Like all zoas, they grow as a colony of multiple heads connected by fleshy tubes that sit flat on the rockwork. They multiply by budding and are considered relatively fast growers if provided with favourable conditions. Zoas are found in a wide variety of tropical and subtropical ocean environments. However, due to the exploding popularity of specific varieties of zoas in recent years and their ease of growth, the vast majority of zoas for sale have been aquacultured. This is especially true for easily recognizable trade names, such as Sunny D. This has a number of benefits, such as uniformity of colour and patterns and also helps to ensure that specimens available for sale are adapted to home aquariums.
One of the most popular methods of displaying zoas in a home tank is through the use of zoa gardens. Multiple smaller rocks with different coloured zoas can be placed together on the substrate to form the classic garden. Specially designed frag plug rocks, available at Fragbox, make this easy. Since zoas can grow quite quickly once established it is generally advisable to place them on individual rocks, rather than on the main rockwork, to prevent them from spreading out of control. Sunny D Zoas are fairly tolerant of a variety of lighting conditions, but they should not be placed in very high light areas of the tank as this could cause the polyps to stay closed or even for the whole specimen to “melt”. Similarly, they should not be placed in complete shadow as they require light for photosynthesis. Flow should be sufficient to prevent detritus from forming on them but not so strong that they are blown around aggressively. Levels of flow that are too strong may also cause the polyps to remain closed. Like all zoas, Sunny D are photosynthetic and have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae algae. This allows them to use aquarium lighting to meet their energy needs. However, they can also be spot fed with a general coral food solution such as Reef Roids or Vitalis Soft Coral Food. This will increase their growth rate and may improve colouration. However, overfeeding may negatively impact water quality. Zoas are one of the few corals that prefers more nutrient rich (dirtier) water and may grow faster in tanks with higher nitrate levels however high nutrients may
negatively impact other coral species.
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