By Bob Goemans
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Family Zoanthidae

Palythoa tuberculosa

(Esper, 1791)

Brown Sea Mat Zoanthids

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Red Sea, Madagascar, Japan, and Australia.

Natural Environment: Inhabits reef slopes and also found in lagoons where they form encrusting mats of densely packed polyps at depths between 10 to 40 feet (3 - 12 m).

General Husbandry: Rarely seen in the trade.

Require turbulent water movement and excellent lighting, and should not come in contact with stony corals. They can be occasionally fed with fortified live adult brine shrimp, baby brine shrimp or a very small amount of freeze dried plankton first soaked in some aquarium water.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Cnidaria

    Class: Anthozoa

    Subclass: Hexacorallia

    Order: Zoantharia

    Suborder: Brachycnemina

    Family: Zoanthidae

    Genus: Palythoa

FYI: As with all Palythoa/Protopalythoa species, they produce a toxin called palytoxin (Mebs, 1989) that is found in its mucus coating. It is used to protect itself from predators and also clear the path of other corals so as to make space for expanding its colony. Keep in mind that if this toxic mucus enters your eye, mouth, or an open wound, it can cause various disorders including numbness, hallucinations, or even death. Therefore, always wash your hands after handling these creatures, and never handle them if you have open wounds on your hands! Wearing gloves is a good idea when handling these animals!

For far more general information about these corals, see my article titled 'Zoanthids - A Wide Range to Choose From' in the 'Article" section of this website.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Diet: Photosynthetic/Zooplankton feeder

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Coral Safe:Yes

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Hardiness: Moderate

Calcium (Ca): 380 - 430 mg/l

Alkalinity: 2.5 - 3.0 meq/l

Phosphate (PO4): <0.05 mg/l

Magnesium (Mg): approx. 1350 mg/l (relate to specific gravity)

Strontium (Sr) 8 - 10 mg/l

Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 - 27°C)

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Lighting: PAR 450+

Water Movement: WM 2

Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025

pH: 8.0 - 8.4

Iodine/Trace Elements Monitor/as necessary to maintain quality seawater.

 Palythoa tuberculosa (Brown Sea Mat Zoanthids)
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