Pulsing Xenia (Xenia sp.)
Family: Xeniidae (Octocorals)
Habitat: Rapidly colonize newly disturbed areas of reefs. Prefers turbid water. Common near effluent discharge of sewage pipes. Form vast 'carpets' of pulsing corals in these areas.
Light: Medium Water Flow: Medium Space: 1+ gal.
Reef Safe: Yes Care Level: Easy Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: The octocorals are generally polytrophic - getting nutrition from zooxanthellae (algae) in their tissues, nutrient uptake from the seawater, and feeding on microplankton.
Natural History: Not all Xenias can pulse but most can. The reason for the pulsing is uncertain. Most Xenias grow on slopes or vertical surfaces on the reef. They are often the first corals to colonize a reef area because they can 'walk' to disturbed areas. In some areas, they may cover more than half of the substrate.
Husbandry: The Xenias are difficult to ship and they may die rapidly and unexpectedly after long periods of growth in an aquarium. Xeniids are likely absorptive in satisfying their nutritional requirements and carbon reactors may compete with them for organic material. Some aquarists have reported that iodine (Lugol's solution) is helpful to maintaining Xenias while others have found the opposite - it should be used with caution or not at all. Strong lighting and water currents are important to their health. They likely feed on microplankton and use products of their internal zooxanthellae. Colonies can reach 4 inches high and 4 inches across.
AKA: Pulse Coral
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