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FAQs about Xeniid Reproduction/Propagation

Related Articles: Pulsing Soft Corals, Family Xeniidae

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

Start off with a healthy, good-sized colony for cutting up!

I have a question about my proposed Xenia fragging.    1/11/12
<As always we suggest  you trade, give away or sell, if you must, any and all coral that you want
> to remove from your tank>  I have two that have been in my new tank for a
> month.  The original stalks grew a second colony.  Then they reached to a
> nearby live rock and attached.<Often the case under the right conditions> 
> My question is that one of them did not attach at a foot/base.  One of them
> attached halfway up the stalk.  So, if I cut it away from the mother
> colony, the "base" of the new colony will be freely floating with not being
> attached to anything, although it will still be affixed to the live rock at
> the side.  Is this okay?<Yes>  What will happen to the unattached
> "foot"?<It will likely attach itself or recede back to its "new" mouth> 
> Thanks, Valerie <You're welcome, BryanC>
Thanks for your help!

Glued The Top Of My Xenia While Fragging/Xeniidae Health 9/9/10
Hello WWM, hope everything is well and thank you for reading this,
<Hello Peter, and you're welcome.>
I have a question about what to do. Firsts of, I was fragging some mushrooms and zoas today. While I was fragging those, I decided to go ahead and re-frag a xenia frag to a different location because my mantis shrimp liked to use the rock it was on to cover his entrance burrow. I was being careless and after I fragged some zoas and mushrooms, I started to glue the xenia to the back of my aquarium. I did not notice that I still had glue on my fingertips and I accidentally glued one stalk top of the xenia permanently open. Thankfully it was only one as it could of been much worse. But my question is should I
cut that stalk off that has been glued? Or should I just leave it be and hope the glue wears off? The glue is CorAffix brand gel. It doesn't seem that it will come off by itself.
<I would just leave be, the glued polyp will likely disintegrate/die.>
Thank you once again and have a nice evening!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Peter T
Glued The Top Of My Xenia While Fragging/Xeniidae Health 9/9/10 - 9/10/10

Hello James,
Thanks for the reply pertaining to my Xenia. It definitely put my mind at ease.
Have a good one!
<And you as well. James (Salty Dog)>

Xenia Acclimation/Light Acclimation/Photosynthetic Animals 9/6/09
<Hello Marchall>
I am expanding my saltwater hobby to include a small propagation system in my backyard greenhouse.
Using a retrofitted window A/C unit and the spare aquarium heaters I have laying around, I have been able to maintain water temperatures at 79 degrees. The system has been up and running for 5 weeks and all the parameters look good. I'd like to introduce some xenia, but my question is regarding the natural sunlight. I live in North Carolina and I was wondering if you had any suggestions/guidelines for light acclimating
the xenia specimen. If it's feasible, I'd like to use items I have available for shading the specimen. Some of my ideas are using the screen off a screen door I have sitting in the garage, or perhaps a thin sheet. I was thinking of adding the shade around 9am through 7pm and, over the course of several days, slowly decrease the length of time under the shade. Does this seem sufficient/feasible? Any other suggestions?
<If it were me, I'd purchase some inexpensive coarse plastic window screen, cut about 8 pieces of the screen to cover the tank/vat. After a couple of days, remove one screen per day until all are removed. This should provide a gradual acclimation to natural sunlight. Hope this helps you out.>
Thank you very much for your time.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Two (simple I hope) questions): Low-light Corals needing High Light and Niger Trigger/Clownfish Buddies! Now Xenia repro. 1/15/09 Thanks Bob! And love your book, "TCMA". It's my aquatic bible. As always, one more thing I thought of: A new rather sizable piece of xenia I rubber-banded to a piece of rubble, split in two and one of the stalks has attached itself to a medium sized turbo snail. The snail is not attempting to eat it or otherwise. It is safely atop the snail. I did not know xenia were motile - at least as much as this?! <Heee! Is fine... will very likely continue to asexually "frag", get, go elsewhere> Obviously, I cannot control flow and light intensity as the xenia rides around the tank. Shall I leave it alone or remove it. <I would definitely leave it as is... Will probably be fine, persist, and make for interesting observation, conversation/sharing> It does close up when the snail gets very high in the tank - closer to the MH. I just don't want it to "bake". It has seemed fine, though and the snail eventually moves. Is it safer to remove the snail-riding xenia, or leave it alone? <The latter> Thanks! Aleasha : ) (In frigid Baltimore, wishing I was where you are). <It is very nice this time of year here... Mostly 70's, 80's F... the water still warm, clearer than during most of the summer. Cheers, BobF>

Fragging Xenia 5/8/08 Hi everybody, hope everybody doing great! <I am on my end, thanks!> Things are going good here just a quick question. My pulsating xenia corals are growing like crazy, so I decided to try my hand at fragging them and sharing them with others. <Xenia will go crazy, selling off or trading is a good option, or giving it away outright.> So I did some research and found some videos on line. Most said to cut a head off with sharp scissors put it in between your fingers and cut it in half ,and then in half again so I did that and then put it on a plug bottom side down wrap it with bridle veal put a rubber band on it and put it back in the tank. <This is one way to propagate xenia.> O.K., so for so good, I did this a couple of days ago. And they look ok I guess, a little purple but the poor thinks have been cut into little pieces. <They will look this way for a while.> So how long does it take before they attach themselves to the plugs? <A few days, a week tops in a system suitable for them.> And some of the little polyps are sticking through the Vail, what's to keep them from pulling off as I try to take the Vail off? <This is the tricky part, actually suturing the pieces onto a plug/rock or even just placing small rocks next to the colony to grow onto are easier options. If you plan on propagating many Xenia or other corals I highly suggest Anthony Calfo’s “Book of Coral Propagation”. Otherwise do check [this page] regarding the other methods mentioned. Good luck, Scott V.>

Xenia Reproduction & misc. questions 01/21/2008 Hey Everyone. <Dean> I love your site - it's a great resource. I have what may be a dumb question, but could not find it in your FAQs. Since I have a question, I will ask a couple others while I am at it. My system is a 55 gallon system, 36x18x20, with a 6 inch sand bed, 50 pounds of live rock, 4-5 months old. I have a 20 gallon sump with an Urchin skimmer, and a small heater and chiller. Lighting is an LED system (Galileo). Alkalinity is 8 dKH, pH is 8.3 ish, nitrates 0. Population is a bunch of snails, 3 peppermint shrimp (*Lysmata wurdemanni)*, a very small Emerald crab (*Mithrax sculptus*), two smallish *Sarcophyton elegans *and one small *Sinularia sp.*finger leather. And one *Xenia umbellata*. Fish are 3 zebra dartfish (*Ptereleotris zebra). *These are great fish - don't know why they aren't more popular. <My guess is that folks don't find them "splashy" enough... but I agree with you. This Microdesmid is a tough, interesting species for aquarium care> I bought a small Xenia colony from my LFS maybe 6 weeks ago. It has been doing just fine - pulses all the time and has grown and budded new polyps. This afternoon it shrank like it does every afternoon about the same time just before dusk. It does this and will be back out in 30 minutes. - it's halfway out now. I think it's just expelling waste. Anyway, now the question. Today when it shrank, I noticed that there was a gap of several millimeters bisecting the disc in the middle, with about an equal number of polyps on either side. Is this a sign that the colony is splitting in reproduction? Or is something going wrong? <Could be a bit of all the above. Do you dose iodine/ate? Have you read re pulsing corals on WWM?> Second question, what fishes would go well with the dartfish? I know cardinal fish; would an assessor (*Assessor flavissimus)* work, or maybe a pair of false clowns? <All good choices> I know damsels can get snotty. I don't plan to add any more inverts except maybe some brittle stars - just wait for everything to grow out and maybe do some cuttings. And I am adding a refugium. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks Dean <I'd be reading re... Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia Reproduction & misc. questions  01/22/2008 Thanks Bob, <Dean> I do dose iodine. I do water changes 10% bi-weekly, and use two part ionic calcium/buffer replacement and J. Sprung's Sea-Elements, which has iodine. <Do you test for free iodine/ide/ate? I would switch to another product> I drip top off water nightly. I have read the FAQs on WWM, but maybe I missed something. When it's out, the xenia is fully extended and pulsing. And it's out 98% of the time. <A good long while... nothing to worry about re.> Thanks again. Dean <Welcome. BobF>

Re: Xenia Reproduction & misc. questions 1/23/08 Well, I just ordered an iodine test kit - bah! this hobby is like owning a boat. <Yeeikes! A frightening comparison... reality!> I do think its reproducing now - the stem is splitting in two, about 1/3 of the way down, with about an equal number of polyps at the top. I do have an iodine supplement - I will wait for the test before I start dosing. <Ahh, good> Thanks for the help dean <Welcome! BobF>

Propagating Anthelia I have read all of you articles on propagating xenia but I am still unsure how to go about propagating anthelia. Because it attaches to the rock in clusters I am unsure where to "cut" it. Any help would be very much appreciated. <The absolute simplest way to propagate anthelia is to put small pieces of live rock surrounding the site and simply watch it multiply. Healthy anthelia will spread, in my experience, quite easily. You can also cut the groupings off but you are dealing with some nasty stuff when you cut it. Truthfully it will propagate itself quite easily and I'm a big proponent of not cutting into your corals unless its necessary. I have been propagating corals now for many years and help put on demonstrations at IMAC and at MACNA. We don't usually use either anthelia or xenia at these demonstrations because they sometimes don't ship well and when they do, if you try to propagate them you can have some problems with contamination in the tanks.>  <Good luck Ed. Just scatter the pieces of rock you'll be absolutely amazed. MacL> Ed Schmittou

Brain (coral) frags, xenia repro.  - 04/19/06 Hello,     I was wondering if it was possible, or how to, frag a brain coral. <Can be scored, cut with a chisel et al., but best cut with a power tool that is securely mounted... a "wet-saw" for cutting tile, or a band-saw is most often employed here> Also, once xenia starts growing all over the same rock, is it normal for it to sort of grow taller as it fights for position, the last time it started getting taller was because a bulb had burned out and they needed more light, I think. <Happens> I checked and all the bulbs are good and since the last burn out I have even got a new lighting system that adds about 55 watts more, they are reproducing like crazy, and fully opened all day and most of the night, so I don't think they are unhappy, but when I first got them they were shorter.  Is it because there is almost 10x the amount now versus when I bought them?   Thank you for your time. <Maybe. Please see WWM re cnidarian culture: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm Bob Fenner>

Colt Coral Reproduction 12-06-05 Hi crew, <Hello> I have a Colt coral that is reproducing. <Great job!!!> Can you give me any tips on how to save the branches as they fall off? <You can cut and collect them. Just use a razor blade or sharp scissors.> I have about 5 that are ready to drop. I'm afraid I won't find them if they fall when I'm not around. I have very good current in my 55 gal. I was thinking about turning off the pumps and hope the fall where I can see them? Any help? <As is said above, just cut them and collect them. I would then place the frags in a bowl with some rubble or use one of the many ways to attach them to some live rock that you will find in Anthony's book or on the net.> Anthony, Just order your book Coral Prop. 1 from That Fish Place in PA. <I will say thank you for Anthony. Enjoy that book, it is a great read and a must have.> Thanks, Tom <Glad to help, Travis>

Shipping Xenia 7.23.05 Hi to everyone and good day. <Cheers> I know Xenia isn't the easiest of corals to ship. Giving this to account what would be the proper way to go about this with the least amount of mortality?  Thanks in advance, Candy <It's rather simple my friend. Once established, most in this Family (Xeniidae) are not only hardy, but fast-growing. To ship and share these corals successfully, the key is to avoid handling living tissue... and to prevent the coral from repetitive contact with the walls of the shipping bag/container. Either stimulates the coral to produce mucus which is sometimes fatal in shipping (excess mucus invites potentially pathogenic bacteria to flourish). The easiest way to ship Xenia is to make a Styrofoam raft that is larger than the widest span of the specimen (footprint of base or spread of colony branches). Mount the coral upside down on this raft (rubberband the rock base to the Styro). In this fashion, coral tissue can practically never touch a vessel side wall. Best regards, Anthony> Propagating Xenia 2/7/05 Great site to share a wealth of information. We really appreciate your dedication! <Thanks kindly> I have a question about propagating Xenia. I understand the rubble tray propagation process. Perfect for Sarco's and other softies. But what about Xenia?  <Equally good... I used this method with cups of rubble in my coral farming greenhouse for many years> I've seen discussions about bridal veil and rubber bands. Both seem to be time consuming.  <Yes... far too tedious for me> What's the best way?  <Natural settlement for larger quantities> Also, how many stalks per "rock" is acceptable if wishing to sell them? <Varies per market and price... a single large stalk is worth about $5-8, several stalks on a baseball sized piece of live rock my be wroth $12-20 wholesale. Retail prices are 2-4X> Thanks, Jerry <Best of luck! Anthony>

Attaching Xenia 5/9/05 Hey guys, Just a quick question regarding attaching xenia stalk to rock. What is the best way?  <For proper fix the first time, I recommend stitching (use clean nylon fishing line and a large bore needle).> My LFS said I could attach the fragment that I bought from them with a toothpick. Any thoughts? Nilesh. <Yes... this can work too (use a cocktail toothpick with a flared end). There are many ways to successfully attach corals... see some of my articles on this very topic/question that I and others have online here at wetwebmedia.com, Reefcentral.com (go back to 2002 for articles!) and MarineDepot.com newsletter (in the last year). I also keep an index of my articles in my forum at reefcentral.com in the All Things Salty - forum. Best of Luck, Anthony> 

Attaching Xenia II 5/10/05 Thanks so much.  I found that the tooth pick method works but loosens up over time.  I'm going to try stitching it! Nilesh <Agreed, my friend. I like stitching as the best overall choice for secure attachment of soft corals (and some hard corals as well... a tie down until they set new tissue upon the substrate). After a few weeks, once secure, you can cut the visible stitch away... or simply let the coral grow over the line. Anthony>

Removing propagated corals from substrate 1/17/05 My question was more geared towards removing propagated corals from  their rocks, in order to place them in a natural appearance in my tank.    <ahhh... I see> Tonight, I tried just cutting away the base rock of the  aquacultured coral to fit well within my live rock.  Your book addresses Xeniid maturity. I acquired a Red Sea Xenia from my LFS two nights ago. If a cutting is made  from a mature colony, is the propagated piece also mature??   <no my friend... the division is raw, new and needs weeks to establish some basal tissue and stabilize> Xenia are  called weeds, but they are by far the most fascinating corals I've ever seen <very much agreed> (they are the reason I started a reef tank). I have both read and replied on WetWebMedia's public forums.  I don't  know how you can stand some of the questions that are asked!   <a desire to help people succeed which saves animals lives and insures the success and survival of our hobby via successful participants> Thanks Anthony- James <always welcome... best of luck my friend. Anthony>

Xenia Cutting Question, 1.11.05 Hi guys, <Hello, Ryan with you today.> Got another quick question.  I have read lots of articles on propagating xenia. I have an xenia that had a very long stalk, about 5"  it was being pushed against a piece of live rock about half way up the stalk. One day I noticed it was growing a little nub and reaching out to the rock where the xenia was rubbing. It has since attached itself to the rock.  Now the long stalk spans between two pieces of rock. I was wondering if a could just snip the stalk in between the two anchor points without taking it out of the tank. <Yes, certainly.  It's near foolproof!  Check out GARF.org for some other interesting ways to raise Xenia of all types.  Good luck, Ryan> Thank in advance Troy Pulsing Xenia - Did I make a mistake? First of all, your website and books have been invaluable. My 180G Reef tank has been up for about a year. By using your web site I have successfully dealt with a case of ick, Cyano, and hair algae. So far I've really enjoyed the hobby and look forward to continue to learn. Here is a quick inventory of what is in the tank. Thanks to you're web site they all seem to be doing great! Fish: Yellow Tang - since 12/16/2003 Royal Gramma - since 12/29/2003 Lawnmower Blenny - 9/18/2004 Bullet Goby - 10/10/2004 Mandarin -  since 2/7/2004 and growing! (he now eats frozen Mysid as well as picks at the live rock) Coral Beauty - since 9/11/2004 Corals: Leather Finger Coral - since 3/20/2004 Brain Coral - since 6/4/2004 Torch Coral - since 6/4/2004 Octopus Coral - since 9/18/2004 Mushroom Corals - since 7/10/2004 Trumpet Corals - since 11/26/2004 Cat's Eye Coral - since 11/26/2004 Other Inverts: Emerald Crab Turbo Snails A few hermit crabs Here is my question: I purchased a pulsing Xenia on November 5th. Since then it has split twice and two additional xenia corals have sprouted in other locations in the tank. I now have 5 xenias. My sense is that it may over-run my 180 gallon tank very quickly. If I do the math, 5 Xenias in the first month and a half, then 25 the second month and half, then possibly 125 xenias the third month and a half. I wanted a reef tank not a Xenia coral farm. Should I remove all the xenia from the tank?<It can take over the tank and you should monitor it closely.> If so, how?<A good pair of scissors and cutting at the base usually does the job.> I'm also concerned that they may spread closer to some of my other corals and start attacking them. Is this a valid concern? <Yes, they won't attack but the slime coat that they emit will bother the other corals.> Thanks for your help, Joel <As long as you keep the coral in check you will be fine.  Regular grooming will prevent the coral from getting out of control.  Good Luck. MikeB.> Does it Hurt? I'd really like to propagate some of my mushrooms, Ricordea and xenia, but don't like to cause anything pain. During propagation, do these creatures experience pain when they are cut? Thanks for your time...Marcye >>>Hello, Pain is a mechanism designed to inform the organism that damage is, about to, or has occurred. That information wouldn't do a sessile invertebrate much good would it? It can't run away, move or bite you. Snip my friend, snip like the wind! Jim<<<

Xenia Help! Splitting 5/29/04 To anyone who can help (Anthony?) <gotcha covered>     I have a small 33 gallon reef tank with a Xenia which has grown to about 10 times larger than when I got it about a year ago.  However, he has straddled across two rocks (his original frag piece and another larger chunk. <yes... good pic. Simple fission here> The original piece is loose though and it looks like he's gonna tear. I'm afraid for damage to him and I don't know how/if he can be cut into at least two pieces. Please see the attached photo and let me know if there's anything I can do? <Do cut through if you like. The basal piece will grow polyps and a new capitulum ("head") in mere weeks with adequate light, water flow, etc.> Thank you in advance. By the way, I took this picture at night with a flash and the Xenia was kinda flopped over to one side although still pulsing slowly. <all good... best regards, Anthony>

Xenia propagation and shameless book plugs 8/4/03 I have been reading the entries on wetwebmedia.com (WWM) regarding Xenia propagation, and I have also been reading GARF's website. <hey... and don't forget my Book of Coral Propagation <G>: http://www.readingtrees.com/books_in_print.htm heehee... shameless... just shameless <G>> I understand that the pH should be relatively high (8.3+) and the temperature low (76F). <correcto... especially so on the pH... but not so critical on temp. Warmer temps can be tolerated easily even if not ideally> I recently added a very nice rock with 4 Xenia stalks on it and I would like to promote the growth of them in my tank. I have a very stable pH of 8.0 (+/- 0.2 day/night) and my tank temperature is 82-81 F (day/night). <the temp is fine... the pH is not going to work. Really very flat for success with most corals> I do not use a fan inside my canopy, but I am considering adding one. I think I can cool the tank by 3-4 degrees just by adding a small fan. In your opinion should I try to adjust the pH and the temperature? <the pH is a much bigger issue here for all. Do relax on the temp> I have attempted to raise my pH before using pickling lime and baking soda, but I only ended up with a very well buffered system (~6 dKH) with high calcium numbers (525 ppm) and my pH was still lower than my goal of 8.0. <have you read through the archives regarding pH and aeration (insulation of modern homes trapping CO2/affecting off-gassin of carbonic acid. Very common in the summer months with closed windows and doors. Do confirm this problem by aerating a glass of aquarium water outside for 6-12 hours vigorously... the pH should not move upwards (else a problem is indicated)> I wonder if high nitrate levels (20-30 ppm) could be the problem? <not a problem for Xenia. They can be found growing on the sewage effluent pipes of coastal hotels... seriously> I am addressing them with 40% water changes each weekend. <still excellent to hear> They are dropping and I will have them under control in about 2 more weekends. Shame on me for not getting a new test kit. <we have all made this mistake... good to hear you on the ball now, my friend> I have added more live rock to my refugium and will also increase the sand bed depth in the refugium from 1-inch to 3-inches. <hey... while I am shamelessly promoting books... see the info on the same link above for our book on "Reef Invertebrates". It has the most extensive coverage of refugiums/live sand, plants and algae in the hobby. See Amazon.com and the big message boards for reviews/perspective of both titles for your consideration :) > Your help is greatly appreciated! Jeff <best regards, Anthony>

Question on moving/removing Xenia >Hi Crew, >>Greetings, Marina today. >Thanks for all your invaluable information.   Need some help figuring out how to move a Xenia Coral.  It is affixed to two pieces of live rock that will be difficult to move together.  >>For those meeting its needs, this, it turns out, is not uncommon. >I need to clean a pump that is enclosed in a skimmer box and the rock makes it impossible to do.  I am new to coral and so far this coral is doing well so I am reluctant to move it but have to keep the water quality up as this pump feeds the skimmer.  Will this coral let go of one of the rocks or will I do it irreparable harm?  I have looked in Anthony's book but can't find this information.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. >>I believe that you can treat the necessary procedure as "fragging", typically when one removes a part or branch of coral (soft and stony).  With Xenia, I believe you can actually take a sharp razor, I would probably use a straight edge blade.  If yours are growing as I am picturing, then you can basically treat them like a head of broccoli, cutting at the base, pick the narrowest "connection", and hopefully you will only need one, maybe two cuts to separate the rock.  What I would think is worse is tearing them apart, much loss of life, I would think.  Links:  http://www.reefs.org/library/talklog/d_maughmer_110799.html http://www.fishprofiles.com/profiles/coral/xenia.asp Best of luck!  Marina

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 Hello Bob,  I'm having a horrible time keeping my Xenia under control, they are spreading like wild fire all over my tank. I have removed 90% by cutting them at the base using a scalpel. Unfortunately within a week what I was unable to remove of their bases has turned right back into little growing Xenia again. Do you know anyways of keeping these guys under control, or even removing them if it comes to that). Any advise is greatly appreciated, Rob. Rob cook >> Really? If it were me, I'd arrange for some sorts of easy to remove and transport base material, and sell off your "excess" to local stores. The pulsing (soft) corals (family Xeniidae) are crummy shippers, and you might well use the added income... To buy, outfit (yes) yet another marine/reef system!!!! That you can keep separate from the "xenia that ate Detroit" colonies you have going... I am serious, this is what I would do. Bob Fenner

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