Zoanthids are marine invertebrates (animals without backbones) that look like sea urchins or corals.
They are often found growing along rocky shores and coral reefs.
Zoanthids are commonly known as brain corals because they are able to build their own brains out of calcium carbonate.
Their growth rates vary depending on the species.
Some species grow very slowly, taking years to reach maturity. Others grow much faster, reaching maturity within months.
The most common zoanthid is Parazoanthus axinellae, which grows in the Indo-Pacific region.
It is a slow growing species with an average length of about 4 cm.
The fastest growing zoanthid is Palythoa caribbea, which can grow up to 10 cm per day.
You can also keep zoanthids in an aquarium. If you are looking to grow your zoanthids, then you have come to the right place!
Let’s learn more about how to care for them, and tips on growing them at home.
Zoanthids have been used for centuries by people around the world. In fact, some cultures use them as decorations.
For example, Chinese culture uses zoanthids as decorations during weddings and other celebrations.
In addition to being decorative, zoanthids are also useful for aquariums.
Aquarium owners use zoanthids to clean tanks and remove algae from the water.
If you want to start keeping zoanthids, it’s important to know how many there will be in your tank.
This depends on several factors such as the size of your tank and the amount of food available.
How Many Zoanthids Should I Start With?
To determine how many zoanthids you should buy, divide the total volume of your aquarium by the number of fish you plan to add.
For example, if you have a 55 gallon aquarium, and you plan to add 5 zoanthids, you would need 1/55 0.018.
This means that you would need 18 individual zoanthids. However, this doesn’t mean that you will end up with 18 zoanthids.
You may only get one or two. This is why it’s best to order several different sizes so that you can choose the ones that fit your needs.
What Size Zoanthids Do I Need?
When ordering zoanthids, make sure that you purchase small, medium, and large sizes. Small zoanthids are usually between 3 and 6 inches long.
Medium zoanthids are typically 7 to 9 inches long. Large zoanthids are normally longer than 10 inches.
Small zoanthids are perfect for beginners who don’t yet have experience caring for these animals.
Medium and large zoanthids are ideal for experienced aquarists who want to breed zoanthids.
How To Grow A Zoanthid
Growing zoanthids isn’t difficult. All you need is a large container filled with seawater.
Once you have this, follow these steps to grow your own zoanthids.
These instructions cover both Parazoanthus axinlei and Palythoa caribbaea.
Step 1: Choose Your Container
You’re going to need a large container for your zoanthids to grow. Ideally, it should be at least 50 gallons (190 liters).
But if you only have a smaller container, go ahead and use it. Just make sure you give your zoanthids plenty of room to move around.
Step 2: Fill Your Tank With Water
Fill your container with fresh, filtered seawater. Then let the water sit overnight to allow all the chlorine to dissipate.
Step 3: Add Food
Add one teaspoon of sea salts to each gallon of water. Stir the mixture until the salt dissolves completely.
Step 4: Add Your Zoanthids
Add your zoanthids directly into the water. They usually start growing within 24 hours.
However, they may take up to three days before they begin producing new polyps.
Step 5: Watch Them Grow
Keep an eye on your zoanthids for signs of stress. When they appear lethargic, their color changes.
If this happens, remove them from the tank immediately.
Step 6: Harvest Your Zoanthids
When your zoanthids reach about 10 inches (25 centimeters) long, harvest them by carefully lifting them out of the water.
Step 7: Enjoy Your Zoanthids
Once you’ve harvested your zoanthids, place them in a glass terrarium. Keep them in a cool, dark area.
This will help keep them healthy and prevent them from drying out.
Tips For Growing Zoanthids
To ensure your zoanthids thrive, try following some basic guidelines:
- Keep your zoanthids away from direct sunlight. Sunlight damages the delicate tissues of the zoanthids. It also makes them more susceptible to disease.
- Do not feed your zoanthids live food. Live foods contain bacteria and parasites that could infect your zoanthids and possibly spread diseases. Instead, feed them frozen or freeze-dried algae.
- Always add fresh, clean seawater. Never use tap water. Tap water contains chemicals that are harmful to zoanthids. Also, never mix different types of aquariums together.
- Make sure your zoanthids get enough air. Zoanthids like to breathe through their tentacles. So, don’t put them in a closed environment.
- Avoid overcrowding. Zoanthids grow best when there is sufficient room for them to move around freely. Too much crowding can cause them to become stressed.
- Provide ample light. Zoanthids require lots of light to grow properly. So, make sure you provide bright lighting in your tank.
- Maintain high temperatures. The ideal temperature for zoanthid culture is between 75°F and 80°F.
- Clean your tank regularly. A dirty tank will encourage algae growth. And algae can harm your zoanthids.
- Change your filter monthly. Filters clog over time. So, replace your filters every month.
- Feed your zoanthids once per week. Algae needs nitrogen to survive. So, feed your zoanthid once per week with a liquid algae culture.
- Remove sick zoanthids as soon as possible. Sick zoanthids look unhealthy and may even die.
General Caring For Zoanthids
Zoanthids need special care when kept in captivity. Here’s what you should know:
- Keep your zoanthids in a well-lit area. If possible, place them near a window where there is natural light. This will help keep your zoanthids healthy.
- Feed your zoanthids once every two weeks.
- Do not put your zoanthids into direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight causes zoanthids to turn red.
- Clean your tank regularly. Remove any dead tissue and debris from the bottom of the tank. Also make sure to change the water at least twice a week.
- Make sure your zoanthids get enough air. If necessary, only add small plants to your tank so your zoanthids don’t feel crowded.
- Use a high quality filter. Filters collect particles that may harm your zoanthids.
- Add salt to your water. Salt helps zoanthids maintain proper balance.
- Avoid using too many lights. Too much artificial lighting can cause zoanthids to become stressed.
- Provide plenty of hiding places. Zoanthids love to hide in dark areas. Place rocks and other objects in your tank to provide additional hiding spots.
- Don’t overfeed your zoanthids! Overfeeding can lead to bloating.
- Be patient. Zoanthids take time to grow. Give them adequate space and time to develop.
Zoanthids are easy to care for, but they do need special attention. Follow these tips to have happy, thriving zoanthids. Good luck!