About Xenia Corals and its care
Xenias are beautiful corals that are considered easy and also hard to take care at the same time due to their unpredictability. They are consider hard to take care as they are prone to the 'sudden death syndrome', where a healthy thriving colony in the saltwater reef tank can without warning and without any apparent reason, close up and die. Another reason for their difficulty is due to their poor tolerance for shipping and transportation. More Xenia are said to have died during shipping and transportation process than while being kept in the tank. However, once they have survived the shipping and transportation process and the shock and stress of a new tank, they are considered as a hardy corals due to their ability to reproduce or multiply easily and within a short time. The only problem is that they are still prone to the risk of the sudden and unexplainable death syndrome.
Xenia is a stalky coral with a soft fleshy body or polyp. Each polyp consists of eight tentacles which look like a feather. The stalks are usually white or semitransparent in color. The feathery looking polyp comes in various colors such as light brown, green, cream, blue, red, pink, white with tan or light brown being the most common color. They cannot retract or hide their polyps but it can be close during nighttime or when stressed. The polyps are an interesting feature of the Xenias as they can open and close in a fascinating pulsing or pumping motion.
In the wild, they are often found on the vertical surface of rocks at a depth of between 0 to 30 feet (0-10 meters) so that they can get sufficient light and exposed to strong current. In the saltwater reef aquarium, put them on the vertical surface of some rocky structures high up in saltwater reef aquarium with exposure to strong current. They can also be made to grow or multiply on the back glass wall of the tank to create a beautiful looking tank background of Xenia colonies. To ensure the long term success of keeping these corals, it is advisable to get aqua cultured or captive grown corals which are easily available nowadays.
A beautiful white Xenia Corals.
Facts Sheet - Information, Guide and care
Common Name: Xenia, Pulsating, Pulse, Pom Pom or Glove coral
Scientific Name/binomial name: Xenia spp.
Family: Anthozoa -> Alcyonacea
Category: Soft Coral
Size: Each stalk can grow to about 3" long while the individual feathery looking polyp will normally be about 1"-2".
Temperament: Not Aggressive. Most Xenias do not have any stinging capability. However, when the tank's condition is optimum, they will growth or multiply quickly and tend to crowd and block the light to other slow growing corals. They are also known to release toxins than can harm nearby corals as a defensive mechanism or when they are injured or dying.
Distribution: Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea.
Specific Gravity: 1.023-1.025
Temperature: 75 to 82 °F (25°C to 28 °C)
Light Requirement: Strong lighting is required although they can be acclimatized to medium light as they get almost all of their food from the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae which require proper lighting to survive. To keep Xenia happy, you should have at the minimum a power compact for tanks with < 24" depth and with the corals place at the higher part of the tank. Use a High Output (HO), VHO or Metal Halides for deeper tank.
Current Flow: Medium to strong water movement to encourage their polyps to open and pulsate.
Compatible with: Most carnivore fishes and invertebrates that do not eat them.
Incompatible with: Stony corals as Xenia ability to grow and multiply quickly will choke and block the slow growing corals light source. Some species also have toxic chemical as a defense mechanism which can harm nearby corals. Xenia can also 'move' from its original location in the tank and re-establish itself in another area of your tank. This can be a problem if its new location is too near to other corals colonies. As such, when keeping Xenia together in the same tank with other corals, ensure that there is sufficient space or distance between them. Do not keep them with any predatory fish, crabs, snails and worms which consider them as a delicious meal.
Diet and Feeding : Xenia derived most of their food from the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae. They do not need any feeding as they have no mouth. As such don't waste time trying to feed them. It is also thought that they are capable of getting some nutrients by absorbing some of the dissolved organic matter in the water through their soft tissue.