Bam Bam Zoanthid Care Guide

A fellow reefer friend of mine once complained how boring his reef aquarium was. I stopped him straight away and said “have you heard of Zoanthids, especially the Bam Bam Zoa that everyone is talking about right now?”. 

Well, the next time we met, all he could talk about was his new Bam Bam Zoa addition and that it is “super easy to keep and has one of the coolest colorations and shapes” in his coral aquarium. 

Bam Bam Zoanthids (Zoas) are excellent for beginner hobbyists, are rapid growers, and have a mesmerizing orange fluorescent coloration, making them an ideal showcasing coral for any saltwater reef aquarium.

The Bam Bam Zoa originates from the Indo-Pacific region, which has perfect conditions to grow brightly colored marine animals, particularly corals. Even though every reefer (including myself) calls them corals, they are actually not corals at all. Zoanthids are in the order of cnidarians, also known as “colonial anemones” because of their tube-like shape and their variety of colors and sizes. 

Summary

  • Common Name: Bam Bam Zoanthid
  • Family: Zoanthidae
  • Origin: Indo-Pacific
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Lighting: Low to moderate (PAR 100 – 250)
  • Water Flow: Moderate 
  • Placement: Lower region

Bam Bam Zoa Care

Bam Bam Zoas are not only one of the most popular Zoanthids because of their undoubted beauty, while this is what attracts many hobbyists, it is their easy care and maintenance that makes this particular Zoa so attractive

With any living organism, to keep them happy and healthy, you will need to create a comfortable environment. This starts with keeping the following water parameters stable:

  • Temperature: 75° – 80 °F
  • pH: 8.1 – 8.4
  • Salinity: 1.024 – 1.026
  • Alkalinity: 8 – 9.5 dKH
  • Nitrates: <10 ppm
  • Phosphates: <10 ppm
  • Calcium: 420 – 440 ppm
  • Magnesium: 1260 – 1350

You should also pay close attention to the calcium (Ca), alkalinity (Alk), and magnesium (Mg) levels in your aquarium. To make your life easier, it is recommended to use a dosing pump that automatically doses the aquarium water with Ca, Alk, and Mg a few times a week. This means you can sit back and relax if you have to go away for the weekend, knowing that your corals will be in safe hands. 

We also recommend dosing your aquarium with Iodine once a week. Iodine is extremely important for boosting the growth and improving the coloration of your Bam Bam Zoa

Feeding

Bam Bam Zoas have a photosynthetic partnership with symbiotic algae, called zooxanthellae, that live within their tissues. The zooxanthellae are also what produce the amazing colors that your Bam Bam Zoa emits. 

This relationship means it is extremely significant to provide your Bam Bam Zoa with enough lighting as they rely on the zooxanthellae for most of their nutritional needs via photosynthesis. 

However, you should not solely rely on the zooxanthellae to provide your coral with the food and nutrients they require. Your Bam Bam Zoa will benefit from supplemental feedings such as plankton (Oyster-Feast, Roti-Feast), amino acids, and other organic proteins. 

You may have noticed that Zoanthids do not have long sweeper tentacles, so, when feeding, turn off the water pump or reduce the water flow speed, so they can catch the food. Some hobbyists directly feed Zoas by dipping a pipette in the food and target feeding the polyps. Target feeding reduces food waste, ensures the coral has eaten, and helps to keep nitrates and phosphates low in the water. Elevated nitrates and phosphates can be a headache for both you and your Bam Bam Zoa.   

Water Flow & Lighting Requirements

To maintain their beautiful coloration, Bam Bam Zoas require moderate water flow and low to moderate lighting with a PAR range between 100 and 250. 

You can use T5’s, Metal Halides, or LEDs (15-20K spectrum) to provide your coral with enough lighting for the best coloration and enough energy for the zooxanthellae to perform photosynthesis.

Always remember that too much light will cause more harm than too little. While too little light may cause browning of the coral’s tissues, too much light can cause the zooxanthellae to expel, stripping the Bam Bam Zoa’s tissues, bleaching it, often resulting in death. 

Bam Bam Zoa Growth Rate

Bam Bam Zoas have a fast growth and reproduction rate via “budding”. Budding occurs as Zoanthids are asexual, which means they do not need a partner to reproduce. Once the coral has released the offspring, instead of floating around the aquarium, they connect to the original polyp for the rest of its life. 

Many hobbyists that have experience with Bam Bam Zoas have seen an average growth rate of up to five polyps every month. To maximize their growth, you should always keep a close eye on detritus in the aquarium, as a build-up can cause slow Zoa growth, or even cause it to get sick and die. 

To allow enough space for growth, a minimum tank size of 10 gallons is required for a Zoa-only aquarium. If you already have corals or other marine life in your aquarium, it may be time to upgrade to a bigger tank. 

One of the most common questions asked about growing Zoanthids is how to make them grow faster… Well, here are some top tips on how you can give your Bam Bam Zoa some more encouragement:

  • Feed them often with the above guidelines, 2-3 times per week.
  • Keep algae levels low and look out for pests such as sundial snails, sea spiders, and some species of nudibranchs.
  • Give your Bam Bam Zoa enough light.
  • Keep water conditions stable.
  • Perform regular water changes (at least once a week is recommended). 
  • Make sure your Bam Bam Zoanthid’s neighbors are not harming them – fish such as Raccoon Butterflyfish and many Filefish, are known to take a good chunk out of Zoanthid corals. 

Bam Bam Zoa Placement

As with any coral, placement for your Zoanthid is key. Bam Bam Zoas do best in the lower region of the aquarium, fixed to an exposed rock, where they can receive ample water flow and indirect lighting. To mount your coral, you can use putty or IC gel glue which is reef safe. 

If your Bam Bam Zoa fully extends its polyps, you know you’ve found the perfect placement!

You should also take into account their neighbors. Your Bam Bam Zoa will not be too impressed if their next door neighbor is an aggressive Euphyllia species such as a Frogspawn coral; frogspawn corals are often known to target and sting Zoas. As Zoanthids do not have large sweeper tentacles, they are considered one of the least aggressive corals when it comes down to their defensive abilities, however, if a coral gets too close or your Bam Bam Zoa starts to take over a large area of your aquarium, they will try to defend themselves. 

Bam Bam Zoanthid Toxicity

Just a word of caution, some Zoanthids contain a neurotoxin called palytoxin, which is very dangerous when it comes into contact with your bloodstream. Palytoxin is so dangerous as it binds to the sodium-potassium pump found inside our cell membranes. Sodium-potassium is extremely important for biological processes, such as ion movement inside our cells. 

As the toxin is embedded inside the coral’s flesh, it is only an issue if the colony becomes damaged. Therefore, always take extra care when handling polyps, especially if you have any open wounds and if you are fragging your Bam Bam Zoa. 

Conclusion

Introducing a Zoa into your reef tank will be one of the best decisions you make in your hobbyist journey. The more time you spend in the reef-keeping world, the more interesting coral morphs and colors you will discover, like the Bam Bam Zoanthid. 

So, if you are after a colorful coral that is easy to care for, then look no further, the Bam Bam Zoa is your perfect match to creating a mini-ocean!

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  • Roy Lee

    I have an unhealthy obsession with reef keeping and maintaining successful tanks. If you haven't noticed from the website, I love everything related to saltwater tanks like coral, fish, and everything else in between.

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