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"Pandora's Paly" Palythoa


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WYSIWYG, Colorful "Pandora's Paly: palythoa, Moon paly, button polyp.  Great beginner coral.

Intense colors for typical palythoa.  Great grower in lower light.  

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   Palythoa spp., or palys, also grow in a mat of coenenchyme, just like zoas, with their polyps embedded.  However, palys use sediment to help reinforce their tissue.  If you look closely, you will see sand, shell, or crushed coral in their tissue.  Many have observed that this is less obvious in aquacultured varieties.  The coenenchyme is thicker for palys than it is for zoas, both to touch and to sight.  Their “skin” feels rougher to the touch, as a result of the incorporated sediment.  They are also often “slimier” than Zoanthus spp., with a thicker mucus coating. 

   Palys generally have a larger oral disc than zoas, with shorter tentacles.  Their oral discs lack the sphincter muscle surrounding the oral opening that is observed in zoas, with many people observing a “slit” mouth instead of a “round” mouth.  Palys tend to grow in dome shaped colonies.  Their colors are typically more muted that those found in Zoanthus spp.

Paly Polyps are easy to care for as long as they have proper lighting and water flow, and adequate nutrition. They are found in the Pacific Ocean where they inhabit intertidal rocky shores and reef flats. Lighting that is too intense is not to their liking. They can have a little brown in them and turn tan to brown if the lighting is too strong. Place them at the bottom of the aquarium for lower light. They catch prey from the water column so need a medium current, too strong a water flow will make it very hard for them to feed.

   At times they close up for several days to shed mucus, which is thought to help rid the zoanthid of sediment and algae. Green Button Polyps can also take about a week to adjust and open in a new tank. Filamentous algae can be a problem, as it can smother them. As with most zoanthids, mushroom anemones should not be placed nearby.

   The Palythoa sp. are recommended as a beginner's coral, but with some caution. Palythoa produce palytoxin, one of the most potent poisons known to science. For this reason one should take care when handling them. Don't handle them if you have cuts or open wounds and make sure to clean your hands after handling.

Photography and Size information

WYSIWYG.  What you see is what you get.  You will get the item pictured.

Eggcrate in the background is 5/8" for eaach square. 

Our photographs are taken under LED light and full White flash. We try to post two pictures of each coral to give you a better idea to how it may look in your tank.  We take one photograph with all the LEDS at full power with full White Flash and one photograph with just the blue's and violet LEDS at full power.