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What’s “normal” when first placing zoas in tank?

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So, this is my first attempt at corals, and I want to make sure everything is ok. I placed a frag plug of zoas (for the life of me now I cannot remember the strain), but in the store they were purpley-brown with green tentacles. They have been in the tank for 12 hours now and about 1/2-3/4 of polyps are open, but they are completely brown and dull looking. 


Is this part of the acclimating process and they will color back up in a few days? I tried searching but all the results I got were for zoas that were already established losing color. This is my first foray into corals, and I don’t want to be disappointed by killing anyone. 


My tank is a biocube with the stock led lights. (I was told in store this would be sufficient enough for zoas, and do plan on upgrading after Xmas). I placed them about mid level in the tank, and they get slightly higher flow from a power head, but not enough that they’re waving around. 

Parameters are ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 5ppm, ph 8.15, dkh 9.9, mg 1230, phosphate 0ppm, ca 405, salinity 1.025 and temp 79. 


I also added some gsp, which are starting to open up and look normal (despite my fighting conch running it over), and two mushrooms, both of which opened up right away and appear green and healthy. 

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Zoas are one of the "most emotional" corals IMO....they seem to do well AND do poorly for no apparent reason.   I think they are a bad beginner coral for that reason....easy to think you're doing something wrong when you're not if you use them as your bellwether. 


The difference in color COULD BE nothing more than the difference between your lights and the store's lights.   Don't assume something is wrong with you or the tank.  (Both are possible, just no reason to assume.  Could just be the color of the lights.)


Mineral Levels

All that said, your calcium and magnesium are a little low vs alkalinity and specific gravity. 


Nutrient Levels

A more significant issue (since these are non-stony corals) may be the lack of phosphates.  Folks obsess over removing nutrients, but (maybe as a result of the obsession) too little nutrients often gets overlooked.



More flow may help if they're just getting light flow....that's a requirement for all corals, whether stony or not.  If the flow cannot defeat the coral's boundary layer, the coral will have a reduced ability to breathe and eat.   That's obviously not a good set of conditions, and is the reason that "more flow" is almost always beneficial.



So be patient, but if nutrient conditions get worse OR the coral continues to not improve, I'd take action.   


Add another powerhead/or replace yours with a bigger one if it seems to be flow.  Dose some fertilizers if it seems to be a nutrient issue.  (Testing and dosing will allow you to do this dosing with precision, if it's needed, and will resolve associated problems quickly.)

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Often times coral will look different in the store too because they're under different lights. 

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I have to agree. I find zoas very "moody" corals.


As for the colour, it depends on what they were under in the store.

A lot of store run heavy blue which brings out the colour.

If you don't run heavy blue, it's most likely the reason for the full colour. 


Here's my frogspawn. Exact same coral under different lighting.



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12 hours is a short time to draw any conclusions unless there was something obviously wrong which based on your Params there doesn't seem to be. 


I've had zoas take nearly a week just to open after introduction. And has mentioned they can also just be moody. I've had a frag of zoas melt away suddenly for no apperant reason. 


Just give it time and see how they do. 

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Hello and welcome to NR, I see that was your first post. :welcome:


I have a Biocube as well (the 16). I think it’s always helpful to post pics if you can so we can see what’s going on and give the best possible advice. Were you talking about the zoas color under the white lights, or the blues? That definitely makes a huge difference in appearance. I think your zoas are most likely totally fine and just need to adjust to your tank. 

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