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FAQs about Zoanthid Compatibility, Control 2

Related Articles: Zoanthids, Sea Mat: An Ocean Of Color For The Aquarium by Blane Perun,

Related FAQs: Zoanthid Compatibility/Control 1, Zoanthid Comp./Control 3, Zoanthid Comp./Control 4, & Cnidarian Compatibility, Zoanthids, Zoanthids 2, Zoanthids 3, Zoanthid ID, Zoanthid Behavior, Zoanthid Selection, Zoanthid System, Zoanthid Lighting, Zoanthid Feeding, Zoanthid Health, Zoanthid Reproduction,

All my Zoanthids are closed! 2/28/10
Having searched all through WWM and other forums for help with my problem, I have had no success. All of the Zoanthids in my system are closed, and the have been for over 3 months.
<Summat's up>
I have done a hydrogen peroxide dip and a freshwater dip on all of them (I have about 6 different kinds...) over about the past month or so and there is still no change. The hydrogen peroxide dip did seem to get rid of some fungus
on some of them, but the freshwater dip cleaned off nothing but a few small pods and some snails (not sundial though). I have looked at all times of the day and night and have yet to find one Zoanthid spider, sundial snail, or Nudibranch on any one of my colonies. Also, the Zoanthids are not 'melting away', and some of them still look very plump.
My system is very small, 10g with a 5g refugium of Chaeto. I know there might be a problem with allelopathy among the Zoanthids,
<Ah yes... likely in/with such a small volume especially>
but wouldn't one of the colonies be thriving while the others are closed off?
<Mmm, nope. All could be, are apparently "losing">
Also, there is only a crocea clam, and two small xenia and clove polyp frags <Either one of these could be "winners">
in there with them, each of which is thriving. There is only one fish in there right now, a yellow watchman,
<Needs more room than this>
and some Turbos and Astreas. The only other thing I can think of is that my lights may be old, I am running a 70w MH unit about 8 inches above the water and the bulb is about 8 months old... it is a good bulb though and like I said this has been going on for months so I doubt this is it. My water parameters are good, too:
SG 1.024
<S/b higher. See WWM>
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
<An essential nutrient. Could be the trouble here>
Phosphate 0
<Ditto. Remove, reduce your chemical filtration, increase feeding>
Ca 1350
<Mmm, no>
dKH 9-10
Mg 1525 (I know a bit high... but I doubt this would do it?)
<Yes, could>
Temp: 78-81
Lighting: 70W MH for 7hrs, actinic 2x18W 9 hrs
Flow: 2 90gph pumps, 1 Koralia Nano
I also have My tank has been up and running for over two years now and I have been able to keep Zoanthids fine until about 3-4 months ago. Attached are some photos of my closed colonies. I am at my wits end and ready to throw my tank out. I know Zoanthids can be finicky, but I would think at least one or two colonies should open. Any ideas?
<... fix your water quality first, do what is necessary to provide some NO3, HPO4... Move the colonies elsewhere... Bob Fenner>

Re: All my Zoanthids are closed! 2/28/10
Thanks for the quick reply. I think I will move the bigger colonies to the LFS and be content with Xenia/clove polyp/clam...
leave one or two small Zoa frags, and try to get the water quality right.
The problem with Nitrate and Phosphate is that even when I feed a lot they are still undetectable, I assume due to my Chaeto in my "refugium" which grows quickly.
<I would keep harvesting this Green Algae; to the extent where there is some measurable essential nutrients here>
However they must be in there somewhat because I still have significant green hair algae.
<Oh! Then address this first. See WWM...>
Could it be a problem with ph/alkalinity swings?
I add Kent SuperBuffer regularly
<S/b only done through additions to pre-mixed, stored new water during change-outs>
but there could still be swings and this I have heard to affect Zoanthids. Or are you pretty sure it is allelopathy?
<Can't discern from here>
I am pretty resigned to the fact that this is it. Again thanks a lot for the service.
<Certainly welcome. BobF>

Coral Compatibility/Allelopathy 1/14/10
<Hello Nikki>
Hello I have a question. I have lots of Zoanthids in my tank, and recently purchased a Bubble Coral. Will they be okay if they touch each other?
<Euphylliids, of which the Bubble Coral is a member, possess very expansive bodies and stinging tentacles which can/will extend to other sessile invertebrates placed near them. And, there is a good chance of negative chemical interaction with Soft Corals. I would leave at least six inches of space between this coral and any other corals including Zoanthids.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Zoa placement re others 12/7/09
Salutations to the Crew!
<Howdy Rich!>
Firstly, I have only found it necessary to write in infrequently due to the vast wealth of information on your site - and the obvious dedication of the Crew themselves. The previous information regarding my algae problems kept me in the hobby. Keep it up the great work.
<Am trying>
I have read a fair bit regarding the Zoanthids/Palys, learned a lot, but have yet to find info regarding placement with a feather duster.
Specifically, can the polyps come in contact with the tube of a Hawaiian feather duster or is this on the list of 'don't do'?
<Mmm, I don't know of any real trouble, negative interaction twixt the two.
Have seen these disparate groups in close contact at times in the wild>
Eagerly awaiting my wake-up call... and thank you again.
Richard J.C.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Killing Palys. Zoanthid control, human toxicity f's-- 12/04/09
Dear Crew,
I have a tank being over run by brown polyps. I believe people here call them Texas Trash Palys. At first it looked nice to have a large mat of these but this is getting ridiculous. They were growing on all the rock, sand and back wall. Now I have reason to believe they are making me ill.
<No bueno!>
8 weeks ago, I did a lot of work on my tank, mainly removing algae and removing Palys growing on the sandbed. So my hands were in the water. I was wearing gloves, but they only come up above my wrists. I don't remember having any cuts. That night, I had trouble sleeping due to chills. I got up and went into the bathroom and blacked out. Busted my head open and bruised my ribs in the process. Went to the hospital but had no fever. My lower BP# was initially really low. Recovered an moved on.
A few weeks ago, I discovered a leak in my sump. So I broke down my tank and put all the live rock, including Palys in totes. That night, I had chills again and felt dizzy when I stood up. This time I sat down and did not black out. I recovered later in the day. I got a new DT and setup the new tank and sump. Put the LR and Palys back in. The water smelled terrible. All my Ricordea were dead but the Palys were alive. The can with the fish had a few rocks with Palys. Two fish were dead and the others were near death. That night I got the chills again. My remaining fish were dead by morning.
<Bad, bad and worse>
I'm thinking all of this is from the Palys.
<Could be>
Even if their not the cause, I want to get rid of them anyway. They are reduced in number, but I'm sure they'll be back. My tank completed a cycle and I've started adding some hermits and a brittle star to clean up anything left decaying in there. I as hoping to begin restocking fish this weekend. How can I kill the Palys and not have another cycle of the tank?
<Remove all rock with them, the Zoanthids on them... Bleach... for a day... Rinse, let the "old" rock air dry... for a few days... Place back in the system with some new atop to reseed with other forms of life>
Not to mention avoid taking the rock out of the tank and manually removing them?
<This is what is necessary... Either that or nuking/bleaching all in place.
Yes, I am serious. You are by far not the first or worst to be malaffected by these Sea Mats... Do take care. Bob Fenner>

Corals <Zoanthids> Gone Wild! (Polyp Invasion) -- 11/10/09
Hi Crew,
<<Hiya Lynne>>
I have attached a picture of my aquarium showing how some coral polyps I bought in the past have totally taken over my live rock in my tank.
<<Yeeikes! I'll say they have!>>
I have tried keeping the live rock pieces separated in the tank but when I clean the tank pieces break off and eventually find an open piece of live rock and start growing.
It's not the worst problem in the world
<<Uh, yeah'¦as long as you don't want to keep any other type/species of coral>>
but is there any way I can obliterate this coral from my tank?
<<Not without some collateral damage>>
Any fish or invertebrate that will eat it?
<<Some Butterfly and Angel species 'might' take a shine to these polyps (a bit of research will reveal which ones naturally feed upon corals/polyps as opposed to those that feed upon sponges/tunicates, in the wild), but finding one that does will likely put any other 'desirable' corals or polyps present, in danger as well. I have also seen Foxface Rabbitfish that would decimate polyp colonies'¦but not all behave in this manner. Probably one of the more likely fish to go after these polyps, in my experience, would be Heniochus acuminatus (Not to be confused with the similar looking and 'more reef-safe' H. diphreutes). In most every instance that I can recall, H. acuminatus, though largely planktivores have gone after Zoanthids/polyps in a closed system with relish'¦but still, this is no guarantee. I once had a problem with a metallic green Palythoa that began as an incidental introduction and quickly resulted in a growing infestation. It is remarkable how 'durable' these creatures are when eradication is desired. I tried everything from Kalkwasser to straight Lugol's Iodine injections. The polyps would ball-up for a bit after these treatments, but always came back and continued to thrive'¦and to kill/grow into/over my Acropora corals (So, save yourself the expense, trouble, and danger to other tank inhabitants re trying to 'poison' these unwanted intruders). In the end it came down to sacrificing some live rock by removing 'any' infested rock and letting it dry out completely. Looking at the extent of your polyp invasion, I fear you may be in the same boat here as I was>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Re: Corals Gone Wild! (Polyp Invasion) -- 11/11/09
Hi Eric,
<<Hi Lynne>>
Thanks for your time.
<<Quite welcome>>
What would be the procedure to "kill" the corals off of the live rock without losing the live rock?
<<As previously stated, in my experience these organisms are surprisingly resilient and resistant to any poisoning that wouldn't also be hazardous to your rock/tank in general'¦especially so considering the extent of the growth/coverage on the rocks shown in your earlier photo. Part of the problem also stems from the fact that the polyps themselves are quite toxic and even should you move the rock to a treatment tank, if the 'poison' used (Kalk paste, Lugol's, etc.) doesn't get it, the degeneration/disintegration of the polyps alone can kill the other biota in and on the rock. You're best option here is to discard/replace these rocks altogether. If that is not possible, then I think your next best option is to 'manually' remove the polyps from the affected rock. For this to work you will have to remove 'every little speck' of the organism from the rock. The best way to do this is to 'shave' the polyps from the rock with a sharp carpenter's chisel (a cheap one from any hardware/department/home store will work fine). The process involves removing a thin layer of the soft carbonaceous rock under the attachment point/s of the polyps. Please be aware this method is not without RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY should you push the chisel in to your hand or some other part of your body. Precautions must also be taken to avoid any skin contact with the polyps, as the previous mentioned toxin is also dangerous to 'you' (be VERY mindful of not scratching any itches!) Both during this process and afterwards before placing back in the display, the rock should be rinsed in clean saltwater. And of course everything else (your hands/tools/bowls, etc.) will also need a good washing>>
<<I do think you should reconsider trying to 'save' the live rock'¦much more hassle/danger involved than it is worth. Abundans cautela non nocet'¦ Eric Russell>>

R2: Corals Gone Wild! (Polyp Invasion) -- 11/11/09
Thanks Eric!
<<Happy to share! EricR>>

Inquiry re: Heliacus Snails as predators of Zoanthids 11/11/09
Hello Crew,
I have Zoanthids that have grown wild in my tank and I want to remove them.
I've read on your site that the Heliacus snail is a predator of zoos.
<This is so>
Do you think that putting a large quantity of these snails in my tank will kill off the Zoanthids? If so, where can I buy these types of snails?
<Mmm, I'd enquire of etailers, your local fish stores that deal in reef/marines, and even online directories like Craig's List re... it may well be that some hobbyists have them that want to rid themselves of them>
If these types of snails are not for sale, is there a snail or Nudibranch I can purchase that will eat the zoos?
<Not reliably, no... and...>
See attached photo of my overgrown Zoanthids.
<Do take extreme care if handling these Cnidarians... are very toxic. DO read here:
and the linked files above re. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Coral Attack, Zoas vs. Decapods 9/16/09
Need more help.
<I know I do>
I have a 135 with 150lbs of live rock. Nice and purple. Nitrate is less than 10 and on its way down, as I just installed a RDSB. I found a single Zoanthid growing on the rock and figured it was a good time to put a few test corals in. I put in a small frag with about 10 Zoanthids. The Zoa's were attached to the skeletal remains of something. It was not a rock. The first night one of the hitchhiker crabs apparently removed the coral from their attachment and took the structure away.
<Wow; strong crabs>
I found the Zoa's on the bottom curled into a ball. I have replaced them in another location and they are slowly moving up the rock.
Is any of this normal? Will the Zoa's recover?
<Mmm, hopefully. You might want to rig some sort of strong cover over them for now. Maybe a plastic "berry" container, inverted, tied down with all-plastic ties.>
I have seen 3 crabs. Based on their claw configurations, 2 need to go.
The last time I tried trapping, nothing happened. I assume crabs do not hunt during molting?
<For the most part this is so>
I found sheds during the time I tried the trap.
I really appreciate all the great information on the site and in the Bob's books. The entire family is having a great time learning and watching new things happen every day.
<Ahh, great! BobF>
Erik C. Hayes

Xenia / Zoanthids: Natural Ways To Prevent Spreading 9/9/09
Hello WetWeb Crew!
<Hi Jeff>
I'm planning out a 90 gallon softies reef and would like to concentrate on Zoanthids and pulsing xenias. I have 2 rock clusters on either side of the tank, one of which will be devoted to the Zoas and the other for the xenias. Assuming that both corals are able to thrive, I'm concerned that they will both spread prolifically leading to significant maintenance. I'd like to find a natural way to limit the growth (especially on the xenias),
and one idea would be to introduce a leather coral in between the two. If the xenias spread to the leather's turf, the leather would protect its territory by stinging. Would this work and is it a good idea? If so, what
are some specific species recommendations?
<Not a good idea with the leather. Xenia's form a colony, all attached to each other, and a sting will likely affect the entire colony. I've tried an experiment to control a colony of coral by placing an aggressive coral near the colony. The end result, which took a few weeks, was the decimation of the entire colony. I suggest you keep these corals on a rock the size you wish the colony to be. Any corals spreading from the rock
can easily be controlled by cutting.>
Thanks a bunch!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Tanks equip (not yet setup!):
90 gallon, w/ 4 inch DSB
30 gallon, 3 compartment sump with mud refugium (reverse daylight lighting)
Current USA Nova Extreme Pro 6x54 watts T5
Vortech MP40
ASM G-2 Skimmer
Planned Fish:
2 Ocellaris Clowns
1 Royal Gramma
1 Canary Wrasse
1 Radiant Wrasse
<Not entirely reef safe.>
1 Neon Goby
1 Cherub Angel
<Not one of the easier pygmies to keep if you are new at this. A Coral Beauty would be a better choice, keeping in mind that they are reef safe, but with caution.>
<<Really James? I find that Centropyge argi is much hardier on average in semi-peaceful settings. RMF>>

Zo Polyps encroaching on clam space 8/29/2009
Hello, I hope you are all okay.
<Very well thank you.>
My problem is that I have a beautiful Blue Clam attached to a big rock.
Time ago I had some Zoanthid Polyps a good distance away. Now the polyps reproduced and got big and are starting to cover the rock and are in contact with the Clam. I don't see any damage to the Clam yet but I'm worried. What can I do? Do I have to remove the Polyps? How? The Clam is really attached so I think I can't remove it.
<I would recommend trying to fragment the rock in such a way to separate the Zoanthids and the clam. If that does not seem possible the next step I would take would be to eradicate some of the Zoanthids that are closest to the clam. Of course this wouldn't really fix the problem only delay it.>
Also Xenia is now in contact with some Leather Coral. When that happens and can't move because are attached to the same rock what's the procedure?
<Once again, I would try to fragment the rock and separate the corals.
This is a common problem in "reef garden" type aquariums. All the animals are competing for space, if left long enough uninterrupted the whole tank would likely be full of just one or two species.>
Thanks and sorry for my bad English!!
<You did better than most English speaking people.>
Fernando Muscolo
<Josh Solomon.>

Zoanthids Disappearing, Hitchhiking Crabs -- 7/18/09
<Hello Jared, Lynn here this afternoon.>
I have been loosing the expensive Zoas fairly fast each night.
<Yikes! Have you looked for the usual suspects? Please see the following links for more information/photos: http://www.zoaid.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=384
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidcompfaqs.htm >
The ugly cheap ones are doing great just like kudzu (of course).
<Murphy's law strikes again.>
I have lost a quite a few whole colonies of tubs blues, gorilla nipples, fire and ice, black cherry and so on. In all about $300 of Zoas!!!!
I pulled out my trusty red lens light 3 nights in a row and found this guy in a hole near the Zoas. Now I do not know if he is the culprit, as he does not have the really fuzzy bear legs or sharp claws on the ends (they are flat and look just like a emerald crab)....so a rogue algae eater gone to the dark side maybe????
<I don't think the crab was actually eating the Zoanthids, but it's possible that his presence was acting as an irritant. In which case, you'd have noticed the polyps remaining closed for extended periods of time (not disappearing overnight). I guess it's always possible that, for whatever reason, the crab was pulling the polyps off the rock. I just don't know. What you describe sounds more like deliberate predation. I'd look for Nudibranchs, Heliacus/sundial snails, and others listed at the above link. One other thing to do though is check the remaining Zoanthids for any sign of small light/whitish spots. If so, it could be what some hobbyists call Zoanthid pox. Please see this link for a photo example: http://www.zoaid.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=3573
For treatment, see first FAQ, titled 'Zoa Pox Treatment -- 05/09/09' at this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/furancpdfaqs.htm
More info here regarding diagnosis/treatment: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidhlthfaqs.htm >
Plus he lost a leg battling me.
I accidentally skewered it with a bamboo skewer and was able to force him out of the hole that way. I have him in my fuge with easy access to remove him, but I have found 2 more EXACTLY like him in another piece of base rock. And of course they are either too far in or they scurry away before I can get them.
<No kidding. They know they can't win a battle against the skewer-man!>
Zero damage as of yet from them, but I am still trying to get them.
<I would do the same.>
He looks very similar to the header pic and last pic on: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Arthropoda/CrustaceanPIX/SWCrabs/Crab%20IDs/swcrabid12.htm
<Gotcha. Although those claw tips look fairly blunt, they don't appear fully spatulate like those of emerald/Mithraculus crabs. Also, the presence of hefty molar-like ('molariform') structures on the inside edges indicate that the claws are less adapted for eating algae and more adapted for crushing -- usually mollusks. Crabs on the whole are omnivorous creatures. They're usually okay in reef tanks when small, but can be a problem as they grow larger.>
What do you guys think????-- Trigger/octopus food or not?
<Well, the trigger and octopus would definitely love it, but I'm a softie; I'd spare their lives and find them a new home in the sump or elsewhere.>
<Take care, LynnZ>

polyps on a clam 5/12/09
I purchased a frag of about 10 zoo. polyps 4-6 weeks ago, affixed them fairly high on live rock, using glue. A friend of mine was over, and he noticed that what we thought was a small rock the zoos were attached to, is in fact what appears to be a small Tridacna clam-at best the size of a quarter. Its been there without me realizing it, for about a month.
<Interesting... likely another bivalve rather than a Tridacnid>
My question is whether you would advise that I try to remove the zoos and relocate them, in order to maximize the light that reaches the clam.
<Yes I would... if you intend to try saving the clam's life>
Thanks in advance,
Larry Marshall
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Coral and Clam Competing for Turf 5/5/09
WWM Crew:
<Josh Here>
I've been lucky enough to have the livestock in my reef tank flourish, but now I fear that I'm running into an issue where I have too many creatures competing for limited reef space. I've been able to somewhat successfully deal with this problem in the past, but now I'm in a bit of a pickle. I've attached a photo of my problem area. Obviously everything is attached to the rock, so I can't easily move anything. I'm most concerned about the clam getting stung, and I don't really care about the mushrooms or Zoanthids if they need to be removed.
<The clam may be getting close there... but they don't seem quite as close as you make it sound. Anyway, it couldn't hurt to separate them. While it certainly isn't ideal for the clam to be in contact with the coral, do Google search some for some photographs of giant clams in the wild, (often surrounded by corals).>
Will the clam survive if I allow it to be smothered by the Zoas and Shrooms, and if not, what is the best way to remove the Zoas and Shrooms. I'm afraid that scraping them away with razor blade will release toxins into the water. Thanks in advance for your help.
<Should be fine to scrape, if this rock is like most live rock, it may be just as easy to scrape away a layer of live rock with the corals attached as to scrape the corals themselves.>
<Good luck with the coral relocation...
Josh Solomon>

Xenia and Zoanthid Control -- 5/1/09
Hi again,
<Hi Steve!>
Thanks so much for your help!!!
<You're welcome!>
Can I ask another question?
<Go for it>
Okay, I've got a whole lot of rock with Zoanthids and Xenia that are taking over my tank.
<Uh-oh. That's a common problem -- especially with Xenia. I had a similar issue with Green Star Polyps years ago. My tank looked like the green hills of Ireland which was pretty, but not what I had in mind!>
I want to get rid of these entirely, do you have any ideas?
<Yes. Option number one is to sell or swap the rocks with the Xenia and Zoanthids on them. The saying 'One man's weed is another man's wildflower' applies here. Check your local fish club, stores, or other hobbyists in the area. Xenia is a poor shipper so you might be able to get a pretty good deal. Also, if you've got some nice Zo's, those should sweeten the deal as well.>
I know I could scrub, but with all the holes, I would probably miss some, and this headache would begin again in time. Is my only option to set the rock in the sun for a few days, killing everything beneficial on it?
<I wouldn't do anything that drastic.>
Or should I boil the rock?
I would like to rid myself of these weeds, before adding the new rock.
<I can certainly understand that. If you don't want to swap, frag (for sale) or outright sell the rock (and buy new) you're going to have to get hands on with the stuff. One recommendation for thinning Xenia is to take a sharp pair of scissors and cut each stalk off at the base. If you want to take things a step further, you can snip the stalks, then turn the rock(s) upside down away from the light. For more information/methods (again, this problem is pretty common), see the FAQ's at this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidcompfaqs.htm . Regarding Zoanthid removal techniques, this has been covered as well at WWM. Please see the information at the following link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidcompfaqs.htm . Just keep in mind that these can be very toxic, so be careful -- wear gloves and protective eyewear and don't let any children, pets, or anyone else come into contact with them. For more information on Palytoxin issues, please see this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidreprfaqs.htm >
Thanks again!
<You're welcome again! Take care, LynnZ>

Button polyps, beh., hlth. 1/26/09 Hi. I am new to saltwater and tried to look through the forum to find my answers before emailing but didn't quite see the same problem that I have going on. If it was there and I missed, I apologize. I bought some button polyps from my local fish store. After about 3 weeks in my tank, they started getting this white film on some of the polyps; I attached a picture. The colony seems very healthy but I was hoping that this isn't some kind of fungus or disease starting. Could you please tell me what this is? <Mmm, nothing appears too amiss here... It often happens that Zoanthids (et al. similar sealife) will "look different" being moved... conditions like lighting, circulation being different, along with general stress in being relocated> I have a 46 gallon that has been up and running for about 6 months. I started with water, live rock, and live sand form an existing aquarium so my tank cycled in a month or so. I haven't had any problems with any other livestock that is in my tank. My water parameters are: Salinity 1.022 <Mmm, this is too low... should be near natural seawater strength... 1.025-1.026...> Nitrate maybe 5 but close to 0. Nitrite 0 Hardness 400 Alkalinity 300 PH 8.4 Calcium 420 Iodine- just did my first test and it read 0 but the reference water that was sent with the kit was to be .06mg (ideal natural saltwater according to the test kit parameters) and it read .01mg so I don't know how reliable this new kit is. <Mmm, I2 comes and goes... you should read a bit re its use in captive systems... If anything, I'd dose during water changes... "It" will generally read zero most all the time otherwise> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Tammy <There may be a bit of "allelopathy" going on here with other Cnidarians... If your Zoanthids continue to further whiten... I'd be reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: button polyps, beh./comp., hlth. 1/27/2009 Thank you for the reply. I will start to raise the salinity and I'm glad at this time you don't see anything wrong with the polyps. It's a colony of about 25 or so and I really like them. I also read your article which was very informative and helped. I only have a button polyp, 2 very small star polyps, a small yellow polyp, and some Ricordea in my tank very separated. Would there still be some allelopathy if they are at least 5-10 inches from one another? <Could indeed, yes... the organisms listed are not "very" compatible... can/do mal-influence each other distally... through chemical means> I have very good water flow thinking that would help. I also have 2 sea fans that are separated from all the other items if that matters. I tried to read up on everything while I was buying to make sure I wasn't putting competitors in but maybe I did.? <Happens...> Thanks again! Tammy <Welcome my friend. Please do keep good notes, and inform us in a month or so re progress here. BobF>

Re: button polyps, comp. 1/27/09 Thanks, I will. I thought I was doing good with compatibility but as you say, it happens. Would an extra skimmer or more water flow keep things moving around enough and clean the water of the chemicals they put off? <Does help> I have a SeaClone 100 skimmer, a maxi-jet 1200 power jet, and a Fluval canister running... Should I get something else to help? <Please read where you were first referred to... archived below> I hope they all do ok and I will keep you posted. Thanks again for all the information and the quick responses! Great forum... I have read a lot of pages! Tammy <Ahh! Keep moving forward. BobF>

Re: button polyps, comp. 1/29/09 I think I will get another skimmer like the one I have to disperse the water. I will keep reading and studying so I can do this correctly and don't lose things... Pretty expensive hobby but I love it! Thanks again. Tammy <Welcome my friend. BobF>

Re: Aquarium Planning: Zoanthidea Compatibility - 01/27/09 Dear Eric, <<Hello Frank>> I like to thank you for your prompt and detailed response. <<You?#8364;™re quite welcome>> You don't know what it means to get an input from the experts when in doubt. <<We?#8364;™re here to help ?#8364;you?#8364;? decide what?#8364;™s best>> I carefully weighted your remarks and most likely will go with a different type of corals, <<Oh?>> possibly Ricordea and Rhodactis mushroom species. <<Though less ?#8364;toxic?#8364;? than the Palythoa, the Corallimorphs are not much less noxious (if at all), but do come in some amazing colors and will make for a more attractive display in my opinion. And not to discourage you but like Zoanthids, Ricordea species can also be tricky to keep for novice aquarists>> I will need to do more reading on the topic in the next few weeks to see how the mushroom species will get along and how bad the allelopathy can be. <<Indeed?#8364;? Reading/researching all you can is vital>> It makes me wonder that people who are advocate of not performing partial water changes frequently (or not at all) can end up with a soup of different toxins and nasty substances in high concentration. <<Agreed?#8364;? None of the filtration methods available today can cleans the environment the way a simple water change does?#8364;?along with its added benefit of renewing trace elements, bio-minerals, et al>> Especially, if a variety of soft corals and other species are kept together. <<Matters not?#8364;? ANY aquarium should have the benefit of frequent partial water changes>> One would think that such system should crash. <<And likely they do>> Unless those molecule chains are not very stable and break down to something else in time, or get absorbed by other organisms and somehow remain in the system, or get exported more effectively than we think via chemical filtration and skimming. <<Unfortunately the volume and diversity of such organisms is much too low to provide such a benefit as you describe, and the chemical filtration and skimming does not collect all either. As the saying goes...dilution is the solution to pollution>> That remains a mystery to me. Another possibility is that those systems do crash but the blame wrongfully goes to a secondary symptom. <<I do think this is often the case>> I like to point out that WWM turned out to be one of the best resources available. <<Ah!>> When reading about a topic in the books, most hobbyist literature (rightfully) repeat about 75% of the same information and have about 25% or so of the content as new or different. WWM on the other hand can be viewed as a database of case studies. A hobbyist may find very specific information about a topic or specie that is not available elsewhere. I thank you and your team for keeping this database up and running. <<On behalf of Bob and the rest of the WWM Crew, we are pleased to be of service>> Regards, Frank <<Cheers mate?#8364;? EricR>>

Aquarium Planning: Zoanthidea Compatibility ?#8364;" 01/24/09 Hello to the WWM crew. <<And greetings to you Frank>> First I like to thank you for providing such a valuable source of information for the hobbyist. <<Ah, quite welcome?#8364;?is quite the collective effort>> I have set up a 120g tank with no animals in it yet. Around 400 lbs of dried base rock were cemented in the tank, then soaked and aged. <<Wow?#8364;? Any room left for livestock to grow?#8364;?for fishes to swim? [grin]>> Tank was cycled (seeded with one piece of live rock) with lights off. <<Mmm, would have done this with lights-on myself?#8364;?for the benefit of any photosynthetic organisms that came with the live rock>> Ammonia was dosed on nightly basis to facilitate the nitrogen cycle process. <<Okay>> To my surprise, the only live organism that was visible on the live rock, a small sea squirt, has tripled in size and I have a couple of yellow pineapple shape sponges growing on the base rocks on various locations. <<It is amazing what one can discover emerging from the live rock?#8364;?in the absence of macro-predators. I think to many hobbyists are in too big a hurry to stock their tanks to fully realize this>> Lights are still off. <<Turning them on may well bring forth more surprises from the rock>> At this time I am on the last stage of the nitrogen cycle, waiting for the bacteria to populate the sulfur denitrator filter. Meanwhile, I have enjoyed reading and learning from a number of books and information available on the web. <<Ah! Putting the time to good use then>> However, the more I read and learn about the potential complexity of keeping marine organisms together, the more I lean toward simplicity for success in the long run. <<Assuming there is such a thing in the hobby [grin]. But yes, mixing organisms from different oceans and/or niches on the reef does indeed bring challenges?#8364;?but the ?#8364;mixed garden reef?#8364;? does still seem to be the favorite?#8364;?and admittedly, is often most attractive>> I have decided to keep a pair of Percula clowns (already in quarantine tank), one royal gramma, and possibly a fourth fish for this set up. <<Okay?#8364;? And is up to you, but you could do more here>> Invertebrates will be a pair of yellow boxer shrimp <<Neat>> (in quarantine) and one or two brittle stars. As for corals, it has been a nightmare to select a mix for the long term success. <<Aw mate, though not to be hastily done, this should be the fun part. Have you considered a biotopic or species specific display?>> To minimize physical and chemical competition, I decided to select only one species for the entire system. <<Can be quite dramatic>> I am not sure if this is reasonable or if I am on the right track? <<Sure?#8364;? Though do also consider the fishes that would associate with/occupy such a niche>> My first pick is Protopalythoa sp. They are individual polyps (no connecting mat tissue), and come in a variety of colorful choices offered on the market. My plan is to purchase around 20 different types of Protopalys, <<Hmm?#8364;? I didn?#8364;™t realize Protopalythoa was available in such variety to hobbyists?#8364;?have only ever really seen specimens in varying shades of brown or green. Now the smaller Zoanthids are another matter re color selection/availability to the hobby, but are somewhat more ?#8364;delicate?#8364;? than the Palys. And do also realize that this probably won?#8364;™t be a ?#8364;species?#8364;? specific tank as I doubt there are 20 ?#8364;varieties?#8364;? of a ?#8364;single species?#8364;? of Protopalythoa available>> attach them to the rocks on different locations, and let the nature do its job: no interventions. <<Should prove most interesting>> I presume that within a few months to a year the variety of polyps will get in close proximity of each other and will be in physical contact. <<Indeed>> My question is: 1) If different polyps will physically attack each other or will they simply mix? <<I have heard claims that Protopalythoa and Palythoa species will ?#8364;mingle?#8364;? with out incident, but my own observations are that the individual polyps of differing species that ?#8364;touched?#8364;? did not look happy about it. Now, there is also a phenomenon called ?#8364;habituation?#8364;? in which corals that normally wouldn?#8364;™t get along learn to do so when ?#8364;growing up together?#8364;? in a captive system?#8364;?but this is not guaranteed to occur. There is also consideration that progressive generations of captive-propagated corals; much like captive bred fishes, may lose some of their aggression (or maybe just some of their ?#8364;ability?#8364;? to inflict harm)>> 2) Should I worry about allelopathy? <<With most any coral/sessile invertebrate/alga?#8364;?yes?#8364;?and especially with the very noxious organisms you have chosen>> From what I understand, Palythoa and Protopalythoa sp. contain potent toxins harmful to humans and to the fish. <<And most anything else>> 3) Is there a chance that the Protopalythoa polyps will release any toxins in the water? <<Not a ?#8364;chance?#8364;??#8364;?is a certainty>> I have chemical and foam fracturing filtration in place but not sure how effective they will be. <<Very good?#8364;?and time will tell>> 4) Is there a method to quantitatively measure the toxin contents of the water? Or is there a method to detect them at all? <<I?#8364;™m sure there is?#8364;? But nothing readily available (or maybe even affordable) for hobbyists>> I hate to rely on guess work if there are other options available. <<No need to ?#8364;guess?#8364;??#8364;? Learning all you can about your chosen animals along with frequent and close observation will help much>> I am trying to conclude my planning and do need your advice. Please elaborate on the potential success of this system. <<I think you have a fine chance for success. These are generally quite hardy and resilient organisms (can be impossible to eradicate in systems where they are not wanted, in my experience). And it?#8364;™s up to you, but for a more ?#8364;natural?#8364;? presentation I would do more research re your fish selection for such a display as this>> Best regards, Frank Amini <<Happy to share. Eric Russell>>

Re: Post re: Derasa Clam, Zoanthid comp. 9/24/08 9/25/08 Hello all, I have a question in regards to this post from Bob Fenner. Derasa Clam, hlth., comp. 9/24/08 Hello, this is my first question but I read your recommendations since a long time ago. Sorry my English is not perfect. <I understand you> My reef setup is running since a year and a half ago. Among many corals and invertebrates I have these two clams since a year ago. A derasa and I thing a Crocea, but I'm not sure about that. The two clams where very good till now. The crocea is still very good but I see the derasa not extending the mantle as before like 10 days ago. I try to move the clam when I notice that the two shells were like disassembled and feels like the top shell was going to fell. <Yikes, no bueno> I leave the clam and not touched anymore. I was very careful and I'm sure that I didn't do the damage. She opens a little and the color is good and sometimes close and open a little but I'm not sure if she can recover by herself. Is not getting worse at least. I include a photo where you can see the two clams and you can see that the top shell is like a couple millimeters off the natural position. The water parameters are Ammonia 0 Nitrites 0 Nitrate 10 Phosphate 0 Carbonate hardness 8 Calcium 400 Temperature 80 I don't have a chiller and its a 30 gallon tank 196 watts PC and the calms are very high and in the center of the tank Thanks!!!! Fernando <I think this animal is being poisoned by either the Zoanthid below or the Polyp above. I would move either the clam or these stinging-celled colonies. Bob Fenner> My question being, I have had a 3 inch maxima for about 5 months. When I bought it, I placed a shell underneath and let it acclimate in the sandbed. <Good> The next day, it was attached right in the middle of a Zoanthid colony that was nearby. <Mmm, not good> I thought clams couldn't really be "stung" per se, <Not so> so I left it. It's been a few months in this location now, with no ill effects. I did notice that some Zoas have attached to it's shell, but the clam still opens and shuts normally to stimuli. Should I remove it, or be concerned here? <Ideally... I would move it... and more. VERY important that you understand how toxic Zoanthids are potentially... to you. If it were me, mine, I'd set on a path either to leave all as is, OR arrange to remove the Zoanthids from the shell... by taking the Clam out of the system, CAREFULLY scrubbing off the attached polyps, thoroughly rinsing the Clam, discarding ALL contaminated water, placing the clam well out of the range of this, other colonies.> If it needs to be removed, what would be the best way to accomplish this? <Scrubbing... with an "old toothbrush"... gloves up to your elbow, eye protection... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidcompfaqs.htm> Any info would be helpful. I do have the Reef Invertebrates and CMA books. I am an avid reader of your site. Thank you, Karina <Do take care, write back if there is anything unclear, incomplete to your understanding here. Bob Fenner> Re: Post re: Derasa Clam, hlth., comp. 10/8/08 Hi Bob, <Karina> Thanks for answering my email. Guess the clam decided it wasn't happy on its own. I noticed yesterday it wasn't in the same position on the rock, I grabbed it and it had already detached. I removed the Zoanthids from its shell and placed it far from any other colonies. <Good> It's opening and reacting normally but hasn't attached at the new location. <This takes time... often weeks> Thanks for the advice. Karina <Thank you for this follow-up. Will accrue. BobF>

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