They are a type of live coral and are a zoanthid (zoa for short). They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors and are very popular for home aquariums as they are easy to take care of. They are popular with both beginner and experienced enthusiasts, who often make it their mission to find rare color combinations.
They are in the order of cnidarians, which is comprised of about 11,000 different species of aquatic animal. They should not be confused with Zoanthus, which is a different genus.
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Zoanthids are commonly found in the deep sea, coral reefs, and various other marine environments. They reproduce asexually and so under the right conditions can multiply very quickly. In the wild, they can either be found as individual corals or as a mat. This ability to create a mat means that they are often referred to as a “carpet coral”.
How to buy this Coral?
White zombie zoas can be found in a multitude of online retailers, both those specializing in corals and more broad marine shops. Most online stores will give you a brief description of the coral and the proper ways to take care of them.
If you truly want to get an appreciation for the beauty of white zombie zoas then it is best to visit a shop in person. This way you can see the true vibrancy of their colors for yourself and can pick and choose the right color, shape, and size for your tank.
White zombie zoas are a moderately priced coral, which more than makes up for their price when in the tank! The quick rate of preproduction will fill your home aquarium with a spectrum of beautiful colors in no time!
While other corals can be more inexpensively priced, the robust nature of the white zombie zoa means that it can stand the test of time and is also much easier to take care of. The additional price is well worth it when considering the ease of care and the choice of colors.
White Zombie zoa care
Are they high maintenance?
Most white zombie zoas are low maintenance, requiring only medium or low light. This light level (PAR 100-250) allows them to keep their color without bleaching. They are a robust coral due to their ability to use small materials (such as sand) to help with their structure by including them in their tissue.
An ideal temperature for this type of coral is 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The water salinity should ideally be between 1.023 and 1.026. Anything outside of this range or different water temperatures can affect the health of your beautiful coral.
Certain types, such as those with brighter colors, can tolerate a higher light intensity than some darker ones. Always check before adjusting the settings of your tank, but you can always go darker just to be on the safe side!
They respond well to consistent conditions, so if, for whatever reason, you suddenly need to increase the temperature of the water or light conditions then your white zombie zoa will not have a good time! They are also prey for particular fish, so it is always best to ask before you buy!
What do they eat?
White zombie zoas eat via photosynthesis. However, they need additional food. To keep your coral healthy it is a good idea to include iodine and various trace elements in their water. In such ideal conditions, they quickly multiply, leaving you with a beautifully colorful tank!
Additionally, you can add brine shrimp or micro-plankton to help with their health and to keep them well-fed. The clever coral also contains its own zooxanthellae off of which it can feed when added to meat such as krill and lance worms.
Pellets and other specialty food can be bought from a range of specialist coral stores, and it is best to research other people’s experiences to get a better understanding of the advantages, and disadvantages, of certain foods. For example, some people have noticed a direct correlation between food and the rate of reproduction.
Why are they so popular?
White zombie zoas are very popular for home aquariums for a multitude of reasons such as:
- Highly colorful
- Easy to maintain
- Can live in low-light conditions
- Easily reproduce
Even for advanced coral collectors, the white zombie zoa is popular. It’s like a game to try and find the most interesting color combinations! The large variety of colors also means that it is possible to mix-and-match the colors, shapes, and sizes within your tank. You can have your very own aquatic rainbow!
If you find that there are too many white zombie zoas filling up your tank, or you want to share with a friend, you can either cut them with scissors or a scalpel to separate the polyps.
Are other corals better?
Some zoas contain a potent toxin called palytoxin which, when ingested, can cause death. Although the exact concentration of this toxin is unknown in zoas, even a small amount can be fatal. Some cases have also led to blindness where the person was cutting the stem and the toxin squirted into their eye.
We recommend that you do not touch the corals if you have open wounds on your hands and that you take the proper safety measures at all times. This can include wearing gloves, a mask, and eye goggles.
Other corals that are popular, especially for beginner enthusiasts include:
- Green star polyps
- Sinularia leather
There are many more options. For example, mushrooms are particularly popular with beginners for home tanks given that they are inexpensive and come in all kinds of colors. However, their reproduction rate is so high that they can easily overwhelm a tank and become too much for the owner.
This is why it may be preferable to buy a white zombie zoa instead. Although they too multiply fairly quickly they will not completely overtake the tank, making it a much more visually, and materially, rich environment.
- Handling Zoanthids – Some Zoanthids Produce a Deadly Toxin, Blue Zoo Aquatics https://www.bluezooaquatics.com/resources.asp?show=16