View Full Version : Questions Regarding Invasive Species

05/11/2017, 03:10 PM
Hello friends :)

I'm happy to say my tank is probably less than a month away from getting my first group of soft corals. I've never had coral before so I'm here to ask some questions if you all don't mind. I have a JBJ 45 gallon with a sump built into the back.

I'm very much interested in Pulsing Xenia and Green Star Polyps, however my research has shown me that many experienced reefers can't stand these species even going as far as to call them pests or weeds. Looks like the problem comes from them literally growing so well they take over the entire tank. The only solutions here that I've seen are isolating them on islands away from the main aqua scape.

If I isolate them on a small piece of live rock will they grow over the sand toward the main display? Are the polyps easily spread by water flow? While I love the look of these corals I would rather forego getting them if they spread easily even when isolated.

Several other choices were Zoanthids and a toadstoll leather coral. Are either of these species aggressive or invasive or are they okay on the main scape?

What precautions should I take prior to adding them to my tank? I have some coral dip as well as some glue to attach the frags to the isolated rocks (if isolation is necessary). Granted my tank isn't huge so the coral spreading out of control or having pests being introduced are my main worries.

I'm so sorry for this huge post. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. I can't wait to get this tank filled up and full of movement and color.

Best wishes,


05/11/2017, 03:30 PM
I'll let more experienced members answer some of your other questions, but I have to admit that I have seen Xenia spread, seemingly across time and space with no effort, but have been able to keep GSP isolated so long as I was mildly diligent. But just remember the line "nature abhors a vacuum," no truer words were ever spoken with regards to those two. Good luck!

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05/14/2017, 07:14 AM
xenia does well in dirtier water. in a sps tank, they dont do well at all. gsp on the other hand, thrive in all water conditions.

05/19/2017, 11:20 AM
If you reaaaaalllly don't want xenia to spread, you probably should keep it physically separated from your main rock structures, and check periodically whether any off-shoots have "migrated." For instance, I have a fish who loves to frag my soft corals for me...I honestly don't mind, but if you're trying to contain xenia to one specific location, it might not be so "helpful." GSP (as you noted) and Kenya trees are others to look out for.

Toadstools and zoas should be absolutely fine.

05/28/2017, 10:31 AM
I had a Kenya tree take over a tank. I'll never have another. I think you should be ok with the gsp as long as you keep them isolated.

06/05/2017, 07:19 PM
I was looking at a picture of my old 50 gallon tank and it had Xenia everywhere (unfortunately mojano anenomes too). I read they can actually "walk" to new locations, so they are hard to isolate. I've had Zoas spread like wildfire too. GSP I have kept isolated.

Before getting a toadstool or other soft coral, what other corals do you plan to keep in your tank? Some SPS and LPS react to the chemical defences of soft corals, so study up before taking the plunge if you want a mixed reef. My toadstool leather (Sarcophyton) is my favorite softy by far.

06/06/2017, 10:57 PM
Xenia will break off and float to new locations. I've had pieces that I've literally ripped apart get sucked through a pump and end up in my sump, only to find their way into my refugium where they became a secondary plague.

GSP don't seem to do that, but they create "ears" that eventually fall off and float to new rocks. They'll literally create free sections of "skin" encrusting on itself to allow it to bridge across sand and open water too.

Zoanthids will create mats in the sand and spread from one "island" to another.

There is no way to stop them unless you eliminate them completely from the start. I would treat them the same way you would aiptasia. Use kalk or epoxy/superglue to smother and melt them asap.

06/06/2017, 11:01 PM
and specifically for Xenia, I don't mean ripped up as in removed from the rock. I mean literally ripped apart so the base stays on the rock and the top is removed to go in the trash. The broken up pieces ooze the brown goo inside.... and those pieces still survive being crushed by a pump impeller and recover where they land.

They've even gotten into my powerhead impellers and grown fast enough to seize them over the few hours at night. They basically got closer and closer and closer to the rotating shaft without being impacted and then overnight, they grew enough to block it. Once it seized, they overgrew the impeller shaft and completely locked it up.

I had to throw it into a bucket of muratic acid to eliminate all traces of the biological material.

06/06/2017, 11:09 PM
and I haven't found a way to remove the plagues. I'll be selling the whole tank or breaking it down soon anyway, but do not do it...

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06/07/2017, 12:20 AM
double post.