Lighting for Zoanthids
Different zoanthids and palys (zoanthus gigantus) need varying amounts of lighting. Although zoanthids welcome nearly all types of aquarium lighting, some lighting can be too intense and may cause the zoanthids lose color. Also some zoanthids will lose color if placed in shaded or lower lighting situations.
We are currently running systems with all of the below lighting scenarios and zoanthids have done well in each system. However, over our Metal Halide system, we also use two blue Reef Brite strips for blue supplementation. These are some of the types of lighting that I have used and seen used that produce excellent results.
TYPES OF LIGHTING FOR ZOANTHIDS
1. Metal Halides
Some of the nicest zoanthid-only tanks are those that simply use T5’s. I have seen some great results as far as growth and color. Most tanks have a variety of different corals and some require more intense lighting. Metal Halides and LEDs should be sufficient for all types of corals.
As far as placement of the zoanthids goes, this can be tricky because different zoanthids and palythoas do better under different placement levels in different tanks. I have noticed that some pink palythoas do really well high up in the tank with direct lighting, while others quickly lose color. When I get any new zoanthids or palys, I first place them towards the bottom of the tank on my sand bed. After a couple days I will start moving them up to see how much light they can handle. If they close up or start browning out, I move them lower quickly.
HOW LONG TO RUN MY AQUARIUM LIGHTS?
As far as the length of time I run my lights, I have changed this throughout the years. I currently run my T5’s for around 10 hours a day. The metal halide tank's Reef Brites come an hour before the halides and turn off an hour after the halides for a total of ten hours a day. This seems to make them happy.
HOW OFTEN TO CHANGE YOUR BULBS
Because you are feeding your zoanthids with light (technically the micro organisms that live on them with light, which in turn feeds the zoas), changing your bulbs is a must. Now this can be extremely controversial among hobbyists, and ultimately you can do what you prefer, but I like to change out my metal halide bulbs every 8 – 10 months, and my T5’s every 8 months. Some people suggest changing T5 bulbs every six months, but I like to replace all my bulbs at the same time if possible.
You can also feed your zoanthids with various types of fish food. You can view the <A HREF="http://www.zoanthids.com/zoanthids_feeding.php">zoanthid feeding</A> page here.