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Palythoa sp.
Button Polyp

 Age of Aquariums > Reef Corals > Button Polyp - Palythoa sp.

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Button Polyp - Palythoa sp. (30kb)
Photo Credit: Andrew

Name: Palythoa sp.
Care CurrentLighting
Origin: Indo-Pacific
Easy Medium Medium


Button polyps are among the easiest to keep coral I have come across. I have a colony of button polyps in my nano reef and it has grown immensely. I regularly frag the colony and all the frags I have given away are doing fantastic acording to their new owners. Water movement doesn't seem to be a problem, they don't seem to care whether its fast or slow. Same with lighting, I have my colony on a miniature bommie not attached to any other rocks and these polyps have grown even into the shadows of the bommie, though not as densely as directly on top of it. The major setback I have found is that they spread very quickly. For example, even though I have separated the colony from any of the other rockwork, it spread down to the point where it was touching the sand and seems to have fragged itself in a search for more space! I also find my common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris or "Nemo" clownfish) snuggled up into the colony at night time, and he stays in close proximity during the day, however I doubt all clowns will host in these polyps. These corals are great for beginners and experts alike, especially when you want an undemanding, beautiful space filler!

Contributed by Andrew

These are one of my favorite corals. They come in some many colors and won't stop spreading. They don't care how much light or flow they get so they are great for beginners! I got a few polyps one time on another frag rock, they took over the whole rock! A GREAT coral.

Contributed by Henry

I have had button polyps for about a month in my nano tank and I love them! It's quite fun to watch them close up when one of my small hermits falls into one of the polyps and they are spreading pretty well under my stock Biocube lighting. I have noticed at least 4 new baby polyps, which are quite cute. I supplement with calcium, strontium, and iodide and they seem to be doing great, they went from barely covering the plug they came on and now I can't even see there's a plug under them! I'm a beginner and I would suggest button polyps. I can't wait to see their growth over the next few months and even years.

Contributed by Ian Zuidema

A very hardy little coral, and one with many different color morphs. One must be VERY cautious when handling or fragmenting this coral however, as they contain a substance known as palytoxin, a highly lethal poison. When handling, wear gloves at all times. Scratching your eyes after handling without protection may result in permanent blindness, and if the poison enters a cut it may make you dreadfully ill. That being said, someone being poisoned by these creatures is very rare. This applies to the Palythoa's close relative, the zoanthids, as well.

Contributed by Jacob H

My husband bought live rock from a guy that claimed to have an allergic reaction to his tank, as he would get sick every time he stuck his hand in the water. We brought home the rock, knowing nothing about the Palythoa Polyps that were attached. After handling them, our entire family became extremely ill. My husband had a fever for 3 days reaching 39.7C and we all had stomache and leg cramps and extreme fatigue. My husband went to the doctor and his white blood cell count was high. We later discovered that is was due to handling these poisonous Palythoa's. We are currently removing them from our tank. We never have been so sick in our entire lives!

Contributed by Amy

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