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Old 03-05-2010, 11:18 AM   #1
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My blue zoa's just arrived....

and I'm scared to touch/handle them lol. When I originally ordered them, I did the usual research, lighting, water, etc. But what I did NOT see was the mention of palytoxin.

So when they got here, I put the bag they were in in my tank to start temp. acclimating them. I had some time to kill so I figured I would do a little extra research on them to see if I could help them spread at max efficiency. I then came across a few sites that say the species I got carried palytoxin (Blue Zoanthus spp.). Is this true?

If it is true, I know I need to handle them with gloves, but what about the DT? If they give off this toxin, won't it kill all my fish? I don't want to make a grave error (for me or my fish). What should I do?
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:42 AM   #2
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What to do? Hmmm... you could send them to me!

But seriously, thousands of people keep zoanthids with no ill effects to themselves or their tanks. And then there are a few people that after handling zoanthids decide to rub their eyes or put their fingers in their mouths, and they end up with some interesting side effects.

All zoanthids, from my understanding, have the palytoxins in their mucous and it shouldn't be underestimated. It's one of the most potent neurotoxins out there. I normally try to use gloves whenever I handle corals, but I *for sure* use them when I handle/work with zoanthids. Eye protection probably isn't a bad idea either (they can "squirt" when being fragged or aggressively handled)... but I wear glasses so that isn't an issue for me.

The toxins aren't going to kill off everything in your tank. Maybe if you grind them all up and put the mush back into the tank, you'd see some ill effects, but not with them just hanging out in your tank. Same goes with you - just keep the zoanthid mucous away from any of YOUR mucous membranes, or open wounds/sores, and you'll be OK.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:50 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reassurance Kurt. Now that I know they'll be ok, guess it's time I started drip acclimating them.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:50 PM   #4
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Although the toxins aren't to be underestimated, I haven't heard of a case where any reefer died of the poison. Imo I think if you have no open sores and don't touch your mouth or face there wont be any problems for normal handling/acclimating. I wash my hands extremely good after even sticking a finger in my tank though. Fragging is another story....face mask and gloves are the only way I would ever frag. There have been reported cases of people who have gotten sick from them squirting in their mouth and eyes.
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