Purple People Eaters Colony Polyp Aquarium Care, Lighting Requirements and Feeding Information
Purple People Eaters Colony Polyp (Zoanthus gigantus) are a popular morph of the "PE" palythoa/zoa line of colony polyps. Purple People Eater (PPE) zoas were one of the first zoa morphs to receive a colorful common name that has since spawned a naming fad amongst the various Zoanthid color morphs. Hobbyists, collectors and vendors have found that the standard scientific naming convention lacked the detail necessary to describe many of the new zoa color morphs, thus the new generation of catchy named zoas was born. The distinctive features of this species including: its size, neon green skirts, deep purple colored plate and its distinctive neon green mouth how helped define what is now grouped as the "People Eaters" feature. The brilliant purple coloration of this giant polyp palythoa/zoa commands attention in even the most elaborate reef aquarium, thus it is often sought after by zoa collectors and reef enthusiasts alike.
Purple People Eaters are similar to other Colony Polyps in that they are relatively easy to care for and can be successfully housed in a variety of reef aquarium setups. They require medium to strong lighting and moderate to strong water flow in order to allow their symbiotic algae zooxanthellae to thrive and produce food for the coral. While most People Eater Zoanthid morphs acquire the majority of their nutrition from photosynthesis and do not require supplemental feeding. Some individuals have acquired higher growth rates through supplemental feeding of very fine foods intended for filter feeding invertebrates. The addition of reef additives like: calcium, strontium, iodine and trace elements along with occasional feedings of micro-plankton and similar foodstuffs should allow for the best possible growth rate. Purple People Eaters Zoanthids kept under proper aquarium conditions will spread or colonize nearby rocks and hard surfaces. In order to keep them separated from other coral species the hobbyist should provide gaps between the rock aqua-scaping, in order to create a boundary to limit the carpeting or horizontal growth of the Polyps. Proper placement is important when keeping Polyps with other corals, as Polyps will crowd out other corals by stinging them repeatedly as they grown in and around them. Hobbyists are recommended to start their PPE Zoas in a lower position on the reef and move them up the reef after they have had a chance to acclimate to the aquarium.
Purple People Eaters Colony Polyps receive the vast majority of their nutrition through the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae contained within the coral. They receive other nutrients from dissolved minerals that they filter from the water currents. They will also benefit from the addition of reef supplements containing calcium, magnesium, iodine and trace elements. They can also be periodically offered meaty foods like micro-plankton, baby brine shrimp and other similar fare.