Where does Zoa colour come from?

Discussion in 'Soft Corals' started by ascheff, 22 Dec 2014.

  1. ascheff

    ascheff

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    Hi guys,

    I'd like to pick your brains on Zoa colour, or more precisely, the lack thereof.

    A few months back I got a small colony of green and blue zoas with some live rock. While transporting the rock to my house, some of the zoa polyps got a bit squashed between the rocks and were damaged.

    Here are the zoas after I broke the small piece of live rock they were on from the rest of the rock, and you can see the mangled polyp in the front, at the bottom of the colony.

    [​IMG]

    I later cut the a smaller piece of rock, with just the mangled polyp, from the rest and moved it to my sump. Over time some red hairy algae that was on the live rock when I got it started spreading all over the still coloured zoas, and eventually that whole colony died away.

    The mangled one however pulled through in my sump, and started sprouting new polyps, at which point I moved it back to my display. It has now multiplied quite a bit, but the part I don't get is that every new polyp is as brown and ugly as the one mangled polyp was.

    Here they are:

    [​IMG]

    Where does the colour in zoas come from? Is it genetic, or is it from another source that gets passed from one polyp to another? (zooxanthellae?)

    I imagine my water and lights are fine, because all my other zoas are fine. (see the red above them in the second photo)

    Will the colour ever come back to these, or are they doomed to be eternally dull? If it will come back, is there a way I can help them along?
     
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  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    there are many factors that can influence colour, from lighting, to nutrients, to zoozanthallae, the colouring in corals is a response to lighting, whether bright or dull, some use it as a sunscreen and some use to filter light, it could be genetic too.
     
  4. archiecrain

    archiecrain

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    that "mangled" polyp is a typical vietnam palythoa, it wasnt the same as the zoas on the rock in the 1st picture....

    Those palys are a curse....can be as bad as aptasia IMO.

    But when talking about zoas in general as Dallas said they are affected by many envirmental issues in your tank causing them to display a degree of variation....

    However a zoa or paly will always look similar to its original colours and patterns.
     
  5. Lord_Blackadder

    Lord_Blackadder

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    IME brighter and bluer light means better colours. In spite of what most literature says, most zoas are from very shallow water and prefer strong light.
     
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  6. ascheff

    ascheff Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the info.

    Wow, thanks, and here I were nurturing them, trying to get their colour back.

    Do you suggest I try to rather get rid of them? Will Aiptasia-X work on them? I've got that I use for aiptasia.
     
  7. archiecrain

    archiecrain

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    they overgrow anything......

    In my tank I either cut the head off with sharp scissors or I zap them with aptasia-x. You may need to repeat the process over and over as this bitches are stubborn....
     
  8. ascheff

    ascheff Thread Starter

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    Thanks, I'll try a combination of cutting and Aiptasia-X. Luckily they're all in one spot, for now.
     
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