Zoas & Palys: A Kaleidoscope of Color

melypr1985

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Zoas & Palys: A Kaleidoscope of Color

Zoanthids and Palythoas are some of the most popular corals in the hobby. There is good reason for this. The rainbow of colors available and the myriad of patterns on all the different zoas and palys out there make them incredibly desirable. Their ability to be kept by newbies and experienced hobbyists alike are also part of the draw.

Photo by: joshporksandwich



Let’s look at each and see the structural differences between the zoa and paly so you might be able to identify what you are looking at when you go to the LFS (Local Fish Store). The general structure of each are very similar and those similarities will outweigh the differences, which may make them difficult to tell apart at times. Both are made up of individual polyps that sprout baby polyps that will grow from the base of the parent polyp and then sprout their own babies in time. After a while, these group of polyps will create a colony. Both are usually sold by the polyp, which means that you would pay a certain amount of money for each individual polyp that is for sale in the group.

Photo by: orlandoreefer (green apple reds)

zoas B.jpg


Each polyp has a mouth and oral disk that surrounds the mouth and a skirt that surrounds the whole polyp. The disk and skirt sit atop a “stalk” which grows on top of the live rock or frag plug it has been placed on. They create a kind of mat when they start producing new polyps since they are all connected by a bit of flesh at the base of the stalks.

Photo by: marius swart (nuclear green palys)

zoas C.jpg


Differences between zoas and palys can be quite subtle. The stalks on palys tend to be longer or taller than zoas, but this isn’t always the case. The head of the polyps of palys tend to be larger than zoas as well, but again, this isn’t going to be a hard and fast rule. These are just general guidelines. No matter which type you have, there are many colors and patterns available, so many that they are often collected.

Photo by: joshporksandwich

zoas D.jpg


Collectors can often pay upwards of $100 per polyp for something particularly beautiful or rare. You’ll find that most of the polyps collected have names. If you look closer and pay attention, you’ll find that there are similar looking polyps with different names available from different vendors. You’ll also find that some polyps will even change their appearance due to different/new water, flow and lighting conditions from one tank to another. This is called “morphing” when a polyp changes its colors or even its pattern. This is just one of many reasons that two zoas that look so much alike might have different names. Other reasons might be that different vendors go the same (or similar) zoas in and named them something different, not really knowing that the other already had them too.

Photo by: joshporksandwhich

zoas E.jpg


Zoas and palys are generally easy to care for. You’ll find everybody has their own ideas on this, but they will do well when they have some nitrates and phosphate in the water to feed on. Flow can be anything from low to medium-high with alternating waves being ideal for most corals. It’s possible to feed zoas small size foods like oyster feast as well, (or other similarly sized coral foods) and most people will tell you that they grow faster when fed. It’s a bit of a misnomer that zoas and palys will grow fast and easily though. There are some out there that will indeed grow very quickly for you and even some that may become invasive. However, there are many zoas, especially, that can be difficult to grow or may just be slow growers which can lead to them costing more money per polyp in the end. There are experts out there that will purchase a zoa frag and have it melt on them despite doing everything “right”. It seems that each individual species/breed/name/whatever you want to call them, has their own specific needs and care requirements involved.

Photo by: pumarjr (fruitloops)

zoas F.png


I want to hear from the collectors of zoas and palys, the people that like them but aren’t willing to pay premiums for them, and the newbies who want to know what they have or how to take care of a certain type. Show me your favorite, your most coveted, your fastest and slowest growers. Label each picture so we all know what we are looking at and tell us how you keep them growing and looking beautiful!
 
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TheLadyCrash

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I've just started collecting zoos/palsy. I've got radioactive dragon eyes, funny d, mini reds, and some sort of brownish pink ones.

Right now they are on their own separate islands but I'd love to be able to mix and match "clumps" of them together. Is this possible or will they just fight and eventually kill each other off?

IMG_1423.JPG


IMG_1424.JPG
 
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melypr1985

melypr1985

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I've just started collecting zoos/palsy. I've got radioactive dragon eyes, funny d, mini reds, and some sort of brownish pink ones.

Right now they are on their own separate islands but I'd love to be able to mix and match "clumps" of them together. Is this possible or will they just fight and eventually kill each other off?

IMG_1423.JPG


IMG_1424.JPG
awesome colonies! There are some that can be mixed at matched like you are talking about. The term "zoa garden" comes to mind when we talk about this. You just have to be aware that some faster growing ones might over take a slow grower, or could surround the slower grower so that it can't spread further than it's little "island". Does that make sense?
 

TheLadyCrash

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Yes it does. I think i may trim down the size of the islands (need to get some plague known as GSP off my radioactives) and then just move the islands a bit closer together.
 

scoopsthedog

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All of these started as a single polyp and it is fun to see how one is popping out tons of new heads while others are slow growers.


This is a colony I've had for awhile but have had pest issues with. They have stabilized but haven't exactly grown.
 
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melypr1985

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All of these started as a single polyp and it is fun to see how one is popping out tons of new heads while others are slow growers.


This is a colony I've had for awhile but have had pest issues with. They have stabilized but haven't exactly grown.
I see a few that I recognize, but for those that don't know... can you tell us what these are called? They are quite beautiful! It truly is interesting to see which ones will grow quickly and which ones wont under the exact same conditions.
 

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A few that I received from the WWC contest (pictures by me):

WWC Mambo Jambo


Cat Eyes


LA Lakers


Red Death (I think)


You can also see the Bob Marleys (the ones that look like Rastas, but with a purple skirt) and the Purple Monsters (you should be able to figure that one out) in this picture.


Stock picture of my WWC Infrared Zoas


And a stock photo of my Hawaiian Ding Dang zoas, though they look MUCH more pink in my tank. Wondering if they sent the right thing....


"Peachy Creams" from ASD


Stock photo of my Blue Eyed Blondies (three polyps now)


Utter Chaos from an LFS (Already at 9 polyps from the 3 I bought in February! I'd be totally ok with these taking over my tank)


Rastas from the same LFS (started at 5 also in February and I'm at like 18+, they're crazy)


Purple People Eaters also from the same LFS at the same time. Already popping out 2 new babies.


Tyree Orange Rainbows/Vivid Rainbows/Everything else that people call this same dang coloration. From a different LFS in the area.


And a pair of Sunny D's from the same different LFS on the very right. Already popped out a baby.


(You can tell when I learned to take better pictures of my tank)
 

Flatlandreefer

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I have one group of zoas that has added 20-30 new polyps to the colony in the past 6 months and another colony that hasn't added a single polyp in the same time, both purchased from the same store on the same day. They truly do grow at different rates!
 

arman

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Thats a great topic.Ill sent my polyps photos as soon as possible
 

rockstarta78

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As always, great write up @melypr1985 .

My biggest pain in the @55 zoa has been the purple people eater. I got a single polyp for free back in January and so far I have had no new polyps. It's just one polyp sitting in its on frag plug for 3 months now. I have had some major algae issues recently since I had to bleach all my rocks due to aptasia. So I am going through that new tank syndrome right now. I don't know if that's the reason why the single polyp never took off. I am keeping my fingers crossed. if any of you know how to get that polyp to start popping babies, please let me know.
 
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LbulletM

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As always, great write up @melypr1985 .

My biggest pain in the @55 zoa has been the purple people eater. I got a single polyp for free back in January and so far I have had no new polyps. It's just one polyp sitting in its on frag plug for 3 months now. I have had some major algae issues recently since I had to bleach all my rocks due to aptasia. So I am going through that new tank syndrome right now. I don't know if that's the reason why the single polyp never took off. I am keeping my fingers crossed. if any of you know how to get that polyp to start popping babies, please let me know.
My one above has popped two almost fully formed babies already since February. Still probably my slowest grower though. I think my high nitrate issues that I was battling actually made all of my zoas take off. We'll see if growth slows now that I have it more under control.
 

rockstarta78

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My one above has popped two almost fully formed babies already since February. Still probably my slowest grower though. I think my high nitrate issues that I was battling actually made all of my zoas take off. We'll see if growth slows now that I have it more under control.
I don't know what's going on with mine. This one needs to decide if it's going to pop babies or remain single for rest of its life. [emoji2]
 

Sir Chris

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I love zoas. Not plays as much as I like a tight colony. But I have about 24 different types. No names on 80%. pink palyin the sponge. Disappeared for 4 months hen popped out of that price of sponge 1 day as well as 3 other types I thought I lost. I'm not home now so only stored photos right now.

IMG_3734.JPG


IMG_3964.JPG
 

Xmoji

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Oceans Wonders. They're pricey but I think they're worth it. Good quality and really strong magnets. Only complaint is you have to be careful if your moving the rack because the magnet on the dry side are not held in by anything so if you. Or careful could fall out then the magnet will break.
 

915MANG

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Oceans Wonders. They're pricey but I think they're worth it. Good quality and really strong magnets. Only complaint is you have to be careful if your moving the rack because the magnet on the dry side are not held in by anything so if you. Or careful could fall out then the magnet will break.

Alright, thanks. I noticed you have it weighed down with disc so looked like a great frag rack
 
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