Zoanthids, more commonly referred to as zoas, are officially categorized as cnidarians and are typically referred to as colonial anemones by the scientific community. You may also be surprised to know that the zoanthid coral is not actually coral at all, even if they’re popularly referred to as such. Because of this, they are often confused with sponges, ascidians, sea anemones, and other blob-like fish species, making zoanthid identification somewhat tricky. The perfect zoanthid garden is highly converted by aquarists. In this step-by-step guide we’ll lead you through how you too can create a zoanthid garden that you will cherish.

  1. Gather your supplies 

Firstly, you will need several items to construct your zoanthid garden. We have provided web links to our recommended products at the bottom of this page. You will need the following items:

  • Colorful zoanthid corals 
  • Cutters to remove zoanthid from plug or cut off stem of plug
  • Super glue gel or a coral glue 
  • Well structured piece of rock 
  • Protective eye covering
  1. Prepare the corals for placement on your rock

Important note: Anytime you are working with zoanthids we strongly recommend you wear safety protective eyewear. Zoanthids carry a neurotoxin, that can be very painful if it gets into your eye.

Once you have your safety glasses on, you can remove the zoanthids from their bags, cutting the fishing line that attaches them to the bag, and place them into tank water. Next you need to remove the zoanthid from the plug. Using your cutters, remove the coral from the plug at the base and lift it off. Generally, the coral will come off easily. If not, you can instead cut off the plug stem with the flat edge of your cutters against the plug base. 

  1. Construct your zoanthid garden!

Taking your piece of rock, lay your small pieces of coral onto the rock where you want them. Once you’ve got your arrangement, take off all the pieces and start one by one gluing them into position with super glue or coral glue. Once you have glued the bottom of a piece to the rock, soak it in tank water for approx 30 seconds so the glue hardens between each glue application. Place your completed rock in your tank and give the corals approximately 2-4 hours to recover from the process. Now just wait patiently for your garden to grow!

Our top tips:

  • Carefully ensure you are gluing the base of the zoanthid, as gluing the top will kill the coral.
  • You can also use palythoa, star polyps, or mushrooms to make your coral garden as colorful and unique as you like!
  • The process is easy! But if you’re not feeling confident about the process you can easily start by ordering 6-10 zoanthids to have a go with initially. 
  • Have fun with it!

Don’t forget to send us your masterpieces! You can tag us on Instagram (@aquariumdepotcom), Twitter (@MyAquariumDepot) or Facebook! We’d love to see what you create!

Links for items needed to create your own zoa garden: