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FAQs about Pulsing Corals, the Xeniid Behavior

Related Articles: Pulsing Soft Corals, Family Xeniidae

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Behavior, Xeniids 1, Xeniids 2, Xeniids 3, Xeniid ID, Xeniid Selection, Xeniid Compatibility, Xeniid Systems, Xeniid Feeding, Xeniid Disease, Xeniid Reproduction, Soft Coral Propagation, Soft Coral HealthAlcyoniids, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids,

Blue Xenia Color Fade...But Polyps Otherwise Healthy and Reproducing Quickly -- 11/08/10
Hi gang,
<<Hello Chuck>>
My question involves some blue xenia... I have received starter colonies from a friend who grows these things four or five times over the years. I always experience the same thing -- once they hit my tank, they acclimate...start pulsing... and reproduce quickly, doubling in size over the next month or two. But they also lose their bluish tint.
This last time, with five or six colonies at different heights, proximity to my lights, etc. seeded in various places in my tank -- basically anywhere the current wasn't too swift to beat them up, all faded at the same rate...blue/gray totally gone after about two months, and now are beige/brown.
<<Almost certainly environmental -- and likely the "chemical" composition of the environment (bio-mineral and/or nutrient content)>>
I use metal halides... No actinics at the moment... But I had the same experience under a PC 50/50 setup with blue and purple actinics in my last tank's lighting setup. Is there some additive I'm likely short of that would cause this?
<<Almost certainly this is the case>>
And if some sort of correction is made, am I likely to ever see the 'blue' again?
<<Possibly'¦ You should start by examining the friend's environment and husbandry practices of the system in which the parent colonies are maintained. Query this person re any additives, the specifics of the system chemistry (pH, Alkalinity, et al), even down to the brand of salt mix and Salinity/Specific Gravity>>
Thanks in advance for any help on this...
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Pulsing xenia, beh., hlth.  12/29/08 <Hello James, Minh at your service.> I've read of some of the problems people seem to be having with pulsing xenia, here's mine. I've hand my 55 gal tank up and running for about three months now. About two months ago I brought home a pulsing xenia frag from a LFS. It took about a week for it to come to life, but once it did, it seemed quite happy, even had an offspring! I had fish in the tank, and unfortunately a catastrophic outbreak of Ich. As a result, I got out of the habit of feeding the inverts, and the xenia began to wither and shrivel to about a tenth of it's healthiest size. I've been given the advice of feeding with invert food and dosing with trace minerals containing iodine. <The practice of iodine dosing for Xeniid health is supported by a body of anecdotal evidence in the reefing community. However, I must warn you that the danger of overdosing is easily a possibility. As with dosing of any other major, minor or trace elements, one should only do so carefully and with the aid of test kits to prevent overdosing.> The LFS told me it's not uncommon for xenia to just die for no apparent reason. <The opposite is true for Xeniids and many other corals, it's uncommon for them to perish for no reason. Although Xeniids do appear to behave unpredictably, it is their sensitivity to changes in basic water parameters that's to blame. For this reason, many seasoned reefers use Xeniids as a visual barometer for system stability.> Reading your posts seems to suggest that they are extremely hardy, bordering on being a nuisance. I'd love to get a colony going. It's been about a week and a half and I'm not seeing any real improvement. The other tankmates seem happy. Over the last couple of days I've tried target feeding with a syringe (turning all flow off and bathing the xenia with a mixture of invert food and trace minerals). The ph got down to about 7.5, I've got it up to 8.0 now. <This could the cause for the decline of your Xeniids. I suspect if you are able to maintain stable pH and Alkalinity readings, your Xeniids will improve over time. Here is an excellent article on correcting pH issues: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-05/rhf/index.php.> Any suggestions, recommendations would be greatly appreciated <Furthermore, here is an excellent article on Xeniids as good food for thought: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-02/ac/feature/index.php. Good luck, Minh Huynh.>

Re: pulsing xenia    1/4/09 I want to thank you for responding so quickly and completely to my questions. The answers you provided and the links you supplied are much appreciated. <You're welcome, James.> I have a little more history information that I forgot to mention; and a couple of questions, if you don't mind. <No problem, that's why we're here.> What was the main body of xenia seems to have melted away. The offspring is still alive, but maybe a tenth of it's original size. I did mention my tank experienced a catastrophic Ich outbreak. The part I forgot to mention was that I received a copper free medication for the Ich and instructions for dosing as well as raising the temperature to 85 deg. The temperature was reset to 80 deg., the medication was dosed for one week, and a 25% water change was done at the end of the week. All of this effort was to no avail, none of the fish survived the Ich. The Xenia have been going down hill ever since. <I'm sorry to hear about your fish loss. I suspect along with the pH drop, the prolonged elevated temperature caused the initial demise of your Xeniids. If the Xeniids continue to decline even after stabilizing pH and temperature, you may need to add iodine. As I mentioned before, it is quite possible to overdose with iodine without proper administration. However, with a proper iodine test kit and careful dosing, some aquarists including myself have had success in reviving unhealthy Xeniids. In my case, I started out with 2 drops of Kent Tech-I iodine mixed in a 10ml container of saltwater. This solution is then slowly fed to the Xeniids as if spot feeding a coral. The dosage amount can be increased slightly over time. Noticeable improvement should happen relatively quickly.> The question I have is this. Will the Ich perish without a host fish, or will the eggs in the gravel exist indefinitely, as my LFS states. I was planning on waiting at least eight weeks before attempting to re-introduce any fish. <If the system is allowed to go fallow or fish-less for a period of time (4 or more weeks), then the Cryptocaryon irritans protozoan is allowed to go through its life cycle and perish without a host. Of course, the longer you can wait before adding fish, the better. More information can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm. Good luck, Minh Huynh.>

Pulsing Xenia Question - 03/30/08 Hey crew, <<Hey, Jason>> I have been searching far and wide on your site about xenia and can't seem to find my answer. <<Okay>> I notice with my xenia's that they pulse most of the day but I find them once or twice a day where the stalks seem inflated and the flower part is shriveled into the stalk. They always open back up and start pulsing right away. Is this a normal behavior? <<In my experience, what you describe is not "unusual"…the Xenia are likely "at rest" or perhaps channeling energies toward other ends (e.g. - growth/expansion of the colony)>> Thanks for all your help. Jason <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Pumping xenia question -03/28/08 Good afternoon peoples...hope all is well. I have a quick xenia question. They are sitting half way up the tank (21'' high) with 2x250 MHs 14000k's. I bought the little guy 2 months ago and has now split off into 4 different stalks each slowly attaching itself to the actual live rock. By now, I can move the little peace they came on.....to me, splitting and slightly moving to a spot they like indicates they are doing great. My question is this... why do they bunch up 3-4 times daily, at different times of the day?? By bunching up I mean that all the polyps squeeze into a tight ball on top of the stalk and the stalk gets girthier. <This is very typical. It's hard to say exactly why they do this. They might be "resting" in a way... or maybe they get "spooked" every once in awhile. In any case, it's nothing to worry about, and is normal.> This last for about 30 min.s and they come out looking better than ever. I've noticed when they do this they make a little progress in their journey up my rock. Is the bunching stress, is this how they move, is it them withdrawing iodine from the water? I'm confused as ever. My flow is perfect by the way. <impossible> Its undirected, medium, intermittent flow. They seem to like it. Also, nitrates less than 2. phosphates are 0. Let me also say that when they are pumping, these are the best xenias I've seen. You can clearly see how soft the polyps are and how expanded they are when they pump. Very beautiful. Hint: with each of them being separated from each other now...all 4 different stalks pretty much bunch up at the same time or within min.s of each other. By now i consider these 4 different animals.... <clones> what does it mean that they are still in sync. <They're likely all responding to the same stimuli, chemical cues, etc. If they continue to separate and grow their separate ways, they might become less "in sync."> Thanks for all your help. You rock. <Thank you :-) De nada,
Sara M.>

Xenia shriveling  1/16/08 Hi crew! It's been awhile since I've had any problems but now my xenias are dying. They've been in the tank for 5 months and were doing great. They were spreading and still are. I had 3 large stalks. The first one shriveled but is not completely dead. Then the 2nd within 2 days went from straight up and strong to shrinking, twisting and falling over but it is still trying to pulse. <A good sign> The 3rd one is going strong. I moved the powerhead so they are not getting as much current as they were. I scoured the website and checked the ph and alkalinity as advised. <Yes> Both were low (ph 8.2 and 8 dKH). <This is not low...> I corrected that and now the ph is 8.3 and the alkalinity is 10. However that has not changed their status. I thought I had read that other corals could affect them as well. <Yes> I also have green zoanthids and green Ricordea mushrooms. <Have these been "upset" or challenged recently... they/either could malaffect pulsing soft corals> Where in relation to the xenia should those be placed? <Away... and more... chemically... and...> I originally had both lower than the xenia in the tank but moved the zoanthids for lighting purposes. Could this be the problem? <Ah, yes> What else could be affecting the xenia? <A myriad of possibilities... Do you dose with an iodine/ate compound?> I have a 55 gal with 130 watts of lighting. Thank you for your help! Jennifer <Please peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xeniiddisfaq3.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia shriveling 1/17/08 Hi Mr. Fenner! I just started adding iodine at 1/2 strength until the testing kit comes in. Also, I moved the zoanthids farther away and lower. Thank you for your response, also I'll look at the referred links. Thanks again Bob! Jennifer <Welcome Jen! BobF>

Re: Xenia shriveling, and FOWLR stkg.  1/17/08 Bob, xenias seem to be doing better since I moved the zoanthids. I do have another question. I've been researching obtaining another fish and want to make the best choice for my current inhabitants, whom I very fond of, and for the fish I purchase. Currently in my 55 gal I have a tank raised clown (he's the boss-2 years old), 1 firefish, 1 coral beauty, 1 royal Gramma, 1 chromis, 1 sleeper goby, 1 coral banded shrimp (4"), 1 Echinaster spinosa (sp?) starfish, 5 hermit crabs, 3 limpets and 2 conchs. I researched on WWM butterflyfish, which seem to be the most compatible, Hawkfish (could be problem with shrimp) and a yellow tang. Some of the research on yellow tangs said 55 gal is too small and some says it's ok. What is your opinion? <It's borderline...> I do not want an unhappy fish. Or do you think I've hit the bioload for this tank? Thank you again, Mr. Fenner! Jennifer <Jen... I do think you are "about there" re psychological limit with the fish species you list. Bob Fenner>

Pulsing Xenia, beh., hlth.  -11/16/07 Hello, thanks again for your great resource. I've looked through all the xenia pages but can't find anything to set my mind at ease, so I thought I'd ask directly. We have a pulsing xenia that came with the live rock in our tank about 6 months ago. It has been steadily growing and sprouting more 'hands,' and all has seemed well. Then, two days ago, it shrank drastically-- down to half its height and width all of a sudden, and its skin seems quite wrinkly. Its hands are still waving during the day, but it just doesn't look well. Its stalk gives the appearance of splitting in half, and our LFS suggested it might just be reproducing. But I cannot find any photos of reproducing xenias with the strange shrunken appearance that ours now has. Any ideas? Our water quality has not changed and all the other fish and invertebrates in our system look normal (including a Discosoma and SPS coral.) <Unfortunately, Xenia are notorious for becoming suddenly ill and/or dying for apparently no obvious reason (or, at least no reason we known of). Interestingly though, unlike a lot of stony corals, Xenia are not "immoral." And actually, they're thought to be relatively short-lived (with a life span of maybe 5 to 10 years). In my personal opinion, I think some of these mysterious Xenia deaths could just be the corals dying of "old age" (especially since we have no idea how old the corals might have been when they're collected). In your case, if nothing much has changed since this xenia started to decline, unfortunately there's not much more I can tell you unless you can think of something in the tank that might be attacking it (or some change in water chemistry or lighting--do you change your bulbs every 6 months?). In any case, do run some activated carbon (dying xenia can be toxin). As for reproduction, have you seen this yet? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidreprofaqs.htm> Thanks for your help, Laura and Dave <De nada, Sara M.>

Re: Xeniid... beh., repro.?  1-22-08 Bob, thank you for the quick response. I am sorry to hear you were tired and hope you got a good night sleep after some reading, sincerely. <Mmm, was joshing you re... was "just too tired" this AM, as in hadn't quite woken up... about sixty percent currently> You mentioned a few issues that I am concerned about such as "these may well not be compatible" <Correct... Cnidarians "fight"... as you'll read> and low Ph for the Xeniid "not necessarily" <A reading of 8.1 is no problem...> and "Err, best to adjust slowly, via pre-treated new water". <Yes... the pH scale is a negative base ten log...> I performed the Ph buffer via a drip freshwater top off slowly over 12 hours. <... if you had read... about 0.1 is all I'd do/allow in a given 24h period> Intuitively, you mean a water change, yes? <Yes> As for compatibility, can you recommend good reading with respect to this? Michael <Mmm, yes: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm the article/Ppt outline for Cnidarian Compatibility, more re Xeniids themselves further down. BobF>

Pulsing Xenia…Not! - 5/29/07 Hi Alex (again), <Hi Michael and Dianne!> Thanks to all over and over for being a superb resource we use regularly .... and thanks to one of your recent writers who pointed out that you could donate to the site! We had actually never seen the link, but as soon as we realized it was there, we made a contribution. <Cool!> You are awesome! <Thanks for your support of the site!!> We have (as we have written before) a 120-gallon reef tank. I am sorry I don't know the specifics of the lighting or technical hardware stuff, but we have in addition to the regular stuff, an extra powerhead and a skimmer. <Start keeping a notebook… as you replace equipment, you will know what you have.> Ammonia 0, nitrates 0, nitrites 0, ph 8.3+, temp 78-80, phosphates 0. About 150 pounds of live rock on a bed of about 60 pounds of live sand. What else .... oh, inhabitants. Sailfin, Foxface, three clarkiis, flame angel, four teeny Chromis, bicolor Pseudochromis and two yellow tangs. One algae blenny, one sand sifting starfish, many blue- and red-legged crabs, assorted snails. And four peppermint shrimp and one fire shrimp. And an assortment of other life: Kenya tree (just split in two!), two feather dusters, two coco worms, yellow polyps, tons of mushrooms, Anthelia, Trachyphyllia (sp?) <Trachyphyllia> brain, large green plate, wall hammer, three gorgonians, Alveopora, candycane, Chile. I think that's about it. And now the question: Pulsing Xenia does not like our tank and we don't know why. We purchased one piece and thought perhaps we placed it too near a dying bubble. When the bubble died we thought the Xenia would do better, but it remains shrunken and not pulsing. But it's not dead (at least, we don't think it's dead. It's still pinkish.) <You would know if it was dead, it would melt and be gross. It does sound very unhappy though.> Its placement is in the sand in a good flow spot. <They do actually prefer a solid rock to hold on to. And reasonable flow, not blasting them around too much.> So we got another piece and put it in the tank on Thursday. We placed this one higher up on a rock. <Ah, good.> Within 24 hours it stopped pulsing. <Ah, not good.> What are we doing wrong? Or are we just not meant to have this particular animal? <For an animal that can grow like a weed, they can seem finicky sometimes. I have the weed variety currently, which is fine with me, because it is one of my favorites. Hmm, well, I assume you have read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidbehfaqs.htm You seem to have the temp, pH, light, water parameters to make them happy. To check the flow is not too much, turn off your pumps and see if they start pulsing. I don't think this is it, since they are shrunken, which indicates more stress than excess flow would cause them. But for future reference keep in mind that they pulse more when they get less flow, as they pulse to create their own currents. But they can grow and be happy in a higher flow area even though they don't need to pulse as much. Another thing to consider is whether they want iodine. They like iodine, but I wouldn't go adding it without testing first, unless you have some other signs of low iodine like poorly molting shrimp. But, I suspect your real problem is they don't get along with their neighbors. I suspect the hammer coral or the Alveopora at least. I had a Euphyllia beside my Xenia and it was pitiful. Moved the Euphyllia to the other side of the tank, and the Xenia took off. Read here about compatibility of corals: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlcompfaqs.htm You do have a pretty dense mix with some pretty nasty buggers. Try adding more charcoal to remove the noxious chemicals, and move the first Xenia up to a rock as far from the other corals as possible, maybe where the water returns from the skimmer, or some other "clean" water source. Distance helps quite a bit with the chemical warfare between corals. And of course the never ending water changes!! ? > Thanks as always, Michael and Dianne <Good to hear from you again… Alex>

Inking xenia   5/19/07 I purchased a pulsing xenia at the LFS today. And after an hour or two I noticed it nice and puffed up looking full of life but slumping to one side, <Typical... takes a while, days to acclimate...> so I tried to help it stand straight, <No!> but when I did it deflated! And a purple looking fluid was released and now its slumped with no sign of life! Anyone ever heard of this? Is it dangerous for my clean up crew? Did I kill it? Please help that you Joe <... Please... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm The linked files above. RMF>

I have reviewed your site regarding pulsing xenia:  10/23/06 <Didn't find what you needed, eh?  Hope I can help, then> I just got some frags for both of my tanks...they are standing upright and moving back and forth vigorously, but I don't see the individual polyps themselves pulsing in and out (the actual arms closing and opening as opposed to the stalks moving) like I did at the store.  I am closely monitoring all levels which appear normal including alkalinity and salinity, I have been adding an iodine supplement which also has amino acids. With the recent change in weather my tank is going through heat changes from day to night (we haven't turned on our heat yet and they don't need a heater during day at all yet).  I am keeping it below 80, but it gets down to 74-76 overnight when lights are off.  Is this OK for now until the temperature evens out?  Is it Ok that the polyps themselves are not pulsing in and out or is this a sign of unhappiness?  Am I asking too much to have their arms pulsing also?  I have observed them pulsing like this in the LFS. <How long have you had your Xenias?  Until acclimated, they aren't going to pulse.  Also, if the temperature is above about 80F, or if the pH is below around 8.3, from my observations they don't pulse. Also, be sure that there is random, turbulent water flow and no direct water flow blasting them about in one direction> I hope I didn't miss something on your site regarding this (I reviewed faq's and behavior sections in Xeniids) <No problem, but please include some background information next time to help me answer your question more accurately.  Lighting, pH, species list, and a sentence or two about your tank would be helpful, as well as the length of time you've had the coral> Colleen Boyle <M. Maddox>

Xenia disappearance   8/11/06 Hi Crew, <Tom> Overnight, it looks like one of the main stems of my month-old Xenia disappeared, leaving only an attachment stub (that still has two very small new "sprouts" showing).  Although I see no obvious signs of a struggle, I suspect foul play. <Could be...> Other tank residents include 2 Gobies, 3 Peppermint Shrimp (who did a remarkable job eating my Aiptasia, over the 5 weeks I've had them in there), one Fireshrimp, 3 (supposedly) algae eating Hermit crabs, and one unidentified hitchhiker crab, dime-sized or smaller. <... could be any of the crustaceans... or...> For what it's worth, the tank has also had a Sarcophyton for 9 months, and it has never had any problems. Thanks for your thoughts, Tom <And there are situations in which pulsing soft corals do "just fail"... sometimes quite rapidly. Please read on WWM re the propensity (Compatibility) for each of the crustaceans listed to get along, and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm and the linked files above for insight into captive Xeniid Behavior, Systems... Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia disappearance   8/14/06 Thanks, Bob. <Welcome Tom> I removed all the Peppermint Shrimp, and two hermit crabs (one is unaccounted for, but I have not seen it since I removed the others).  I did notice one of these hermits munching on the stub of the Xenia that first disappeared, but he could have been just cleaning up. <Ah yes> As of today,  I see that I have lost at least one more Xenia stalk, and maybe two.  What seems odd is that the remaining stalks look just fine and very happy, while those that disappear do so almost completely, and at night. <Mmm... good to take a look/see with a small-beamed flashlight... perhaps a predator will be revealed...> There still may be a hitchhiker crab in there, and my next step will be to try to trap him. <Good> Is there any chance the Fireshrimp is the culprit? <Very small, but yes> Do you still think there is a significant probability that these stalks are "melting away" overnight? <Not likely... would all go... and during the day as well as night> In case it matters, the tank is a 30 gallon,  live rock, 192 watts (50/50 actinic/10000K), skimmer, 3 powerheads, bio-wheel filter, set-up for about a year. Do you think I should move this Xenia to a different tank (it's still easy, because it's only attached to the plug it came on)? <Is the easiest, surest thing to do to preserve it... is what I would do> (I'm down to two little stalks left). Thanks again, Tom <Bob Fenner> Xenia Not Pumping 10/16/05 I have a 29 gallon reef and a 10 gallon. I have dozens of different coral but cannot keep xenias. They do not die but won't pulse and eventually shrivel up. I read that this can be caused by a low ph. I have tested both tanks and the ph is fine. I decided to try again with my third colony and though they haven't shrunk, they wont pulse. Is there anything else that may contribute to this? <<Possible causes include toxins from other corals, low pH, low Alkalinity and more. Test your water and try PolyFilters, carbon and water changes. Please search WWM using "Pumping Xenia" for more information. Good luck - Ted>> 

Balled Up Xenia 7/27/05 Hello there! <Hey, Mike G here> I've had my Xenia corals for a year know and they have been doing awesome, until 3 weeks ago. <Xenia have a habit of doing this.> I have notice that they have closed up like a little ball and they are not pumping like they where!!! What could this be? <Stress. Find the source, eliminate the problem, save the Xenia. Hint: Check your parameters.> Thank you for your time <No problem. Good luck, and I hope it pulls through! Mike G> Xenia Changing Shape And Color Under Different Lighting - 07/04/05 7/5/05 Hello Crew, <<Evening>> I have a question regarding the response of Xenia to different lighting.  I have currently 6700K 92CRI fluorescent light bulbs with the xenia placed in the top 6 inches of the tank( I have had it like this for ~5 months).  With this lighting the animal is fully extended and a pinkish color active and pulsing. <<OK>> I have tried to add another 2 bulb light fixture with actinics in it.  After adding this to the tank the xenia turns dark brown and shrinks down to about half its regular size.  If I take the actinics away the xenia returns to fully extended an a pink (normal?) color again. <<Hmmm>>   Am I doing something wrong by adding the actinics or is the pink color just starving for light from the 6700K bulbs. <<The light spectrum is not a problem.  What I think is happening is your Xenia is suffering from light shock when you add the two extra bulbs.  You state the Xenia is located very close to the surface of the water...if you are not acclimating it to the additional lighting you are causing what is known in lay terms as "light shock."  The Xenia needs time to adapt to the increase in light (photo activity).  You can do this by cutting 6-8 pieces of fiberglass window screen, placing all the pieces on some kind of support (eggcrate) over the Xenia, and removing a piece every three days until all is gone and the coral will be acclimated to the increased in lighting.>> Thanks for your help. Brad <<Regards, Eric R.>> Xenia stalks wilting A few weeks ago I bought a pulsating Xenia and it has been doing great!  It stretched it's stalks about 3 inches and started to bud new "arms". Recently the very  bottom of the stalk has corkscrewed and made the Xenia bend over From the Stalk in the direction of the current. Is this something to be worried about? The Pulsating part is fine and they are fully extended it just looks like the bottom of the stalk is "broken" or Hurt some how it seems to be happy other than that. Is it just trying to "walk" and grow new stalks? <Mmm, could be nothing... accelerated growth, nutrient, iodine limiting in your system... please read over the FAQs files on Xenia Health, Systems... indexed/linked at top here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm Bob Fenner> Kalkwasser slurry and xenia pulsation 5/13/05 Hey guys, <Howdy!> As usual, I have a few questions.  I have a 155 gallon tank with live rock, powerheads, MH lighting.  I'm still waiting for my overflow box order so I can set up my sump.  Water Parameters as follows; PH 8.4 at night Temp 80 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Alk 4.5 meq=12.6 KH Phosphate .3 Calcium 260ppm very low <The high Phosphate is an even bigger concern, frankly. Do consider a Phos-ban reactor or the like.> Magnesium unknown at this time, will be testing today by LFS.  I'm assuming normal because I've been doing weekly water changes of 10-15%. Inhabitants 1 purple tank, 1 clown Corals: 1 leather, 1 green star polyp, 1 yellow polyp, 3 mushrooms, and 3 xenia stalks( recently added, attached by a tooth pick). Tank is fairly new, corals even newer, about a month for all of them. Question 1.  I've been using the Kalkwasser slurry method to raise my calcium.  I've been adding 1/4-1/2 tsp per gallon to fresh water and then adding it to a stream of water at night.  I know that the amount is very conservative but I don't want a snow storm.   <Actually... I'm concerned that you may be adding this without knowing what your daily demand for calcium is (very low in this tank by the list of corals). Thus, if you are adding too much per day, you may be precipitating Ca without actually causing a "snowstorm," yet it is the reason for your depressed Ca. We must test for the daily loss of calcium, then how much of a calcium supplement (calcium hydroxide in this case) is needed to make up for that daily need. Tossing in random shots is scary <G>> I'm planning on adding hard corals soon and would like to get my level much higher.  I've been doing this for about a week but with no success.  I think that possible causes maybe the Alkalinity (which I've brought down  from 16KH to it's current level) or the unknown Magnesium level, or just low dose.  Any thoughts?   <Ah, yes... 16 dKH is high for Alk. Avoid going over 12 dKH. And yes, it can depress the Ca when high> By the way, my PH has been climbing slowly about .05 each time I dose. <Very fine> Question 2.  I know that typically, the slurry method is to replace daily calcium use but is it ok to use it to raise the levels too? <Yes> Question 3.  I purchased a couple of xenia stalks this week to my tank.  The first day they were pulsating but no more.  The PH and alkalinity favor this motion, iodine is .05, water movement ok, occasional marine snow given ( every second day).  Again what do you guys think? <Xenia can be very slow to "settle in" - often taking several months before you see consistent growth, pulsatile function, etc. No worries> As always, I really appreciate your help. Nilesh <kindly, Anthony>

Xenia detaching 2/9/05 I really appreciated the website. I use it extensively. I bought a lovely piece of rock with three large Xenia stalks. They have been pumping and waving about and are quite beautiful. A few days ago I notice that one of them seemed to have a break in the stalk and this morning it had broken off altogether and was lying on the substrate, still pumping.  <Many possible reasons... not excluding a shrimp, crab or fish clipping it off> I replaced it in a crevice in the live rock hoping it would reattach since it still seems to be alive. Now today I notice that the largest of the remaining two stalks seems to be detaching itself and I fear the same fate for him.  <hmmm...> Other than that they seem quite healthy. I have searched the website and most of the questions seem to be about them not pumping or lesions or retracting/melting. I don't seem to find anything on them breaking off or detaching. Any words of wisdom? <Since they are still pulsing and re-attaching, it sounds like some creature is disturbing them... do watch at night with a red light> Also, I'd like to keep my pod population from being decimated but I don't have a sump. You suggested a pod cultivating kit but the website didn't give much information other than advertising a bottle of liquid pods, can't remember the name of it. <Without a refugium, you are mostly resigned to adding bottled supplements at times. Oceanpods.com or Seapods.com> Is it just a supplement you add to the tank or is it something you have to have refugium for? thanks for your help. Janie <Live cultures to boost your tank. Anthony :)>

A Theory about the Pulse Hi Bob, <Ryan with you today.>   I think the reason Xenias pump is that they don't have sweeper  tentacles so, their pumping is designed to irritate encroaching corals. I have  seen them cause soft corals to pull back from the constant "tickling". <That's quite a theory!  I will post for all to read.  I personally think that they're directly related to the musical potted dancing flowers of the 80's.  Ryan> That's my  theory

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