If you want to have yourself a unique coral that will make your fish tank look different and somewhat odd, you can consider adding Pulsing Xenia to it. This soft coral species is easy to care, despite the seemingly complicated and complex shape. The coral has unique different colors with its signature style: pulsing nature. What should you know about this coral, anyway?
Introducing Pulsing Xenia Coral
Also known as Xenia Elongata, this pulsing coral is super easy to frag (or propagate) and it is also popular among aquarists. It is also a fast-growing coral that will create a unique charm in your tank. It gets the name because of the polyps’ rhythmic pulsing action. It resembles the action of a hand that is opening and also closing. It’s such a cool sight, right? The seemingly pulsing action of the coral is one part that makes it appealing and interesting.
The coral may need time to adjust itself to the tank. But once it does, it may grow to a hardy coral, and also with impressive growing rate too. But then again, it all depends on the nutrient levels and also light intensity (and amount) in the tank. The coral is easily found and purchased. It is usually available in various colors, like pink, white, brown, or even cream morphs colors. The pom-pom look-alike shape is Xenia head that is located on top of a stem. The stem is typically 3 inches tall when it is fully grown.
The official scientific name and classification would be Xenia Elongata, but there are several popular names for it, including Hand Coral, Pulsing Xenia, Pulse Coral, Red Sea Xenia, Pom Pom Coral, or even Bouquet Encrusting coral.
A Warning for Pulsing Xenia
A few years ago, there was a rumor about Pulsing Xenia being responsible for Palytoxin poisoning. There were reports about aquarists that scrubbed the rocks because of the overgrowth of Xenia. And then these aquarists were somewhat poisoned. Well, if you want to think of it, scrubbing the rock somewhat indicated indirect reason for the poisoning. When you scrub the rock, Palytoxins would be released and then contaminate the water. When Zoanthids or Palythoa feel threatened, they would release the toxin. It is their mechanism to protect themselves or because the flesh (containing the poison) was already torn.
It’s a possible scheme where the Xenia Elongata cause poisoning, well in an indirect manner. When a Pulsing Xenia tries to overgrown the Paly coral, it may trigger a certain defensive response of the threatened coral. And it somewhat triggers the toxin release response.
It is unclear whether the reports are true or not. It may be indirect causes or it may be true. It’s just there hasn’t been any scientific evidence or proof about it. Although it may seem related to the Xenia, biggest chance that it isn’t Xenia’s entire fault. Hopefully, the researchers would perform further toxicology check on the corals so they can confirm the exact source of the poison. In short, you should learn more about the Xenia and the general facts so you can determine whether it is a dangerous coral for you or not.
The Ideal Living Condition
In the wild, Pulsing Xenia would be typically found in areas with strong light, shallow water, and high tidal conditions. There are even several cases where they can thrive well in polluted water. This is the coral native to areas of the Red Sea and Indo-Pacific regions. One of the reasons why they are super easy (and also flexible) to care is because of their high tolerance of high nutrient contents. They only need moderate water flow, which is just ideal and perfect for the typical reef tanks for beginner. Don’t place them in too strong and too high water flow because the strong water current would prevent those polyps from opening up. When they don’t open up, it would be difficult to notice the rhythmic pulsation, which gives out the name from the start.
Here’s a word of advice: Don’t trust everything you read about the coral, unless you have a direct experience with it. In most cases, you may read about how easy something is, and then it turns out that it isn’t as easy as you think. Or you have read about how difficult something is, and then it turns out quite easy.
When it comes to this coral
it’s not as easy as you have thought. They have this tendency to be fickle and complicated. If you are willing to spend extra time and efforts, you will see that this is a hardy and tough. You may want to place it on and island (which is located within the tank). This encrusting and rapidly growing coral can creep within sandy surface to grow new polyps. If you leave it unattended and unobserved, the coral may invade the entire tank and dominate it.
If you want to prevent this from happening, you may want to surround the coral’s colony with space moat, which will isolate the coral. This action will help you keep the colony in check; right in the place that you want it to grow.
As it was mentioned before, Xenia is a part of photosynthetic coral, which means that it requires (quality) lights, such as VHO, T5, PC, Metal Halide, or LED. But make sure that the lighting intensity should be lower to moderate. It shouldn’t be too high or too intense. The coral is also believed to absorb the nutrients from the water surrounding them.
There are different opinions about whether you should feed the corals or not. Corals are animals and they grow well with food. They are believed to be able to capture their own planktons quite well. Even without the feeding, the coral should be able to survive quite well. However, many aquarists claim that their corals are growing well since they feed the corals. Moreover, if the condition of the tank is somewhat stable and the tank itself is mature enough, those factors can also contribute to the well-being of the corals.
The Xenia may not be overly aggressive. It means that they don’t have any sting or toxins that can harm other creatures. The chances of them starting out some kind of chemical warfare would also be slim. However, you need to remember that this coral would overgrow and outcompete other corals, especially the slow growing types. You’ve read about ways to provide enough space for the Xenia while drawing boundaries, right? You can try it and see how it works for you.
It’s okay to mix up the coral with other invertebrates or fish, but make sure that they won’t nip or eat the fleshy and soft polyps. If you mix the wrong kind of fish with this coral, then your Xenia may end up as a food source for these moving animals.
Fragging and Reproduction
Pulsing Xenia is super easy to frag. The process would be straightforward. Once you understand the nature of this coral, you can place some live rock shells or rubble next to new frags. The substrate would provide itself as a perfect spot for the new colony to grow and develop. In the event that you are pruning your coral, simply cut it off and put it into another spot. Well, that is if you plan to grow it inside the tank. If you don’t, you need to give it away to a friend or aquarist so they can grow it. If you join a community with hobbyists and aquarists, they will appreciate it. You can use a razor blade to prune the coral. You can use a glue to attach it to any substrate (if you can), but you can also use toothpick or a rubber band to do it.
In the end, you need to monitor and observe your corals, along with their growth. If they show any sign about withering or dying, then you need to go to the bottom of the issue. Find out the source of the issues and find out the resolution.
The Pros and Cons
Just like other things in life, growing and caring for Pulsing Xenia has its own benefits and also downsides. What are the benefits offered by this coral?
- It is a non-aggressive coral which means that it is safe to be combined with other creatures
- The coral is hardy and tough. It is easily adapting itself to various tank conditions without fussy manner or complication
- The coral is extremely easy to frag
Despite all the great things about this coral, let’s not forget that this coral does have its own downsides and flaws. What are they?
- They have this rather strange habit. They can be quite hardy in some tanks (too much, even) and yet they can also be difficult to care and grow in the others
- Some aquarists call them weed because of their rapid growth. When grown out of control, they may take over the tank. For real.
The coral is hardy and easy to care. It should be easy for beginner aquarists. Despite all the beauty, the coral has its own downsides and risks. Now you need to decide whether Pulsing Xenia is the right one for you or not.