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FAQs about Xeniid Disease/Health/Pests 4

FAQs on Xeniid Disease: Xeniid Disease 1, Xeniid Health 2, Xeniid Health 3, Xeniid Hlth./Pests 5, Xeniid Hlth./Pests 6, Xeniid Hlth./Pests FAQs on Xeniid Disease by Category: Diagnosis, Environment, 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,

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>

Completely stumped - soft coral problems, allelopathy, Ozone option  06/02/09
<Hi there Ken>
I need some help as I'm completely stumped, I have been running a 90 G tank for over 10 years now. Some good years some bad.
Currently I have for the last year been able to keep the system running with 0 Nitrate's as I had major nitrate problems.
I had been running with CC substrate and trickle filter with a small skimmer (old school! ) with 275W of PC lighting So I had changed up the system over a year ago upgraded to a Euro Reef RS135 running in a 30G sump with a 15G fug. and CaribSea reef floor sand. Also upgraded to 8x54W T5's
So currently I have 140 Lbs of rock (been in use 10 years)
<Mmm, I'd be adding a bit new to this. Please see here:
with a total of 125g of water in the system.
I do a 20G water change every 2-3 weeks (just timing issue) and dose BRS two part daily.
Current parameters - that I test
1.025 Salinity - Refractometer (checked and tested at LFS)
80 F Temp - digital
8.4 (night) - 8.5 PH (day) - using Vital Sign handheld calibrated last week
8 DKH- using API
430 Cal - using Seachem
1300 Mag - using Seachem
0 Ammonia - using API
0 Nitrite - using API
0 Nitrate - using API
0.01 Phos- Using Elos
0.06 Iodine - using Seachem
Here is my problem all of my pulsing Xenia for the last few weeks have all stopped pulsing, their white body's have gone from white to dark brown/pink (best I can come up with LOL) I had a frag in the
tank 6 months ago that got stung by my Ritteri anemone ( I know small tank for a Ritteri but love them so much) so I moved it and it started to grow back and kind of stopped growing. I got a another frag and it grew to three times it's size and picked up another frag for my small tank that was cycling and it to grew to three times it's size quickly. then the first frag has started to shrink and turn dark and now the second frag
is tuning dark and not coming out fully. At the same time (about 6 months ago) I had picked up a green orange clove polyp frag and it too started off strong went from 5 polyps to 25 and now it too has stopped growing. Some of the polyps will not open fully and they look burned (the edges are white)
My mushrooms are not expanding fully but look OK, my Leather is OK, my Zoo's are OK, All my LSP and one SPS are doing good (still growing) even my Acans are fine, so what gives?? What I'm I missing??
<Mmm... perhaps... some general aspect of water quality that would "save" your "losing" Cnidarians from apparent allelopathy... A bunch to speculate here... But let's start by having you review:
and the linked files of this ppt. condensation, and then a bit re RedOx...
which, better than "stooping" to more expensive chemical filtrant use...
I'd look into... Ozone use... perhaps with a desiccator:
and http://wetwebmedia.com/SystemPIX/RedOx/RedoxPPTpres1.htm
and the linked files...>
Thanks' for any help or direction you can offer.
If I left out any needed info please let me know.
<Again, Ken, there are a few avenues you might consider, go here... For me, a cursory reading/understanding of the negative interactions of the life you list and a short/sure method of "curing" these processes is likely to be satisfying. Bob Fenner>
Re: Completely stumped - soft coral problems  6/2/09

Hello Bob,
Thanks for the insight, It is not the first time I have thought or have it been suggested to replace some rock. I had almost at one point the intention adding some new rock and cooking the rest on a rotation bases. My still end up going that way, but after I managed to get the nitrates under control did not think it was necessary.
<Does really help>
As for the latter ORP, this also came up in the past when fighting nitrates I tried vodka dosing for organic carbon to help consume the nitrates but found no positive effect, when dosing my star polyps stopped coming out and my leather did not seam to like it either, as well the nitrates held steady. It was suggest to check ORP at that time, but I played with my fug slowing down the flow from ~300g/hr to ~100g/hr and this helped knock the nitrates down. This seamed to me to prove I have a lot of oxygen and by slowing down the flow helped the 6" deep sand bed and Chaeto do its thing.
But I'm just a hobbyist taking my best guess from over information and not enough understanding.
<We share this trait>
I believe my next best hope is to check ORP and see if the problem is there.
<Do see my bits on WWM re... you really want high, consistent readings (375-400 micro Siemens/cm)>
The one thing I have learned in this hobby is when you think you know what your doing and your reef is doing great, it just pure dumb ass luck!
<Mmm, not entirely in my experience>
and the next adventure is just around the corner.
Again thanks' for the input.
<Glad to share. BobF>

Stowaway Nudibranch, Xeniid pred.  04/20/09
Hi crew :D
I recently bought a lovely colony of red sea xenia which was home to a Phyllodesmium hyalinum - the little Nudibranch fell off the colony when it was knocked off the rock work. While this may sound a bit sad I know, the little guy is rather lovely and although I have no wish for it to snaffle my xenia I'd like to know if I can help it to survive, short of putting it back on the xenia colony...
<If it is indeed a Xenia eating Nudibranch, chances are that it needs to eat Xenia in order to survive. However, you might be able to feed it any kind of Xenia. Thus, you might be able to set up a little biotope for it and just feed it xenia frags (if you can find such for cheap). The other option, you could ask your fellow reef aquarists if they have excess Xenia (many reef keepers do-- some even consider the coral a pest at some point).>
after all, I did purchase the animal albeit accidentally!
<I do sympathize, appreciate your sentiment here. I recall a friend of mine who fell so much in love with two beautiful Nudibranchs that hitchhiked on his sun corals, that he forgot about the sun coral and did everything he could to keep the slugs alive by buying dying sun corals from LFSs, just to feed them. Of course, I don't recommend this per se, but I do sympathize with any such love for Nudibranchs. I've also had them as hitch-hikers and always wished I could keep them. However, do know that these animals don't usually live that long (even in the wild).>
Will the Nudibranch ultimately cause the death of the xenia, or will its feeding habits do little more than limit the size of the colony?
<Well, firstly, please do send in a pic so that we can confirm that this is a Xenia eating Nudibranch. Secondly, *one* Nudibranch on a large, fast-growing Xenia colony, might not destroy the colony, but as you say, just keep it "mowed" a bit. The trouble is that the Nudibranch could likely reproduce. Within a short time, you might not just be dealing with one Nudibranch, but many many Nudibranchs... who would likely destroy the colony eventually.>
Many thanks,
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Re: stowaway Nudibranch 04/21/09
Hi Sara,
Many thanks for the reply - have attached a picture of the little guy.
<Wow, great pic! May I ask, what camera did you use? The slug does look like a Phyllodesmium hyalinum. Please see here:
You might even want to write in to this site with your story/pics, since it is noted to be very difficult to find/see in the wild. Thus, maybe Bill Rudman would get a kick out of seeing yours (or at least confirm the ID).>
Sara M.>

Xenia (pest?) and worm (ID, comp.)    2/20/09 Hi. I'd like to thank you for all your help. Today I noticed that one xenia colony has brown/black specks crawling all over it. <Mmmm> Just a few days ago a crab reproduced, so I wonder if it could be crabs eating away at the xenias. I say eating because some of the branches look like tiny parts are missing. If it is not tiny crabs, what else could they be? <Small crustaceans... or Nudibranchs... or... Need a much higher resolved image or two to tell. There are treatments for all... see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/LR,LS/HH%20PPT%20Pitch%20Cells/HHProsConsart.htm> Is there anything I need to worry about? We have two xenia colonies and only one shows the spots. I have attached a few pictures. <If it is convenient, easy to do, I would move the one showing these moving zots to another system... carefully lift it and place it in a container underwater... so that if this is a pest, predator it doesn't fall off...> When I was checking on the xenias, this yellow worm was stuck to the glass. I did some research and it looks like it could be a spaghetti or medusa worm. Can you confirm which one it is. Is it harmless in my tank? <Should be... it is almost assuredly a species of Errantiate Polychaete, see the Net re... Perhaps a member of the family Cirratulidae> I have removed it from the tank temporarily until I learn more about it. Thanks for all your wonderful help. Cindy salinity 1.025 nitrite 0 ammonia < .25 nitrate 2.5
ph 8.4
Alk 1.7 - 2.8
<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.>

Xenia crash??   11/25/08 Hi crew, I have an urgent problem with my xenia. I have two species that have grown extraordinarily well over the past 6 moths ( from a 1" patch to over 2feet high and wide, with more large colonies all over my tank). Today I accidently knocked a 12v live connector into the tank and didn't notice it for a few minutes. 15 min.s later all my xenia turned yellow at the head, and shriveled up. I done a quick water change - one bucket as that's all I had mixed at the time ( not much for a 6ft tank), and things perked up a bit but have now gotten worse again. <Not an atypical event> Other sessile inverts shriveled for about 1 hour but are fine again now. Inhabitants are 2 10" colt corals, two toadstools, two leathers, Condylactis anemone, colony of star polyps (these are still hiding), two Nudibranchs ( one is a sea hair 8", <... what species is this "hare?"> the other "appeared" last week and I have no idea what it is - its 1.5" bright orange with white edges and very frilly all over and comes out at night. <Perhaps predaceous, a factor here> Live stock 6 Anthias, scooter blenny, mandarin, yellow tang, 1 mono, 3ft snowflake eel, Radiata lion fish, powder blue tang and two Firefish, various snails. parameters nitrite 0.05< nitrate 0.2< KH 9 temp 26deg the water was maybe a little bit misty but smells strongly of what I can only describe as a soft coral or anemone out of water. <Yikes... a good clue... and dangerous> I have added some activated carbon, and my skimmer seems to be working overtime like I've never seen. All livestock is accounted for. What do you think the problem is?? Do you think something may of released some poisonous eggs or something? <A definite high likelihood...> any help would be much appreciated regards Lex <Lex, there are a few approaches you might consider (and soon!) as to how to proceed... Whatever has been added in recent times might be a "trigger" to the allelopathy you're witnessing. Massive water changes, the use of activated carbon, Polyfilter might forestall problems here, raising your RedOx definitely would... You can read re these on WWM... I'd start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and the linked files above... to where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Unhappy xenia 8-26-08
I have already read all the FAQs about Xeniids posted on this site. I could not find any answer to the problem I have with my pulsing xenia. Any other suggestions? Thanks <Need water param.s, and husbandry information. Are you dosing Iodide? M. Maddox>

 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>>

Xenia Trouble...? - 05/31/08 Hello Crew, <Michael> I have a question about my (Regular) Pulsing Xenia. I have had my tank up and running for about 2 1/2 months and I have had my Xenia in there pretty much since my take was established. The Xenia has been doing great, I have propagated it several times with successful results. The other week, I moved the rock because it was too close to the glass. Since then one of the stalks was rubbing against another piece of live rock (I thought nothing of it). Now, that same stalk looks like it is dying all the polyp types have turned white, many have disintegrated and it seems like it is spreading to the other stalks that are near-by. Any ideas what has caused this? <Mmm, yes...> Have you folks heard of this situation before? <Quite often> Will the rest of my live stock be harmed? <Only if the water becomes polluted. Likely only the Xenia will perish> I have about $3,000 in other coral specimens in my tank, including Blue Xenia. <!? In 2.5 mo.s!?> The blue Xenia doesn't really pulse very much, but I have the smaller white color Xenia and it is still pulsing like crazy, as are the other specimens of (regular xenia). I just completed a 10g water change, have not checked the levels yet, I know that Xenia is pretty finicky when it comes to the water conditions. But all my other corals are thriving, so I am not sure why the (regular) Xenia is going downhill, but it seems like every other coral is doing well. That would lead me to believe that the water may not be the problem? <Sometimes pulsing corals do "crash" population wise... can be triggered by part of a colony's distress, dying... There's not much to do to stop this... other than moving parts of the colonies elsewhere> Please Let me know if you have any ideas or what actions I should take.. A little about my tank, it is a Custom built 75 gallon (L36"xH24"xW20") <With 3k in livestock?> fully built reef system with built in refugium, I have 4 blue/green Chromis, 6-line wrasse, Dragon Goby, Coral Beauty, Hermit Crabs/snails, Yellow Stripe maroon Clown, Rose BTA, <... trouble with other Cnidarians in such a new system of small volume> Lighting is provided by a Current Orbit Series (150w MH, 2x 96w Actinic, 4 LEDs) Best Regards, Mike, So-Cali <... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm Bob Fenner>

Xenia Identification, reading 4/23/08 Dear Crew, <Jas...> I got this xenia at my LFS and they said it was a Pom Pom however I have been suspicious of that since I purchased it. Can you please try to identify the type for me. <Type? Well, is a Xeniid... likely an Anthelia species... not in great shape evidently. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Best regards, Jason <<Where is the graphic Sara? Lost... RMF>>

Re: Xenia Identification... hlth.    4/24/08 Dear Bob, <Jas> I saw you said the xenia did not look in great shape. What seems to look wrong with it? It has looked that way since I got it and has actually started growing more polyps out of the side. <... the color, the physiognomy... thin, listless... see the site (again) re what healthy colonies look, act like. BobF> Thanks

G'day, Sudden Xenia crash... Cnid. incomp.    2/8/08 Good morning to all at WWM, I have had several Salt tanks for a few years now. All of them have always had pulsing Xenia in them. The tank in question is a 72g BF with a 30 gallon sump, 2x250 MH, 4x54 T5 actinic, Mainly Softies and LPS. <Mmmm> This tank has been setup for a little over 2 years and has had pulsing Xenia in it from the start of adding corals. I haven't added anything new in quite some time I don't even remember when it was but it's been a while. I do however frag/trim stuff fairly often to keep from overgrowing. Tank Parameters SG 1.025-26 Temp 79.8 - 81.1 Nitrate 20 Ammonia 0Nitrite 0Ca 350Mg 13202% - 5% water change every couple of days (I'm a stay at home dad so I like to work on the tank). Okay all that said I woke up yesterday morning, looked at the tank and saw that the pulsing Xenia Had shriveled up drastically more than I'd ever seen it. The tops were turning a light white/green color, also if you moved them at all they let off a dark brown stuff into the water and They smell really bad. I have always kept them isolated to one rock in the tank and trim them down when it gets to big. I usually keep what I trim off in the sump or give them away. The odd thing is that all the Xenia in the sump are doing the same thing! <Mmm, not strange> But no other corals seem to be effected by this. I have attached some pictures of the Xenia in question, <Good ones too> as well as some shots I took just two days ago. I guess my questions are, Is there any hope for them still or are they gone? <Gone> Is it bad to leave them in the tank to see if they make it? <Likely no trouble... are being dissolved, filtered out...> What could do this to them so suddenly, could it have been some kind of chemical warfare, <Yes> the only thing near the rock is a Torch coral, GSP, Toadstool leather? Thanks again, Never could have made it this far into the hobby without everyone's help at this site! Lucas <There was some sort of "cascade effect" by one, two of the above Cnidarians... Likely the Euphyllia... and...? The Xeniid lost. Bob Fenner>

Xenia shriveling  1/16/08 Hi crew! It's been awhile since I've had any problems but now my xenias are dying. They've been in the tank for 5 months and were doing great. They were spreading and still are. I had 3 large stalks. The first one shriveled but is not completely dead. Then the 2nd within 2 days went from straight up and strong to shrinking, twisting and falling over but it is still trying to pulse. <A good sign> The 3rd one is going strong. I moved the powerhead so they are not getting as much current as they were. I scoured the website and checked the ph and alkalinity as advised. <Yes> Both were low (ph 8.2 and 8 dKH). <This is not low...> I corrected that and now the ph is 8.3 and the alkalinity is 10. However that has not changed their status. I thought I had read that other corals could affect them as well. <Yes> I also have green Zoanthids and green Ricordea mushrooms. <Have these been "upset" or challenged recently... they/either could malaffect pulsing soft corals> Where in relation to the xenia should those be placed? <Away... and more... chemically... and...> I originally had both lower than the xenia in the tank but moved the Zoanthids for lighting purposes. Could this be the problem? <Ah, yes> What else could be affecting the xenia? <A myriad of possibilities... Do you dose with an iodine/ate compound?> I have a 55 gal with 130 watts of lighting. Thank you for your help! Jennifer <Please peruse here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cnidcompppt.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/xeniiddisfaq3.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia shriveling 1/17/08 Hi Mr. Fenner! I just started adding iodine at 1/2 strength until the testing kit comes in. Also, I moved the Zoanthids farther away and lower. Thank you for your response, also I'll look at the referred links. Thanks again Bob! Jennifer <Welcome Jen! BobF>

Re: Xenia shriveling, and FOWLR stkg.  1/17/08 Bob, xenias seem to be doing better since I moved the Zoanthids. I do have another question. I've been researching obtaining another fish and want to make the best choice for my current inhabitants, whom I very fond of, and for the fish I purchase. Currently in my 55 gal I have a tank raised clown (he's the boss-2 years old), 1 Firefish, 1 coral beauty, 1 royal Gramma, 1 Chromis, 1 sleeper goby, 1 coral banded shrimp (4"), 1 Echinaster spinosa (sp?) starfish, 5 hermit crabs, 3 limpets and 2 conchs. I researched on WWM Butterflyfish, which seem to be the most compatible, Hawkfish (could be problem with shrimp) and a yellow tang. Some of the research on yellow tangs said 55 gal is too small and some says it's ok. What is your opinion? <It's borderline...> I do not want an unhappy fish. Or do you think I've hit the bioload for this tank? Thank you again, Mr. Fenner! Jennifer <Jen... I do think you are "about there" re psychological limit with the fish species you list. Bob Fenner>

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 Tube-Pest  9/26/07 Hey All, <Hi Ted> I have an unidentified pest eating my xenia elongata and occasionally my pom-pom xenia. It seems to live inside the rock on which the xenia have attached. I have not seen the pest itself but it forms almost translucent fibrous tube with bits of sand leading to where it has eaten. If I destroy the tube or block up the hole, it will return within a day to a few weeks. It has appeared only on one other rock but quickly disappeared without xenia nearby to munch on. I have not tried to chemically treat the holes (similar to Aiptasia treatments) because I don't know with what I am dealing and do not want any collateral damage to the xenia. <Very strange... any chance you can get a picture?> Thanks for All of Your Help Ted <Best, Sara M.>

Inking xenia   5/19/07 I purchased a pulsing xenia at the LFS today. And after an hour or two I noticed it nice and puffed up looking full of life but slumping to one side, <Typical... takes a while, days to acclimate...> so I tried to help it stand straight, <No!> but when I did it deflated! And a purple looking fluid was released and now its slumped with no sign of life! Anyone ever heard of this? Is it dangerous for my clean up crew? Did I kill it? Please help that you Joe <... Please... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidarts.htm The linked files above. RMF>

Xenia with small black specs   5/8/07 Hi WWM Crew, I'm writing today about some black specs I observed on my Xenia this morning. I have never seen them before. I searched all the FAQs on Xeniid health but only found one post about black dots on Xenia. The person gave you no other details so there wasn't much info you could provide them. I set up my tank about a year ago and have solved every problem I have ever encountered with a little research and reading from your site without ever having to contact you, until now. I have included a couple pictures they're not great but I had to take like twenty before I got one that captured what the heck I'm talking about (Xenia moves and pulses and refuses to hold still for photo ops). Anyway my system is Monaco style 55 gal with about 85 lbs live rock. I use an Aqua C Remora Pro skimmer with good results. Parameters are Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, Phosphate 0.03, Calcium 440, Carbonate Hardness 10 dKH, pH 8.3, Temp. 78.6. I am religious about my maintenance chores 10% water change every Sunday and I dose mid-week with Kent Iodine, Calcium, Essential Elements, and Strontium 5 mL each. One thing to note is that I recently had a phosphate problem due to the leaching of a cheap grade of carbon which I removed about 6 weeks ago. It took some research to find the root of the problem. Since then I have ceased the use of carbon in my system after reading much material advising against its use with Xeniids. <Worth trying> I have been using Kent Phosphate Sponge in a canister filter to help remove the phosphates. <I would remove this next...> Levels have come down from 0.1 to 0.03 in the last few weeks. <Both are fine> The only previous problem I've had with my Xenia was the very tips of the polyps looking slightly burned. I believe this was related to the carbon use. <Maybe...> They never ceased pulsing and after the removal of the carbon they returned to their healthy state. Whether the stress was caused by the carbon or the phosphates <Or their sudden diminishment> it was leaching I'm not sure. Now the black specs are linear and appear to be on the inside of the center the polyp's "fingers" between mid-way and the end of the "fingers" only (see pic). The stalk and branches do not have any black specs on/in them. The specs themselves are approximately 1 mm in length and do not appear to have any appendages and I have not seen them move. I am not too alarmed at this point all colonies are pulsing normally and appear to be in good health, but if you would care to speculate on what these black specs are, I am all ears. Thanks for your help you guys are always my "go to" whenever I have a problem. Sincerely, Phil, Boulder CO <Mmm, don't know what these spots are... but do agree with your experimenting, changing the filter media. Bob Fenner>

Re: Xenia with small black specs  -- 05/08/07 Hi Bob, Thanks for your quick response. Last night after I sent you email I cut off one of the affected polyps and put it under my 3-D microscope. <Great> Last night I was not able to observe anything, the polyp was closed up tight, but this morning it had opened up a bit and was still pulsing! <Ah, yes> I was able to observe the black specs at 2X magnification and they are in fact located within the polyps tissue. I observed these specs breaking up and diffusing up and down the length of one of the "fingers". It was kind of like what blood looks like moving through an artery under a microscope but not as fast. Anyway I think maybe this is just some kind of waste removal process and the specs are concentrated accumulations. <Possibly> This morning there were not as many of these specs on the colonies in my display. Just thought I would share my observations. Thanks again, Phil
<Thank you for this follow-up Phil. BobF>

Xeniid Help RESEND   4/12/07 Hi all!  I am sending this again via webmail to see if it makes it this time.  No response first time around (Those web gods!!) <Thank you for this. Your first go "kind of" made it... but "trayless"... the short expl.: we'd have to re-send it through our system to respond...> I am an avid reader of your site and have been known to spend hours upon hours researching for the answers to many of my questions, most of the time with success; however, this one has me stumped.  First the tank specs: TANK SPECS:   29 Gal BC with additional "baby powerhead" and external skimmer Salinity 1.26 pH  Stable at 8.4 (taken consistently at 4:30 AM with pH monitor) Temp 79.4 day  / 78.6 night Salifert test kit results:   Calcium  460 Alk  13 dKH Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate > 5 Phosphate 0 I am currently using a PolyFilter and Chemi-Pure in case of chemical warfare <Okay... though these are more useful for inorganics...> RESIDENTS: 2 cleaner shrimp 1 fire shrimp One 1.5 inch maroon clown  and one 2 inch yellow tang <Mmm...> (until they are big enough not to be eaten by V lion in the 240 gal)   Presumed mantis shrimp due to skinned/diced Mandarin <Also mis-placed in such a small volume> (which was trained to eat frozen as well as flake food and was FAT), another story entirely¦ CORAL: Open brain Candy cane Torch Leather toadstool Finger leather Mushrooms Xenia which are at the top of the tank by water return and far away from any of my LPS and softies (which are still thriving) <A clue here> PROBLEM: My Xenia had been thriving for about four months now growing from three stalks to approximately 20 in this same time period; that is until five days ago, at which point they have been only bulbs which are now slowly deteriorating.   I have been doing consistent 5 gal water changes every other day upon discovering this until two days ago when I upped it to 5 gal every day. I have even taken an 8 oz glass with tank water and added 1 drop Lugol's and gently poured it on the Xenia with no success (only once).  I am wondering if there is some macroalgae growing within the Xenia stalks which may be the culprit. <Mmm, likely "after the fact"... but... are you sure this is an algae? Might be a Hydroid pictured here...> I have enclosed a picture which I hope you get. If not let me attempt to describe these things.  They are long rigid stalks with a feather tip only, dark green in color and approximately 1 to 2 inches in length)  They are very stubborn as I tried to tweeze one out thinking it was a human hair entangled within the Xenia and it did not break or budge!?!?!?!? <Bingo> I have no idea what these things are but if this is in fact macroalgae then do I just tweeze these pieces, or cut them with scissors? <May take more drastic action here... the cleaving of the Xeniid colony, scrubbing around the bases of the salvaged polyps...> Once again I have no idea what I am seeing or dealing with or if it is even a problem and the real problem lies elsewhere.  Any insight would be greatly appreciated <Is something other than algae... a look through a microscope would help here... I'd remove the colony, clean out these pests, try to restore the pulsing corals health in isolation. Bob Fenner>

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