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FAQs about Pulsing Corals, the Xeniids 2

Related Articles: Pulsing Soft Corals, Family Xeniidae

Related FAQs: Xeniids 1, Xeniids 3, Xeniids 4, Xeniid ID, Xeniid Behavior, Xeniid Selection, Xeniid Compatibility, Xeniid Systems, Xeniid Feeding, Xeniid Disease, Xeniid Reproduction, Soft Coral Propagation, Soft Coral HealthAlcyoniids, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids,

Xenia Hi All, Hope your morning is going well. I've got a mystery on my hands. I did my water changes Wed. Almost everything is doing fine, the almost being the xenia in my 7g nano tank. Prior to the water change, the colonies were extending fully. Now, they're curled up into tight little balls and look real unhappy. I changed salt brands from Red Sea to Reef Crystals. The spg went from 1.024 to 1.025,  <no problem... all the better> it's strictly an invert tank, no fish. Besides the xenia there's a pair of turbo snails, mated gold coral banded shrimp, some "button polyps" (come to think of it, they haven't extended either) and I added 2 rather small blue leg hermits and 1 small long spine sea urchin (the tank has a hair algae problem, and I figured it would help spread the coralline by munching on it and spreading spores. when it gets bigger, it's going into the main display or finding a new home). I have about 8 lbs of LR, 1" of sand (oolitic), I keep the tank between 76-80, the ph is usually 8.3 (varies a bit during the day), 0 ammonia and nitrites, the nitrates are around 10 (all tests using a Red Sea kits). I haven't tested alk yet. The only thing I dose is a couple drops of Kent iodine a week, and B-Ionic 2 part (2ml, usually every other day). I use one of the Tetratec HOT units w/2 filter pads, I swap one out at every water change. I feed the shrimp a couple of brine shrimp pellets, a little of my home made food, or some mysis, generally every other day to every three days (no luck so far on hand feeding them). The tank has been up now for about 5 months. I'm stumped. Any ideas? Thanks! PF <Hmmm... yes... a stumper/vague. I'm wondering if there was a touch of temp shock with the new incoming water? If not... SG accurate (not too low?). Plastic hydrometer or glass (preferable)? Else, a sharp drop in pH or Alk. Hmmm... many possibilities. Antoine>

Re: Xenia shock Plastic hydrometer. <many plastic hydrometers are complete crap, the best of them are easily corrupted with air bubbles on the weighted arm or from slight deposits from drying hard water. All hydrometers should be rinsed in distilled water after each use and/or soaked with vinegar water periodically to reduce mineral deposits. All in all... still not a likely cause of our problem here. FWIW I prefer glass hydrometers when a refractometer is not available> The make up water is heated to 80F, about where the tanks are most of the time. It's an Ebo-Jager heater , and keeps everything on a nice even temp. <yes... very fine> Since Friday the button polyps are back out and even begun to expand into some of the rock cleaned off by the urchin and the hermits. It was one of those weekends, so I'll test Alk as soon as I get home. The xenia hasn't melted down, but it still looks real unhappy. <good point... things can't be all that bad... a meltdown is easy enough to incur with Xenia. Best regards, Anthony>

A Non-Pulsing Xenia Hi there, I bought a White pulsing xenia last week. When I placed it in the tank it looked ok and pulsed like crazy. But at about 3 days I noticed that the middle stalk was rotting so I removed it by cutting the middle portion and left me 2 stalks that are still alive. <Smart move> Since then the my xenia's just stopped pulsing and is turning into a light pink color. Sometimes it pulses but very weak compared to when I first got it. The polyps are open but is thinner than before. What could be the problem? <A whole bunch of possibilities; iodine, low pH, low ORP, current, lighting, or temperature differences/problems.> Thanks <Sorry I could not be move definitive. -Steven Pro>

Mushroom and Xenia I have this Xenia that is moving off one rock and on to another rock that has some mushrooms. Is there going to be a problem if they contact each other? <yep... the mushrooms may eventually kill the Xenia. They are quite hostile and the Xenia is rather passive> If so what are my options? Thanks for the help <place loose rubble between the two so that is one should grow nearer in the face of an attack, the "firewall" with coral on it can be removed and replaced. Best regards, Anthony>

Xeniid pulse corals Hi Anthony, Where is a good place to buy color Xeniid pulse coral . No LFS hear have them. RGibson <Cheers, Ralph... Well, airmailing Xeniids is never a foolproof endeavor. Always buy local when you can. My advice for starters is to contact some of the folks in a local aquarium society for a buy or trade. I know it isn't that close for you, but the WAMAS club that I just visited in northern Virginia has tons of it. Perhaps there is a member south enough that it is worth a nice drive to see a new tank, make a friend and get some Xenia. If so, check them out on reefcentral.com They have a club link and forum there. Very nice chap named Glenn has one of several great displays I saw when I visited to give a presentation to their club. Do consider any road trip before mail ordering. Kindly, Anthony>

Xenia is dying Can you please help? I have a 150 reef tank. It's been set up about 2 years. I put in 2 or 3 pieces of xenia more than a year ago. It has grown and speed like wildfire. All of a sudden, they are turning white and shriveling up. Any ideas? <many possible reasons for this but far and away the most common is a low pH. Xenia are notoriously sensitive to low pH. They stop pulsing at 8.3 and really show suffrage under 8.0. A reef aquarium ideally (to me) does not drop below 8.3 at night (low point).> Thanks, Ricky Knapik New Orleans, LA <best regards, Anthony>

Killing Xenia I'm having problems trying to kill Xenia sp. around my SPS's. I've tried hot water injections, cold, Kalkwasser, I've even tried injecting vinegar but to avail. Is there anything that will kill them safely? Brett L. <It is going to be far easier to manually remove them. Take a pair of diagonal wire cutters, that are clean and free of oil, and use them to take out a little bit of the rock under the offending Xenia. Be sure to thoroughly clean the cutters afterward, but be warned they will probably rust something awful. -Steven Pro>

Removing Xenia To be honest... I agree with Steve. Diagonal pliers and poultry sheers are the best and most direct method. What we are suggesting to do is bit into the rock just below the Xenia to skin some rock away with the living animal. They cannot possibly grow back if you succeed in doing this... the very 1/16" of rock below the xenia is being removed! The wire brush though does leave bits of tissue which can regrow. Anthony>

Re: xenia Thank you guys, I changed about fifty percent of my water and put in new carbon and stepped up my skimming. Everything looks great but my xenia still has not opened, I believe they will soon.  <agreed... they are notoriously finicky! But rest assured if they were sick or dying... they would have wiped out like wildfire. You are safe> My question is about skimmers. I have a small ten gallon reef and I can not find out what would work the best for this tank. Every time I think I found a good skimmer I read a horrible review about it.  <quite frankly all skimmers for a tank this size are complete trash. Just marketing wizardry> Could you give me a list of hang on skimmers that would do the ideal job. I have searched high and low but do not and can not afford a real expensive skimmer.  <good things are seldom cheap and cheap things are seldom good. Don't bother buying a good skimmer for this tank. Small weekly water changes would serve you better> Also where would I be able to get that book by Robert Fenner.  <many places including several vendors on the Wet Web Media site. If you go to DI's aquatics (http://www.disaquatics.com) you can get a copy signed by Bob. They have a limited number of hardback copies too.> Thank you so much I appreciate the time, it is invaluable. If ever you are in Minnesota and around Minneapolis and your car breaks down I could repay the favor as I am an auto mechanic. Hehe Dave McCorkell <hope to meet you one day! Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Xenia  Hi I hope you guys may be able to help me with a problem I am having with my pulsing Xenia. When I purchased them about a month ago they were open and colorful, and now closed up for the last two weeks. They are still firmly attached to the rock, but refuse to open. Could hermit crabs be agitating them, I have heard conflicting stories about crabs.  <I feel that it is unlikely that the crabs were any bother> I had my LFS test my water and everything was fine but my ph was at 7.9.  <bingo! Xeniids are notoriously sensitive to depressed pH. My colonies stop pulsing like clockwork when the pH dips below 8.3 and look very stressed when below 8.0. Do raise you pH SLOWLY over several days to a week to 8.4. Using Kalk or baking soda in small amounts may be a cheap and easy solution for you (either by night)> They tested for ph alkalinity calcium(480)  <the calcium reading is either inaccurate or scary high. You would be dangerously close to a "snowstorm" precipitation of calcium/carbonates). Do confirm and conduct water changes to dilute if necessary. If true it would suggest an abuse of some pH or calcium supplement> ammonia nitrites and nitrates. My salinity is 1.023. I have been buffering my water to 8.3 and they are still not open. I believe around that time my heater in the tank apparently stopped working and my temp went down six degrees.  <WOW... that is a drop. Indeed very stressful to many fish and inverts. Perhaps some weeks recovery is still needed> Since then I bought a new heater and I am keeping the temp at 81 degrees.  <very fine> Also my Bubble tip anemone seems to have shrunk to a third of its normal size in the last week. I had an out break of ick and the LFS told me to treat it with Greenex (that was two weeks ago). Could that be apart of the cause of my xenia and anemone?  <My goodness!!! You will be lucky if the treatment does not turn out to be fatal to your inverts. Greenex is an organic dye and VERY toxic to invertebrates. Don't let anyone tell you different. Yes... this is the primary cause for the stress in your animals. And please know that such medications should NEVER be dosed in the main display tank. Always medicate fish in a separate QT tank. You need to read a good book my friend about all of these issues before spending any more money on livestock. Please do consider reading or re-reading Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist. The tank since medicated has suffered a staining/contamination of the calcareous media (sand, rock, etc). I suspect that you will have significant troubles keeping or adding small invertebrates (shrimp, snails, polyps, etc) and especially filter feeders (sponges, feather dusters, tunicates, etc) in the near future. Please conduct strong weekly water changes for the next month to dilute the contamination. Also, add PolyFilters (Poly Bio Marine filter pads) for the next several months to try to extract much of the residual meds.> My yellow polyps, green star polyps, blue mushroom anemones, feather duster are doing fine.  <for now... we'll see in time if they pull through from the staining> I also ad weekly Iodine calcium and strontium along with weekly water changes with RO water.  <very fine. And do you aerate and buffer the RO water before using it... if not, a cause for your low pH> Do I just need to be patient and wait for them to come back or should I do more drastic water changes? <the latter> Ten gallon 1 32 watt compact florescent, 1 florescent both 50% actinic blue. Lees counter current protein skimmer,  <do upgrade the skimmer when you can. Many good brands out there. Steve Pro is reorganizing the wet web media FAQs on skimmers as we speak and will be posting a best of skimmer FAQs very soon> 125 penguin bio wheel. Three inches of live sand, fifteen pounds of live rock.  <add more live rock when possible... perhaps even remove/swap some of this contaminated rock> Eight hermit crabs five Astrea snails,  <my guess is that the snails are or will be inactive from the meds> 1 Percula 1 Six line wrasse and 1 Green Chromis. I would greatly appreciate your infinite wisdom, thank you Dave McCorkell.<best regards my friend. Anthony Calfo>

Feeding Xenia can you be specific about foods for these animals ? <yep... they cannot be fed organismally (particles)... they have diminished feeding mechanisms/structures. They are believed to be almost fully autotrophic (photosynthetic). What little they are suspected of eating is by absorption. Most tanks are not so well skimmed that there is inevitably enough dissolved organics to feed Xenia. Rest easy, my friend... good light and water quality is enough to grow this beautiful weed <smile>. With kind regards, Anthony> TIA Dave

Xenia tank and soft coral identification Hi Bob, Anthony, and the rest of the all-knowing crew! Hope that this finds you well! <Cheers, my friend... I hope you are in good spirit as well> I am sending some pics for you to see. #1in is the tank as it is now -- not sure how long it's been since the leak on the other, (2 months?) but I think it is starting to come along. I am tickled pink with the refugium (the light is on an alternating timer) and would suggest it to anyone.  <excellent. Indeed, Reverse Daylight Photosynthesis (RDP) refugia have many merits> There is a second skimmer hanging off the side of it. Can't wait for the coralline algae to start on the glass again . . . sigh. <in due time> #2 is a soft coral I got -- I had ordered a green hairy leather and the piece came in with two distinctly different corals on it. I'm not complaining, but I would like to know what the are! I am assuming the one in the back is the hairy, but what is the one in the front? It reminds me of morels . . . <no pics attached, my dear... please resend> Now, you remember part of the deal to set another tank up during the leak was that my beloved hubby got dibs on my 25? Well, he hasn't set it up yet so I call that an opportunity.  <Ha! Staked a claim, eh?> Since it is all retrofitted for reef anyway it would be a shame to use it for freshwater. Before I had various soft corals, mushrooms, and polyps in it. The 25 is taller more than wide, with the eclipse hood running, and a CPR backpack hanging on the side, in tank heater, power compacts added into the hood, which is perfect for low light items but nothing past that. This time I would like to have a xenia species tank, and am looking for pointers! I have read Anthony's section on them in his book, and yours, and was just looking for more direction.  <the common Fast-pulse Xenia, Xenia elongata would be very active, hardy and forgiving. A good first choice. The non-pulsing Xeniid, Anthelia glaucum, would also be a fine choice. Very hardy, likes very low light and has very large heads with attractive large pinnules> I want the Xenia to be the focus, so was planning on Xenia only. There will either be no fish, or maybe two -- like a 6 line wrasse and another tiny, unobtrusive fish. Was planning on a sand bottom, although I have to say, the glass bottom is attractive to try . . . I am trying to decide if I would be better piling live rock in there like before, or putting plastic shelves in and then putting the live rock on that?  <the tank is small enough to not bother with shelves (keep good water flow easily)... rock on glass or sand will be fine> Also, I had heard on different internet sites that Xenia is susceptible to "crashes" . . . true?  <anecdotally with some, but I have only had this experience with Anthelia. My mother colony of Xenia went for over five years without any such hiccup for any reason. I think it is largely due to husbandry. Any fast growing organism has a fast increasing need for ever more nutrients, Thus, you have to be on top of your game with water changes, iodine, etc. (just like with Caulerpa)> I know that Xenia really likes the iodine, I dose my tank daily with 8 drops, which seems to be about right.  <excellent (daily dosing)> Seems like there is MUCH more that I need to know, so if you can think of anything, throw it at me! I tried looking at websites and there's really not as much out there as I would like . . . mostly to have to do with propagating. <Xenia is rather simple and hardy once established. Be prepared that all are finicky at first. May not pulse for days or even weeks on arrival> Here is the Xenia I already have, and how it was sold to me. All were tank raised. If you don't agree with the identifications, please let me know! LOL! #3 -- "regular" xenia -- pulses like mad, much stronger than the other two, almost in a twisting manner. Tends to like to "creep" along the rock. #4 -- "Red Sea" xenia -- pulses, but not as strongly as #3. Seems to be almost pink. <if Xenia umbellata, this is one of the most demanding for light if you are to succeed long term> #5 -- "green" xenia -- doesn't seem to pulse except for maybe extremely weakly. Might be my imagination. I can ALMOST convince myself that it is green when it is closed up, otherwise it looks brown. I would like white and pompom xenia, but being in Ohio the supply is limited unless you want to risk trying to ship it. <hmmm... it shouldn't be too hard to find good stock in Ohio. I've traveled most states through aquarium clubs, stores and conferences and Ohio by comparison is not too shabby. Cincinnati is not too shabby (stores, even a trip to the Louisville club), Cleveland is excellent (stores and clubs)... hmmm... Columbus is rather modest. If you can't find anything through local cities and are willing to drive to a Western PA PMASI meeting, I'm sure we could get some frags for you (PMASI is just over the border exit 6 PA turnpike)> Hope this wasn't too long, and that you're having a wonderful hump day! As always, thanks for your help and guidance. Cari <best regards, Anthony>
Xenia tank and soft coral identification <Cari, thanks for the pics... they were out of order with the last message so I have ID them in the sequence you'll see at the bottom here with the auto reply: pic 1: indeed a "green" xenia, AKA Blue or Siler-tip xenia as well. Needs heavy VHO blue actinic light to express good color. Magnificent when it does get it. Very blue/green then. pic 2: whole tank shot pic 3: looks like two branching corals of the same or similar kind. Quite frankly, one or both are Capnella, the "Green Kenyan Tree" coral pic 4: the white stalked xenia is actually one of the Red Sea or Fiji pom-pom varieties (you have it already!). It just doesn't look short and pom-pom like because it has adapted and elongated under weak captive lighting. pic 5: is also a white fast-pulse/pop-pom species. I suspect from its morphology that this colony is placed higher up in the tank than the one in pic 4. Else, it is getting stronger current. best regards, Anthony>

Re: Red crab is eating my xenia. Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> I recently set up a 70 gal reef take to replace my existing 30 gal. I purchased about 50 lbs. of Fiji live rock from a local retailer which of course came with many pleasant surprises.  <yes...many such joys with fresh live rock> The tank has been running for about 5 months now. About 2 months ago I placed some green star polyps that are doing fantastic. Based on the success of the star polyps I figured I could start transplanting the rest of my corals into the new tank. I started with a small xenia and a Sarcophyton. This morning when I looked the xenia was gone and the Sarcophyton had a bite taken out of it. I looked with a flash light in the holes in the live rock and saw a red crab munching on the xenia.  <Arghhh> The crab is roughly the size and shape of an emerald crab but it' s bright red. Any idea what kind of crab this is and is it a notorious problem in reef systems.  <actually, most crabs including emerald crabs can be predatory in reefs. Most all are opportunistic predators. So... if hungry enough <G>> Other suspects are a 6 line and a peppermint shrimp. Any advice is appreciated. <the crab is by far the likely candidate. Do remove and resist even most "safe" crabs if you want great diversity of microorganisms in live rock and sand> Thanks John Allen
<best regards, Anthony>

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