I don't understand zoas, can someone explain their view on them?

SlugSnorter

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I hear they can grow pretty fast, and have palytoxin. I don't understand why they are super popular given those facts, But im perfectly willing (and wanting) to hear some else view on the matter

(Please don't get SALTY (pun intended) this is just my view, I never said it was a fact or you need to think the same way)
 
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Reefing102

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I had a view similar to yours. I do have a set of unknown zoas now in my coral quarantine. I think the main part for me is the vibrant color variations even without heavy blues in some cases. The other part for me is you can get them to grow how you want them (I.e. place them on a branch rock for them to look “brachier” rather than flat). Just my opinion though
 
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I had a view similar to yours. I do have a set of unknown zoas now in my coral quarantine. I think the main part for me is the vibrant color variations even without heavy blues in some cases. The other part for me is you can get them to grow how you want them (I.e. place them on a branch rock for them to look “brachier” rather than flat). Just my opinion though
thank you for your view!
 

Cell

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Palytoxin concerns are completely mitigated with relatively simple safe handling procedures and PPE.

Zoas are appealing because they are like little water flowers and the immense variety of patterns and colors.
 

Tired

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Only some of them are fast-growing, and only some of them are notably toxic. Fast-growing ones can be contained on rocks or the like on the sandbed, some people would consider the speed a bonus, and the toxin can be avoided with basic safety precautions. They're generally pretty easy to grow, and a lot of them are really pretty. And there's so many! Plus, because they aren't large, you can have loads of varieties in even a small tank.

(Bit pedantic, but: most of the toxic ones are palythoas. True palythoas, not just a big zoanthid being referred to as a paly.)
 

N.Sreefer

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Some are much slower growing than others, I wouldn't mind if grand master krak took over my rockwork but I'm not that lucky. Also the palytoxin thing is overblown people have been keeping them a long time and nobody got poisoned until people boiled rock to get rid of pest palys (that often have the highest palytoxin levels)
 
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The attraction to wanting them i think is personal preference. I think they look amazing and would not want a tank without them.

As for palytoxin it is a concern that should be taken seriously, but also one that should not be overblown. Its kind of like keeping a dog as a pet. They can kill you....but probably not if you treat them right.
 
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Palytoxin concerns are completely mitigated with relatively simple safe handling procedures and PPE.

Zoas are appealing because they are like little water flowers and the immense variety of patterns and colors.
thank you for your insights, at this point, im personally to nervous to deal with palytoxin and the worry of it being on surfaces after. but maybe in the future ill reconsider.
 
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The attraction to wanting them i think is personal preference. I think they look amazing and would not want a tank without them.

As for palytoxin it is a concern that should be taken seriously, but also one that should not be overblown. Its kind of like keeping a dog as a pet. They can kill you....but probably not if you treat them right.
thanks for the view!
 

littlebigreef

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thank you for your insights, at this point, im personally to nervous to deal with palytoxin and the worry of it being on surfaces after. but maybe in the future ill reconsider.

Paly toxin presents almost no danger to you or anyone else in your home provided you follow the pointers laid out above. One of the most frustrating things about zoas is that people confuse the smaller decorative ones with 'true' palys like captain americans, beauty and the beast or texas trash. Their potential to cause harm is not the same and if they're placed in the aquarium they present no more danger (less actually) than a nem.

In short, I love zoas because, as @jgirardnrg pointed out, they are among some of the most forgiving corals you can keep -depending on strain naturally. Pain is watching an Sps you've grown from a nub into a colony over a long time suddenly RTN and die for no apparent reason. Also crappy is watching a nice meaty Lps languish for months and lose tissue and slowly sink into it's skeleton. I will add that with all the different strains out there you really have every color imaginable at your disposal. For some folks, it is also fun locating and buying specific strains.
 

HeyLookItsCaps

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I am surprised I haven’t seen this answer yet.

they’re relatively cheap, many variations, and they don’t require high end lighting or even the best parameters.

easy care is #1 in my opinion. Anyone with a basic off the shelf saltwater setup can grow Zoa easily
 

hhaase

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One of the main reasons people like them so much is a zoa patch can be quite colorful and has motion to it, giving the area more life and activity. People that are really into zoa's can probably chime in with some VERY pretty looking stuff.
The rapid growth can be controlled through rock placement on the substrate. They spread quick on rock, but struggle to grow across the substrate. That and some reefers consider the rapid growth rate to be a good thing.

The talk about toxicity is very real, but also only applicable for the ones that ARE containing palytoxin. And that's where things get murky. There's a lot of random naming of designer zoa's, but very little work done in the hobby for proper taxonomic identification of actual species. So without knowing what to look for, you don't know if you need to be concerned.

With proper research you can figure out which ones to definitely avoid, which ones are probably dangerous, and how to properly keep yourself safe.

-Hans
 

muzikalmatt

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As others have pointed out, not all zoas grow super fast and most of them don't contain significant levels of palytoxin. The ones you really need to worry about are specific species of palythoa (hence the name palytoxin). Typically the really bad ones are the ugly ones nobody wants anyways (i.e. texas trash palys). Even then, the danger is somewhat overblown as you'd have to do something quite careless to actually expose yourself to the toxin, such as boiling a rock with palys on it, ripping palys out of your tank barehanded, etc. Now that's not to say you shouldn't be cautious with them. I always use PPE when handling any kind of zoanthid, even ones I suspect may not have much, if any, palytoxin.

I actually just removed a huge chunk of a texas trash paly colony from my tank last night. These guys most certainly have significant concentrations of palytoxin in them. So I wore arm-length rubber gloves, goggles and a face mask to handle them. I pulled the entire rock out of my tank to work with it in a separate 5 gallon bucket of saltwater. I then scraped/broke them off of the rock with bone cutters. Once they were removed from the rock, I replaced the rock in the tank and did a water change just to be on the safe side. All of my livestock including fish and other corals were unaffected and I was happy to have most of these ugly buggers out of the tank. I have another small patch to remove and will likely take care of them this weekend.

Long story short, while palytoxin should absolutely be respected, it shouldn't be of concern as long as you take the proper precautions. I certainly wouldn't deprive myself of the beauty and general ease of keeping zoanthids due to palytoxin concerns.
 
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elorablue

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There are far far more dangerous things under your kitchen sink than you’ll ever experience handling zoas.
I’m pretty new reefer but I wonder if this hobby has always been so riddled with fear.
Maybe it’s just a sign of the times. I dunno.
 

Hooz

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I mean, why does anyone keep any coral in their tank, really? Because they like them. I like zoas just like I like torches, hammers, blastos, etc. The fact that there are over 200 different named varieties makes the "collecting" part fun too.

I mean, I don't do the SPS thing, but I don't fault people who do. That's the beauty of the hobby.
 

Reefer Drew

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They are fairly easy to care for and most grow pretty fast.

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