Different zoanthids and palythoas need different amounts of lighting. Although zoanthids welcome nearly all types of aquarium lighting, some lighting can be too intense that cause the zoanthids lose color. Also some zoanthids will lose color if placed in shaded or lower lighting situations.
I prefer the look of metal halide lighting with actinic supplementation. I currently am using T5’s for supplementing the tank, but have also had great success with VHO’s. These are some of the types of lighting that I have used and seen used that produce excellent results.
1. Metal Halides
HQI double ended
3. Power Compacts
5. LED high output
Some of the nicest zoanthid-only tanks are those that simply use power compacts or T5’s. I have seen some great results as far as growth and color. Most tanks have a variety of different corals and some require more intense lighting. Metal Halides and T5’s should be sufficient for all types of corals.
As far as placement of the zoanthids goes, this can be tricky since different zoanthids and palythoas do better under different placement spots in different tanks. I have noticed that some pink palythoas do really well high up in the tank with direct lighting, while others quickly lose color.
When I get any new zoanthids or palythoas, I first place them at the bottom of the tank on my sand bed. After a couple days I will start moving them up to see how much light they can handle. If they close up or start browning out, I move them lower quickly.
As far as the length of time I run my lights have changed throughout the years. I run my T5’s for around 10-12 hours a day, and the metal halides for 7-9 hours. This seems to make them happy. I run moon lights as well and most of the zoanthids and palythoas stay open throughout the night.
Because you are feeding your zoanthids with light, changing your bulbs is a must. Now this can be extremely controversial among hobbyists, and ultimately you can do what you prefer, but I like to change out my metal halide bulbs every 8 – 10 months, and my T5’s every 8 months. Some people say change your T5’s every six months, but I like to replace all my bulbs at the same time if possible.
You can also feed your zoanthids with various types of fish food. You can view the zoanthid feeding page here.