Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coral Notes of the Day : Zoos and Palys

"Heya Eddie! Question for you. those orange Zoanthids in the first shot: Where abouts were they collected, do you know? I.e. deep or shallow water, clear or mirky water, surf or surge or calm water? Just curious, they are GORGEOUS! :) Cya, -Jeremy (Who Dah?)"

Hey Jeremy, nice to hear from you. I decided to link your question to a new post, as this is a very good question.

The zoos are from Makassar, Sulawesi. I'm not sure about the depth they were collected from, I will try to find out. From my experience in Tonga, the zoos were collected in around 15-20 feet of water. The water conditions were always murcky and nutrient rich with poor water flow. All of our corals were collected in clearwaters except for the zoos. Strangely enough, the palys were always found in more clear waters, such as near the surf line. Sometimes our divers would find batches of them on rocks, but always in clear water with good or fast flow.

The water conditions in Makassar are not that clear. The visibility is poor, compared to the South Pacific. There seems to be alot of nutrients/plankton in the waters. Maybe this explains why so many nice lps comes from this area. The water current around the islands here are moderately strong. This area has another type of deep orange/red zoos that is super crazy. I'll see if I have a picture of it.

Here are some pictures of palys that I found on a local beach in Bali during low tide. This area is flat with rocks and tidepools when the tide goes out. These palys were found around 100 yards from the shore, growing on the rocky floor. Another 15-20 yards out and I could see the drop off. This area has a mix of palys and the smaller zoanthids. The water was only inches deep and some palys were exposed to the hot sun. When the tide comes in, the local fishermen tell me that it is around 15 feet. The current is pretty stong and basically you can surf on it if you wanted to. Oh yah, and the water is crystal clear. Keep in mind that water around Bali is a little cooler than most of the other Indonesian islands. Also the sun is not as intense. It can get blistering hot in Sulawesi though.

One time, in band camp(just kidding), me and my wife were snorkeling off the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc, near the Cambodian border in the gulf of Thailand. We were only in 3 feet of water from the sandy shore and we hit a huge patch of zoos (mostly). The whole bottom was covered and all I could think about was taking a few of the rainbowed(is there such a word?) gems. The water was somewhat murky and the current wasn't too strong.

In conclusion, in my experience, there doesn't seem to be any consistency in where the zoos and palys are found in the reefs. From calm nutrient rich waters to high current clear rocky surfs, they seem to be everywhere. Of course the best thing would be for hobbyists is to try to find out where in the reefs that particular polyp came from. So he or she can place it accordingly in their reefs at home.


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