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FAQs about Xeniid Identification

Related Articles: Pulsing Soft Corals, Family Xeniidae,

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Identification, Xeniids 1, Xeniids 2, Xeniids 3, Xeniids 4, Xeniid Behavior, Xeniid Selection, Xeniid Compatibility, Xeniid Systems, Xeniid Feeding, Xeniid Disease, Xeniid Reproduction, Soft Coral Propagation, Soft Coral Health, Alcyoniids, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids,

Can you make out the commensal Alpheid amongst the Xeniid tentacles?

Sarcothelia edmondsoni - 5/9/2012
wwm: Steven
I recently bought myself a piece of Sarcothelia edmondsoni (Atleast I think Sarcothelia edmondsoni?) and was wondering about its behavior and tank compatibility?
wwm: Ahh! Have seen this Hawaiian endemic (one of two native soft corals) many times and places in Hawaii, but have never kept in captivity
Tank is a 6G, water params good, small amount Nitrate/Phosphate and I do weekly 5L water changes.
wwm: Mmm, well; much not going for you w/ such a small volume... Hard to keep such optimized and stable
Stock: 2 Ocellaris,
wwm: Need more room...
2 Dwarf Yellow Tip Hermits, 2 Cerith Snails, 1 Hitchhiker Pistol Shrimp, 1 Hitchhiker Crab, 2 squamosa
wwm: ?!
Some mushrooms, zoanthids, 2 hammer frags, 1 fungia, 1 BTA
wwm: Can't be kept here long or well
(The irritated coral), some Xenia and the Sarcothelia edmondsoni. Is my ID correct? See below picture/attached.
wwm: Unfortunately am in hospital and unable to download pix/graphics. Do see here: http://www.marinelifephotography.com/marine/cnidaria/sarcothelia-edmondsoni. htm This species is rather distinctive
And also, what are the 'threads' that the coral releases?
wwm: A few possibilities...mesenterial filaments... sweeper tentacles... generally not good if touching other species
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find much/any info on these guys and their tendencies. I've heard that octocorals can wage quite serious chemical warfare, and was wondering if these threads were feeding apparatus, chemical releasing 'sweepers' or both?
wwm: To reiterate, you really need a much larger system... 50 gallons plus; to house all you have listed here; and even then, there may well be allelopathogenic issues w/ the addn. of new Cnidarians
I havent had much experience with softies as all my previous tanks have been hardcoral/sps dominated and from my experience atleast, its pretty easy to see the sweeper tentacles off my LPS :P I've noticed that anything downwind of the threads doesn't look too happy even though the threads are quite a distance away? And is there anything I can do to reduce the thread deployment (ie feeding?)
wwm: Mmm, not much in this tiny tank.
Or am I just being paranoid?
wwm: Not paranoid... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner
Pic of the threads(attached).
wwm: Hopefully Darrel will find, be able to match up and post
{I wouldn't hold my breath on that -- DB} lol

Xeniid ID 6/17/11
Good morning, Crew.
<Howdy Dan>
Just found this beauty, and am pretty sure it's a Blue Sympodium Polyp,
<Appears to be>
but haven't seen that species with such extended stalks. Each polyp has eight feathery fingers with green tips, and each clump has several stalks.
The polyps do not open/close like Xenia, but do retract when they "grab" food out of the water column. Did I identify it correctly? I only hope it's not a dyed animal.
Also, thought you might like these photos I got with a new spectrum of flash for my camera.
All the best,
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Hitchhiker ID: Xeniid - likely an Anthelia sp 10/29/2010
Please find attached a picture of a hitchhiker that found it's way into my system.
I've searched your site and the best ID I can come up with is Sinularia Mollirs (juvenile).
It's only about an inch tall, but already has new growth near its base ( a bit out-of-focus, but it's there). Any help is greatly appreciated.
<What you have is a Xeniid - likely a Anthelia (a.k.a. waving hand) It is pretty when it grows up, but it can spread quickly, Have a read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm >

Hitchhiker Coral ID/Aiptasia 10/17/10
Hey crew,
I just want to start out saying that your website is just plain amazing.
I'm really glad I found it over a year ago when I first started keeping a salt water tank. Needless to say, it's saved me from quite a few headaches so thank you all for all your hard work. :)
<You're welcome.>
My question though is about a coral that seems to have hitchhiked onto a piece of rock that came with a Colt Coral I ordered online a while back. At first when I received my colt, I noticed there was a small speck of something living on the rock but didn't think much of it. Now almost half a year later that "speck" has turned into a decent sized coral (about the size of a quarter now) that has made it's home on the rock with my colt and a nice piece of Xeniid that slowly traveled across the tank. So any ideas what it could be? I've tried looking cover to cover in Anthony's book on propagation for anything that even closely resembles what I have with no luck. The galaxy coral was the only thing that looked a little close but
god forbid I have one of those so near my colt and xenia! Any help would be greatly appreciated so I can figure out what to do with the little guy.
Thanks in advance!
<If you are referring to the anemone like creature to the right, this is not a coral but appears to be an Aiptasia Anemone, an unwelcomed pest that can reproduce and rapidly take over an aquarium. See here.
More ID photos here.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Hitchhiker Coral ID/Aiptasia 10/17/10 = 10/18/10 RMF, Any Idea?
Hi James,
<Hello Andrew>
Actually I was referring to the greenish/yellow bush-like coral in the foreground. It appears to have a yellowish stalk-like skeletal structure, almost like an Acropora, in which the polyps extend from except the polyps themselves resemble those found on a Xeniid or even a Star Polyp except they don't retract back into the structure.
<Mmm, my best guess is a Xeniidae species. Any idea Bob?> <<I agree w/ your guess. RMF>>
I've attached a couple more photos of it for you.
<Thank you, but no need to send multiple photos of the same image. James (Salty Dog)>

New Guy Identification: Hitchhiker ID Octocoral or Xeniid 3/8/2010
Hi WWM Crew,
<Hi Mike>
I have been a long time admirer of your site. I have used it many times to find the answers to difficult questions and identify new found creatures.
<Happy you find it useful.>
This particular creature showed up almost completely out of nowhere.
<I had a reef urchin do that in my tank recently>
It measures only 4 to 5 millimeters. I have watched on occasion as it pulls things out of the water with its outreached arms. It seems to be very sturdy and does not retract but remains the same whether it is day or night. Any help will surely be appreciated.
<It looks like an Octocoral - but solitary Octocoral polyps are rare. My next thought would be a Xeniid of some sort. In either case, it is not likely harmful Do have a read on the following pages.
and go a search for 'Octocorals' >
Once again I truly appreciate your help to the community.
<My Pleasure.>
Thanks - Mike

Xeniid & Algae I.D. & Compatibility 3/8/2010
Hi, Can you please tell me what these are? Scientific and common names would be greatly appreciated. And is the algae a threat to the Xeniid chemically?
<Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm
and the ID FAQ linked above re the Pulsing Coral; and the green... can't tell w/o microscopic photographs>
If the pics aren't clear enough, just let me know and I might be able to send some that are a little better.
Thank you,
<Bob Fenner>

Xenia Identification, reading 4/23/08 Dear Crew, <Jas...> I got this xenia at my LFS and they said it was a Pom Pom however I have been suspicious of that since I purchased it. Can you please try to identify the type for me. <Type? Well, is a Xeniid... likely an Anthelia species... not in great shape evidently. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Best regards, Jason <<Where is the graphic Sara? Lost... RMF>>

Re: Xenia Identification... hlth. 4/24/08 Dear Bob, <Jas> I saw you said the xenia did not look in great shape. What seems to look wrong with it? It has looked that way since I got it and has actually started growing more polyps out of the side. <... the color, the physiognomy... thin, listless... see the site (again) re what healthy colonies look, act like. BobF> Thanks Jason

Xenia Coral??...Maybe anthelia 10/29/07 Hi Guys, <Hi Peter, Mich here.> I recently got a saltwater aquarium from a friend (for free!!). <WOW! Nice gift!.> It is true that there is no such thing as a free gift. <Mmm, I guess that all depends on your perspective...> I have a soft coral that I believe to be a Xenia (sorry, no pics). <Would help...> Most xenia I see tend to be fairly short, this one when fully extended is several inches long. <Perhaps is anthelia... can look similar...> It does have the "fingers" like a xenia but no pulsing which I know is not uncommon. <Sounding more like anthelia...> I have also noticed that some of the arms looked bruised and/or have a white spot on them. I noticed today that what I believe to be Aiptasia anemones growing beneath the xenia. <I would remove.> Could close contact be what's causing this? <Maybe, but the Aiptasia WILL win this fight... The Aiptasia needs to be eliminated. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/Aiptasia/aiptasia.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/aiptasia_impressions/aiptaisia_impressions.htm > P.S. There is a 7" engineer goby in the tank that is fairly shy. <Dang!!! That's a big goby!!!> (Also have a Sailfin tang, two percula clowns, one royal Gramma, one Hawkfish) in a 60 gal tank (I know tank is on the small size). <Yes, is much, much too small for this tang.> What is the best way to feed the goby properly without flooding the tank with food?? <Turn off circulation so the food doesn't get blown around, try to target feed him and feed small frequent meals.> Thanks <Welcome! Mich> Peter

Xeniid... please forward to Anthony..thanks Anthony, please look at my pictures of my "xenia" on the following link: http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=918155&perpage=25&pagenumber=1 Please let me know what you think this coral might be...xenia?...anthelia? Thank you. Chris Little <Mmm, looks like a Heteroxenia to me of some species... and something up about the water chemistry... I see this noted a bit further down. Antoine may be able to be reached at his site, Reading Trees... or he may still be about at Marine Depot.com... Bob Fenner> Can you ID this xenia species? 12/10/06 Oh ye knowers of all things wet and fishy... One of the members of our reef club is looking for more information (and perhaps a source) for this xenia species "from pg76 of "A Guide to Corals for the Mini-Reef Aquarium" by Dr. Axelrod": http://www.whodah.com/albums/BoomerD/ars.sized.jpg <Mmm, looks to be a Heteroxenia species... A Xeniid, similar to the genus Xenia... Please see p 140 (and the pic there bottom right) of Fabricius and Alderslade's Soft Corals and Sea Fans book re> Obviously, "Tabby Pulsing Xenia" gets nowhere in a google search, <Heee! Yet another HRA fabrication likely> and it doesn't appear to resemble any of the Xeniids listed in your xenia pages. Gotta admit, it's a pretty striking specimen... Thanks folks. <Is... and a natural one I think. Bob Fenner>

ID for my coral. Thanks 9/2/06 Hey Crew, <Mike> I just need a quick opinion on the name of this coral. I bought the little frag the other day and it seems to be doing well I would just like to know the name so I can make sure it is in the right tank environment for what it needs. <A bit of the cart ahead of the equine...> The picture is kind of bad but it is a deep purple brown color and seems to like the spot it is in. I have it in a 10 gallon with 2 AquaClear 200 filters (no media just for flow) and 96watt 50/50 CoraLife lighting about 15 lbs of live rock and sugar sized crushed coral substrate (2-3" deep). Thanks again for the help. Mike <Is a Xeniid of some sort... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: ID for my coral. Thanks - 09/03/06 Yeah I know I should research before I buy and normally I do. But this one was a great catch for the price. I thought it may be Xeniid family but I was looking more for the exact name so I could be sure the care I took was correct. <Mmm, can "get" down to the genus level by counting pinnules...> I just have not been able to find an exact picture of it on the web with the scientific name. Thanks for the help. Mike <See WWM again, Eric Borneman's Microcosm work, V.2 of MCRA... Bob Fenner>

Coral ID, May Not Be Xenia - 04/17/2006 I am having a problem with identification of a few soft corals (or polyps) that I have acquired in my reef tank. <I hope you've already received an answer for this. I was not aware it was in my box. If not however, I'll see what I can offer.> I manage a fish room in a small mom and pop pet store where I have worked for 15 years. I order a lot of saltwater corals and I have noticed that sometimes what our distributor calls one thing might in actuality be another. <Can easily be the case if only using common names.> Recently I purchased (for my own tank) what was called "blue xenia". I don't think that this is what it is and I was wondering how to tell the difference between Xenia and some polyps. <Look at the fine details mostly. Do these have a single stalk that branches out or do they stem from a common mat (the stolon)? From all the pictures I have seen they all look so similar. <Do you mean of just the family Xeniidae?> I have two different species in my tank that I thought were Xenia but they don't pulse (at least not that I can see) and they are slowly carpeting the rocks I have them on. <Hmm...carpeting. Xenia has a single stalk and then branches out. You may have Anthelia here.> They are both thriving and yet I was under the impression that when Xenia fails to pulse it is not doing well. There are so many different polyps out there, how do I know which one is which? <Time, study, research...> Are there any forms of Xenia that don't pulse? <Sure.> My tank condition is spot on as far as all the parameters go and everything is thriving. Is it possible that I got gypped by our distributor and simply got some bluish polyps? <Try researching Anthelia, see if this is what you have. Tell the distributor that you prefer to start using the proper scientific names from now on, this will help avoid much confusion.> Thanks, Jenn <You're welcome. - Josh>

Xenia library-Complete version-sorry! Hello Crew, Thanks for being so helpful on the email below, eliminating 1 leather coral helped quite a few corals grow along with feeding zoo/phyto plankton mix every other day. This might be a tough one. I've compiled a list of scientific xenia names that I can find, however, a picture to match them up with is nearly impossible. <Mmm... such pix, without close-ups, even collecting, dissecting the specimens, will not get you to species IDs> I've done a few Latin translations like Multipinnata=Multiple Feathers, but uhm.. yea, they're all feathery.. lol. There's also Stellafera=Bright Stars, <Actually "bearing stars"... Mmm, maybe "ferox", not fera/amphora...> uhm...I got one that fits this, but then it's my personal opinion of this, and for all I know there could be a fiery red xenia out there! Either way, any bit of advice or help on trying to link names to pictures would be greatly appreciated. <... for what purpose/s?> I've eliminated a few names that I'm positive as to what they are already, so there's 21 out of 23 names left. I'm sure 7 more of my xenia will fill these images, just not sure which. Thanks! X. mucosa, X. multipinnata, X. stellafera, Xenia alcyonacea Xenia farauensis ?Heteroxenia coheni ?Heteroxenia cf. elizabethae ?Heteroxenia fuscescens (Ehrenberg) (1,2) ?Heteroxenia ghardaqensis (Klunzinger) (1) Xenia arabica Xenia benayahui Xenia biseriata Xenia crassa Xenia aff. distorta Xenia faraunensis Xenia hicksoni Xenia impulsatilla Xenia kuekanthali Xenia mayi Xenia macrospiculata Xenia membranacea Xenia novaecaledoniae Xenia obscuronata Xenia verseveldti <... Time to send you to a large college library... to ferret out original descriptions: http://wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm. Common names? Really are just whatever is "made up" that sticks. Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia library-Complete version-sorry! Don't be sorry 4/14/06 Hi there Bob, The reasons I'm searching out all these scientific names are because mainly to satisfy my curiosity of what I own, and because I'm building an informative website. <Ahh! Worthwhile> I've often wondered what type of xenia I own, and get a queasy feeling whoever I read someone go, "I got a pom-pom xenia". They all look like Pom Poms to be quite frank. <... and many are Anthelias, other genera...> I realize there are a lot of corals out there, so it may not be of interest for most to take the time out to figure out what xenias are in our trade right now, so I guess someone's gotta do it right? :) <Again... I do think this is of worth> Xenias have always been a passion of mine ever since I got my first "Long Fiji Xenia" 12 years ago, at least, that's what I was told what it was called...lol. <If you're going to do this, best to "do it right"... I do encourage you to seek out the original descriptions of these species, the genus, family... at/through a large college library. Bob Fenner>

Re: of questions and pictures.... 11/12/2005 Bob, Thanks for the response...to both e-mails! Sorry about the double posting. Did the pics of the coral and tank come through? <I think so... were on the Dailies...?> <<Yes, four or five, I see no need to re-post photos already posted just this week. Nice softie shot, looked quite blue! MH>> I've got the 10000k MH up and running now, as well as the protein skimmer, and the 'colt coral' is perking up somewhat, but I'm still not quite sure what he is, even after consulting you're wonderful site. I bought it as a colt coral, but all the pics I've seen of colt corals have extended polyps...? <Sometimes don't extend for quite a while from introduction...> He's a sort of purplish color, <... unusual... Oh, I see it/them below again. Looks to me like "Blue Cespitularia"... a very nice group!> quite branchy (if that's a word), and even though what I would call the polyps look 'open' there isn't anything extended. From your FAQ I'm leaning on a Kenya tree, but am still unsure. Could you help with the ID? Thanks. Branon. <Bob Fenner>

Re: continuation of Blue Cespitularia ID 11/16/05 Mr. Fenner, you said that the pic I sent looked more like blue Cespitularia. <Yes> As I've been looking for information for Cespitularia, I've found very few pics that look like what I have and more that seem more xenia-ish (go figure). <See Alderslade and Fossa and Nilsen's works...> My coral's polyps do not retract but do roll into a sort of cup-like ball, similar to explanations of Cespitularia. The entire stalk seems to shrink in on itself at night. I have tried the 'flashlight-at-night' trick to see the reflective .... whatever-it-is and haven't noticed anything. The largest stalk of the group is about 2.5-3" tall. I've included the best pictures I can get of her and I've also noticed that her ... what do you call the frond/tentacle part of the polyp?... <The tip? The tentacles, tentacular crown?> anyway, they look very fern-like...much like a xenia. I didn't notice any 'polyp extension' on any of the polyps in my pictures, <Mmm, the pic you sent, they were extended...> which are only about 3 days after coming to my aquarium. Now, about 1.5 wk. later, almost all of the polyps seem quite 'extended'--uncurled. They look hungry and because I'm unsure what it is, I haven't a clue if I should target feed, what I should feed, or anything. When I wrote I hadn't noticed the night-time withdrawal, the flashlight thing, or the shape of the ...frond-like parts of her/their polyps. I also hadn't mentioned the height...I'm afraid I didn't give you much to go on. Could you help with ID and care instructions? Thank you. Branon. <... Please read on WWM re Xeniid keeping... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Xeniid IDs 8/5/05 Hello WWM crew <<Hello - Ted here>> I wanted to first say how much I enjoy the site. Second and most important I had a question for you :D Do you have any links you could point me to that have to deal with the identification of the family Xeniidae to the species level. I understand that using pictures isn't all that accurate/practical but I figured this would help me on my way to learning all I can about these fascinating creatures. I have looked into Soft Corals and Sea Fans by K. Fabricius and P. Alderslade. Looking for other references especially concerning species identification of the families Cespitularias, Sansibia and xenia. My search for specific species has been pretty dry. Hoping you can help. <<Sorry, There is very little online that you would find helpful. This link ( http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-02/ac/feature) may help but you probably have already found it. My recommendation would be to hit the library (preferably a large one connected with a University).>> Thanks for any help/leads <<You're Welcome. Good luck with your identification journey - Ted>>

Sansibia coral ID? 1/29/05 Hi Guys, <cheers> I need some help on a coral ID. Please see the email below. I have yet to hear back from Dr. Alderslade. thanks! Joe <it is very difficult to ID from pics as it is, my friend... but in your case it is impossible. The images are not full frame shots (showing detail of sclerites, pinnules, stolon, calyces, etc). I doubt that anyone could ID this coral even to the genus level. The genus GARF meant was Briareum. Anthony><<I'd cite Antoine's piece here: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-02/ac/feature/ RMF>>

Xeniid shrimp id AntBuboine, can you id this Palaemonid for me? You had said someone sent you a pic recently... Boub

Hippolyte commensalis (Xeniid shrimp) Holy cow, Bob! How did you see this little bugger?!?!? <Found by the dive guide... I would gladly 'fess up otherwise 'twere it so> You are the man... seriously: Hippolyte commensalis <We're da fishmen!> a gorgeous critter on a gorgeous coral <G>. I should not be surprised to admit it... and it took me long enough (thanks mostly to your tireless efforts)... but, I'm a dreaming and a hankerin to do some serious (but safe <G>) reef diving. <Omigosh!> Still got tons to work out at home... as you know, my grandparents were/are everything to me. These years are precious. We took my gram to the docs today too for more tests... there are some sobering concerns re: leukemia now. Will be taking her for second tests next week :( And then to Cape May, NJ for a quaint retreat for a few days thee following week (Di knows/likes Cape May Point?... 'tis my speed :) <Okay> At any rate... the dive vacation that I promised myself after we finished NMARI... I will take after NMA RF <VBG>. Time and funds allowing :) Maybe Fiji. <Let me know when, and let's go> I thank you sincerely for your inspiration in so many ways to me, my friend. Antoine <The feeling's mutual compadre. Bob F>

Coral ID II 6/18/04 Thanks for getting back to em so quickly. Your info is priceless! Yes, I do have a minireef and I look at myself as being moderately experience in keeping corals. <all good... this soft coral is relatively forgiving. Have you had experience with other Xeniids?> At the moment I a running 2 four foot fluoros (1 ocean light actinic, 1 power glow 40watt), I have a 380 ltr aquarium, moderately stocked with soft corals. If I was to double my lighting, would this be enough to sustain my aquarium and the corals without too much algae growth? <hmmm... with more of the same kind of standard fluorescent lamps (40 watt) it will not help much, I regret to say. They simply do not penetrate the water very deep. More intense fluorescents or metal halides are better/best. But if you do add the extra 40 watt lamps and keep the coral in the top 20-25 cm of the waters surface, I suspect it will fare well> Cheers, Chris <G'day, mate :) Anthony>

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>

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>

Xenia... are elongatas and Heteroxenia the same thing? <nope... elongata is a species of the genus, Xenia (X. elongata being known as the "common fast-pulse Xenia). Heteroxenia is a genus that stands on its own with Xenia and several other genera in the family Xeniidae. So to recap: "elongata" is species, "Heteroxenia" is a genus> and are there really light purple bluish ones? <yes... several Xeniids from two or more genera are a breathtaking blue/purple and or green color. Most notably is the Xeniid, Cespitularia which includes species that are robin's egg blue! with spicules that reflect silver! Gorgeous!!! And more commonly "blue Xenia" is available that is a like species or synonymous with X. elongata types... and more specifically, the "sliver-tip" fast pulse Xeniids. Under heavy VHO actinic light these animals will become a striking blue or green color. Purple depending on your perspective. Best regards, Anthony>

Cespitularia: night shot with flash I thought to share a pic with some of my friends that I've chatted with (or teased with frag promises <G>) about this fave coral... <Beauty. Nice pic> this is my former 5mm Cespitularia that is now up to a whopping 30 mm, heehee... slowly but surely. I was trying to take a close up of the reflective spicules at night... didn't get close enough, but still managed a decent full frame shot. <Maybe Santa will bring you a dual strobe set-up...?> The coral looks more blue than this under heavy fluorescents... but also looks less blue under standard daylight. I wish it was big enough to hug. I know... I'm truly a reef orphan :) with kind regards to all, Anthony <Is that the sound of a whip cracking? Back to writing with us~ Bob F>

Xenia How many different kinds of Xenia are there? <Eric Borneman lists six separate species in his excellent work "Aquarium Corals: Selection, Husbandry, and Natural History" and mentions there maybe as many as 60 other species not described. -Steven Pro>

Re: pulsing Sinularia...hmmm Cespitularia? Hi Bob: Got this on the ReefCentral board and responded to it - it isn't Sinularia - probably Xeniidae of some sort - Cespitularia, Efflatounaria or some such critter. <Thank you Eric (Borneman). Had a daydream about you this AM (Yikes!). About begging you to help us out on WetWebMedia.com... and also wanted to chat with you re M/TFH (am getting no response...). Back on the issue: have cut-pasted the boyz input re this soft coral on the daily WWM FAQs. Will paste here for your enjoyment... maybe amusement. Bob Fenner> Eric Pulsing Sinularia? I bought a real beautiful nice light blue colored Sinularia sp. a couple of weeks ago and it is doing very well. One thing I have noticed is that all (not at one time) its tiny polyp open and close (pulse) regularly. Most of the time they are hit and miss all over the place and yet at other times an entire group will pulse at once. It really is neat. I have never heard of this before and was wondering if it was normal? Zimmy <Very interesting. Please send us a picture if you can or some frags, just kidding about the frags. It could be a Heteroxenia, but the picture would help. -Steven Pro>

Pulsing Sinularia? I bought a real beautiful nice light blue colored Sinularia sp. a couple of weeks ago and it is doing very well. One thing I have noticed is that all (not at one time) its tiny polyp open and close (pulse) regularly. Most of the time they are hit and miss all over the place and yet at other times an entire group will pulse at once. It really is neat. I have never heard of this before and was wondering if it was normal? Zimmy <Very interesting. Please send us a picture if you can or some frags, just kidding about the frags. It could be a Heteroxenia, but the picture would help. -Steven Pro>

Re: pulsing Sinularia I posted about this pulsing action of my Sinularia on Reef Central and indeed someone else has had this. I will post a link here if you don't mind so that others can check it out. There is also a video clip from an owner of one such coral. It has already in less than three weeks shown good growth promise. After six months or so I will frag it a couple of times. Here is the thread. http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?threadid=27581&highlight =pulsing+sinularia Go down about half way and there is a link to the video clip. It is worth the download! I had to go through all kinds of hell (Chicago rush hour) to buy it. I just wouldn't let it pass me by. I paid $55 for it. Worth every cent. Thanks Zimmy <Zimmy... thank you kindly for passing along this fascinating tidbit. I did look briefly at the video and suspect that it is a Cespitularia. But let's pass this along to our good friend and coral expert Eric Borneman. I/we can only offer an aquaristic perspective based on trade experience (imports and the name of the week game with pack manifests). I'd feel better to hear from an academic. Still... I'll put my money on a Cespitularia or something altogether uncommon in the trade. Best regards and thank you for sharing! Anthony.>

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