the polyps to fully open.