Reverse Space Monster Zoa Care, Feeding & Water Conditions

Reverse Space Monster Zoas, or more correctly Palythoas, are species of button polyps popular among aquarists for their vibrant combination of neon green and purplish pink colors. They are one of the varieties of the Palythoa genus, and generally require very little care to keep healthy and thriving. Because of it, they are recommended to novice aquarists as an entry point for novice coral growing.

How to care for reverse space monster zoa?

Reverse Space Monster Zoa care boils down to providing them with a proper growing environment in your aquarium. Water temperature should be kept at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit range, and the ideal specific gravity of water is 1.025 but a fluctuation between 1.024 and 1.026 is acceptable.

The pH level should be maintained between 8.1 and 8.4, while carbonate hardiness or alkalinity should be in the 8-9.5 dKH. For the health and proper growth of Reverse Space Monster, it is important to keep the concentration of calcium and magnesium in 420-440 and 1260-1350 ppm ranges, respectively.

Another two very important factors that need to be closely monitored are nitrates and phosphate levels. Nitrates should be kept below 10 ppm, and in case that they go above this level, a water change is recommended. Phosphates should be kept at a level below 0.1 ppm. If it rises above, you should replace the granular ferric oxide (GFO) phosphate removal media.

Lighting requirements

Almost any type of lighting can be used to grow zoas, and they thrive in a low to moderate environment of PAR 100-250. But they prefer colder light color, between 14.000 and 20.000 Kelvin color temperature. Additionally, you should keep the water flow to moderate.

To obtain the color temperature that zoas prefer, you can purchase a special lamp. Many hobbyists use metal halide (MH) lamps to grow their zoas. They are expensive, but they will give excellent results because zoas need high-intensity light. The advantage of using MH lamps is that they will give you a good color temperature in your aquarium. So if you have plans to grow zoas, then usage of MH lamps is one of the best options.

If you don’t have enough money to purchase MH lamps, then there are other ways to bring out the desired light color at an affordable price. At this point, I strongly recommend the usage of T5 HO fluorescent lamps. This type of lamp provides a good color temperature that is suitable for zoas, and it’s usually very cheap to buy.

Do you need to feed zoas?

Zoanthids and Palythoas don’t need to be fed often. They are usually a host for symbiotic zooxanthellae which through photosynthesis provide them with enough nutrients to thrive. Thus targeted feeding most often is not required but providing enough nutrients for the whole ecosystem. Zoas are filter feeders and will extract needed nutrients from detritus created by other creatures in the reef tank.

In case that they do not have enough nutrients, they can be fed with the roti or oyster feast, or bits of mini mysis. When target feeding zoas it is important to closely monitor nutrient levels of the whole tank, as the increase can lead to algae blooming.

What are zooxanthellae?

Zooxanthellae is a common term for symbiotic eukaryotic single-celled dinoflagellates that often inhabit corals. They contain chloroplasts which makes them autotrophs using the process of photosynthesis. Zooxanthellae can live in symbiosis with many marine organisms, particularly with corals, and provide their hosts with nutrients while helping them to remove the products of metabolism, primarily carbon dioxide.

Through photosynthesis, they collect the carbon dioxide produced by their host, and from it, they produce glucose, amino acids, and oxygen needed to host.

How do you increase zooxanthellae?

Because most of the zooxanthellae are algae, the level of nitrates and phosphates determines their presence in the aquarium. If the levels of these nutrients are kept in the acceptable range for zoas, they will thrive.

In case that the water temperature is too high, corals tend to expel the algae from their tissue. Because the coloration of corals actually comes from the zooxanthellae colonies living in their tissues, this will lead to their discolorization. This phenomenon is also known as coral bleaching.

If your reverse space monster has vibrant colors, it indicates that its population of zooxanthellae is at healthy levels. In case that they start increasing the coral will start turning brownish, which indicates a higher than desirable level of nitrates.

Can algae kill coral?

Most of the algae that are associated with coral colonies are actually in a symbiotic relationship with them. They provide nutrients to coral in environments that are known to be nutrient-poor. But the presence of sugars they produce can create an environment in which bacterias can start developing in sufficient numbers to actually start lowering the amount of oxygen available to corals.

Algae are very beneficial for corals, besides giving them their vibrant colors, but under certain conditions, they can indirectly cause the death of corals by creating conditions for increased bacterial infection rates of corals.

What removes phosphate in a reef tank?

The best way to control the level of phosphates in your reef tank is to use phosphate removal media or GFO. They function by capturing inorganic phosphates and thus keeping their level at a desirable level. In case that the level of phosphates increases, it can lead to an outbreak of algae which is detrimental to the health of the aquarium.

What is phosphate removal media?

Phosphate removal media, also known as granular ferric oxide (GFO), is a chemical compound consisting of iron, oxygen, and hydrogen; that is used for preventing the blooming of algae in aquariums. A sudden outbreak of algae can lead to the death of the aquarium’s ecosystem. GFO has a very high affinity to binding phosphates, thus is an essential tool for maintaining their balance in aquariums and preventing algae outbreaks.

How often should you change phosphate media?

The best time to remove GFO is when the level of phosphates starts rising in your tank. Depending on the exact GFO product you are using in your aquarium, this can be anywhere between 4 and 8 weeks. Though this is a general rule, the exact period of time can vary due to many factors, including the amount and frequency of feeding.

Can you use too much phosphate remover?

Inorganic phosphates present in your tank’s water have an impact on its pH level. Thus using more than the suggested amount of GFO for your tank can cause a too sudden drop of phosphates and a pH level drop. Any sudden change of pH level can have a dramatic effect on your aquarium, so you should use only the suggested amount of phosphate remover.

What is alkalinity of water?

The alkalinity or hardiness of water is a measure of the water solution’s ability to withstand acidification. It describes the presence of various carbonates, and their ability to absorb acids. It shouldn’t be confused with pH level, which is a measure of acids present in water. In other words, it is a measure of your aquarium’s ability to withstand the change of pH level.

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