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FAQs about Pulsing Corals, the Xeniids 3

Related Articles: Pulsing Soft Corals, Family Xeniidae

Related FAQs: Xeniids 1, Xeniids 2, 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 as pH indicator? 7/9/03 Is it acceptable to use pulsing xenia as a ph indicator?   <not at all... and not desirable even if it were so. Proper reagent kits and/or meters are so inexpensive relative to the total $ investment in a tank... why would one want to?> I think I remember Anthony (I think) saying it stops pulsing once ph dips below 8.3.   <correct> So could one say, as long as he's pulsing, ph is cool?   <alas... there are many factors that affect pulsatory function in Xeniids> Also, a question regarding running a sump or refugium on a reverse photoperiod or even 24/7.  One benefit is to keep ph more stable right?   <yes... fairly so> But, do you think that interrupts the natural cycle of things in the main display? <by pH stability? Hmmm... if that's what you mean, then no... the ocean is quite stable by and large. At least the creatures we keep are from such waters (in contrast to inter-tidal species). Anthony>

Xenia Losing Their "Mojo"! About three weeks ago I acquired a beautiful rock full of Pom Pom Xenia. The picture I have attached is after the first couple of days. It was grown out with 400 watt MH so the guy told me to put it at the very top of the tank. Well it has not spread at all. One stalk has even turned dark purple and does not really pulse or open up all of the way. (I think it was stung by Aiptasia, not sure though). The other stalks are opening up fully but they do not stand straight up like the picture anymore. Some have sort of bent and twisted a little. Is there something I am missing. here is my set up: 46 bow Coralife 2-96 watt pc- 1 actinic; 1- 10k 55 lbs LR 40 lbs LS BakPak skimmer amm 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0 pH 8.2 (drip Kalk at night to keep it the same.) 10 DKH CA. 420 1 drop of Lugol's every day. My Xenia sits about 5 inches off of the surface.  Recent changes to the tank: yesterday I added another power head to bring total flow to about 950 gph. was 650gph.  What can I do to make it happy and spread? All other corals are doing great. Thanks, Jason Auringera <Well, Jason...lots of possibilities. Xenia don't always appreciate heavy current. I find that they tend to like indirect current. There is also the possibility of allelopathy (chemical "warfare") between some of the other corals and the Xenia. I like to keep a good distance between Xenia and other corals (for a lot of reasons!). Some people feel that iodine is important to Xenia health, others insist pH is the big factor...I like to think that it's a combination of factors...perhaps some of the things mentioned above, as well as some other micronutrients and trace elements.  Many of these  are probably replaced through frequent small water changes... As you may already be aware if you spend time on this site, I favor frequent, small water changes to help perform this function, provide a stable pH, and dilute potential allelopathic compounds...My suggestion: Keep doing what you're doing, assess whether or not the Xenia colony is located "down stream" from a more aggressive coral, and move the colony if required. Consider a more aggressive water change regimen as well...Give it time...Good luck! Regards, Scott F> 

Anemone identity please 6/22/03 Anemonia cf. majano? Hello. First I want to thank everyone for the website, it's information, and the crew for their excellent knowledge. <Thanks kindly... our pleasure to do so> I have done my share of research in the books, websites, and FAQs, but I still don't know what this creature is. Can you please help me identify it and give me some instructions on what to do with it? It appeared today (four days after purchase), on a small branch with Xenia (reason for purchase). It looks somewhat different now (pictures) then when I first discovered it. It was open all the way at first, longish tentacles with small bulbs at the end. The color is brownish/pinkish. When open, you can see the oral disc and mouth (the mouth is of white color). It is a bit closed in the pictures. I have a large bubble tip anemone in the tank (purposely purchased).  Could you please identify this creature for me, and tell me if it will damage my Xenia as it grows, and should I evict it from my tank, and how? I try to remove it, but it is quite stuck to the branch, and because of its near location to the Xenia, I'm afraid that I might damage the Xenia in my attempt to remove the creature.  I would approximate the creatures size at about .5" in diameter, fully open. Thank you in advance for your time and help.  Min Windhorst <Do look at a range of pictures of the species Anemonia majano and see if you don't they might be one in the same. Some variability of color, but a common nuisance with corals like this Xenia imported from Indonesia. Best regards, Anthony>

Pulsatory function in Xeniids- low pH 6/11/03 Hi Anthony - Upon further checking it does appear that my PH is falling too low at night.  Looks to be around 8.0 and 8.1 in the morning before lights come on.   <yikes... yes, too low for some finicky corals like Xenia sp> I'm using Seachem Marine Buffer (supposed to maintain ph at 8.3) in conjunction with baking soda. <actually... these products do not have the ability alone to raise you any higher than 8.3. Do supplement with Kalkwasser at night> I've also been keeping the sump lit (15w fluorescent light) on an alternate lighting schedule thinking that this would level out the day/night swings in ph.   <some help yes> What else can I do to keep the ph at or above 8.3 and stable? <definitely Kalkwasser dosing after the lights go off... tried and true! Archive my "Kalkwasser slurry" method here on WWM in the archives or peep it in my Book of Coral Propagation if you have access to a copy> thanks again, Bryan <best regards, Anthony>

Declining Xenia 6/7/03 Hello, <cheers> A few weeks ago I purchased two small colonies of pulsing xenia (not sure what specific kind).  They were placed in different areas of the tank in a med. to high current and both were doing fine for several weeks.  Probably five days ago they began to shrink in size.  The pom-poms are still opening during daylight hours but the stalk and each individual arm keeps shrinking. I have a 55 gallon reef tank which includes: 1 Chromis (due to a bout with ick, tank had been fallow for a month. This          fish just added a week ago) 1 star polyp (doing fine) 1 metallic green brain (added at same time as xenia, it's doing fine) 1 brittle star 1 banded shrimp 50lbs live rock 15 gallon sump w/refugium Prizm protein skimmer removing dark liquid daily ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 0 (or very close to it) dKH 10 ph 8.3 260w compact fluorescent lighting temp 79 salinity 1.25 -1.26 (not as stable as it should be due to daily changes in humidity and evaporation) 5% water changes weekly <nothing stands out as a problem with water chemistry... unless that pH is a day time reading in which case your pH may actually be dropping to well below 8.3 at night (bad for Xenia)> Concerned that iodine might be the problem I began using Kent's Tech-I (used as directed) a couple of days ago but there has been no sign of improvement. <lack of iodine can be a problem, but only here if the iodine is old (over 2 months)> It has been suggested to me by LFS that my tank may be too clean. <I guarantee you that is not the case... in any aquarium!> Not enough nutrients for the xenia to absorb and that I should add more fish. Something obviously needs correcting but I'm not sure what it may be. I really don't want to lose them! <lack of quarantine or acclimation to light is more likely a factor. Aggression from a neighboring coral even more so (Starpolyps or other coral within 10"? Shedding chemicals/allelopathy)> Thanks so much for your help, Bryan <best regards, Anthony>

The benefits of Sarcophyton and pulsating Xenia Hey guys( and gal(s)), My question is for Mr. Calfo.  Mr. Calfo, according to your book it has been observed that pulsating Xenia do better when housed with a Sarcophyton.  Do you have any more information on this phenomenon?   <all anecdotal... not any/much scientific research on this or any aspect of commercial coral culture> Is one type of Sarcophyton better for this purpose than another? <not sure... my experience with Xenia and "leathers" has been favorable with many Alcyoniids though> On an unrelated note, does anyone know if mangroves are legal to buy in California?   <I do not believe you are restricted but cannot confirm. I have seen many mangroves in aquarists tanks in Cali though... do pose this question to some of the societies (hopefully you will join some of these clubs <G>). Try SDMAS, MASLAC, Seabay, etc> I emailed the department of agriculture as well as fish and game and have not received a response. Thank you for your trouble, -Cory <best regards, Anthony>

Why Don't The Xenia Pulse? Hey guys- <Hi! Scott F. with you!> About a month ago I purchased some pulsing xenia. When I first introduced it was pulsing rapidly (as it was in the store). I placed it high in the tank under 3 x 96 watt lights. Since then it has grown insanely quickly, spreading out and growing tall, but it has seemed to stop pulsing. Any idea? Thanks, Justin <Well, Justin- this is one of those great questions that leads to late night discussions (and arguments) at MACNA conferences...Lots of speculation about this. The two theories that I like the most are the iodine level in the water...Some people believe that pulsing diminishes as iodine levels decline. Some add iodine (remember- if you're gonna add something, test for it!), others, like me- advocate water changes on a regular basis to "replenish" trace elements. Other hobbyists implicate depressed pH levels as an impediment to the pulsing...Run some water tests, do a little experimentation- see what happens, and join me in an argument, er- discussion at MACNA in September...Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Non-pulsatory Pulse coral 3/22/03 Hi I have a pulse coral or an Anthelia glauca and I wondered why its polyp aren't actually pulsing anymore. I have had it for a few weeks now and it was pulsing in the dealer's tank when I bought it.  Any helpful information would be much appreciated.     Laurence <among Xeniid pulse corals, one of the most common reasons for non-pulsing behaviors seems to be related to low pH and low Alkalinity. Do check and be sure that you keep your pH above 8.3 for these corals (and check too that night/AM readings don't dip too). Alk should be 8-12dKH. Regarding the ID, there has been some mistake... Anthelia glauca (glaucum) does not pulse naturally to any significant degree. If yours was pulsing, it is Xenia or Heteroxenia most certainly. Best regards, Anthony>

Help! Dying Xenia and out of control, overly helpful roommates Ok.. so hopefully you guys might be able to help me with my situation.. yesterday (3-17-2003) I came home from school and my roommate had cleaned my 100 gallon reef tank.  By cleaning, I mean he scrubbed the algae off the walls of the tank and used a turkey baster to blast loose particles off of the rocks and so on.  He then proceeded to drop 1/4-1/2 cup (I think closer to 1/4 cup) of Amquel (that stuff that supposedly brings down ammonia).   <Okay, first, tell your roommate that YOU are the primary caregiver and to NEVER add anything to your tank or blow stuff around without guidance. Scraping algae is fine if they understand not touching or knocking stuff around. Certainly no additives like Amquel!> By the time I got home all the corals in the tank were closed, the pulse corals were closed but their stalks were still water filled, so they looked like cream puffs with little balls (the polyps) resting on them.  The bubbles were closed, the colts and even the leathers torch coral were closed, as far as the galaxy, the torch and the frogspawn they were fully extended, but it looked as if the there was no water in the tentacles.. they were just flaccid and shifted with the water current. <May have been disruption, being blown around. VERY bad for those with hard skeletons and soft tissue like frogspawns, etc. Care must be taken here.> Ok, now that the stage is set, it's day 2 (3-18-2003) and everything in the tank has opened up fine.. it's as if nothing happened yesterday.. although for some reason my colt coral (Sinularia sp.) which is on the same side of the tank as the pulse corals has only been 2/3's open all day. So here's the kicker.. the xenia's look even worse now. I took a turkey baster and lightly blew them about a little in order to clean debris off of them.. I'm actually beginning to think that the debris may actually been pieces of the coral that fell off (is it possible for corals to be lepers?) <It is certainly possible to traumatize them with the turkey baster to the point of them reacting negatively. Also to react to chemicals needlessly added.> I mean it looks really bad.. even their stems have deflated.. ok.. so I have 2 colonies and they're both within 2-3 inches of each other and until yesterday (and for the past 3 months, that's when I acquired them) they opened, they pulsed, really fast too, and they were happy. Another thing I must point out. When I was blowing them with the turkey baster one of the colonies exuded this brown stuff (didn't look like jelly as it dissipated almost immediately in the water current) and strangely enough even the though the polyps look really fried at the moment I can still see some of their arms faintly attempting to pulse. <This could be expulsion of wastes or zooxanthellae. I would fall back on the old stand-by, several largish water changes over several days to dilute/reduce Amquel and reduce ammonia. I would keep a very close eye on the ammonia/nitrites as the Amquel *may* have interrupted your nitrogen cycle. More likely a product of stirring up the substrate, rock, detritus, etc. which releases wastes, lowers ORP, causes reactions/stress.> Now for the aquarium.. I keep my pH at 8.3-8.5 (daytime, nighttime respectively) my calcium is 390, ammonia 1 (was 0 yesterday) nitrites and nitrates both 0, and I think that's it.. SG is 1.023 or somewhere about there. <You should know exactly where your SG is. Reduce ammonia with water changes as above.> The pulse corals are almost directly under (6" below) my 175w 10k MH and also a 110w super actinic VHO.  I have a QT tank, but it just so happens I received a shipment of corals today and I'm afraid to move the pulse corals to that tank as the corals in it are already stressed and I'm assuming more susceptible to any diseases or what not. Really appreciate any help. Oh yeah.. and I just received a rose BTA that's a little bigger than a half-dollar. How fast do they grow on average? Jonathan <These need feeding, good light and NO Amquel! They grow relatively fast with excellent water, light, and regular feeding. I recommend reading about anemone care at WetWebMedia.com. BEWARE of powerheads.  Good luck, and quarantine the roommate!  Craig>

Coral Calamity (RECAP day 3 (HELP!! DYING xenia corals) Ok.. so my pulse corals (both colonies) literally deteriorated.. and I'm assuming that the decay from the dead corals probably caused a spike ammonia.. <Very possible, when you are dealing with a lot of decomposing matter in a tank> Strange thing,.. all the leathers in my tank are expanded, but their polyps aren't extended at all and that one colt coral just doesn't wanna open at all.. another thing about the colt (Sinularia sp.) is that it had black spots (2 or 3 of them) that almost looked like slime algae.. .. I used a turkey baster to try and spray off the spots and it didn't work so I had to use my fingers by gently rubbing the covered branches. <I wonder if this was something other than algae...Hard to say from here. May have been some decomposing mucous or other material that "stuck" to the coral> Underneath the stalk appeared emaciated and colorless.. we also proceeded in doing a 25 gallon water change in which we did 5 gallon water changes every 20 minutes in order to let the water mix as to not change the parameters of the tank too much.   <Good idea...Sometimes, environmental lapses can cause a temporary lapse of turgor (i.e.; they become "deflated"). Usually, all that is needed to "perk them up" again is a water change> On a lighter side.. my rose BTA is expanded really nicely :) <well, ya gotta feel good about that, huh?> Another question I have is that with Euphylliids and bubbles.. can they be housed with members of the same family?  I have an Octo bubble and a white bubble that are relatively close together, but they have never touched (but if either decided to grow then we might have a problem.. and as for the Euphyllias.. I have a torch, elegance, frogspawn, and hammer.. can any of these corals be housed next to each other?  Or will they sting and kill each other.. and if not then can 2 hammers or 2 frogspawns etc. be housed next to each other? <Well, in all of the examples that you give, these corals are quite capable of stinging each other. Euphyllias pack a real wallop, and can send out really L-O-N-G sweepers...I'd make sure that you keep them quite far (like 10 inches or more) apart in an aquarium...They really do "defend" their territories, so keep this in mind when placing them.> Thanks again, Jonathan <Good luck with your coral community, Jonathan! Regards, Scott F>

Xenia Crash! Hi Bob and gang, <cheers> After almost a year of successful "xenia farming" (and selling to my LFS), my Xenia all suddenly shriveled up.  The bases look sort of melted on the rocks.  I am suspecting a pH swing as the culprit, <very likely... they are extremely sensitive even as high as 8.3 You should try to never dip below 8.3 when farming Xeniids IMO> along with perhaps a very frigid night here where my heater couldn't keep up and let the tank down to about 75!   <hmmm.. a sharp drop is stressful, but 75 F specifically is not> Everything else in this 55 gal reef tank appears to be ok. But the big question is, how in the world do I remove all of this dead xenia from the rocks now since they appear to be "melted" onto them?   <it decays so quick that anything firm is still living and quite possibly will recover. Gently siphon off loose matter, dose small daily amo9unts of iodine, keep good water flow and water quality> They are on nearly all of my live rock!   Will leaving them there harm anything?   <if they are rotting it could become infectious to other healthy coral> Will they just decay?  Heellllppp!!! Much thanks, and keep up the great work! Laura <best regards, Anthony>

Dear WWMCrew, Thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail.  I have a few topics I need help with. SNAIL ACCLIMATION Currently when I purchase snails I add a cup of system water to the shipping bag every 10 minutes until salinity/ph/temp are the same.  I've read articles that say you should take them out of the shipping water for 10 minutes so they can expel excess water.  What do you recommend for acclimate snails? <Float the bag in the tank so the water temp will be the same (45 minutes or so). Then start adding water to the bag like you are doing. I wouldn't take them out into the air at all except during the transition to their permanent home> Also, I've been purchasing turbo snails.  I've read that these animals come from cooler water and should not be placed in warm water (75 to 78 degrees).  Is this true?  What species is most suitable for this temperature? <I am not aware of this problem. You can buy these guys just about anywhere and they are widely used> CHEMICAL FILTRATION I've only been using poly-filters up to this point. <Polys are expensive but work really well> I would like to add Chemi-Pure for additional filtration.  I've read about several ways to do this: 1) Power Filter Is there a recommended brand/model of power filter?  (My main concern is having enough room for the Chemi-Pure). <Or canister filter. No specific model or brand> 2) Canister filter My understanding of Chemi-Pure is that it is packaged in round bags.  Can this package fit properly into Eheim, Magnum and Fluval canister filters?   <Oops...I jumped the gun didn't I! To my knowledge yes. A Fluval should be fine for your situation> 3) Chemical tray in sump My wet/dry filter doesn't have a chemical tray.  I am in the process of removing the bio-balls and will have an empty compartment.  Could this be rigged for a chemical tray?  Do you have any suggestions for building my own chemical tray? <You could do this but what's the use? All you would need is some egg crate and a few pieces of pvc for support. The trickle sound of the water would probably be pretty loud> 4) Carbon reactor/chamber If the carbon chamber is the best approach, can you give me a few tips on how to make one?  I know it involves a pump and PVC placed vertically in the sump.  Does the pump fill the chamber from the top or the bottom? <I have no experience with this item therefore I prefer not to comment> XENIA I placed my Xenia is high in my tank in moderate current.  I've read that they won't pulse in this type of current.  Should it be placed in low current?  Is pulsing a sign of healthy specimen?  Also, in it's current position it will be exposed to air during water changes.  Should I move it to a lower spot or change less of the water? <Pulsing is a behavior that researchers don't understand very well. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Xenia like iodine supplements and a high pH (over 8.3) and <gasp> high nutrient levels! Pulsing has nothing to do with the health of a specimen. We don't really know why they pulse and we don't really know why they stop. If it's happy where it's at leave it. It can move on its on if it decides to> MECHANICAL FILTRATION Is the pre-filter on the overflow enough mechanical filtration or should I purchase a power or canister filter? <Prefilter is a type of mechanical. If you put carbon in the canisters or power filter it becomes chemical. Do you have live rock and a good skimmer? Yes? Then you definitely won't need these other filters unless you want to put carbon in one> PROTEIN SKIMMER I placed my AquaC Remora in my sump.  My thought was that it would be better hanging off the sump than hanging on the tank.  This way it is fed water skimmed from the surface.  Is this a good place for it or would it be more effective on the display tank? <Sounds perfect. Make it first in the sump. The water should not travel through any kind of filter before reaching the skimmer> Looking forward to your response, Jeremy G <Thanks for the well though out questions! David Dowless>

Xenia elongata Help Please!!! Ok I have a 180 reef tank. All kinds of corals, frog spawn, bubbles (brown and white), Fox, clams, etc. Everything is doing GREAT .The problem is I can't keep Xenia. It got real small and died. Tried some more and same thing.  Water is in GREAT shape. Cal.450  KH 10, PH 8.2 every thing is good. Give the tank Iodine, DTs. It's on an ecosystem with 40watt.Uv, 440 VHO lights white and blue. (it's up top high) ANY IDEAS on why I can't keep this stuff ???? Thanks so much for your time, Chip <the strong presence of LPS corals is quite aggressive. Placement of the Xenia within 10 inches of many LPS species is a kiss of death for some Xenia (not all... some are quite durable). If the tank also is not skimmed aggressively to dilute the chemical toxins, or is water changes are modest (less than weekly)... then we may have your problem. Try keeping them in a refugium inline instead. A nice feature for the tank. best regards, Anthony>

Xenia Lost Their Zip! Hi Guys <Scott F. your guy tonight> I have Pulse Xenia and white star and some metallic green xenia all other corals bubbles, leathers and other polyps are quite happy. But the Xenia never seem to grow and the pulse stays contracted but still pulse? The green xenia looks like it may be dying off. Water quality is fine ,will additional strontium help? <I have not heard of strontium supplementation being beneficial to this species...> or am I missing something else? Thanks, Tim <Well, Tim- there are all sorts of theories as to what makes Xenia pulse. Some hobbyists swear that iodine supplementation is the key, others feel that light and current play a bigger role in this "behaviour". A valid theory is that Xenia tend to pulse at steady, higher pH. Xenia are thought to be autotrophic, meaning that they don't generally require supplemental feeding. What you need to do is to review your tank's parameters once again, checking that pH. Perhaps you are positioning your Xenia near other, more aggressive corals, and they are becoming victims of "allelopathy" (chemical "warfare")? You certainly could experiment with iodine- but do test for anything that you should add. Do pick up a copy of Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" for a thorough review of the care and propagation of Xeniids. Do a little research- you should be successful! Regards, Scott F.>

Xenia needs Guys I have a quick one ...what are the lighting requirements for pulsing xenia...will NO fluorescents be fine?? <depends on the species. If we are talking about common brown fast pulse... yes, with proper acclimation. If you have a white or pom pom species... very unlikely (requires bright light)> I have had them under MH for some time ,but they are growing like crazy and I would like to share with a friend with NO 50/50 only. <keep them within 6-10" of the surface and they will be fine> Thanks in advance. Joe <best regards, Anthony>

Pulsing Xenia <Cheers from America> I have just bought my first pulsing Xenia. <a very beautiful coral> It resides in a tank that is 18 months old. I have various species of coral, including Sarcophyton, bubble coral, trumpet coral, Euphyllia, mushrooms and Green star polyps. <an  interesting and aggressive (chemically noxious) group. The Starpolyps and mushrooms believe it or not are some of the most aggressive corals to be found... despite their lack of sweeper tentacles. Instead they shed considerable inhibiting elements in the water. As will all coral though, temper this with good water quality, weekly water changes, daily use of carbon and good protein skimming of course> I have placed the Xenia (knowing how delicate it can be) away from my bubble coral and my creeping finger coral, and my Euphyllia for obvious reasons. <agreed. Their aggression is quite plainly obvious with sweeper tentacles> My water parameters are the following PH 8.4/8.5 (daytime & evening, not dark) Dkh 8.4 Calcium 410 Magnesium 1300 Phosphate 0 Nitrate 20 ppm <all quite fine> Lighting is with 3 60" marine whites (HO bulbs) and 1 60" actinic 03. <if the tank is less than 60 cm deep, the lighting is fine> Water changes of around 12% are done weekly. I use carbon, Rowaphos and poly filters regularly. I dose with aqua-medic strontium and iodine weekly also. <outstanding!> Reading your FAQ's I see depressed PH can be a problem at night for Xenia, they do close up at night (natural I assume) but still pulse closed up if you see what I mean. <understood and agreed> My tank always floats between 8.4 and 8.5 PH, I hope this is sufficient for xenia. <quite excellent> My question is this. Will the Xenia suffer being placed next to my trumpet coral, <yes...likely, but it may fare as well or better next to the leather as it is. Xenia has one of those uncommon relationships whereby they seem to have a commensal relationship (one benefits (Xenia) from the products and proximity of the other, while the other (Sarcophyton) may not benefit or be harmed)> and also in such close proximity to a trimmed Sarcophyton coral as in the picture. All the stalks pulse and are being buffeted gently via a powerhead within the live rock and my main system pump. However as you will notice in the picture one stalk set just lollops down on the side of the rock and fails to pulse in the evening (when lights are going off). <lack of current and light here too. May be that simple> It still pulses in the day when all the lights are on, am I to be concerned by this? <not at all> the Xenia is my first advanced soft coral as such, so any advice would be appreciated.  Best regards Jim Griffin <no worries, my friend.. all sounds quite fine. You seem well read too. I have great faith your tank is beautiful and will continue to be. Keep learning, sharing and growing :) Anthony Calfo>

Re: pH, Xenia, Lighting, Reefing Hi again <cheers> So they don't really rely on blue light for photosynthesis and use other colors of the daylight spectra as well? <most popular corals get too much actinic in captivity and all MH lamps over 10K have been shown to contain excess blue regarding PAR activity in corals. Blue is necessary... just not to excess> If I use only daylight lamps (6500K) the corals can still survive even if the water is pretty yellow though. <the yellow color is only a problem for some aquarists that have a blue aesthetic preference. Corals live naturally in shallow daylight flooded water with the exception of some deeper species.> So blue lamps are for aesthetic only. <not only... as above> I was thinking of putting as many blue lamps on my tank but now a change of mind. <you can enjoy  a lot of blue light on a tank as long as you have enough daylight too to keep corals alive. 20K Radium halides would suit you well... no actinics needed either. Very blue white light> And also can deep water corals survive in Daylight lamps only? <yes... if we are talking about 7500-10K daylights> My pH is still low though. I have read in WWM FAQ's pages about aerating the tank water to increase the pH. If I aerate my main tank during the night would the pH increase? <likely yes... but aerate at all times... not just at night> My pulsing xenia is still the same. What I did was I sprayed it with fish meat. I took some tank water in a cup and mashed the fish meat in the cup. Then I filtered all the chunks and feed it to my corals and fishes. The remaining liquid in the cup is what I sprayed onto the xenia. Is that ok? <yes... all seems reasonable> Iodine source? <a little> I'm thinking of using Kalkwasser for my maintain my calcium and to increase pH. <that is highly recommended!> And baking soda for alkalinity. Is that combination ok? <yes... and you may not need much baking soda if you have enough aragonite sand in the tank and use Kalkwasser faithfully. Let your test kits guide you to dose> Or leave the baking soda and look for other buffers on my LFS? <no need... some of these buffers have too much borate in them> For now I still don't have the Kalkwasser, what could be other ways of increasing the pH of my tank to save my pulsing xenia. <do try the aeration and baking soda> Thank you very much again. Mr. Anthony and sorry for giving you a lot of questions. <no worries at all my friend. It is our pleasure to help>

Xenia in sump Hello whoever, <right back 'atcha unknown question asker> I've got a question about putting xenia in my ecosystem sump. <OK> Would it hurt the xenia to have the 24/7 lighting? <yep> I'm probably going to give the rock full of xenia away within the next week so it wouldn't be in there for an extended period of time. <alas... unlike the rarity Caulerpa, Xenia and most photosynthetic creatures cannot remain in stasis under 24/7 illumination. They will suffer and must be allowed to conduct respiration. It is truly your goal to export this creature alive from your tank, you must allow a day night period for the coral to prevent a potentially fatal luminary shock in time. Besides... the 24/7 lighting method is marginally beneficial at most. It has been dispelled as a preventative for vegetative events in Caulerpa. Caulerpa is prevented from going sexual by regular pruning within the known 3-6 month life cycles of more than 40 recognized species> I just don't want the xenia to spread anymore in my tank! Would this work? <My advice is to run a regular photoperiod for the next week for the Xenia and then return to 24/7 lighting if you like after its gone. Best regards>

Reducing Xenia I have some pulsing xenia that are like weeds.....(please stop growing so fast) now there is way too many. How do I remove some---most----since they're attached to the rock?? p.s. the rocks are very large and difficult to remove Thanks again <the most effective method is to "skin" them from the rocks. A rock that can be removed will have a sharpened chisel taken to it. Placed at the base of the coral (not touching the tissue) you make a strike at angle which takes the coral off with only a sliver of carbonate base with it. For rocks submerged in the tank and too difficult to extract, you can use poultry scissors (the ones used in the kitchen for cutting through chicken bone, etc). They are stainless steel and can work nicely just the same. With these scissors, snip hard at the carbonate base just in front of the coral and take the specimen off the rock without cutting the tissue. All of these efforts to avoid cutting tissue are to prevent the propagation of it. If you scraped the coral or left any behind, it will simply regrow... even from a small amount of tissue. Please don't waste this coral either... find a local pet store, aquarist or aquarium society that can take and use this precious resource... a living creature not to be discarded for its success in your aquarium. Best regards, Anthony> Joe Grunstad

Pulse coral not pulsing ? Hi, I wonder if you could give me advice about my pulse coral. <Xenia?> I've just come from holiday and have noticed that my pulse coral have changed to a darker colour and doesn't pulse any more. <Probably related to some water quality issue; pH, Redox, or temperature are my best guesses.> Please could you advise what the problem is and what to do for it to get better. <Check your water. More than likely some aspect of your water quality has drifted out of whack while you were gone.> David worried! <No need to be worried. Merely identify the problem and correct. -Steven Pro>

Xenia Health Hello, I have had xenia flourishing in my tank for over six months and have shared many frags with others.  <very good to hear...especially the sharing part <G>> Three days ago, I noticed that several of the stalks have what appears to be some sort of injury...looks like some sort of wound with this crusty yellowish stuff. <Hmmm.... caution here. Can be rapidly infectious> The affected stalks appear to be dying and several more stalks look to be in peril each day. I have seen xenia crash or "melt down" in other tanks (as it seems to be famous for) but this is very different. I have tried to see if any of the tank mates are bothering the xenia but I don't see any. Everything else in the tank is as happy as ever. Any ideas? Thanks kindly, Jonathan Bush <yep... they are quite sensitive to water quality. A dip below 8.3 in pH or very low ALK (below 8 dKH) is often the culprit. Also lack of water changes and Iodine supplementation (colony reaches critical mass as nutrients are depleted with growth). And lastly... chemical burns from the accumulation of noxious allelopathic compounds in the water from aggressive corals (star polyps, mushrooms, colt coral, etc). Weekly carbon changes in stead of monthly, aggressive skimming, PolyFilters here for this. Best regards, Anthony> Jonathan Bush

2 questions... (Small reef system, Xenia) Hi there everyone, First off, I really enjoy the website and have gained much valuable insight from your responses.  <thanks kindly> Now to add my own query to the growing pile of information... I have a 25 gallon reef tank which has been up and running for about seven months now. I have a great colony of pulsing Xenia which has been rapidly spreading and dividing. Recently one of the stalks basically fell apart (shed polyps and disintegrated) over a matter of a few days. All the others look great and still appear to be growing/pulsing like mad. My setup and water quality is the following. 25 g tank with custom skimmer (some daily product) and 2x55w pc lights. 35lb live rock with 2 in bed of live sand. Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0-2 ppm pH 8.3 Alk 2.8 ml eq/l Temp 78 SG 1.027 <nothing stands out conspicuously here> I don't add anything to the tank other than RO water, and 1-2g water changes each week. Other than the Xenia, the other inhabitants of the tank are: 2 small Sarcophyton leather corals 2 Ricordea mushrooms 1 feather duster 5 Xmas tree worms 1 (spreading like mad) colony of Pachyclavularia polyps 1 True Percula Clown 4 Turbo Snails ~10 Blue Leg Hermits All the tank inhabitants have never looked better (even the rest of the Xenia). I was wondering if you had any ideas on why the one Xenia stalk would have crashed so suddenly (and why the others still look so good). <depressed pH is a common cause... is 8.3 your daytime reading? If so... test after extended darkness (first thing in the AM)... see if you are much below 8.3... quite stressful for some Xenia. Else... are there mushrooms or Starpolyps nearby? Xenia is quite passive and this colony may have succumbed to coral aggression> My second question concerns the Pachyclavularia polyps. On the corner of the rock on which they reside, there are several small holes (~1 mm diameter) from which periodically throughout the day a very small translucent tentacle whips out and nettles the stolon mat that is close to the holes.  <yep... barnacles if iridescent like fiberglass... else a worm of some sort... very cool either way.>  Since I've gotten this coral, the polyps near these holes never extend any more and even the stolon mat has receded a bit from this corner of the rock. Any idea what the heck is living in that rock that is nettling the coral? And further, how should I deal with it? The rest of the coral is doing great and spreading in other directions to other rocks. Thanks so much for your time, I look forward to reading your responses. Jeremy <best regards, Anthony>

Xenia Hi Anthony, how have you been? <Am sure he's mighty fine... out on a pet-fish junket presently, so Bob.F responding for him> Everything doing well in my tanks! The Xenia that I spoke to you about when I had my low PH problems (A/C induced) is doing excellent and has grown to almost twice it's original size since my July purchase (about 2 months).  <This family and cockroaches will certainly be here after the nuclear blast> I would like to propagate it by cutting off one of it's branches. I have attached a picture for you for identification. I this specimen still too small to start fragging?  <Not IMO> Your book details well how to go about it, and I have done this many time with Colt corals and Kenya tree's, I'm just a little worried...maybe just Xenia paranoid. Thanks Larry <Would that make you a Xeni-phobic? (Ouch!). No worries, cut away. Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia Hi Bob nice to hear from you! My last 10 or so inquiries have been responded to by Anthony, I keep forgetting you have many people on your team! Thanks and BTW, I really enjoyed your book as well! Larry <Ahh, glad to read altogether. We shuffle off Pulsing Coral (et. al) queries to Antoine as he used to farm them... Bob Fenner>

Xenia - Help! Anthony, or equivalent Marine Jedi... (Previous correspondence attached) <I do remember the other email.> My Xenia appear to be melting, the condition has been getting worse over the last few days, one has collapsed to a shriveled mass and the other has just compacted further. I am concerned that they are on their way to the big sea in the sky. <I agree.> What should I do? <There is nothing much you can do now. I was frankly surprised you were able to keep Xenia (or any other photosynthetic animal) alive under your previous conditions (180 gallon tank with 80 watts of NO lighting). And I am a fan of NO lighting. I use it myself, but I use 160 watts on a 55 and I am hampered/restricted to what I can keep. You have now abruptly upgraded to 320 watts of VHO and fried your animals. Nothing left to do now, but cross your fingers.> Regards, Mike <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Xenia Farm Awhile ago I wanted to have some Xenia in my tank, now I think that was a big mistake. That stuff will not stop spreading. Is there anything I can do about this? Even if I remove it from the rock it just helps it seems. I would be open to just about anything. Thanks, Robert Jones <run a simple 20 or 30 gallon QT tank with a predatory angel (Pomacanthus) or hardy butterfly and train the fish to eat xenia while in quarantine for 4 weeks. If it passes with flying colors you may add it to the reef with caution. Some risk involved here though. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Xenia Robert, <Your previous reply was from Anthony. Steven in this morning with the follow up. Anthony is giving several presentation this weekend at That Fish Place in Lancaster, PA.> I have a copper banded butterfly in the tank now. I didn't put him in there for that reason, but do you think there would be any way that I could get him to eat it. <Possibly> What particular Angel or Butterfly would you recommend. <No hard and fast rules here. Your Copper Banded Butterfly is a good candidate.> Also I may not be able to add him in with my current livestock. I have a yellow tang, sail fin tang, copper banded butterfly, and Pseudochromis. <An Angelfish would be better than another Butterflyfish.> Is there any way that I can take the live rock out with the Xenia and move it to another tank that would kill the xenia and not the live rock, and I could put it back into my main tank? <IN the dark would kill the Xenia, but leave most other nonphotosynthetic creatures alive.> Thanks for any help, Robert Jones <My pleasure. -Steven Pro>

Re: Xenia As a guess, how long would it take of no light to kill off the xenia? <A week, maybe more> The live rock should be ok? <Anything else photosynthetic will perish, too.> Thanks, Robert Jones <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Xenia Greetings WWM Crew! <howdy partner> Hoping you can offer some direction here: <Go west, young man... go West> I have recently upgraded my lighting (180 gallon) from two 40 watt NO bulbs to 2 160 watt VHO bulbs (1 blue/1 white)  <good to see the change but still a moderate intensity at best> and have noticed that my Xenia (light purple in color with pulsing polyps) have drastically compacted, normally about 4 inches tall down to 1 inch and just recently half of the "arms" seem to have lost their "pulsing polyps", it appears to have been cut off leaving a white stub. I am assuming that they have been shocked by the new light - they sit 10 inches from the top of the water.  <agreed> I have one colt, one umbrella and one finger leather that appear to have been unaffected by the upgrade - it would be very difficult to move them to a lower position because they are attached to a large rock...  <not necessary> Will they adjust to the new light and "re-grow" or am I on the wrong track?  <nope...right track... just a little harsh in getting there. The corals will adapt> I did not think it would be possible since some would still say that my lighting is underpowered for the tank! <I would agree... your lighting is a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10 to me, and I'm not even a strong proponent of high wattage halides (250/400). Still... your lights only need to serve the needs of the corals kept. As long as you stay with low light corals you'll be OK. Low light or not... you made the jump too fast without proper acclimation. See the "screen trick" at the bottom of this article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acclimcoralslight.htm>

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