Skip to Content

Should You Keep A Zoa Only Tank?

As more and more aquarium keepers start to try their hands at keeping reef tanks the popularity of the various corals and live plants used have skyrocketed.

With zoanthids being one of the more popular, beginner options to keep, it was only natural that people would eventually start to keep zoa only tanks or “zoanthid gardens”.

With the beautiful looking colors, shapes, and styles of a number of these zoa gardens going viral recently, we have noticed a spoke in the number of questions from people about keeping their very own zoa only tank.

Although most people do like to keep a variety of corals and live plants in their reef tanks, zoa only tanks can be a cheap, easy to maintain, and beautiful way to try your hand at keeping a reef tank before you try to integrate the more sensitive and difficult to keep corals.

On top of that, zoanthids usually do well in the smaller, entry-level tanks too making them excellent options for people new to keeping a reef tank or integrating corals and live plants into their other saltwater tanks.

Due to seeing a number of different questions from the community about keeping a zoa only tank, we have decided to compile as many of the questions that we see on a regular basis into this article.

We have added our table of contents below to make it as easy as possible to navigate the article to let you skip directly to the sections that you need the answers for. If you are brand new to zoa only tanks then at least skimming the whole article may be a good idea though.

How Do You Stock A Zoa Only Tank?

Although a zoa only tank may sound boring, the wide range of colors available from zoanthids as well as the various glowing zoas really do offer plenty of variety to make your tank look unique.

If you plan your tank out correctly, you can keep it looking unique with a range of beautiful colors and shapes from the various zoanthids that you use.

One of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to stop your zoa only tank is to pick up a zoanthid colony with a number of different types of zoa in the colony.

This sets your zoa only tank off with a wide range of different types of zoanthid from the very start and then you are able to supplement this initial colony with a number of individual zoanthids too allowing you to complete the tank and match it to your own style.

As always with zoas, there are plenty of glowing zoanthids that you are able to add to your zoa only tank too.

This really does take your zoanthid garden up to the next level and add that unique look to it but keep in mind, some of the zoas you get with colony buys or individual zoa picks will also glow under the correct lighting too.

“Yellow Zoanthids” by Saspotato is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Is It Safe To Keep A Zoa only Tank?

It is safe to keep a zoa only tank and provided you aren’t working on your tank with open wounds on your hands, the risk of having any problems really is minimal.

This is why so many beginners keep zoanthid only tanks due to how easy they are to keep as well as being a very safe tank to maintain and work on too.

We know that there are some types of coral and live plants that can cause issues if handled without gloves or in certain situations but for the most part zoanthids present no real risk when handled correctly.

We have actually seen more reports of aquarium keepers having problems with their fish trying to bite them when working on their corals and live plants rather than having issues with the actual plants.

Another benefit of a zoa only tank is that you won’t be having any of the other types of coral or plant that can present a risk to you too so it is generally safe to work on no matter what.

Just keep in mind that the majority of people start on a relatively easy to keep reef such as a zoanthid garden and then quickly expand and start keeping other corals and live plants in their tank that may pose a risk so always do your research on any specific plant you choose to add.

Is A Zoa Only Tank Beginner Friendly?

Zoa tanks are one of if not the most beginner-friendly type of reef tank to keep. Having a single type of coral or live plant in your tank is a great way to go for beginners as you don’t have to worry about maintaining correct water parameters for multiple plants or corals.

As far as corals go, zoanthids are relatively hardy and forgiving too with them usually being considered one of the more beginner friendly additions to most reef tanks too.

They take minimal time to maintain once mounted in the tank and are very easy to care for while also being great initial picks to add new types of coral and live plant to your reef tank in the future too if you choose.

The price points for some types of zoanthids are also very budget friendly too but keep in mind that this will depend on exactly what you are looking to keep.

The rarer and more unique looking the morph of the zoa you want in your zoanthid tank the higher their price tag tends to be but there are plenty of great looking cheap zoas on the market to get your started.

Common Problems With Zoa Only Tanks!

Due to how easy it is to keep a zoa only tank, there really are not many common problems with them.

The only real issue is zoa pox but this can be easy to avoid if you manage your tank correctly and if you do end up with zoa pox in your tank it is generally easy to remove and keep your zoas safe anyway.

Our article going over treating zoa pox covers everything that you may need to know about the condition though and the majority of people should easily be able to treat a zoa pox breakout in their tank, even if they are absolute beginners.

Other than zoa pox, zoanthids are pretty hardy as far as corals go and there really shouldn’t be many problems with keeping them.

Ensure that you do regular maintenance on your zoa tank to keep the algae build up under control and do your best to manage any accidental additions to the tanks like bristle worms or the “salt water centipede” that is a common accidental addition to many tanks.

Then you simply sit back, keep the water parameters and conditions in the tank as they should be and watch your zoanthid only tank thrive.


That brings our article going over keeping a zoa tank or a “zoanthid garden” to an end. They really are an excellent option to keep and it is easy to see why more and ore people are starting to look towards keeping a zoanthid only tank as a part of their setup. They are cheap, beginner friendly, and easy to maintain while also having a wide range of beautiful looking zoanthids that you are able to add to your tank too.