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FAQs about Xeniid Systems 2

Related Articles: Pulsing Soft Corals, Family Xeniidae

Related FAQs: Soft Coral Lighting, Xeniid Systems 1, Xeniids 1, Xeniids 2, Xeniids 3, Xeniids 4, Xeniid ID, Xeniid Behavior, Xeniid Selection, Xeniid Compatibility, Xeniid Feeding, Xeniid Disease, Xeniid Reproduction, Soft Coral Propagation, Soft Coral HealthAlcyoniids, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids,

Dying Xenia/Xeniid Health/Systems 2/12/10
Hello Dear Knowledgeable Crew.
<Hello Alex>
I have spent the last few days reading everything I can find about the pitfalls of raising xenia, but alas it was too late to save my specimen.
I was wondering if you could perhaps shed some light on to the specific cause of my xenia's decline.
I bought this frag (xenia elongata I think) from a guy who breeds corals.
The thing looked incredibly happy in his tank (pulsing like mad, standing straight up etc).
My xenia seemed okay when I added him/her/it to our tank. But he never opened fully. I moved him around to try and get to a place where he had high, indirect flow, and near the top of the tank to be near light.
Yesterday, I noticed small lesions (or bubble like things) at the base of the main trunk.
Later, the neck near one of the bushels of 'hands' started to pinch and turn dark purple (he was light purple before).
He was near a maze brain at this point, then I read the brain might sting him. And moved him away.
The constricted purple spread to his whole body and he shrank down to a limp white/purple version of his former glory.
Now he's pretty much dead I think.
<Allelopathy seems to be the culprit here. Your Maze Brain Coral (Platygyra sp.) will shoot out sweeper tentacles in the evening and very likely stung your Xenia.>
I have 20G w/ 10g sump. About 25lb live rock.
2 power head at opposite ends + plus return pipe for flow.
-->Feather duster,
-->Several coco worms
-->Maze brain (not sure of the exact species)
-->Green star polyp
-->A few mushrooms
<The Green Star Polyps and Mushrooms are moderately aggressive in terms of allelopathy especially in smaller systems such as yours. This could also have had a role in your Xenia's demise. Good chemical filtration such as
Chemipure should be used to minimize the noxious compounds emitted by these animals.
The use of a protein skimmer is highly recommended and will also help much in this regard.>
I use Canadian tap water dosed with Nutrafin Aquaplus.
Lights are 1 15w 10000k t8 and 1 15w actinic t8
Nitrates about 5-10
Nitrites 0
Ammonia 0
PH 8.2-8.3
temp is about 78degrees
I have not been dosing iodine, or calcium.
<Dosing both calcium and magnesium is necessary for your brain coral and other hard corals. Iodine dosing is also beneficial for Xeniids and do exercise caution dosing as overdosing can be detrimental.>
I can understand if something was off in the tank and he died slowly over a few weeks. But he lasted about 6 days. So I obviously did (or the tank did) something traumatic. Any idea at all? I moved him (carefully!) too much?
I would love to try again, but I need sort out what I did wrong first!
<It is uncommon for Xeniids to perish for no reason. Although Xeniids can behave unpredictably, it is their sensitivity to changes in basic water parameters that can be detrimental to their health in most cases.
Because of this, many experienced reefers will use Xeniids as a visual barometer for system stability. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's re Xeniids.
thanks guys.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Please help me continue to love xenia!
<Knowing any marine animals needs/requirements is the first step to success.
Keep reading/learning, much to be found on our site.>

Xeniid... sys. mostly   01/22/2008 Hi Crew, <Michael> I need a little guidance here! To make a long story longer, I am a beginner to marine life in a closed environment. Run, now! <Am not awake enough presently> I have read many of the Crew's articles/books and I thank you as this has shown me a lot. I recently purchase a Pulsing Soft Coral from my LFS along with a Star Polyp to add to my 75g marine aquarium tank specimen. <Mmm, these may well not be compatible...> Specimen may not be a good word to use however I do love to sit in front of my tank and study the behavior of marine life. Anyway, the Xeniids freaked when I added them two days ago. I thought they where going into meltdown as it seams. They closed up and shriveled like a? (I'll keep it clean and won't go there). I checked my PH and found that it was around 8.1 (yup, a digital pinpoint for PH is on the way) to which my understanding is that this it really low for such an animal. <Mmm, not necessarily...> With this, I brewed up some fresh top off RO/DI and added SeaChem PH buffer 8.3 the following day. <Err, best to adjust slowly, via pre-treated new water...> I have also reduced the water movement so the animal can attach itself to the live rock I set them near. The PH is now 8.3, dKH = 12.6, Ca = 350, Nh_3 = 0, No_2 = 0, No_3 =0. Now the Xeniid has attached itself to rock and appears to be doing a lot better but if I turn on the other power head, they seem to not like it. They also seem to shrivel when the actinics kick on at night. Am I over reacting? <Mmm, not yet> Do they just need more time to fully acclimate? <Possibly... I'd keep observing, reading for now. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Michael

Xeniid system/health Q's 3/19/07 Thanks so much for the advice. <I welcome you to our help in Bob's stead. GrahamT here.> <Heeeee! Welcome yourself! RMF> I will keep watching. I wonder if I could bother you with one or two more issues. <Well... I... guess so.> I cannot keep xenia. <You aren't alone, my friend. Many have problems with this coral. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidfaqs3.htm > I know you have heard it before but I am determined.    <Good.> I keep trading starpolyps for small pieces and came across some info I questioned.  I understood xenia to be one of the few (if any others) that do not participate in chemical warfare.    <Well, they participate, just usually on the receiving end. As I understand it, they don't broadcast their chemicals into the water column as most other warring parties do. They can still kill by direct contact, though. There are some good pieces available on the internet that document the war between soft and stony corals. There are very many more and better catalogued pieces at a nice library.> the piece I saw in Reef.com said they kill off Acropora easily.  Can you clear that up. <Just did, oops. See above.> Each time I add xenia it seems fine for the first 24 hours and then condenses to solid white polyps. My non-pulsing anthelia is reproducing and my xenia keeps turning into balls.    <Mmm, this is a clue, methinks. Anthelia is winning the one-sided war.> I keep playing with alkalinity and salinity making sure the rest of the reef does no suffer.    <There are those that swear by Xenia's need for iodine to thrive. I think that your water changes probably maintain high enough levels of iodine so that this is probably not the issue. I would consider adding some fresh carbon to the system and trying a small piece of xenia upstream (as it were) from the anthelia, though not in direct current. Sound do-able?> Do you have any suggestions for me? <Umm, yeah. (See above)> thanks Cathy <-GrahamT>

Why Can't I Grow Xenia? - 02/21/07 Greetings, <<Hello>> I am having a problem with pulsing xenia. <<Not uncommon...some folks can't grow it...some folks have trouble getting rid of it...and sooner or later it all seems to just "crash">> Located in 30-gal tall octagonal tank attached to a 75 gal reef tank.  The octagonal tank has only a mated pair of mandarins, macroalgae and I had a large colt coral. <<Mmm, this last may be part of your problem...very noxious>> The xenia all of a sudden looked awful.  It took me a week to find the time to test the water...  Tested my pH and it was low for xenia, 8.0.  I immediately did a water change and after about 24 hours got the pH back to 8.3. Xenia looked better this morning and I got home from work tonight and it looks awful again.  I also decided to move the colt coral to the main tank. <<A good decision...although, with these tanks "attached" the noxious chemicals exuded by the colt coral are still in the system water reaching the xenia>> Salinity 1.024, <<1.025/26 (closer to NSW) would be better appreciated by your corals and may be another factor re your problems here>> Temp 78-80, the pH is usually 8.3 but I did find it close to 8.0 two days ago before lights went on. <<I wouldn't think this to be much of an issue>> I am not sure why.  I drip Kalkwasser most nights (about 1gal) and had not for a few busy nights.  Never a problem in the past but concerned me the other day. <<When using this methodology, it is best to use on a "continuous" basis for reasons of system stability...as you can see>> Ammonia and nitrates 0.  No way to test iodine so I started putting in 2m. each morning to help them out. <<2 milliliters?  Do be careful here...be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions closely...and get an iodine test kit>> The pulsing xenia look shriveled and almost like a chemical burn might seem to look if that does not sound too crazy. <<Not crazy...and may very well be so (remember that colt coral)>> Can you suggest some test I might perform. <<Not for allelopathy...but make no mistake, it is present in your (everyone's) system>> Why do you think I have such problems with pulsing xenia. <<Aside from the fact that these organisms seem to "wax and wane" with the best of care,  xenia can be particularly sensitive to water chemistry/ chemical poisoning (some aquarists have stated to me they view their xenia as a kind of "canary in the mine."  Employing some purposeful chemical filtration will always help your system, and may make a difference with the xenia.  A dedicated canister filter with carbon "and" Poly-Filter is highly recommended here>> I have a wonderful 75-gal reef tank with hard and soft corals.  All doing fine. <<And all "fighting the chemical fight"...just likely more resilient mix of organisms than the xenia>> I know you are not supposed to mix but for 3 years I have been lucky I even (was afraid to admit) have a bubble anemone (3 years old) with clowns, Regal tang, Pseudochromis, Sailfin blenny, Ricordea, mushrooms, frogspawn, gorgonian, zooanthids, dish coral, and star polyps. and Acropora. <<Mmm, indeed...I wish you continued good luck>> The hard corals are at one end and soft at another and it has worked out well so far.  Can you suggest any problem with xenia.  This is actually my third try. <<Ideally, separate the xenia system from the mixed garden reef system...else employ/add more chemical filtration to mitigate the effects of the chemical aggression.  And read here, among the associated links to get more info re others experience/opinions with this organism: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidfaqs2.htm And maybe do a Google search on our site re "chemical aggression" and "allelopathy."  Regards, EricR>> -Xenia in trouble?-  - 09/03/06 Bob and wonderful staff, <Todd, you have Justin tonight.> Update on my BTA getting caught in the powerhead:  It's been just over a week since I learned the hard way about NOT covering powerhead intakes with a BTA in the tank.  Well, powerheads are covered and the BTA appears to be doing well.  Thanks for all you help. <Good to hear, they can get themselves into very interesting situations cant they.  Glad yours is doing better.> Now with the another hard lesson learned by a new reef daddy.. DO NOT ADD AMQUEL+ to your tank!  I was starting to get a Cyanobacteria bloom due to increase in my Nitrate readings (0 - 10ppm to 10 - 20ppm).  So what did I do?  Added some Amquel+ to lower the Nitrate level to (in theory) kill off my Cyanobacteria problem.  Instead, my pulsing xenia within minutes beginning to look like something out of Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas.  I immediately did a 20% water change and plan on doing another one today (the day after).  Is there any chance the xenia will pull through? All the other corals look good. <Tis possible, keep up the water changes and try not to move or overly stress the xenia.  Have a lot of current blowing near the coral, but not directly on.  Xenia is generally incredibly hardy if it "takes" to a tank, and can be considered a weed at times, so yours should bounce back.  Don't ever use any product to remove nitrate or ammonia in an established tank,  why waste money and risk tank health when a bag of salt and a water change will fix it all right up.> Thanks, Todd <Justin>

Xenia Scrubber/Refugium - 05/10/06 Hi Crew! I am in the process of redoing my refugium (9" x 12" area in my sump) and I think I want to try a Xenia scrubber rather than Chaetomorpha or similar macro. <<Neat!  I set up one of these for a short time a couple years ago>> My question is regarding lighting.  Currently I have a 6500K 13w PC over the fuge which worked fairly well for the macro.  I am looking to upgrade this lighting and have come across two setups that I cannot choose between. 1. 70 watt metal halide retrofit kit (10000K bulb) Or 2. 2 x 32 watt power compact retrofit kit (two 6700K/10000K bulbs) My main goal is to grow the Xenia FAST and remove nutrients from the water.  I also thought that if I went with the 70w halide I could place a few small frags in there while they are awaiting final placement in the main tank.  Any thoughts? <<Yep... Either lighting scheme will suffice, simply choose that which you prefer/is more cost effective to install/operate.  My 29g Xenia refugium was lit with a single 65w 6500K PC bulb and it grew very well.  I have also maintained shallow SPS frag systems under this same lighting with good results.>> Pleasure as always. J <<Regards, EricR>>

Mixing Xenia Species? - 04/06/06 Hey there guys, <<Howdy (gals here too, btw) Currently in my tank, I have 7 different species of Xenia.  I've been doing quite a bit of research, but my findings are still inconclusive when it comes to this question.  GARF recommends a polyculture environment for xenias in preventing crashes; however, I firmly believe it is the lack of nutrients (phosphates+nitrates) in the water that causes crashes. <<A contributing factor, agreed.  But I've also heard speculation that this (crash) is just what these species 'do'...that based on certain environmental factors/cues, Xenia will wither/melt away only to be renewed (reborn?) from the remaining matter if left undisturbed.  And as for polyculture...I think any coral would be 'easier' to maintain in a mono-specific tank.>> The reason I ask this question is because many speak of Red Sea Umbellatas being one of the fastest spreaders/growers, yet I only have 4 stalks that I received 4 months ago.  My Goldback Xenia on the other hand, has been the faster grower out of the bunch.  My White Fiji was growing when nitrates were at 80ppm, but now that I've lowered and maintained it at 0, their growth has been stunted. <<Hah, Indeed!  Xenia is thought to be a primary absorption feeder and has been observed growing on the sewage effluent pipes from hotels (a bit of nitrate there I imagine!)...and most any coral will benefit from some nitrate in the water (3-5 ppm). It seems to go in phases, typically the newly introduced Xenia will show the most growth.  Currently my Tan/White Bali is starting to pick up which was introduced 2 weeks ago.  My Cespitularia showed growth when first introduced in February, but has also slowed down.  I suspect my Pulsing Sinularia since it is the only coral in the tank showing the most continual growth, but at the same time, that could be because I feed Cyclops/phyto on a daily basis. <<Leather corals are some of the most noxious...keeping these with Xenia in a small system could very well be having deleterious effects on the Xenia long-term.  Adding carbon/Poly-Filter to your filter path can help with this.>> I have this green polyp leather that showed no growth for the longest time until I started propagating it, then it grew 3 times bigger, but has since then stopped.  Propagating the corals also seems to stimulate growth i.e. cutting them in half or into quarters. <<Yes, much like 'pruning' terrestrial plants will sometimes result in renewed growth...as long as there are available nutrients/foodstuffs to support the growth.  Everything comes at the expense of something else...fragging triggers the growth spurt to 'heal' the injury, but must use energy stored for other uses (fighting disease/parasites, reproduction, etc.) in the absence of available nutrient uptake.>> My water parameters are "textbook perfect" and the 20g tank is lit by a 175W 20K bulb. <<Hmm...Xenia are highly photosynthetic, you might consider a Kelvin rating closer to natural 'daylight' and see if that helps.>> I have recently started running carbon as well, so any ideas and opinions would be greatly appreciated, thanks.  I have included an extra large image of the tank for examination purposes if necessary. <<Yes, does not appear to be overcrowded...at the moment <grin>.>> Also, random turbulent currents are achieved by a return pump mounted with a SCWD pumping approx 300gph, and assisted by 2 Rio600s w/ HydroFlo attachments. Thanks for your time in advance. <<Quite welcome my friend.  Regards, EricR>>

Xenia sys.  3/22/06 I have a 55g tank with a Ocean Sun 10,000K light. Will the light be enough to keep Xenia Coral?  <What is the wattage of this lighting?> Do you know other corals that I can keep with this light?  <I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find the answer to both these questions already posted on the site.  Read up, and start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corllgtgfaqs.htm Good luck, Jen S.>

Keeping Xenia away from other corals 7/6/05 I have a several rapid growing colonies of Pom Pom xenia inching over very close to my pair of long tentacle yellow toadstool leathers. < Sounds very familiar.  This happens to everyone. > These leathers are young vibrant and healthy, and are 3 inches tall and about 2 inches and 3 inches across.  Will the leathers send out a toxin that will keep the xenias from coming any closer, or would you recommend that I stop the xenia by placing a rubble rock in their path? < Get that Xenia out of there.  It will go right over the rubble rock and right to your leathers.  I'd keep the Xenia trimmed back. > I looked for the answer to this question in the archives but did not find exactly the right answer.  Thanks for  your time.  I read your site all the time and look forward to meeting one of you guys in Clarksville Indiana soon. < Well I would love to visit Indiana. > <  Blundell  >

Xenia photosynthetic? Yep... very! 1/5/05 Howdy all! Three big time cheers for the WWM crew on a superb site! <cheers!> I'm fairly new to the reefkeeping scene (6 obsessed months old) but have kept freshwater planted tanks since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, so you can get as technical as you want to so long as you don't go Einstein on me. <no fear from me - I'm still wearing Velcro shoes> I read on the Xeniid FAQ page http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidsysfaqs.htm) two comments by Bob that Xeniids are not photosynthetic (do a "find on this page" for that word and it's the first two hits). <simply a typo if so... I didn't peep the thread> This runs counter to everything I've read about Xeniids. <correct... they are in fact one of the most nearly/fully autotrophic cnidarians to be found in the hobby> I have had two small frags in my 15g nano with 80w of PC (50/50 and 6500K) along with star polyps, various shrooms, and a couple small fish and shrimp (all I need now is some crab legs and butter). I'd love to plop some Xenia in my 55 gallon fish/invert tank but it only has 4 NO tubes. What sayest thou? <the common Xenia elongata (fast pulse Xenia) is very hardy, highly adaptable and will easily live here> Many thanks for your help, both now and from the site!!! Cheers! Matt, Charleston SC <go for it, bro... I'm going to re-adjust my shoes now. Anthony> <<Yikes. RMF>>

Iodine causing Xenia problems? Hey Crew, I had a problem with my red soft corals losing some of their color. My LFS sold me Lugol's iodine and I starting with very small amounts increasing to one drop a day four times a week (90 gallon tank). But now my once thriving pulsing Xenia are not looking so good. << Really?  They usually do better with Iodine.  I would do a water change and stop adding Lugol's for a while. >> It looks like some one let the air out of them. I stopped using the Lugol's and they are starting to look a little better. Do you think this was the problem. I thought Xenia love Iodine? << Yes, but maybe you have over-dosed the tank.  It is toxic at high enough levels. >> or should I be using a different produce maybe one that has Iodide? << No, don't try more chemicals. >> Also I had a problem with my skimmer. After reading your site for two hours I stumbled onto someone with a similar problem as myself. I have an over flow box with a few return jets up high for surface current. After bringing those down a bit my skimmer seems to be working more efficiently. Do you think this is the right move? << Hey if it is working better, then I guess so. >> Every time I see someone else's tank they seem to have a lot of surface current. Thanks again for all the free advise. If you ever decided to charge for this site. I would be the first on line. <<  Blundell  >> Pulsing xenia 8/9/04 Hi all.  I have read and learned much from this site. I learned mostly what I have been doing wrong, but now I know the error of my ways. I have a 55 gal tank with a bad mix of creatures from what I have learned from this site and others, I have a small yellow tang, 2 neon damsels, neon goby (very good fish to have) and a ocellaris clown. I have a very well established green star polyps, a "flower" anemone (named as the LFS told me), 2 brown mushrooms, a disc coral, pulsating xenia, a small hammer coral (about the size of a dime). There is also a fleet of snails, hermit crabs, and 2 emerald crabs. The tank has been set up for a year,  ph - 8.4 day light hours 8.2 around midnight. Nitrates, nitrites, ammonia 0.  Calcium is around 480, specific grav is 1.025 and Tank Temp is 80F.  The lighting system is a 260w pc with 2 55w actinic, on for about 10 hours a day. Filtering is a protein skimmer, and 2 Fluval 404 filters, a 400 gph power head. I am sorry for being long winded but with out telling all I can, something may be over looked. <All sounds fine, but power filter/canister filters need to be meticulously maintained!> All of the tank mates are doing great and have been in the tank for 6 months, except the pulsating xenia, they are new addition to the tank and are not doing so good, they spend most of the time clenched up, I have moved the in to the upper region of the tank, with high-med high current, and they have stretched out, but still do not pulsate. I dose daily(8 drops per day from a eye dropper) of iodine. and twice weekly of calcium and strontium about 1/2 a tea spoon. This dosage seems to keep my calcium very stable, I admit I have no test kit for strontium, but my green star polyps have been growing like weeds. I am converting over a 125 gal fresh water tank to salt, to separate some of these creatures. Any advise you can offer to help with the xenia would be very helpful. I would like to keep a colony of xenia, but if they need to go they need to go. the LFS says the ph levels have nothing to do with my problems. Thanks for an advise you can offer. Thanks All Chris P.S. I also have 120lbs of LR  <You do not mention alkalinity measurement or supplementation.  This is probably the most important parameter to measure after Salinity and pH and is especially important for xenia.  Alkalinity and calcium should always be dosed in a balanced fashion.  I would guess that if you measure your alkalinity you will find that it is low.  Correcting it should improve the health of your xenia.  Best Regards.  AdamC>

Xenia question follow up 8/10/04 Hi Adam C, I e-mailed you yesterday about my xenia problem, I do test the alk, sorry for omitting it. my level is 11.9dkh. I thank you for your timely response. Is this level too low? Thanks again for any insight you offer & Thanks for the excellent web site Chris <No worries!  You alk is right on the money.  After all of the exchange of information, I hate to leave you with an answer like this, but xenia simply does not thrive in some tanks despite good water quality (by all measurable parameters) and other corals doing fine.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Xenia and ph/Calcium 7/7/04 Thanks for your help.   <always welcome> I broke my tank down (I've done this annually) <interesting> and since then the Xenia have looked much better and are actually starting to multiply.  My PH stays around 8.4 but drops to 8.2 and even lower by weeks end.  The calcium is staying near 450ppm. <yikes... please do not buy into the "reef hype" that calcium needs to be so precariously (and dangerously) high. Contrary to what some extremist SPS keepers will tell you... Calcium this high is not helpful or safe. You will often find it difficult if even possible to maintain good alkalinity when Ca is pushing 450-500 ppm> Is there any correlation between high calcium and low PH? <yes... as per above and detailed in crash course in the article in our archives here at wetwebmedia.com "Understanding Calcium and Alkalinity" [you can find it with a keyword/phrase search with the google toll on the home page]> Another question I have concerns lighting.  I am happy with my VHO and the corals seem to like it as well however, I really like the sparkle provided by metal halides but don't like the cost.   <MH lamps are a much better value in the long run considering light produced per watts of electricity consumed and lamp replacement. Halides can go 2-5 years between replacements... fluorescents need replaced every 6-10 months (they plummet in quality/PAR by that time)> Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to get the sparkle without the cost? <do reconsider a DIY or retrofit MH. The ballast is only $40-60 from a local light and supply place... the socket with pre-wired harness is $15-30... there is no wiring involved here... just plug it all in. The lamp will run you $60-100 but last 2-3 years easily. compared to 3-5 fluorescents that need replaced freq. and cannot produce the same amount of light regardless, there is no comparison. Having said all of that relative to "value", I do also like the color of many fluorescent lamps and if aesthetics is an issue, then they have merit> Maybe some other type of light that I can get at my local Home Depot? <the "God beams" (dappling light effect) that you seek are an artifact of the MH/incandescent lamp style. No way around this one mate> Thanks again for your help. Craig Walker   <best of luck - Anthony>

Elusive Success With Xenia What's up crew? <Yeahhh! It's a Friday! That's what's up! Scott F. here today!> Been a while since I have had some good luck in the past 6 months. In January My inhabitants moved on up from a 7 gallon with a 10 gal refugium to a 35 gallon with a 20 gallon refugium. The focus of the tank is a quite large LTA that has been with me now for over 18 months. ITS HUGE! When I bought it it was about 4" tall, and opened to about 5" diameter. Now it can stretch as tall as 12" though it rarely does (only observed once since move).. and it can open up at least 10-12" diameter. My water parameters are Nitrite 0, Nitrate usually 0 sometimes gets in the 5-10 range, Ammonia 0, Temp is 78 in the morning, 80 at hottest. I have a 12,000k 175 Halide, and 2 CSL 32W smart lamps. The refugium is full of critters, Grape Caulerpa, a Mangrove shoot, and about 10lbs of LR. I also have an assortment of soft corals, 1 Torch, Green Star Polyps/Sea Mat, a few Ricordea mushrooms, and what my LFS called a "Galaxy Coral". What I cant seem to keep are Xenia. They do well for a while.. even multiplying.. but after a few months, they wither and die, and they all die at the same time. The only thing that is new since the switch is the Galaxy Coral.. about a month ago. So everything else has been with me at least a year. My LFS seems to think that my water is "Too Clean" I run a skimmer rated for a 225 gallon tank (a hold over from a larger tank a few years back) He suggests not running the skimmer, because of the refugium, and the Emperor 400 filter- I don't need it. I tried this experiment for a month.. and my Xenia and Torch seemed to like this, however, I noticed a slight raise in Nitrate from 0 to 10 ppm. <Not surprising, as you cut off a source of nutrient export> My water also got a little cloudy at times. When this happened, I switched on my skimmer for a few hours and it cleared things right up. My question is, should I run my skimmer a few hours a week just to keep particulates down? <Well, a skimmer is really not designed to filter out particulates. It's really for removing dissolved organics from the water. Personally, I'd really rather run the skimmer 24/7. As for the water being "too clean"; I've heard this theory many times, and don't entirely buy it. When I was keeping Xenia, I had enormous success, and I was running a sizeable protein skimmer and using activated carbon full time. I really think that success with Xenia is based on multiple factors of water quality, movement, pH, alkalinity, temperature, etc. It is important to engage in frequent small water changes, which not only keep water quality high, but serve to replenish important trace elements and minerals. I wonder if the allelopathic competition in your system is a factor. Anemones and soft corals can be a tough combination.> Or, is the LFS out of his mind and I am lacking something else for the Xenia? I have no desire to keep SPS, only the anemone and some softies. Oh as far as fish go, I have 2 small false perculas (2" tops) nothing else. The LFS also said to do LESS water changes.. I was changing about 5 gallons every 10 days, he thinks that with my refug, filtration and running my skimmer all the time, that once a month will suffice. <Subjective, really. I like more frequent water changes, particularly in soft coral/Cnidarian tanks> These guys have usually been pretty good in the past with recommendations, or I would normally blow off what they say.. and I have seen some of their own tanks personally, and they are quite amazing.... just kind of wanting a second opinion. They also suggested maybe adding a fish or two to increase bio load, the clowns are definitely a pair.. as they share the anemone what if anything would be a good idea for this system? Thanks again Aaron <Well, Aaron, they are offering good advice. However, without specific observation and testing of your system, it would be hard for me (or them) to come up with a 100% accurate theory as to what the problem is. I just don't by "too clean". If your water was "too clean", you certainly would not have detectable nitrate readings. I think it is really a combination of things, as outlined above. Continued observation and testing will yield the answer that you seek. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Xenia and SG and diatoms 4/14/04 Adam... Thanks for your quick response.  One question... I have read that the xenia will not "pulse" at sg over 1.023... is this true?  This was the only reason I was not raising the sg in my tank. <Totally ridiculous.  My SG is 1.025-1.026 and my xenias all pulse like mad.  Alkalinity and pH do have a significant effect on pulsation though.> Also.. a friend came over & saw my algae and told me he didn't think they were diatom blooms, but I am pretty sure of it.  Will you ID the small pic I have attached so I know for sure? Thanks again. <Does look like diatoms to me.  Could be Cyano or dinoflagellates, but making my best guess from that pic, I would agree with diatoms.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Xenia/lighting 4/7/04  hello and thanks for hosting such a great site- I've had a xenia for about two weeks, and part of it is faring well (the stalks closest to my 175w 10k halides) and part is shrinking (the stalks on the same rock frag that sit a bit shaded near my overflow).  <many possible causes for this... not the least of which is their typical slow acclimation at times. Some do, some don't... they are finicky>  My water seems ok- alk= 4.0; calcium 430, ph 8.3, (Salifert),  <pH could be dipping too low at night if 8.3 is a daytime/high reading. Aim for 8.3-8.6 for Xeniids at all times>  b-ionic 2 part as needed, RO water only, no nitrate/nitrite/ammonia; 2.5 year-old 40 gallon reef, 30 gallon sump w/Chaetomorpha crassius, carbon (every other week or so) plus Euro-reef es52 and an old Prizm because I couldn't just leave it in the box. Some LPS- torch, open brain, bubble- thriving green star polyps, a Condylactis, a colt frag, zoanthid colony, mushrooms. They all appear to thrive, and the carbon seems to handle allelopathy (I hope).  So: I'm afraid to move the xenia closer to the light, in that I've heard they hate being jostled.  <true... and they are very adaptable... best perhaps to simply let it adjust>  None are turning mushy or disintegrating, yet, but shriveling, so I have that sick hope I bet many reefkeepers get that things could turn around. Any sense at all in hooking up one of my wife's photography spots and temporarily sticking a 5600k light near their corner of the tank to see if the strugglers perk up?  <no necessary... Xenia can take rather modest lighting>  Would a 120 watt grow light from the sump room do any harm? should I just wait it out?  <the latter... patience my friend>  thanks so much-  <best regards, Anthony>

Xenia care 2/17/04 A few questions if you don't mind.  I was reading an article about Xenia on  your page when I came across a remark about not using an Eheim filter on a reef tank.  Why?   <I have no idea why or why not. Must have been case specific to the query. I'll try to clarify that if you'll point us to the passage> What should be used? It seems to be working ok for me although when I clean it every month it doesn't seem that dirty. <no worries> Also does a 175 watt 10000K metal halide and two actinic pc.s and two 10000K pc.s (pc.s at  65watts) sound ok for a 55 gallon reef tank with mostly soft corals? <yes... easily> Too much? Too little? <very much on par with 5 watts per gallon> What do you think about across and some hard coral dying within two weeks (after being in tank for months) when PH is 8.3 ammonia=0, nitrite=0, nitrate about 25, Ca=400, Alk=5, Phos=0, temp at 78 always, and EuroReef skimmer pumping out full cup every 2-4 days.  Any help will be of great benefit thanks in advance! Keep up the great work with the site! <hard to say about the SPS without knowing any symptoms of how they died or seeing pics. Bleaching or no? Mucus or no? Receding from top to bottom or bottom to top? Color change, etc? Really impossible to say. One getting an infection and spreading it to the others is most likely. Can come from you adding another animal to the tank (coral, fish, live rock, snail, etc) without proper quarantine. Some infections are specific enough to only know out a genus, family, group, etc. Anthony>

Xenia Come Back Hello WetWebMedia <howdy!> I knew where to come with this question. I have a 75 gallon reef with a long-tentacled anemone, a cabbage coral, a  hammer coral, several bubbles and a rapidly declining Xenia (silver-tipped) and a whole lot of live rock.  The tank gets a lot of natural sunlight along with VHOs --- the ph is buffered at 8.3 so it is difficult for me to get it much higher.   <aeration or better ventilation in the house. Cracking a window in a well-insulated room with the tank alone will often help raise the pH... do experiment and see> Calcium ranges from 420 to 450 and the temp is 78.   <easy on that calcium, mate... you are pushing the high end (dangerous) despite what the SPS coral freaks say <G>> I use Kent Super Buffer dKH -- and the rest are Sea-Chem products --- Calcium, Trace Elements with  iodine etc.   <check your ALK... I suspect its low due to your high Calcium. If you are well under 10 dKH, then you are on a bad path (precipitation possible in time). DO consider a series of large water changes and get the ALK/Ca dynamic more balanced> I use distilled ozonated water on my top off/refill.   <this water is/should be aerated and buffered before use... else I strongly suspect your ALK is low> The Xenia  was a frag off of a very healthy mother colony.  When I purchased the frag it  was pulsing and fully extended unfortunately it has never done that in my tank.  It has barely extended and some of the tips seem to be missing every day, although I have not seen anything actively feeding on it.  Could my problem be  blue are red legged hermits?   <not likely unless there is a rogue species mixed in their shells> or are my water parameters causing a meltdown? <perhaps... do check for flat ALK> Lastly and most important is there any magic to reverse this downward spiral?? <water changes... when in doubt, do a water change and then be patient (weeks). Anthony>

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> Regards, Mike <kindly, Anthony>

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>

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 going to 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>

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>

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> 

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?

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