Photograph by Blane Perun

Zoanthid Frags

Zoanthid frags are literally fragments of zoanthids that are farmed and sold for aquarists and marine enthusiasts for display in artificial environments. Zoantharia, the order of which zoanthid frags are a member, are found naturally as polyps and sea mats in coral reefs and oceans in the wild, usually in back reefs, over dead corals, or intertidal waters all over the world.

Natural Density

There are high populations of zoanthid in tropical and subtropical waters, and many zoanthid frags come from this area. Coloring and shape of zoanthid frags are extremely varied, and it is common to find sand or other pieces of sediment incorporated into the make and build of the zoanthid frag’s tissue.

Popular

Many aquarists desire study, hardy specimens and livestock for their home environments, and zoanthid frags are an ideal choice because of their tough resilience to environmental disturbances. Zoanthid frags are sold as “polyps” in a retail environment, which include a wide variety of species. There are some zoanthid frags available year round for purchase, including the “Zoanthus sociatus”, a bright green zoanthid frag from the Caribbean, “Zoanthus danae”, a species of zoanthid frag from the Pacific, “Parazoanthus gracilis”, an extremely popular zoanthid frag from Indonesia, and “Parazoanthus swiftii”, a zoanthid frag from the Atlantic

Availability

Because of their hardy nature, zoanthids sold as zoanthid frags are normally found in good shape, but there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing zoanthid frags for your home environment. Look for zoanthid frags whose entire polyps are open- the polyps do not all have to be open at the same time, but a health zoanthid frag will display open polyps.

Healing Period

If there are portions of the zoanthid frag that appear dead, or display white tissue or other material, do not purchase the zoanthid frag. Also, zoanthid frags need time to heal after they are cultivated from the original colony, so take care to only purchase zoanthid frags that have gone through the healing period.

Coloring

The coloring of the zoanthid frag should always be deep and display the coloring all over the specimen- if the zoanthid frag has portions of dull or faded coloring, it is best to choose another zoanthid frag specimen for purchase. Although it is common for zoanthid frags to exist communally with other species (such as sponges and algae), do not purchase zoanthid frags that come attached with these specimens- they will quickly die when transitioned to an artificial environment.

Blane Perun

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