Rainbow Incinerator Zoas are a beautiful zoa color morph and a reef tank classic. Their heads tend to be on the larger side for zoas and they are known to be fast growers once established. They have a bright orange face and a neon green skirt which makes them stand out in any reef tank. They are a colonial coral and grow flat to the rockwork through budding. A colony’s polyps are connected by a fleshy network of tubes that carry nutrients between polyps.
Zoas are found in a wide variety of tropical and subtropical ocean environments however most of what is available for sale in the hobby are aquacultured specimens. Popular zoas with specific trade names such as Rainbow Incinerators are almost always aquacultured. Aquacultured zoas offer a number of advantages over wild caught specimens such as colour uniformity and the fact that they are already adapted to tank life. Careful initial placement of Rainbow Incinerator Zoas is key because, like all corals, they have no “off switch” and will grow continuously. Many hobbyists will place individual zoa frags on rock islands in the substrate, as this can control their spread. Multiple rocks can be placed together to form the classic “zoa garden”.
Rainbow Incinerator Zoas are fairly tolerant of a variety of lighting conditions but they should not be placed in very high light areas as this could cause the polyps to stay closed or even for the whole specimen to “melt”. Flow should be sufficient to prevent detritus from settling on the corals but not so strong that the polyps are blown around aggressively. Hobbyists will often place zoas on rocks in the substrate in order to meet these light and flow requirements.
Rainbow Incinerator Zoas are photosynthetic, although they respond well to spot feeding. This will increase their growth rate and may improve colouration. They can be fed a general coral food such as Vitalis Soft Coral Food or Reef Roids. Zoas are one of the few corals that prefers more nutrient rich (dirtier) water and may grow faster in tanks with higher nitrate levels. Care must be taken, however, not to raise nitrates too high, as this will have a negative impact on other coral species in the tank.
Due to their speed of growth, fragging zoas is common but is a bit of an art form. Since they do not have a calcified skeleton that can be cut, polyps must be scraped from the rock and glued to a frag plug or piece of rubble rock. This usually takes a few tries but is fairly easy once mastered. The fragged polyps will soon attach themselves to the plug and begin to grow a new colony. Due to the possibility of the zoas secreting toxins when handled, it is recommended that hobbyists wear gloves and eye protection when fragging zoas.
Rainbow Incinerator Zoas have become quite popular in the reefing hobby and due to their bright colours and ease of care it is easy to see why!