The Pulsing Xenia Care Guide for Beginners

As aquarium owners, we all like our own to look as nice as possible. A great way of doing so is by adding a nice Pulsing Xenia coral to it. But, as pretty as they may seem, they need to be taken care of. How can we ensure this type of coral stays healthy in our tank?

Pulsing Xenia coral stays healthy under good lighting such as LED, T5 or Metal Halide. There is no need for direct feeding because the coral feeds itself through photosynthesis. Stable water parameters are key, but higher nitrates and phosphates can make Pulsing Xenia grow faster.

It is very important to know how to take care of a Pulsing Xenia coral as it may be quite unforgiving if you fail to do so. In this article, you will find everything you must know in order to keep it in good health and beautiful.

How to Take Care of Pulsing Xenia Coral?

Pulsing Xenia coral is a great addition to have in your aquarium if you are a beginner. In fact, more advanced users may struggle a little bit more, since high phosphates and nitrates parameters may be controlled in these latter ones, and this is of high relevance for it to prosper. This coral uses those nutrients in order to grow faster and stronger, so their levels should not be low or limited if you want it to spread through your tank. Thus, it is often said that if your Pulsing Xenia is not looking good, it may be because your aquarium is not dirty enough.

As regards light, it is important to remember that the natural environment of a Pulsing Xenia coral is in the Indo Pacific Ocean, and that it lives in depths of up to 30 feet. This means that light levels should not be very strong. LED or T5, which are common reef quality lights in aquariums, would be a very good choice. Should you need to buy a set of lights for your tank, the AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD would be an excellent option. Metal Halide lights have also been proven to help Pulsing Xenia coral stay healthy.

Another factor that makes Pulsing Xenia coral a good addition for beginners is that it does not require direct feeding. This is because the coral can make its own food through photosynthesis. Moreover, these corals have very poorly developed digestion systems, and that is why they may not take in what is directly fed to them. This is why they rely mostly on nutrients in the water and light, making these factors key for a healthy growth.

Where Should I Place My Pulsing Xenia Coral?

Just as it happens with almost any other plant, the place where Pulsing Xenia is located plays a vital role in its growth. Easy as it may seem to maintain, a wrong location can damage it, making it stop pulsing or even fall in poor health conditions. The best location for Pulsing Xenia is near the bottom of your tank.

Xenia coral should be placed on its own rock, keeping distance -4 to 5 inches, at least- from any other rock or coral. This is because in ideal conditions they spread very rapidly, and may become difficult to control. Should any other growth appear on a different surface, it should be instantly removed. This can be done by gently scratching the new rock with your fingernail, making it loosen its grip.

Currents and height are also a relevant when it comes to placing your Pulsing Xenia coral. Strong currents may cause your Xenia to pulse less, or even stop pulsing, so you should look for a place where water movement is not very invasive. As regards height, lighting plays an important role. Remember that, as stated above, light levels should not be very intense. So, take this into account when deciding how high or low your coral will be in the tank.

How Can I Stop Pulsing Xenia Coral from Spreading?

One of the main difficulties in taking care of a Pulsing Xenia coral is keeping its spread under control. As beautiful as it is, having a tank full of this coral will surely damage the view, not to mention the health of any other living creature inside. It is of great importance to pay close attention to its growth speed, and to be disciplined in taking proper precautions and care so as not to let it spread too much.

To begin with, the tools that are used in order to keep your Pulsing Xenia under spread control are key to its correct maintenance. Worry not, it is not necessary to buy any special equipment to do so. A pair of tweezers, for example, or any other tool that you can use to grip and handle will surely come in handy. Scissors, however, are not a viable option, since cutting off the coral will leave stumps, and Xenia will grow again from it. Besides, any leftover piece of coral that has not been removed will eventually fall onto a new surface and give place to a new colony.

Pulsing Xenia coral must be removed from the bottom of its stem in order to prevent it from growing back again. It is a good idea to annoy the coral a little bit by waving your hand around it, causing it to shut and stop pulsing for a time. Thus, we get a better visual angle to remove it properly. Using the tweezers, clamp the coral as close to the rock as you can and pull sideways. It is relevant to do so in this direction so as not to tear the stem, leaving a stump. You can help yourself by twitching or twisting the clamped stem a bit. Remember to dispose of any piece of coral you remove, so as not to let it grow once again in a different location.

Being disciplined and regular when it comes to removing coral is relevant, so that it does not get too crowded, making it quite impossible to control. Bear in mind that removing a lot of Xenia at once can cause damage to any other corals in the tank. This is because this type of coral releases a chemical when removed, which can be harmful to other living species. So, it is highly recommended to do this periodically, and in moderate amounts.

Other Helpful Tips to Maintain a Pulsing Xenia Coral Healthy

Apart from what has already been stated as key factors to take care of a Pulsing Xenia coral, there are other aspects to take into account. These may not be as vital as the rest, but will help maintain your tank and coral healthy and visually beautiful. By following these steps, along with the previously stated ones, a Pulsing Xenia will express its gratitude and comfort inside the tank.

  • A Xenia-only tank is not a bad idea. Not only because of its rapid growth and spread, but also because of the fact that Xenia feeds from nutrients in the water. If it shares its food with other corals, it may not be enough for it to display all of its beauty and pulsing. As a matter of fact, other corals may result aggressive to it, acting as a natural growth control that may become difficult to handle. Although it is improbable for this coral to fall in poor health conditions, it may happen due to this fact.
  • Place Xenia high in your tank. This is another good natural way to control Pulsing Xenia coral from spreading. Although it is not impossible, this coral will hardly spread downwards. Thus, growth and spread will be under control. Nevertheless, keeping an eye on this fact is always important, since it is hard to know where Xenia may find it comfortable to spread and start a new coral.
  • Control phosphates and nitrate levels in your tank. These are the main feeding elements for Pulsing Xenia coral. By controlling its food, you control its growth and spread. Be careful! This alternative is meant for experts only, who know how to handle water parameters. If not feeling capable of doing so with accuracy, it is always better to control spread once it has already happened, instead of limiting the coral’s food.
  • Pay attention to roaming Xenia. Roaming Xenia may be caused by different factors, such as water movement, or other living creatures inside the same tank. It may even happen due to your own removal of excess growth. Bear in mind that roaming Xenia may find a hidden spot and start spreading again from a different location, and once this happens, getting rid of it may become a difficult task.

Pulsing Xenia coral may be very rewarding in a tank. Its simple maintenance is overcome by its beauty, which makes it an enjoyable addition to an aquarium. Give it a try, and you will surely not regret it!

Bart Sprenkels

I have been keeping multiple aquariums since I was 18 years old. Just like many of you, I started with two goldfish but quickly learned they were not suitable for aquariums. Later, I switched to a tropical community tank and I also have two pet musk-turtles in a bigger aquarium. You can read more about me here.

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