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FAQs about Xeniid Environmental Disease

FAQs on Xeniid Disease: Xeniid Disease 1, Xeniid Health 2, Xeniid Health 3, Xeniid Hlth./Pests 4, Xeniid Hlth./Pests 5, Xeniid Hlth./Pests 6, Xeniid Hlth./Pests FAQs on Xeniid Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Nutritional, Pathogenic (Infectious, parasitic), Predator/Pests, Trauma, Genetic, Treatments

Related Articles: Pulsing Soft Corals, Family Xeniidae

Related FAQs: Xeniid FAQs 1, Xeniid FAQs 2, Xeniid FAQs 3, Xeniid FAQs 4, Xeniid ID, Xeniid Behavior, Xeniid Selection, Xeniid Compatibility, Xeniid Systems, Xeniid Feeding, Xeniid Reproduction, Soft Coral Propagation, Soft Coral HealthAlcyoniids, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids,

The usual... "reef conditions": Optimized, stable water quality. LARGER systems w/ "good gear"; high sustained pH (8.3... up)


Xenia... chemical algaecide use   4/24/10
<Hello Dave>
I have written in the past as I am just learning this new hobby, I have a 144
<Gallon? Litre?>
saltwater tank I started with a small xenia frag and it after a while began to grow quite rapidly and spread out, I was able to cut it apart from the original frag and moved the frag elsewhere, it was doing great. I then developed excessive phosphate (red slime) and was forced to treat the tank with a remover chemical twice,
<Not the route I would have taken>
during the time the xenia seemed fine and full of life.
The day before a water change was due I fell and broke my back,
<? VERY sorry to hear this..>
so was forced to call on some aquarium techs to give the tank a once over which they did.
<Yes, of course>
Only now the xenia although moving in the current is not moving the hands and they look like they are stiff and at times curl up in the day. Are they sick?
<Maybe not sick as such, but they do this when something is not right, chemically with your water, irritating the coral>.
What do I need to have done to help them.
<Run some carbon pronto. Make sure the skimmer is on. We need to know your parameters here, can do no more for you without this info>
My Duncan head coral has shrunk as well but it keeps falling off, as every time I place it somewhere the snails or the large urchin pushes him over so I'm thinking he's hurt from all the falling.
<This coral needs to be secured -- with putty (i.e. Milliput) to a rock permanently>
My fish seems to be fine which includes the following. Thanks for your time A newbie
1 Blue Throated Trigger
1 Blue spotted rabbit fish
1 Yellow Tang
1 Cinnamon clown
4 Clown fishes
2 Yellow belly Damsel's
2 Golden Wrasse's
5 Chromes
1 Cardinal Fish
1 goby
1 long spine urchin
1 xenia frag
1 Duncan head frag
1 candy coral
<No problem Dave. Please write back with your test results. Perhaps you could direct a family member to help you with this (And to fasten this coral to a rock) while you write them down. Tests for salinity, temp, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, dKH, Calcium, Mg along with any other info you think might be pertinent, such as equipment used (Skimmer?) and size of system. Simon> 
Re: Xenia... hlth?  4/27/10

Hello Simon,
<Hi Dave>
Thanks for responding, the sump is 32 x 18 and the protein skimmer is a ASM G2, the main pump is a Rio 26HF the lighting is a TEK light with 6 bulbs, I was running the lights for 13.5 hours but when the red slime showed up I was told to lower it to 12 hours.
<Your problems with your Xenia started pretty much when you dosed to remove this slime, so this is the source of your issues. This algae should be countered using other methods, well documented here on WWM>
I have an additional circulation pump which is a Koralia 5200/1400. Here is the rest of the info, you mention charcoal, do you mean normal aquarium charcoal
<Carbon, activated, yes>
and to just place some in a media bag and then into the sump ?
<Yes, I would do this immediately, in an area of high flow, to remove any traces of toxicity from the water that could be irritating these cnidarians>
Again thanks for the help
<No problem>
PH 8.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5 - 10
Temp 79
Hardness 130 <Ok, about 7 dKH. This could be raised a touch as it will fluctuate.. mostly downwards>
Phosphate 0.25
<High. The source of your Cyano problem likely. This wants to be 0.03ppm, see WWM re: methods for this http://www.wetwebmedia.com/phosphatemar.htm>
Salinity 1.027
<Also high. Drop this 1-2 notches. Simon>

Dying Xenia/Xeniid Health/Systems 2/12/10
Hello Dear Knowledgeable Crew.
<Hello Alex>
I have spent the last few days reading everything I can find about the pitfalls of raising xenia, but alas it was too late to save my specimen.
I was wondering if you could perhaps shed some light on to the specific cause of my xenia's decline.
I bought this frag (xenia elongata I think) from a guy who breeds corals.
The thing looked incredibly happy in his tank (pulsing like mad, standing straight up etc).
My xenia seemed okay when I added him/her/it to our tank. But he never opened fully. I moved him around to try and get to a place where he had high, indirect flow, and near the top of the tank to be near light.
Yesterday, I noticed small lesions (or bubble like things) at the base of the main trunk.
Later, the neck near one of the bushels of 'hands' started to pinch and turn dark purple (he was light purple before).
He was near a maze brain at this point, then I read the brain might sting him. And moved him away.
The constricted purple spread to his whole body and he shrank down to a limp white/purple version of his former glory.
Now he's pretty much dead I think.
<Allelopathy seems to be the culprit here. Your Maze Brain Coral (Platygyra sp.) will shoot out sweeper tentacles in the evening and very likely stung your Xenia.>
I have 20G w/ 10g sump. About 25lb live rock.
2 power head at opposite ends + plus return pipe for flow.
-->Feather duster,
-->Several coco worms
-->Maze brain (not sure of the exact species)
-->Green star polyp
-->A few mushrooms
<The Green Star Polyps and Mushrooms are moderately aggressive in terms of allelopathy especially in smaller systems such as yours. This could also have had a role in your Xenia's demise. Good chemical filtration such as
Chemipure should be used to minimize the noxious compounds emitted by these animals.
The use of a protein skimmer is highly recommended and will also help much in this regard.>
I use Canadian tap water dosed with Nutrafin AquaPlus.
Lights are 1 15w 10000k t8 and 1 15w actinic t8
Nitrates about 5-10
Nitrites 0
Ammonia 0
PH 8.2-8.3
temp is about 78degrees
I have not been dosing iodine, or calcium.
<Dosing both calcium and magnesium is necessary for your brain coral and other hard corals. Iodine dosing is also beneficial for Xeniids and do exercise caution dosing as overdosing can be detrimental.>
I can understand if something was off in the tank and he died slowly over a few weeks. But he lasted about 6 days. So I obviously did (or the tank did) something traumatic. Any idea at all? I moved him (carefully!) too much?
I would love to try again, but I need sort out what I did wrong first!
<It is uncommon for Xeniids to perish for no reason. Although Xeniids can behave unpredictably, it is their sensitivity to changes in basic water parameters that can be detrimental to their health in most cases.
Because of this, many experienced reefers will use Xeniids as a visual barometer for system stability. Do read here and related articles/FAQ's re Xeniids.
thanks guys.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Please help me continue to love xenia!
<Knowing any marine animals needs/requirements is the first step to success.
Keep reading/learning, much to be found on our site.>

White spots on xenia -- 01/30/10
Hi, Thank you for your dedication to this web site. I am a regular visitor and have learned so much. I find you all to be very knowledgeable.
I have a pulsing xenia, photo included, that has white spots which I am having difficulty identifying through web sites or store where purchased.
The following is info on my tank: 75 gal, T5 lighting 80 watts high output, ph 8.2, phos 0, ammonia 0, nitrite and nitrate 0, KH 126, calcium 340, a little los so I added some liquid calcium,
<? How? What product/s?>
and salinity is 21.
<1.021... too low>

I have 4 power heads and a protein skimmer. The following corals; some mushrooms, pom pom xenia, frog spawn, another pulsing xenia, 2 coral grasses, large clam, bubble tip anemone, Sailfin tang, 2 peppermint shrimp, brittle star, urchin, emerald and porcelain crab, diamond blenny, 2 clowns, gramma.
I do a 4 gal change once a week
<Too little>
and a 15 gal change with gravel clean once a month. I alternate flakes with brine and emerald delight. I add MicroVert, PhytoPlex, and Zooplex every other day. Everything seems to be doing good and now I notice these white
spots. Any ideas? Thank you for taking the time to help me!
<Likely the appearance of your Xeniid is due to the water quality being off. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xensysfaq2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Pulsing Xenia died. Sys. comp. research, read! 3/6/07 Hi <Hello, GrahamT here.> I have been using your sight <Site.> as a much needed learning curve. I would much appreciate your advice. <I'm all yours.> I am a new reefer, 20 gallon tank ±3 months old. I recently purchased pink pulsing xenia. They were doing fine for 1 week and then stopped pulsing, closed up and shrunk. 2 days later they were dead and mucusy - I removed the stump. <Good plan.> NO2 ; ph 8.3; sg 1.024; salinity 31. <Need NO3 numbers, temperature...> It is a orca Nano tank. Living rock (1/4 of tank amount) and crushed shells base. The tank had a protein skimmer. Do I need to improve water flow <Probably...> or try your sites Kalkwasser? <Not without a means to measure the calcium first.> Lighting is not possible to change in this system. I had been using tapwater  and was fine with other corals i.e. recent purchased colt coral, 2x small toadstool frags, 2x Zoanthids and to button polyps, <All these species are much easier/more tolerant of poor water conditions.> do I  need to purchase ROD water would this help? <It won't hurt, and may be the cause, yes. I can't be sure without test results of the source water.> I do water changes ± 1 weekly, small amounts Maintaining same temp and salinity as tank. I have a cleanup crew :-1 cleaner shrimp, 2 orange hermit crabs, 3 turbo snails. <Xenia is not the easiest customer to keep in a small system. They do need moderate to heavy flow and near-pristine water conditions, among others. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidfaqs.htm read links in blue.> When Xenia was placed in tank it started pumping within first few hours. I added 2 ocilarius <Ocellaris.> clown fish and the shrimp became quite territorial. <How big is this Nano? Not big enough perhaps?> It's home is the same rock as the one the xenia were on. It kept flicking them making them close up. <Mmm.> The following morning after this I found the frag had been dislodged so I epoxied <Epoxy?> them on as advised by my LFS. They did not re-pulse. <I would chalk this one up to inexperience and ill-preparedness. Do your research and decide for yourself what your Xenia need(ed) and how you could make your system more habitable for it. You should plan your system around the species you want to keep, not what the LFS has in stock. Good luck! -GrahamT> thanks Louise
Re: Pulsing Xenia died. Sys. comp. research, read! (pt.2) 3/7/07
Hi thank you for your prompt reply, please excuse my spelling as I am preoccupied with the kids; i.e.., a quick email is all I can achieve at times. <Bless you! I *do* understand. Sorry for my lag in replying!> The xenia though both our choice was my son's purchase and we both would like to have them in the future, if I can get the tank conditions more suitable. Do you have a list of books (hopefully available in UK) that may help us to achieve xenia in our tank. <Oh yes! The "Book of Coral Propagation" by Anthony R. Calfo; "A Practical Guide to Corals for the Reef Aquarium" by Eric Borneman; "The Reef Aquarium: Science, Art, and Technology, Vol. 3" by Julian Sprung and Charles Delbeek. These are all very good reads, and I think any one might be the only one you need.> Any other options available for research; i.e.., in UK or is the web the best/accurate direction forward? <Well, the WWW will give you different opinions, which can be very useful, as long as your BS-filter is up to date and efficient. It is also blessed by being current and constantly updated.> My LFS, though highly recommended, just said to put them in the tank and give them a go, as they have no problems placing them in their main display tank. <I would bet their main display tank is very established and larger as well. Never trust anyone who says to just "give it a shot" without prompting you to do any research. I agree with what you find here on WWM about Xenia. It can be very low-maintenance, but some people have just the opposite experience. Either it grows like weeds, or turns to poop.> I am left worried about other future advice that may be needed. <Everything from retailers should be taken with respect to their position: they make money on the sale of livestock and equipment. That doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. To the contrary, they may be giving you the advice that they think you need, and believe to be right. At the end of the day, however, they depend on selling you livestock and equipment. Some stores look deeper than the end of the day, like the end of the year, and protect their investment in you by making sure you stay in the hobby. These are the LFS's to look for.> (ps I use Marine buffer to maintain my ph at 8.3 and feed Liquifry marine food for filter feeders; my temp is a constant 78; I will purchase the No3 and get a reading for you (do you have a recommendation of a best/easy to use test kit); no2 is<0.3mg/l) <I have been using the Sera NO3 kit, but really do hate color comparisons when there is a titration test available. The Sera low-range kit is simple in that, if you have any color develop, you probably need to take action. Salifert and LaMotte are some of the best, IMO.> Much appreciated Louise <Welcome! -GrahamT>

Carpet Cleaned, Xenia Sick 9/13/06 Hello, Crew. <Hi> I am now seven months into my new saltwater tank in my office.  Three weeks ago they came and cleaned the carpets.  I came in on Sunday to check on things and the smell of carpet cleaning solution was strong. <Did this for a short while, chemicals used in commercial setting is pretty nasty stuff.> I opened all the windows and did a 10% water change and changed the carbon. <Good>  Things looked fine for awhile, but now my xenia and Montipora are dying and the first hint of nitrates (5) have appeared since finishing cycling. <Xenia tends to be very sensitive to these types of things, and probably so die-off on the LR fueling the nitrate increase.>   The pH previously cycled between 8.0 and 8.2 daily, now rarely gets above 8.0 (low 7.8 early AM).  I have added Seachem Buffer twice, but the pH drifts back down in a few days. <Something wrong chemically for sure.> I have replaced the carbon twice and done multiple 10% water changes. <Good> Today I removed the Chemipure filter media in case it was leaching toxins back into the tank. <Good idea.>  All other inhabitants look fine (Sinularia, mushrooms, yellow colony polyps, Lobophyllia,  rose anemone, Galaxea, Tridacna crocea, cleaner shrimp, one yellow tang, one damsel, one maroon clown, seven blue-green Chromis and multiple various snails). The tank is a 65 gal with 94# live rock and DSB.  Two 150W MH 14K lights.  17gal LifeReef sump and skimmer.  Temp 78-80, SG 1.024, Ca++ 340ppm, Alk 3.6meq/L, no phosphates, ammonia, nitrite. Do you think the fumes are the culprit? <Most likely.> Do I need to replace the DSB as a possible source of continued pollution? <No> Do I remove the Montipora (color fading, but no obvious necrosis)? <Would give it time, see if it comes back.>  Any other suggestions or just wait it out.   Thanks   Hugh <Keep up the water changes and carbon replacement.  Also try some PolyFilters, very good at removing chemical contaminates.> <Chris>

-Xenia in trouble?-  - 09/03/06 Bob and wonderful staff, <Todd, you have Justin tonight.> Update on my BTA getting caught in the powerhead:  It's been just over a week since I learned the hard way about NOT covering powerhead intakes with a BTA in the tank.  Well, powerheads are covered and the BTA appears to be doing well.  Thanks for all you help. <Good to hear, they can get themselves into very interesting situations cant they.  Glad yours is doing better.> Now with the another hard lesson learned by a new reef daddy.. DO NOT ADD AMQUEL+ to your tank!  I was starting to get a Cyanobacteria bloom due to increase in my Nitrate readings (0 - 10ppm to 10 - 20ppm).  So what did I do?  Added some Amquel+ to lower the Nitrate level to (in theory) kill off my Cyanobacteria problem.  Instead, my pulsing xenia within minutes beginning to look like something out of Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas.  I immediately did a 20% water change and plan on doing another one today (the day after).  Is there any chance the xenia will pull through? All the other corals look good. <Tis possible, keep up the water changes and try not to move or overly stress the xenia.  Have a lot of current blowing near the coral, but not directly on.  Xenia is generally incredibly hardy if it "takes" to a tank, and can be considered a weed at times, so yours should bounce back.  Don't ever use any product to remove nitrate or ammonia in an established tank,  why waste money and risk tank health when a bag of salt and a water change will fix it all right up.> Thanks, Todd <Justin>

Leather/Xenia Shrinking   1/30/06 To whom ever, <Mike G> I have been searching the FAQs and don't think there is an answer (tank info below). Over Christmas, I left my tank in the hands of a family member, who took the pre-sized frozen food portions in the weekly pill case out of the freezer for the week, but continued to feed the rotting food.   <I assume that most every fishkeeper has a horror story of a similar sort.> Secondly, right before leaving my Auto top-off stuck on and added two gallons of fresh water to the tank.   <It just gets better and better.> Finally, my heater stuck stock on (now I'm thinking a surge of some sort) and sent the tank from 76-77 to 82, and that night down to 73 before I put the new heater in.   <Bad day. Really, really bad day.> Needless to say everything is now thriving/spreading again (mushrooms, zoos, gsp, the too many fish) except my leather and xenia which were good for 4 months prior.   <Xenia are notorious for suddenly doing poorly/melting away for either no reason at all or from previous stresses.> The leather is now about half the size, with no melting or white tissue, just slumped over and a little shriveled looking.  The three connected xenia stalks have reduced to small white bumps on a rock.  Is there any hope for them?   <Well, there's always hope, I'd like to think.> If so what measures can I take to improve their odds. <Keep water conditions stable/close to what they were doing wonderfully in before the day of doom. Not much else you CAN do.> I have done several water changes slowly returning PH, Temp & SG to normal, But two weeks later no improvement, but not dead (the leather) or completely gone (the xenia).  How long can they persist this way before I should remove them?   <Until they're dead, they can still bounce back. Leathers and Xenia are notoriously hardy corals once they're in good water. Keep the conditions stable and you should se an improvement.> Thanks. (Last x-mas it was three fish dying for some reason, same care giver) <Time to invest in a tank sitting service?> [My tank:  2yr old Sumpless 44gal Corner Pentagon (By product of my past hobby, wife&kids and Finding Nemo Movie), internal refuge w/ Chaeto, and DIY spray inj/air stone skimmer (2 liter pop bottle of brown tea/mo), Ca=390, <A touch low... should be ~400, 425> DKH=11, Amm, Nitrates & trites~0, Phosphates are too high <0.5 (water source) <Considered RO/DI water? May also help the melting softies in the long run.> but not any higher than always (need a more precise test kit (CHEAP/accurate recommendations?)) <Not usually two synonymous terms... Salifert is wonderful for accuracy.> (Thanks by the way! last year removed Bio-Wheels nitrates went from constant 20 to zero in two days) <Very nice.> SG=1.025, PH=8.3(low before lights on), don't test/add trace elements <Try adding a two-part Cal/Alk supplement such as B-Ionic or C-Balance. Would help your Calcium levels, give the corals something extra.> 8gal water change (tap water) 1/wk <I'd recommend a switch to RO/DI water - tap really isn't great for reef tank purposes.> About 4gal evap auto top-off/wk. Tank is 1/3 full with live rock & 4in deep sand bed (I know it doesn't leave much water (this tank is for growing inhabitants for a 125gal in a year or so, wife didn't know she would rekindle the itch)).  2 oscillating power heads, one more feeding skimmer , and an eclipse hang-on w/ removed filter cartridges for current (border line violent water flow). Two cartridges with carbon and PolyFilter changed alternately every week.  Four 15W 10k NO Fluorescent Bulbs 3in from surface 13hrs/day w/ 3-4hrs natural sun light in morning (all corals are less than 6in from surface) <Still not much light - would recommend upgrading to at least PCs. Much better idea in the long run.> Fish: Flame Angel, Pair Yellow Watchman Gobies, Engineer Goby, Pair Neon Gobies, Pair Percula Clowns, Royal Gramma. <I'd say you're a touch overstocked there.> Inverts: Brittle Star, Pair Cleaner Shrimp, Couple Dozen Cerith and Nassarius Snails, 8 Blue Leg Hermit Crabs. Corals: GSP, Red & Green Mushrooms, 1 Ricordea (sp?), Hairy Mushrooms, 4flavors of Zoos, 3"Leather, Xenia, Some quick spreading brown/white small star looking polyp gift of the live rock gods (spreads with white thread like growths, help IDing this one would be great) <Have a picture? Best of luck, Mike G>
Re: leather/Xenia Shrinking   1/31/06
Thanks, Xenia disappeared.   <Bad news.> Leather looks like it does before shedding, but seems to be more inflated today.   <Good news.> I have read Seachem's Reef Plus is good, might an additive like this if used moderately help? <Seachem is a wonderful brand - I'd assume it would be alright, though, really, I'm not a fan of adding anything more than you can test for. A two-part additive such as C-Balance would be a far wiser purchase, in my experience.> Additional Question: Is there a good place to get PC sockets, my hood is home made, also do you know if they can be driven by a workhorse 4 ballast? <Hmm... I'm not the one to talk to re: ballasts, but I do know that Coralife makes decent PC sockets. I'm sure other companies such as Custom Aquatic would offer them for sale, as well.> As far as the mystery polyp I have included two pictures.   <Not attached... send again?> One shows its coloring a little better, the other shows the white strands it uses to spread, they spread under rocks and places void of light to pop up just about anywhere.  I just want to make sure it isn't something that might take down my tank or start a war with some of my other corals.  Thanks, I appreciate your time and input! <You're very welcome. Good luck! Mike G>
Re: Leather/Xenia Shrinking   2/1/06
Sorry, hope these go through. <They came through fine, and, if I'm looking at the right creatures, they look like Clavularia species to me - a beautiful and desirable Octocoral. Some resources: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clavulariids.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypfaqs2.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypfaqs3.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypidfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypcompfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypdisfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypreprofaqs.htm > Have a good week! <Same to you!> Ryan, Amanda, Larkin & wee Liam <Mike G>

Xenia Crash! Hello Crew-- I can't thank you all enough for being such an incredible resource for a beginner such as myself (a little over a year!). I'm writing because about 4 months ago, I purchased 3 small frags of pumping xenia that steadily began to decline. After a bit of testing, I figured out that I had a calcium level of about 250ppm in the tank, which took care of the problem.  The Xenia flourished, but after about a month, crashed and is not almost completely gone (from wonderful pumping polyps to 3 wads of bubble-gum on my live rock. I can't understand it. I recently purchased a Alkalinity test kit (that apparently isn't all that good since the readings are "low, "normal" and "high". Regardless, here are my tank specs (20 gallon): pH: 8.4 Temp.: 80 Ammonia: 0ppm Nitrite: 0ppm Nitrate: 5-10ppm SG: 1.0225 <I would raise this up to "near seawater" concentration, 1.025> Calcium: 350ppm Alkalinity: normal I also add liquid calcium every other day, iodine every week, buffer once a week, and have started adding Coral-Vite in desperation.  <Not a good idea> I change about 2 gallons every week as well.  I had one hypothesis that I wanted to run by you--I understand (now) that I've chosen some fairly hostile tankmates for my Xenia. I have a crop of mushrooms, some sort of colony polyp (aggressive, I think), and star polyps. The three 'stalks' of xenia don't directly touch any of them, but I was wondering if chemical warfare might have something to do with it. <Absolutely does> I wonder because the largest stalk had attached itself to a rock containing a small star-polyp colony. Another potential source might be the mushrooms, which seem to having a space-war with the colony of polyps also on their rock. This rock is nowhere near the Xenia, but is it possible that the toxins they are exuding in their territory war might be the cause of my xenia decline? <Yes> Are the toxins that strong, because no Xenia is actually touching these corals.   <They are... a twenty gallon system cannot dilute their effects> I'm really at a loss here, and I'm not sure what to do. Please let me know if you have any suggestions, because I really love this stuff, and I want to bring it back! Thanks again,  Bryan R. <Do you have another system? I'd move this colony, pronto. Otherwise, an expensive "activated carbon habit" may forestall its demise. Bob Fenner> 

Xenia I wrote in recently asking for help with a Xenia that would not open up as fully as it did after I bought it. I think that I made my problem worse after a water change on Saturday. I did a 5 gallon water change Saturday. (It's a 30 gallon tank) Before the water change the SG was about 1.028 and pH 8.2 (Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrite all at 0). I did the water change and used Kent Marine Pro Buffer dKH and Kent Marine Essential Elements treatments according to the directions. (I did dose with Kent Marine Concentrated Iodine a week ago also) After the water change the tests were as followed: SG 1.026 Ammonia - .25 (Tested again today - Back down to 0) Nitrate - 0 Nitrite - 0 pH - 8.4 (Tested again today - In between 8.2 - 8.4 maybe closer to 8.2) Also added 2 tests Phosphate - .5 (Same today) GH/KH - 8 / 143.2 (Same today) Everything looked fine after the water change. I noticed that Sunday the Peppermint Shrimp looked like he had molted and the Xenia looked really pulled into it's stalk and had starting to turn white in color. Later in the day I saw the back half of the shrimp being eaten by a blue-legged hermit crab. I did not look like just the molt. It looked like the shrimp had probably died and the crab was eating him. I really didn't want to try and fish it out. I did move some of the Live Rock today to see if I could find the shrimp but could not. I figure that I've probably killed my little shrimp, but does my Xenia possibly have a chance to make it ? Have I just made a 'knee jerk' reaction in trying to get the water back correct?  <I'm confused as to why you have to add different types of buffer and iodide immediately after a water change. The water changes should reset your tank and take everything to the levels where they should be. You shouldn't have to do any buffering until after your tank has sat for a while. I might recommend doing another water change in a week or so and doing your tests to see where all the levels are. Also you might take a sample to your LFS for a recheck to be sure that your test kits are doing correctly. Good luck, MacL> Thanks again for all the help and all the great work you folks do !!

Shrunken Xenia 6/18/04 <Anthony Calfo in your service> Firstly I would like to thank you for the great book Conscientious Marine Aquarist, it's what started me off on a saltwater aquarium. <I agree... one of my fave books too!> I've kept freshwater aquariums for over 10 years, but I recently wanted to try my luck at a salt water aquarium. I've been running a 35 gallon aquarium with 10 pounds of live rock, another 20 pounds of tufa rock, and 2 inches of crushed coral. <Hmmm... the crushed coral can easily become a problem in time as it is rather coarse and traps detritus easily. Please do be sure to vacuum this very faithfully (weekly would be nice)> Extra filtration is a Fluval 304, Eheim powerhead for movement and a DIY Schuran Jetskim 120. <excellent skimmer> I have a small sump of about 3 gallons for the skimmer, where I also keep activated carbon. Its been running for 5 months now, and no problems so far. As livestock I have one maroon clown, a bicolor blenny and a sixline wrasse, also 5 blue legged hermits and 6 turbo snails. As I am new to saltwater tanks, I wanted to start slowly, so I bought a golf ball sized piece of brown Palythoa, and later a golf ball sized piece of pulsing xenia. All has been running great until I did a water change last week. I changed 20 liters, with aged R/O Reef Crystal water, pH was 8.4, salinity 1.024 and temp 25 degreed Celsius. We had some hot weather so water evaporated faster than normal, so my salinity in the tank went to 1.026 for about one day. That is when I noticed that my Xenia had shriveled, and the white bits turned bluish in color. <more likely a high temp than salinity problem. Xenia is sensitive to low salinity more so> I immediately added fresh R/O water to bring the salinity back to 1.022, <Yikes! that is too fast of a change for even hardy creatures... but would have stressed the Xenia if it was not already. Do avoid any such knee-jerk reactions. It can be a case of the cure being worse than the disease, so to speak> check water parameters, and pH was 8.5, 5mg/l nitrate, zero copper, and the rest was good too. <all good> The xenia failed to open, and now I've noticed a small area where it seems to be dissolving. Is my xenia dying from the increase in salt, the water change, too little light (I have 2 x 20 W 18,000 Kelvin T8 tubes and 1 x 20 W actinic). The xenia is about 5 inches from the surface in moderate water movement. <all good> It was pulsing greatly, and now it looks dead?? What did I do wrong. <many possibilities. I'm wondering if you have a low Alkalinity despite the high pH. DO check your dKH (under 10 would be flat)> The Palythoa is fine, and so are the fish. Please help, because I'm scared of buying more xenia and the same happening again. I don't add any additives, <calcium, buffer and iodine will likely be needed. Especially the iodine for Xeniids/soft corals> but the water change should keep trace elements up no?? <not unless you are doing huge weekly water changes.> Thanks, Chris Browning <best of luck, Anthony>

Pulsing Xenia Help! <Ryan Bowen helping to today> I have some pulsing xenia in my 2 & 1/2 gallon, and they seem to be wasting away. I have 7.2 watts per gallon right now of pc lighting, for 18 watts total. It is positioned about 2 inches from the surface, with some lower-light tankmates on the bottom. The guy at my local fish store aquacultures the xenia himself, and he said that he thought the lighting would be sufficient. My parameters are excellent. Is there anything else that could be harming my xenia? Its tankmates are: Green, brown, and orange Zoanthids; green star polyps, and fluorescent green mushrooms. I was thinking that I may be having some chemical competition from one or more of these. How many watts per gallon do you recommend for xenia? Help me, please! <It sounds like a few things could be happening- Chemical competition, with no skimmer. Xenia is certainly the most delicate animal in your tank, and it's the "canary" of the reef aquarium. I'm glad you observed this early, it's a sign of things to come. In 2.5 gallons of water, you're ALWAYS walking a tight-rope. Things can go from balanced to devastating within a day or two. You should really provide more water volume, with better water quality if you wish to care for this animal. Also, you're going to need to do water changes every other day or so if you're not going to be using a skimmer.  Xenias also benefit from nutrients produced by reef fish. Sadly, the system you're running has no room for a fish- I would try some snails, hermits etc. to get some nutrients flowing. Good luck! Ryan> 

Sluggish Xenia 1/27/04 Hi Guys and gals <howdy> I bought a little xenia frag a few months ago. It had a rough start with my Kole tang nipping at it and it adjusting to light etc but then it started doing great. I then added a refugium and another power head. I also took off the glass top so my 260 watts of power compact may be a touch brighter. All the water parameters and temps are stable so I am at a loss. Calc may be a little high 450-480 ppm.  Ph 8.3  temps 79. <temp is fine... pH is low if that's a daytime reading (dipping below 8.3 as it may be at night is a problem for Xenia and some other corals)... and the calcium is rather high indeed. I suspect your alkalinity is low because of the high calcium, and that's a problem too. If the Alk is lower than 10dKH, please do some water changes to dilute the imbalance and then slowly (!) resume supplementation of buffer if needed. Do read the article "Understanding Calcium and Alkalinity" here on our website wetwebmedia.com for perspective> Help my xenia, Joe Culler, <help is one the way :) Anthony>

Stressed Xenia? Check for low pH and ALK 1/21/05 Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo in his stead> I have a problem here. I have 2 stalks of pulsing xenia, and as of yesterday they both have flopped there pulsing stalks over and are limp. they are getting a greenish brown color to the hands, and it seems like the hands seem to be bubbling up.  Is this normal? <It's hard to say without a picture... just speculating. Do check your pH (needs to be 8.3 minimum) and Alk (towards 12 dKH for Xeniids> It almost looks like the one stalk is ready to split again. I can see the stalk separating. what could be wrong? <if not pH or ALK, perhaps lack of water flow> placed as: middle of rockwork moderate - high flow lights 2x96w PC on a 46gallon parameters: ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 20 alk 1.9 meq/l ph 8.0 - 8.2 ca 500ppm temp 77 - 78.5 Please help, is my xenia dying? <Yikes! your pH is flat and your ALK likely low too because your Calcium is getting dangerously high (risk of precipitation soon... perhaps crash). Please ease up here mate. Do a large water change to dilute all and then resume with more balanced dosing (as with two part liquid supplements like ESV brand). What's worse is that this pH reading is likely a daytime reading and the level plunges much lower at night - double yikes! At least for Xenia, under 8.0 is scary. Aim for 8.3 by night and slightly higher by day. Kalkwasser dosing can help this. Anthony>
Floppy Xenia 1/22/05
Thank you, Mr. Calfo. <You are welcome my friend> I have had the xenias for 2-3 months now. and my pH has always been that low. <Yikes! please do correct this for long term success with this reef tank. Really try to avoid it ever dipping below 8.3 day or night> Should it take the xenias that long to get ticked off at a low pH? <Yes, easily... these are hardy corals, and simply suffer over time... hanging in there> And yes I am working in this situation as soon as I get ESV B-ionic, I am waiting on it to show up.  Hopefully Monday. <Excellent to hear! But know that it and no such products will magically correct an imbalance. They are mixed in balance and will carry you if the tank is in balance. You r best bet here is to do at least one large water change to bring your parameters back to even keel... then start to use the balanced 2-part mix. Also know that it is VERY important to shake and mix these bottles well before every use to insure balanced dosing (settling of densities occurs in some brands/bottles> actually my dKH has gone up a little from the original reading of .66 (Salifert) which is 1.9 meq/l to .63 which is a little over 2.0 meq/l why is my ca so high <Yikes! yes... the see-saw effect. Ca is way too high, and ALK is way too low here> I don't dose ca at all, but if I understand this correctly, Ca/dKH/pH are all related in the fact when your dKH/pH rise your ca will lower correct? <There is a loose inverse relationship that occurs in practical applications> So once I start with the ESV it should bring my ca down to 400ish.  And if it goes below then I will have to dose ca? <Nope... ESV is a fine product, but cannot "fill in" if and when needed. It simply is a balanced product. If you start with balance, you will carry on with balance. And vice versa :( Some big water changes are needed here my friend. With a normal brand of salt - Instant Ocean is very fine... do not use enriched brands in this case like Oceanic (scary high CA, low ALK) or Reef Crystals> 

Pulse coral not pulsing ? Hi, I wonder if you could give me advice about my pulse coral. <Xenia?> I've just come from holiday and have noticed that my pulse coral have changed to a darker colour and doesn't pulse any more. <Probably related to some water quality issue; pH, RedOx, or temperature are my best guesses.> Please could you advise what the problem is and what to do for it to get better. <Check your water. More than likely some aspect of your water quality has drifted out of whack while you were gone.> David worried! <No need to be worried. Merely identify the problem and correct. -Steven Pro>

Re: Xenia - Help! Anthony, or equivalent Marine Jedi... (Previous correspondence attached) <I do remember the other email.> My Xenia appear to be melting, the condition has been getting worse over the last few days, one has collapsed to a shriveled mass and the other has just compacted further. I am concerned that they are on their way to the big sea in the sky. <I agree.> What should I do? <There is nothing much you can do now. I was frankly surprised you were able to keep Xenia (or any other photosynthetic animal) alive under your previous conditions (180 gallon tank with 80 watts of NO lighting). And I am a fan of NO lighting. I use it myself, but I use 160 watts on a 55 and I am hampered/restricted to what I can keep. You have now abruptly upgraded to 320 watts of VHO and fried your animals. Nothing left to do now, but cross your fingers.> Regards, Mike <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Help! Dying Xenia and out of control, overly helpful roommates Ok.. so hopefully you guys might be able to help me with my situation.. yesterday (3-17-2003) I came home from school and my roommate had cleaned my 100 gallon reef tank.  By cleaning, I mean he scrubbed the algae off the walls of the tank and used a turkey baster to blast loose particles off of the rocks and so on.  He then proceeded to drop 1/4-1/2 cup (I think closer to 1/4 cup) of Amquel (that stuff that supposedly brings down ammonia).   <Okay, first, tell your roommate that YOU are the primary caregiver and to NEVER add anything to your tank or blow stuff around without guidance. Scraping algae is fine if they understand not touching or knocking stuff around. Certainly no additives like Amquel!> By the time I got home all the corals in the tank were closed, the pulse corals were closed but their stalks were still water filled, so they looked like cream puffs with little balls (the polyps) resting on them.  The bubbles were closed, the colts and even the leathers torch coral were closed, as far as the galaxy, the torch and the frogspawn they were fully extended, but it looked as if the there was no water in the tentacles.. they were just flaccid and shifted with the water current. <May have been disruption, being blown around. VERY bad for those with hard skeletons and soft tissue like frogspawns, etc. Care must be taken here.> Ok, now that the stage is set, it's day 2 (3-18-2003) and everything in the tank has opened up fine.. it's as if nothing happened yesterday.. although for some reason my colt coral (Sinularia sp.) which is on the same side of the tank as the pulse corals has only been 2/3's open all day. So here's the kicker.. the xenia's look even worse now. I took a turkey baster and lightly blew them about a little in order to clean debris off of them.. I'm actually beginning to think that the debris may actually been pieces of the coral that fell off (is it possible for corals to be lepers?) <It is certainly possible to traumatize them with the turkey baster to the point of them reacting negatively. Also to react to chemicals needlessly added.> I mean it looks really bad.. even their stems have deflated.. ok.. so I have 2 colonies and they're both within 2-3 inches of each other and until yesterday (and for the past 3 months, that's when I acquired them) they opened, they pulsed, really fast too, and they were happy. Another thing I must point out. When I was blowing them with the turkey baster one of the colonies exuded this brown stuff (didn't look like jelly as it dissipated almost immediately in the water current) and strangely enough even the though the polyps look really fried at the moment I can still see some of their arms faintly attempting to pulse. <This could be expulsion of wastes or Zooxanthellae. I would fall back on the old stand-by, several largish water changes over several days to dilute/reduce Amquel and reduce ammonia. I would keep a very close eye on the ammonia/nitrites as the Amquel *may* have interrupted your nitrogen cycle. More likely a product of stirring up the substrate, rock, detritus, etc. which releases wastes, lowers ORP, causes reactions/stress.> Now for the aquarium.. I keep my pH at 8.3-8.5 (daytime, nighttime respectively) my calcium is 390, ammonia 1 (was 0 yesterday) nitrites and nitrates both 0, and I think that's it.. SG is 1.023 or somewhere about there. <You should know exactly where your SG is. Reduce ammonia with water changes as above.> The pulse corals are almost directly under (6" below) my 175w 10k MH and also a 110w super actinic VHO.  I have a QT tank, but it just so happens I received a shipment of corals today and I'm afraid to move the pulse corals to that tank as the corals in it are already stressed and I'm assuming more susceptible to any diseases or what not. Really appreciate any help. Oh yeah.. and I just received a rose BTA that's a little bigger than a half-dollar. How fast do they grow on average? Jonathan <These need feeding, good light and NO Amquel! They grow relatively fast with excellent water, light, and regular feeding. I recommend reading about anemone care at WetWebMedia.com. BEWARE of powerheads.  Good luck, and quarantine the roommate!  Craig>

Xenia Crash! Hi Bob and gang, <cheers> After almost a year of successful "xenia farming" (and selling to my LFS), my Xenia all suddenly shriveled up.  The bases look sort of melted on the rocks.  I am suspecting a pH swing as the culprit, <very likely... they are extremely sensitive even as high as 8.3 You should try to never dip below 8.3 when farming Xeniids IMO> along with perhaps a very frigid night here where my heater couldn't keep up and let the tank down to about 75!   <hmmm.. a sharp drop is stressful, but 75 F specifically is not> Everything else in this 55 gal reef tank appears to be ok. But the big question is, how in the world do I remove all of this dead xenia from the rocks now since they appear to be "melted" onto them?   <it decays so quick that anything firm is still living and quite possibly will recover. Gently siphon off loose matter, dose small daily amo9unts of iodine, keep good water flow and water quality> They are on nearly all of my live rock!   Will leaving them there harm anything?   <if they are rotting it could become infectious to other healthy coral> Will they just decay?  Heellllppp!!! Much thanks, and keep up the great work! Laura <best regards, Anthony>

Xenia  Hi I hope you guys may be able to help me with a problem I am having with my pulsing Xenia. When I purchased them about a month ago they were open and colorful, and now closed up for the last two weeks. They are still firmly attached to the rock, but refuse to open. Could hermit crabs be agitating them, I have heard conflicting stories about crabs.  <I feel that it is unlikely that the crabs were any bother> I had my LFS test my water and everything was fine but my ph was at 7.9.  <bingo! Xeniids are notoriously sensitive to depressed pH. My colonies stop pulsing like clockwork when the pH dips below 8.3 and look very stressed when below 8.0. Do raise you pH SLOWLY over several days to a week to 8.4. Using Kalk or baking soda in small amounts may be a cheap and easy solution for you (either by night)> They tested for ph alkalinity calcium(480)  <the calcium reading is either inaccurate or scary high. You would be dangerously close to a "snowstorm" precipitation of calcium/carbonates). Do confirm and conduct water changes to dilute if necessary. If true it would suggest an abuse of some pH or calcium supplement> ammonia nitrites and nitrates. My salinity is 1.023. I have been buffering my water to 8.3 and they are still not open. I believe around that time my heater in the tank apparently stopped working and my temp went down six degrees.  <WOW... that is a drop. Indeed very stressful to many fish and inverts. Perhaps some weeks recovery is still needed> Since then I bought a new heater and I am keeping the temp at 81 degrees.  <very fine> Also my Bubble tip anemone seems to have shrunk to a third of its normal size in the last week. I had an out break of ick and the LFS told me to treat it with Greenex (that was two weeks ago). Could that be apart of the cause of my xenia and anemone?  <My goodness!!! You will be lucky if the treatment does not turn out to be fatal to your inverts. Greenex is an organic dye and VERY toxic to invertebrates. Don't let anyone tell you different. Yes... this is the primary cause for the stress in your animals. And please know that such medications should NEVER be dosed in the main display tank. Always medicate fish in a separate QT tank. You need to read a good book my friend about all of these issues before spending any more money on livestock. Please do consider reading or re-reading Bob Fenner's Conscientious Marine Aquarist. The tank since medicated has suffered a staining/contamination of the calcareous media (sand, rock, etc). I suspect that you will have significant troubles keeping or adding small invertebrates (shrimp, snails, polyps, etc) and especially filter feeders (sponges, feather dusters, tunicates, etc) in the near future. Please conduct strong weekly water changes for the next month to dilute the contamination. Also, add PolyFilters (Poly Bio Marine filter pads) for the next several months to try to extract much of the residual meds.> My yellow polyps, green star polyps, blue mushroom anemones, feather duster are doing fine.  <for now... we'll see in time if they pull through from the staining> I also ad weekly Iodine calcium and strontium along with weekly water changes with RO water.  <very fine. And do you aerate and buffer the RO water before using it... if not, a cause for your low pH> Do I just need to be patient and wait for them to come back or should I do more drastic water changes? <the latter> Ten gallon 1 32 watt compact florescent, 1 florescent both 50% actinic blue. Lees counter current protein skimmer,  <do upgrade the skimmer when you can. Many good brands out there. Steve Pro is reorganizing the wet web media FAQs on skimmers as we speak and will be posting a best of skimmer FAQs very soon> 125 penguin bio wheel. Three inches of live sand, fifteen pounds of live rock.  <add more live rock when possible... perhaps even remove/swap some of this contaminated rock> Eight hermit crabs five Astrea snails,  <my guess is that the snails are or will be inactive from the meds> 1 Percula 1 Six line wrasse and 1 Green Chromis. I would greatly appreciate your infinite wisdom, thank you Dave McCorkell.<best regards my friend. Anthony Calfo>

Xenia Hi All, Hope your morning is going well. I've got a mystery on my hands. I did my water changes Wed. Almost everything is doing fine, the almost being the xenia in my 7g nano tank. Prior to the water change, the colonies were extending fully. Now, they're curled up into tight little balls and look real unhappy. I changed salt brands from Red Sea to Reef Crystals. The spg went from 1.024 to 1.025,  <no problem... all the better> it's strictly an invert tank, no fish. Besides the xenia there's a pair of turbo snails, mated gold coral banded shrimp, some "button polyps" (come to think of it, they haven't extended either) and I added 2 rather small blue leg hermits and 1 small long spine sea urchin (the tank has a hair algae problem, and I figured it would help spread the coralline by munching on it and spreading spores. when it gets bigger, it's going into the main display or finding a new home). I have about 8 lbs of LR, 1" of sand (oolitic), I keep the tank between 76-80, the ph is usually 8.3 (varies a bit during the day), 0 ammonia and nitrites, the nitrates are around 10 (all tests using a Red Sea kits). I haven't tested alk yet. The only thing I dose is a couple drops of Kent iodine a week, and B-Ionic 2 part (2ml, usually every other day). I use one of the Tetratec HOT units w/2 filter pads, I swap one out at every water change. I feed the shrimp a couple of brine shrimp pellets, a little of my home made food, or some Mysis, generally every other day to every three days (no luck so far on hand feeding them). The tank has been up now for about 5 months. I'm stumped. Any ideas? Thanks! PF <Hmmm... yes... a stumper/vague. I'm wondering if there was a touch of temp shock with the new incoming water? If not... SG accurate (not too low?). Plastic hydrometer or glass (preferable)? Else, a sharp drop in pH or Alk. Hmmm... many possibilities. Antoine>
Xenia shock
Plastic hydrometer. <many plastic hydrometers are complete crap, the best of them are easily corrupted with air bubbles on the weighted arm or from slight deposits from drying hard water. All hydrometers should be rinsed in distilled water after each use and/or soaked with vinegar water periodically to reduce mineral deposits. All in all... still not a likely cause of our problem here. FWIW I prefer glass hydrometers when a refractometer is not available> The make up water is heated to 80F, about where the tanks are most of the time. It's an Ebo-Jager heater , and keeps everything on a nice even temp. <yes... very fine> Since Friday the button polyps are back out and even begun to expand into some of the rock cleaned off by the urchin and the hermits. It was one of those weekends, so I'll test Alk as soon as I get home. The xenia hasn't melted down, but it still looks real unhappy. <good point... things can't be all that bad... a meltdown is easy enough to incur with Xenia. Best regards, Anthony>

Xenia I am having an extremely tough time maintaining Xenia. Each time I have  purchase them, they seem to do well for about a week and then suddenly die. I  have a 110 gallon and am using 4 - VHO lights. 2 blue and 2 white. Each bulb  is 140 watts. My water readings have been as follows:  Ph - 7.0 - 8.3 Calcium 500+ Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 20  KH - 8 -11 What am I doing wrong? Do Xenia's prefer metal halide lighting? >> Lighting is relatively unimportant to pulsing corals... It may be your calcium has something to do with it... I would allow (through cutting back on supplementing) your levels to hover more around the 400ppm level... Do you utilize iodine supplements? I would, at least once a week, and in "the bag" or in quarantine/dips in acclimating new specimens. And do look for more "local" sources of Xeniids... those raised by hobbyists near by are much tougher than ship-ins.... these animals are notoriously poor shippers. Bob Fenner

Blue pom pom changing drastically? Mr. Fenner, I just have a quick question which I was hoping you could help me with. I have a blue pom pom xenia and the head of the stalk is turning a much lighter color white). I would suspect bleaching except all of the polyps remain open and pulsating. My tank was recently at 140ppm of nitrates. I have since reduced in half over about two weeks. This is when the xenia began to change.  <I'll bet!> I noticed the difference over night. I have also noticed slight changes in other corals but they seem to be doing better. My brown Capnella now has a green hue to it. I know that corals adapt to their systems but a sudden change in the corals appearance frightens me. <Learn from your fear... and anger... nothing unusual here...> My second question is on a business end. In your opinion what would be a fair price for a blue Zoanthid frag or a blue chalice Acropora frag. both were very hard to come by and seem to be in high demand? <Somewhere between free (to friends, fellow hobbyists) to ten-twenty dollars US depending on size...> Thank you very much, Ryan Alexaki <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Xenia woes I appreciate taking time to answer my questions and others. <Chad... Anthony Calfo in your service> Some background: 110 Gallon tank, 330 watts of lights (mixed with Blue and 10k), protein skimmer. Tank Temp is around 77 degrees, Ph is 8.2, salinity is 1.22, 5ppm Nitrate, 0 Nitrite, 0 ammonia. Don't know what my Calcium numbers are but use Kent Marine Liquid Calcium (use 2 cap full per week), Kent Marine Strontium Molybdenum (use 2 cap full per week) and Lugol's Iodine (4 drops per week). Fed them Freeze dried Phytoplankton twice a week too. <hmmm? no mention of alkalinity or use of carbonate buffer? pH is too low for some coral like Xenia species... nothing under 8.3 during night-time LOWS (daytime is higher and 8.2 day reading is a bit scary> Critters: 1 Foxface, 1 Christmas Wrasse, 1 Ocellaris Clown, 1 Banggai Cardinal, 1 Lawnmower Blenny, 1 Regal Tang, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Green Brittle Star, Green Flower Pot, and a Large Leather. Problem. Purchased 3 stalks of Xenia's from a local Fish store. I read from previous FAQ's that they are very hard to move. <agreed, but grow like a weed once established. I fragged over 10,000 colonies in nearly a decade at my coral propagation greenhouse> Immediately I lost one stalk. <perhaps pH shock, among other possibilities (like handling with ungloved hand...big no-no> However the other two stalks seemed to establish themselves very nicely and started to grow. The flower pot and Leather both were big with no signs of problems. Then suddenly last week the Xenias shriveled up to nothing, stalks turned white and they all died. They weren't moved, they were in the middle to the top of the tank for light, good current movement. Ideas on what might have happened and how to prevent it from happening again? <above citations for alkalinity and pH. A well documented problem with Xeniids. Get a good pH and alkalinity kit and some buffer if necessary. Xenia enjoy (and pulse better) high alkalinity. Above 8.3 for deep night reading is bare minimum> Thanks again for the help, CV <my pleasure, bud. Anthony Calfo>

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