How can you keep your Zoa’s thriving and yourself safe from their deadly toxins?


In this article,  you’ll learn about Zoanthids and how to avoid their deadly Palytoxin.

Zoanthids and Palythoas polyps are one of the beginner corals that you’ll find in the tanks of experts too! They have beautiful colors but note that a lot of the more stunning colorations can be more pricey. Once you start collecting Zoa’s you just can’t stop – they can become an obsession!


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IMPORTANT tips for choosing Zoa’s


The real issue when it comes to choosing Zoa’s is which colors and patterns you like best and what your budget is. Always inquire what the sellers lighting conditions are for the morph and try to replicate as best as you can with placement.


(Image Credit: Aaron Gustafson)

(Image Credit: Aaron Gustafson)


There are thousands of different morphs to choose from but whichever you get make sure you dip them in an iodine solution or Coral RX to get rid of any pest before they hit your display tank.

Some Zoa morphs may release toxic metabolites in your water so it’s always a good rule of thumb with softies to keep some activated carbon in your sump and make sure you’re conducting regular partial water changes.


What is Palytoxin and how do you avoid it?


If you’ve never heard of palytoxin, you need to know it’s a seriously dangerous substance found in Zoa and Paly polyps. It’s the second most deadliest poison in the natural world – one gram of palytoxin will kill one hundred million mice! (True!)

(Image Credit: doctorlynebula)

Palytoxin typically is released via a clear mucus when a toxic Zoa is damaged or is taken out of the water. But not all Zoa’s are toxic especially Palythoas. A handful of aquarists have got into serious trouble when trying to kill off Zoa’s using boiling water then inhaling the steam or fragging colonies using a band saw then accidentally inhaling the spray.

But it’s always better to be safe than sorry –  palytoxin is absorbed through the skin, so always wear gloves and safety glasses when handling your Zoas and wash your hands very well afterward.


Here are a few of the most stunning Zoa’s around (in my opinion)


The Rasta Zoa: Very rare and beautiful green and orange oral disc with a blue mouth and skirt. They can sell anywhere from $10 to $50 per polyp. It usually grows at around one new polyp per month.


Rasta Zoa's

(Image Credit: Ray Krause)


Utter Chaos Paly: A very exquisite  Zoa that many reefers want to own because of it’s eye-popping looks. It has a pink and blue oral disc and an orange skirt and usually sells for $50 per polyp.


Purple Hornet Zoas: When these came out they were being sold for upwards of $300! Now supply has kept up with demand these purple and lime green Zoas usually got for $75 per polyp. Purple Hornets usually grow at a rate of 1 polyp per month.

The purple hornet – Probably my favorite Zoa morph!


Zoas and Palis are easy and extremely beautiful – once you get into the hobby of collecting them, you may never be able to stop!


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