View Full Version : coral of the week { xenia }

03/14/2001, 07:25 PM
week #16 coral of the week { xenia }. This coral is pictured on page 185 of the book the Corals a quick reference guide by Julian Sprung.

Every week I will post a new coral and I want you to post everything you know about this particular coral. Everything from common names, how hardy they are, water temp, water flow, lighting, water parameters, fraging, spawning, related corals, scientific names, feeding, best ways to ship, etc. Post your pictures for identification. Please tell us about your system so others can duplicate your success. Also email me for request on which corals you would like to see in this section.


03/15/2001, 10:19 AM
This thing has it's own personality. I have a frag that was pumping like mad in the bag, put it in the tank and it still pumps. The next day it stop pumping altogether. When i try to clean up my tank and the water becomes clowdy and dirty, the thing starts to pump again.

Sometime it dies and sometime it come back. Sometime it spread like weed, sometime it grows like leather coral. Iodine or not don't change it's behavior.

I guess mine like dirty water.

03/15/2001, 10:34 AM
I've never had a Xenia(will get one as soon as my tank gets completely cycled) but I think they pump the most when they feel detritus or plancton in the current for them to eat, well thats just a guess. Overall they are beautiful little creatures...

David Grigor
03/15/2001, 12:04 PM
Warning !!!!

Don't keep this thread open on your machine long.....

Xenia will spread to your desktop !!!

I have had my fill of Xenia. Spreads to fast and can take over your tank. I want to save my real estate for brighter colored corals....

03/15/2001, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by Pinkskunk
I guess mine like dirty water.

Just the opposite for me. When ever I feed or the DSB gets stirred up by the damsels, the xenia slowly shrivels down to stubs. Soon as the water clears, out the heads come, pumping and stretching for the lights. Yes, it does grow out of control. I have some stalks with bases about 3"+ in diameter and as long as 12". The "patch" is now about 2' by 2' and I'm "decolonizing" (too big to call fragging) every week.

03/15/2001, 02:01 PM
A friend of mine WAS not able to keep them in control due to their growth rate. One day, i mentioned that i just spend $100 for an RO replacement cartridge, she looked at me like [email protected]#$%^& What on earth????? do you suppose to replace them? It turned out that she DID NOT replace her membrance cartridge for about 2 YEARS. Well, she bought a new one and 2 months later, her Xenia is TOTALLY in control. The growth rate has been significantly REDUCED.

03/15/2001, 02:11 PM
Yes... xenia can grow out of control :)


Xenia Elongata grows best when there is lots of light and very little current and lots of nutrients in the water.

Bt it can be so delicate and beautiful....


03/15/2001, 03:09 PM
I got my original frag in a glad food container--no current--and I haven't seen it pump as well since. It was just beautiful: all stems and polyps at perfect extension, pumping away like little hearts. I have found that it won't pump if there is enough current to affect the polyp extension, which isn't much. There can be enough current to bend the coral over, like a tree waving in the breeze, but if the current bends the 'feathers' of the polyp, it won't pump.


03/16/2001, 05:03 PM
We got some xenia elongata from Jason at Premium Aquatics. It quickly took over the entire right third of our tank. The stuff that's very shaded by other xenia doesn't seem to do as well, but it falls off and gets replaced. As long as the pH is above 8.1, it pulses continuously. The stuff is truly a weed. We've had it growing well under PC and NO bulbs. Flow seems to be irrelevant to the type we have, since it does just the same in high or low flow.

We've spread it around to our local marine society, and it's just as much a weed for them, under all sorts of conditions and lighting.

As for fragging, we just grab some, pull it out, and throw it in a bag to take down to the store. We can take two handfuls of the stuff down, and, by the time we get back, we literally can't tell where we took it from.

On the plus side, when it's taken over so much of the tank, it's pulsing, which parts of it are more open, and things like this have drastic effects on the water flow dynamics of the tank. The natural wavemaker.

The xenia actually doesn't feed on detritus or plankton. This is a common misconception that comes up every few months on these BBs. Surprisingly, the pumping action seems to be completely unrelated to feeding. There are various theories as to why it does this, but none have been proven definite.


03/16/2001, 05:04 PM
One word describing xenia, EVIL!

03/16/2001, 05:42 PM
All I can say is that I think it is truely one of the best soft corals!! It has personality and movement which makes it very unique. I had to try 2 times to get it to live in my tank.. on the 2nd try it went crazy and grew all over. I think that current is important as when I take current away from it, it starts to turn white in areas and die off.. If you can believe it, I have a lfs that pays 35$ per frag of this stuff that I give them... (needless to say, havent bought dry goods or l/rock for a while now!) I agree that high ph helps it pulse better, and high light is important for overall health and appearance.. one of my favorites yet!!

03/16/2001, 05:51 PM
I have a small crop of xenia elongata. So far, its growth is restricted to an area at the top of the tank, fenced in by the strong current from the sump return. Thus restricted, it is an attractive and interesting part of the community.

03/16/2001, 08:30 PM
This week I think you mean "plague" of the week. I have a 180 that I have a hard time keeping ahead of the Xenia. I was going to throw some out into the yard just to get rid of it when I had a thought... "why not take it down to the LFS and see if he's interested in in?" Well he gave me $95.00 livestock credit for the stuff I was just going to toss. Who knew I had a money crop?????


Although I sometimes complain about my Xenia and having to give it away so often (Free to you if you can get to South Mississippi, as it does not ship worth a hoot and nothing smells worse than Xenia gone bad!!!!!) there is nothing in my tank that shows of the current of the wavemaker better than the waving of the arms of the Xenia. Absolutely mesmerizing:)

[Edited by wayne on 03-17-2001 at 06:38 PM]

Salt Creep
03/16/2001, 09:20 PM
They sure grow fast! Mine is a pretty pale pink type (under my lights, anyway-- under natural sunlight it looks more beige) and I've been able to mow it down every week or so and trade a lot of them in at various stores for credit. They don't even seem to need acclimation, we just dump them right in the new tank and they keep on pumping.

It's crashed once, after I used a spatula to scrape them off the overflow grills. I think it was because I put the scrapings in a low flow area, and they got infected and the infection spread to all the colonies. I thought I lost them all, but a few polyps survived and they've spread again.

Here's a series of pics showing the spread after the crash:
April: http://home.earthlink.net/~kenuy/0400xeniaS.JPGJune: http://home.earthlink.net/~kenuy/0600rsxS.JPG July: http://home.earthlink.net/~kenuy/0700rsxS.JPG December: http://home.earthlink.net/~kenuy/1200rsxS.JPG

I used to supplement with iodine, but I don't anymore. It seems like it grows slowly until it reaches a certain size, then it suddenly takes off.


03/16/2001, 09:43 PM

Can anyone spare some frags? I'll pay for shipping.


03/16/2001, 11:01 PM
A couple of facts about xenia:

The pumping is not an attempt to capture food particles. Xenia cannot eat in the conventional sense, and absorb dissolved nutrients from the water column in addition to photosynthetic means (zooxanthellae) to aquire nourishment. The pumping is more like respiration, an exchange of oxygen-poor water in its tissues for the oxygen-rich water in the well-established reef tank (or actual reef of course).

Also, not all xenia pumps all the time. My strain of xenia only pumps when there is a total lack of current on it (see the above paragraph for the reason why.)


Here's a pic of some of mine:

03/17/2001, 01:03 AM
Can anyone send me a frag of this stuff. I'll pay shipping and a little tip for your trouble. Please E-mail me at [email protected] if you can spare a frag.
Thanks a lot,

Rick O
03/17/2001, 06:37 AM
I would recommend the pom pom xenia if you don't want it to get out of hand. It's much slower growing.

Brian: What's the story behind that first pic? From the looks of the water level it appears the tank has been neglected.


03/17/2001, 08:35 AM
Originally posted by herefishiefishie
A couple of facts about xenia:

The pumping is not an attempt to capture food particles. Xenia cannot eat in the conventional sense, and absorbs dissolved nutrients from the water column in addition to photosynthetic means (zooxanthellae) to aquire nourishment. The pumping is more like respiration, an exchange of oxygen-poor water in its tissues for the oxygen-rich water in the well-established reef tank (or actual reef of course).

Also, not all xenia pumps all the time. My strain of xenia only pumps when there is a total lack of current on it (see the above paragraph for the reason why.)

Exactly what I was fixing to type!:)

Thanks HFF!;)

03/17/2001, 09:05 AM
Xenia is one of my favorites! When I purchased my first frag, I had NO lights and it didn't pulse. When I upgraded to VHO, the next day it began pulsing! When I move it to an area of the tank that is not so brightly lit, it stops pulsing. So IMO light has a huge affect on it. Also, it pulses faster after the addition of trace elements. I'm constantly pruning and fragging mine because I've heard that they are more prone to total crash if you do not prune it. I have read that they really are somewhat aggressive and that you need to be careful what corals you place around them. They certainly don't seem aggessive, but I do add some space. ~kim

03/17/2001, 09:23 AM
I think I have the Red Sea variety. Overall I like them alot . in my tank I have a number of really cool things but what draws my eye and everyone elses eye is that field of little pumping flowers, way cool. Extremely easy to keep for anyone. I have seen a 10 gallon microreef setup that was full of them, it was cool. On the downside though they do spread quickly so they require policing. I notice the tendency to migrate up. Some of it grew on my overflow box and mulitplied then kept going up until it was affecting the surface flow of the tank.


03/17/2001, 10:06 AM
Got my frag from a cool guy down in Galveston.

Wanted it for two reasons. I like the way it looks when it pulses. I hate paying high prices at the LFS(want credit), and they NEVER have xenia in stock. The frag I have is doing very well, but not spreading yet. Hopefully it will take off soon.

03/17/2001, 10:41 AM
Mine grows realy fast.I've been giving it away.
Its free to anyone who wants to come and get it.
I live in SanDiego,I WON'T SHIP.
E-Mail me if interested.

03/17/2001, 11:06 AM
Check out this for Xenia control: