News / Species Spotlight / Highly Underrated Coral - Yellow Polyp (Parazoathus) (03/25/15)

Highly Underrated Coral - Yellow Polyp (Parazoathus)

In the Wild

Yellow Polyps are interesting in that they are actually a colonial anemone, and not a coral. Scientific classification of them is a topic of some discussion as they don't fall neatly into one genus. Frequently they are listed at Parazoanthus gracilis which is a misnomer. In fact they are only in the Parazoanthus genus at all because they are yellow and need feeding (a point of contention with many). Many feel they belong in the genus Acrozoanthus or Zoanthus.

Parazoanthus can be found in every tropical ocean around the world, however the yellow (and sometimes cinnamon colored) polyps that are popular in the marine aquarium hobby are generally found in the west and central Pacific. They can be found at a variety of depths, though they are usually gathered from less than 50ft of water. They are very frequently available aquacultured, both commercially and by hobbyists.

In the Aquarium

Yellow polyps approach ideal as a beginner coral. They are very hardy, grow quickly and can live in just about any environment. Given supplemental feedings, they can thrive in very low light placements. When placed in moderate light scenarios, they can live without any direct feeding, but will still do better with some. Flow should be low to moderate and never direct.

Cautionary notes are few with these animals, but hobbyists should take care not to place Yellow Polyps too close to other sessile invertebrates as the polyps can overgrow them. As with most fast growing "corals", a great way to deal with this phenomenon is to put them on their own rock island, and allow them to cover it. Yellow Polyps should not be housed with known corallivores like Angelfish as the polyps do have long, inviting tentacles to chew on. Also, animals imported to your aquarium for aiptasia control (Copperband Butterflies, Matted Jacket Filefish, etc) have been known to eat Yellow Polyps as well. Yellow Polyps

Ronald L Shimek, PH.D., Marine Invertebrates, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2004).

QM In House Sources: Eli Fleishauer, Adam Mangino