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FAQs about Xeniid Nutritional 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, Environment, 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,

Xeniids don't "eat" organisms for food (lack digestive systems); but do require soluble chemical nutrients: Measurable NO3 and HPO4


Cespitularia and Heteroxenia... hlth., comp.    8/3/09
Hello WWM,
Long time reader, first time writer!
I currently have a 24 Aquapod, with the first chamber a Fuge and second chamber I have a penguin 220 filter. I have LR, LS and have been cycling for over 8 weeks. After wards I added snails, ( no hermits, hate crabs) and waited another 1 month before adding anything else. ( This isn't my first system ) So I added a Blue Cespitularia, and a frag of Heteroxenia.. The Blue Cespitularia when I bought it was under actinic lighting so I couldn't tell if the polyps were whitish when I bought it, anyway the specimen look pretty good, considering the move but is releasing black substance from its polyps?
<Mmmm, perhaps "nothing" to be concerned re... but...>
The Heteroxenia however doesn't look good, the hands have turned black and sort of fell off. The stem and branches are still there it just looks bald now. Any suggestions, they both came from 250w MH set-ups and I currently have a 150w 14k bulb. Both are placed on bottom now.
Parameters as follow
<Needs some... and HPO4...>

Alk- low to normal range
Also I would say the tank has medium flow ( stock pump and Koralia Nano Powerhead), and the xenia isn't in it's direct way. And my livestock is a Sixline wrasse.
Thanks in advance
<Often, systems, particularly small volumes, will only support one species of Xeniid... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xeniidcompfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Pulsing xenia, beh., hlth.  12/29/08 <Hello James, Minh at your service.> I've read of some of the problems people seem to be having with pulsing xenia, here's mine. I've hand my 55 gal tank up and running for about three months now. About two months ago I brought home a pulsing xenia frag from a LFS. It took about a week for it to come to life, but once it did, it seemed quite happy, even had an offspring! I had fish in the tank, and unfortunately a catastrophic outbreak of Ich. As a result, I got out of the habit of feeding the inverts, and the xenia began to wither and shrivel to about a tenth of it's healthiest size. I've been given the advice of feeding with invert food and dosing with trace minerals containing iodine. <The practice of iodine dosing for Xeniid health is supported by a body of anecdotal evidence in the reefing community. However, I must warn you that the danger of overdosing is easily a possibility. As with dosing of any other major, minor or trace elements, one should only do so carefully and with the aid of test kits to prevent overdosing.> The LFS told me it's not uncommon for xenia to just die for no apparent reason. <The opposite is true for Xeniids and many other corals, it's uncommon for them to perish for no reason. Although Xeniids do appear to behave unpredictably, it is their sensitivity to changes in basic water parameters that's to blame. For this reason, many seasoned reefers use Xeniids as a visual barometer for system stability.> Reading your posts seems to suggest that they are extremely hardy, bordering on being a nuisance. I'd love to get a colony going. It's been about a week and a half and I'm not seeing any real improvement. The other tankmates seem happy. Over the last couple of days I've tried target feeding with a syringe (turning all flow off and bathing the xenia with a mixture of invert food and trace minerals). The ph got down to about 7.5, I've got it up to 8.0 now. <This could the cause for the decline of your Xeniids. I suspect if you are able to maintain stable pH and Alkalinity readings, your Xeniids will improve over time. Here is an excellent article on correcting pH issues: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2007-05/rhf/index.php .> Any suggestions, recommendations would be greatly appreciated <Furthermore, here is an excellent article on Xeniids as good food for thought: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-02/ac/feature/index.php. Good luck, Minh Huynh.>
Re: pulsing xenia    1/4/09
I want to thank you for responding so quickly and completely to my questions. The answers you provided and the links you supplied are much appreciated. <You're welcome, James.> I have a little more history information that I forgot to mention; and a couple of questions, if you don't mind. <No problem, that's why we're here.> What was the main body of xenia seems to have melted away. The offspring is still alive, but maybe a tenth of it's original size. I did mention my tank experienced a catastrophic Ich outbreak. The part I forgot to mention was that I received a copper free medication for the Ich and instructions for dosing as well as raising the temperature to 85 deg. The temperature was reset to 80 deg., the medication was dosed for one week, and a 25% water change was done at the end of the week. All of this effort was to no avail, none of the fish survived the Ich. The Xenia have been going down hill ever since. <I'm sorry to hear about your fish loss. I suspect along with the pH drop, the prolonged elevated temperature caused the initial demise of your Xeniids. If the Xeniids continue to decline even after stabilizing pH and temperature, you may need to add iodine. As I mentioned before, it is quite possible to overdose with iodine without proper administration. However, with a proper iodine test kit and careful dosing, some aquarists including myself have had success in reviving unhealthy Xeniids. In my case, I started out with 2 drops of Kent Tech-I iodine mixed in a 10ml container of saltwater. This solution is then slowly fed to the Xeniids as if spot feeding a coral. The dosage amount can be increased slightly over time. Noticeable improvement should happen relatively quickly.> The question I have is this. Will the Ich perish without a host fish, or will the eggs in the gravel exist indefinitely, as my LFS states. I was planning on waiting at least eight weeks before attempting to re-introduce any fish. <If the system is allowed to go fallow or fish-less for a period of time (4 or more weeks), then the Cryptocaryon irritans protozoan is allowed to go through its life cycle and perish without a host. Of course, the longer you can wait before adding fish, the better. More information can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ichartmar.htm. Good luck, Minh Huynh.>

 Pulsing Xenia, hlth./beh.  07/24/2008 Crew, <<Good afternoon, Andrew today>> I recently added(4 days ago) my first Acropora coral in my 14 week old reef. It seems to be extremely happy under 432 watts of T5. My questions is about my pulsing Xenia...this was the first coral I purchased (about 7-8 weeks ago). It's been doing incredible, pulsing aggressively day and night. Yesterday I came home and found it looking pretty awful. Not opening (most of it). I immediately tested all parameters.. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate all at zero and PH is 8.3. By the way, I've been battling nitrate of 20-25 since the tank finished it's cycle (all the while the xenia was doing great). I've been doing 10%-15% water changes every 5 days to reduce the nitrate (last night was the first test at 0). My question is about chemical warfare...Is it possible the Acropora has released a chemical that's really irritating the Xenia? There is plenty of space between them...Should I be dosing Iodine? I figured that the frequency of my water changes would be good enough... <<Yes, they are a stinger, but, contact would have to be made for this to occur...could it be the xenia is swaying onto the Acropora? as you mention there is already distance between them. Can only be general here as you don't mention the specific Acropora you have. Do not dose iodine unless your testing for iodine and this test is showing a deficiency. You water changes should normally replenish this element. Any other corals near to the xenia? Thank you!!!!!!!! <<Hope this helps, A Nixon>>

Pulsing Xenia, beh., hlth.  -11/16/07 Hello, thanks again for your great resource. I've looked through all the xenia pages but can't find anything to set my mind at ease, so I thought I'd ask directly. We have a pulsing xenia that came with the live rock in our tank about 6 months ago. It has been steadily growing and sprouting more 'hands,' and all has seemed well. Then, two days ago, it shrank drastically-- down to half its height and width all of a sudden, and its skin seems quite wrinkly. Its hands are still waving during the day, but it just doesn't look well. Its stalk gives the appearance of splitting in half, and our LFS suggested it might just be reproducing. But I cannot find any photos of reproducing xenias with the strange shrunken appearance that ours now has. Any ideas? Our water quality has not changed and all the other fish and invertebrates in our system look normal (including a Discosoma and SPS coral.) <Unfortunately, Xenia are notorious for becoming suddenly ill and/or dying for apparently no obvious reason (or, at least no reason we known of). Interestingly though, unlike a lot of stony corals, Xenia are not "immoral." And actually, they're thought to be relatively short-lived (with a life span of maybe 5 to 10 years). In my personal opinion, I think some of these mysterious Xenia deaths could just be the corals dying of "old age" (especially since we have no idea how old the corals might have been when they're collected). In your case, if nothing much has changed since this xenia started to decline, unfortunately there's not much more I can tell you unless you can think of something in the tank that might be attacking it (or some change in water chemistry or lighting--do you change your bulbs every 6 months?). In any case, do run some activated carbon (dying xenia can be toxin). As for reproduction, have you seen this yet? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidreprofaqs.htm> Thanks for your help, Laura and Dave <De nada, Sara M.>

Xenia crashing II -11/18/07 Thank you for your email yesterday. We wrote you that our pulsing xenia, which had been wonderfully healthy for close to six months (having survived being shipped on our live rock) all of a sudden withered and is now lying on its side as if it has no strength any more. It had been growing (sprouting new hands, reaching for the lights, etc) and now looks like it's dying. None of our other fish or invertebrates look ill. All of our basic tests come out normal (nitrates=0, nitrites=0, ammonia=0, ph=8.3, phosphates very low, alkalinity=3 mEq/L). The reason I'm writing a follow-up message is that I just tested our calcium and it is off the charts (825+, usual target is [I think] 450). (1) Could this be the reason our xenia is dying? (2) What could cause this? <That's an unbelievable (literally) calcium level. Please try a different test kit.> The only change we made shortly before the crash are  (1) we vacuumed our sand (which has lots of diatoms in it) for the first time with our weekly water change last week at the suggestion of our LFS. We have only 1-3" of fine sand in our tank. [We are just now learning that this is not a good choice.] We had never vacuumed the sand before and pulled out about 0.25" of the sand off. <Hmmm... probably not good.> (2) we added a new heater on the other side (away from the xenia) because the main heater (near the xenia) wasn't able to hold the temperature up (target = 78 deg, was going down to 75 deg when we added the new heater). Current temp very steady at 77. <Temp. of 80 to 83 would be better.> Thanks for any thoughts on this <Your calcium reading (if accurate--which I doubt it is) would be alarming. However, I'm not aware of any reason to think that high calcium (in the absence of low alkalinity) would be such a problem for soft corals. Vacuuming your sand bed could have stirred up all kinds of things that may or may not be effecting your xenia. However, it's impossible to say for sure. My only suggestion is to do more frequent water changes for awhile and run some new activated carbon.> Dave and Laura <Good luck, Sara M.>

Xenia Anthelia Collapsing. ]  3/23/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Brian, Mich here.> I hope life's been treating you all well. <Quite! And I wish you the same!> You all have helped me tremendously with my aquariums. Thank you for all of your hard work and willingness to teach others how to do these things. <You're welcome!> I sent an email about this earlier and I guess the photos didn't work out, sorry! This time I split it into a couple of emails so hopefully it will work. I had a couple of questions for you regarding some Xenia / Anthelia I have in my 90 gallon reef aquarium. Photos posted below. <Our system is still not happy about these photos.  Not sure why.> <<Me neither... but Bri has sent along otherwise thank goodness. RMF>> My concern here is in the second photo the Anthelia? coral is drooping considerably. Two weeks ago this coral was pumped up huge and it was a light brown color. Recently it has "dripped" to the rock below and now there are 2 new colonies growing there. <I'm not sure why your anthelia is drooping, but collapse is not uncommon in captivity.  May be unable to support it's weight, may be experiencing some allelopathy from neighboring corals, may be was reproducing these are but a few of numerous possibilities.> The Xenia in the first photo is doing excellent, pumping away and growing like a weed! <And many consider it so!> My water parameters are as follows: Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate <10 I just did a 25-gallon water exchange so it is probably lower now (the readings were taken before) Phosphate undetectable Calcium 420 <Allow to drift under 400.> dKH 12 PH 8.4 during the day haven't tested at night yet The water temperature stays between 75 and 77 degrees F. Lighting for tank: two 250 watt 14k metal halide lamps two 96-watt actinic power compacts 4 watts of moonlight all on timers, 2 hours of dawn (just power compacts), 9 hours of metal halide light, and 2 hours of dusk (just power compacts) All other animals in the tank are doing wonderful. Out of luck I grabbed a male and female "coco worm" and they recently spawned in the aquarium (really cool to watch!) <How awesome!> I also have two female cleaner shrimp with a male and the two females are now carrying tons of eggs, <Hermaphroditic, best kept in pairs.> my Nassarius sp. snails are breeding, <Excellent!> there are amphipods and copepods all over, my torch coral has nearly doubled in size since I got it about a month ago. <Wow!> My clams are growing and very happy. Even my Acropora corals are doing great, coloring up and growing as well. With so many things doing so well in the tank I can't figure out what could be causing the Anthelia coral to look so bad. I didn't notice any disease or parasites either. <A good sign.> Any insight you might have on that situation would be greatly appreciated. <I'm afraid I have nothing specific, there are numerous possibilities.> Thank you,
Brian Crenshaw

Xenia Anthelia Pt. 2, Sharing photos  3/23/07 Hello again, <Hello again Brian, Mich here.> In the last e-mail I sent I mentioned my torch coral and clams, my torch coral is in the photo below with a Cladiella sp. coral the edge of a clam and the male coco worm. The other two clams are in the next photo with my Nassarius snails. I also had one more question for you regarding a "critter" I found in the sump yesterday. I think though that I will send those in one more e-mail just to be safe, sorry for all these e-mail's! <The photos I could see were quite beautiful!  -Mich> Re: Photos to go with emails Xenia Anthelia Pt. 1 & 2 Mich, <Hi Brian!> Here are the photos that wouldn't load for you. Sorry for the inconvenience. If the attached files don't work please let me know and I will try  something else. <I think we're good.> Thank you,
<Welcome -Mich>
Brian  Crenshaw

Iodine causing Xenia problems? Hey Crew, I had a problem with my red soft corals losing some of their color. My LFS sold me Lugol's iodine and I starting with very small amounts increasing to one drop a day four times a week (90 gallon tank). But now my once thriving pulsing Xenia are not looking so good. << Really?  They usually do better with Iodine.  I would do a water change and stop adding Lugol's for a while. >> It looks like some one let the air out of them. I stopped using the Lugol's and they are starting to look a little better. Do you think this was the problem. I thought Xenia love Iodine? << Yes, but maybe you have over-dosed the tank.  It is toxic at high enough levels. >> or should I be using a different produce maybe one that has Iodide? << No, don't try more chemicals. >> Also I had a problem with my skimmer. After reading your site for two hours I stumbled onto someone with a similar problem as myself. I have an over flow box with a few return jets up high for surface current. After bringing those down a bit my skimmer seems to be working more efficiently. Do you think this is the right move? << Hey if it is working better, then I guess so. >> Every time I see someone else's tank they seem to have a lot of surface current. Thanks again for all the free advise. If you ever decided to charge for this site. I would be the first on line. <<  Blundell  >>

Save the Xenia? - 8/28/03 Hello, I've been having a problem with my xenia.  When I first received it, the original xenia  colony grew and spread rapidly throughout the tank (and was pulsing). However, over the last month, the xenia has slowly stopped pulsing, no longer extends, and even the small brown polyps at the ends of the stalks look like they are deteriorating. <predation or water quality likely> The main xenia stalks have completely shrunken and now all that's left are the individual stalks. The strange part is that everything else in the tank seems to be doing quite well (leather, gorgonian, many mushrooms and polyps) <actually... the four Cnidarian groups you just mentioned easily make the top 20 list of most aggressive corals regarding noxious exudations. Your Xenia may very well be suffering from their aggression if your water change schedule and or chemical filtration has been light. Weekly water changes and small weekly/monthly changes of carbon are ideal> and  I've gotten coralline algae growing on the live rock and back of tank. <not a fair comparison... these are all completely unrelated organisms with different tolerances> I realize xenia require phytoplankton/light/iodine - I've recently started adding DT's (the problem started at least 1 month before this, though), Seachem reef iodide, there are 2 x 96 W power compacts (6500 and actinic O3).   <you are mistaken my friend... Xenia cannot even eat phytoplankton. They do not have fully formed digestive systems to eat organismal prey. In fact, they are one of the closest corals to being autotrophic as it gets... getting all they need from light and feeding by absorption> SG is 1.021-1.022.   <hmmm... the salinity is a little low. For coral keeping, please do stay at full strength seawater 1.024-1.026. A dilution in turn dilutes coral sustenance> Recently I've seen a white powder that doesn't dissolve when I make up new water w/ instant ocean (didn't see this a few months ago when the bag of salt was opened).  I also was trying to raise Ca2+ last month w/ Kalk and Seachem  calcium-gluconate, and also have used B-ionic.  I've also been doing 5 g water changes (30g tank) every 2-3 wks. Any suggestions for saving the xenia? <if the problem is not predation (tiny worms, snails etc).. then look at your pH and ALK. Xenia are very strict about high pH. Daytime readings should be *.4 or higher... and watch that night/morning readings do not dip below 8.3 (they will often stop pulsing like clockwork). Alk should be in the range of 8-12 dKH (preferably towards the higher end. Ca will be fine at a modest 350-400 ppm> Thanks for any advice. Ben <please take the time to read through our archives on this subject. Go to the main page www.wetwebmedia.com and type in Xenia into the Google search tool for our site at the bottom of the page. Best regards, Anthony>

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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