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Creating Zoanthid Morphs – A Challenging Experiment

Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by
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Photo of morphing green and watermelon zoanthids. Photo courtesy of Alanmorehead’s Reef Central thread Zaonthids Growing Together

Zoanthids are by far one of the most diversely colored corals available within the hobby. In addition to possessing a rainbow of color options, they have patterns and combinations that make them incredibly fascinating. We are always seeking out the latest and greatest zoanthid morphs with the rarest color schemes and vibrancies, so why not create our own hybrids? After all, we are always being introduced to new varieties, isn’t it time that we challenged ourselves to be the mad-scientist reefer that gets to name the next hot zoa? I think it is.

There are tons of ideas on how to go about morphing zoanthids. Some seem easier than others, and some seem straight up intense. I wanted to share a few techniques with you, and hopefully you will share some techniques with us. Below are the techniques that seemed to have some forum credibility.

Concept 1 – The Light Switch
Alternate lighting intensities for varied periods of time. This would entail moving the zoanthids back and forth from different light ranges and strengths over a period of time. Some have reported that this technique has created slight changes.

Concept 2 – Slice and Dice
Take tow or more different zoanthids and slice them at their mats. Glue the two or more mats together on the same plug leaving the freshly cut sides unglued and touching each other. This will cause the mats to grow into one unit, and potentially cause the zoanthids to take on some of the characteristics of the other. This method seems to have a decent success rate, but can be tricky based on working with a small slimly wet product.

Concept 3 – Mother Nature’s Helper
Places several species of zoanthid on one small rock. With time they zoanthids will grow together and bunch up. The shared space and friction has at times created morphs. However, the morphs generally have not been able to reproduce offspring morphs. That is the challenge at hand with this technique.

All three techniques have been tested and all three proved some rate of occasional success. If you have tried to create your own morphs and want to share your experience with this lofty endeavor, please post about it in the comments section below.

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