Pulsing Xenia (Xenia sp.)

From Pet Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pulsing Xenia
Xenia sp.
Pulsing Xenia (Xenia sp.)
Name Pulsing Xenia
Name Lat. Xenia sp.
Family Pulse Corals
Family lat. Xeniidae
Order Soft Corals
Order lat. Alcyonacea
Origin Indo-Pacific
Diet Autotrophic
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-10 °KH
Lighting Medium-high
Current Moderate
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Colony
Care Level Moderate
Life Span N/A
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 8 cm
Temperature 22-28 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium 200 l
US Units
Size 3"
Temperature 72-82 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium 50 gal

Distribution and habitat

Xenia spp. belongs to the group of soft corals. This non-reef-building coral is widely distributed in the Red Sea, tropical Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. They usually live in large colonies in the well-flowed, often turbid shallow waters of lagoons and on vertical reef slopes protected from strong surf. According to their species and origin they occur in different colors and growth forms. The picture shows a Xenia umbellata


They should be positioned in a place with high to medium light intensity and moderate to strong, alternating current. Only high-calcium, heavy metal-free substrates should be used as substrate. Filters, skimmers and heaters are necessary to ensure water quality, as well as pumps to simulate tides, swells and bottom currents. It is recommended that live stones be used to set up the aquarium. The bacteria living in the porous stones act as a biological filter. The lighting must correspond to the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals

Salinity: 33-36 ‰ pH value: 8.1-8.4
Carbonate hardness: 8-10 °KH Nitrate content: 2-8 mg/l
calcium content: 420-450 mg/l Nitrite content: 0.0-0.05 mg/l
Magnesium content: 1.250-1.350 mg/l phosphate content: 0.01-0.1 mg/l

Regular addition of trace elements, especially iodine, is recommended. For salinity, an average value should be aimed for, which may only vary slightly by +/- 0.5 ‰. Ammonia and ammonium must not be measurable. Special attention shall be paid to consistently good water quality and water values.


Zooxanthellae, which are unicellular symbiotic algae, live in their tissue and provide them with assimilation products of their photosynthesis (high light requirement). The zooxanthellae promote growth and provide their main food. For this purpose, plankton and small particles are collected from the water current. Thus, in addition to the food produced in the aquarium during fish feeding (mysis, krill, Artemia, etc.), commercial supplementary food in the form of phyto- and zooplankton should be offered once a week. Regular feeding promotes good health.

Behaviour and compatibility

They usually live in larger colonies and should not be kept with fish that regard their polyps as food (e.g. angelfish or butterflyfish). They are well tolerated with other corals, but sufficient distance from cnidarians must be maintained. These fast growing corals may overgrow or shade other corals.

Reproduction and breeding

In nature, reproduction is sexual via marine larval stages. In the aquarium they can be well reproduced by division. Successful sexual reproduction in the aquarium has not been reported so far.


Xenids can migrate in the aquarium, usually to just below the surface to get sufficient light. The additional illumination with actinic light (short-wave, violet-blue light) is very beneficial for their growth (zooxanthellae). They develop particularly well in the company of leather corals of the Sarcophyton family.

They can pump or pulsate, although the reason for this has not yet been scientifically determined. However, there is a direct correlation to light intensity, lighting duration, water quality and nutrient concentration. A cessation of pumping is not necessarily a sign of poor health. If individual polyps turn dark brown or suddenly shrink, they should be removed from the aquarium immediately to prevent colony death. Addition of iodine and suspension of skimming can often be helpful

New animals to be introduced must be acclimated slowly to the water in the aquarium. If different species are kept together, care should be taken to match fish and invertebrates in terms of water quality and temperature requirements and social behavior, and to ensure that the setup meets the ecological needs of all species kept together

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: petdata

Source: ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch; FOSSÁ & NILSEN (1995): Korallenriff-Aquarium Bd. 4, Birgit Schmettkamp Verlag