Growing The Beautiful Pulsing Xenia in a TankXenia Coral is a popular coral type growing in the wild, and the beautiful polyps of the Xenia Coral can easily get any aquarist’s attention.

Before you decide to get one on impulse, you should first know if it can even grow in tanks or not. To make your decision easier, continue reading this detailed guide on the Xenia Coral.

Quick Overview

Here is a quick overview table of the characteristics and care requirements of the Xenia Coral.

Family Xeniidae
Genus Xenia
Difficulty level Easy
Temperament Peaceful
Lighting Moderate to intense
Diet Omnivore
Color Varies, depending on the species
Water flow Moderate to strong
pH level 8.1 – 8.4
Water hardness 8 – 12 dKH
Temperature 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit
Specific gravity 1.023 – 1.025
Compatibility Most reef fish
Nutrients Calcium, magnesium, strontium, iodine, trace elements
Tank set up Saltwater reef tank

What Is Xenia Coral?

Xenia Coral is a stellar decorative coral in the aquatic world that has beautiful colorations and soft movements, making it a popular coral species worldwide.

Pulsing Coral and Pom Pom Coral are other names for Xenia Coral. These names indicate the class of coral this beautiful coral belongs to, which is soft corals. Xenia coral is so widely spread across the globe that it covers the entire region between the East African Coast to Central Pacific.

A calcium carbonate exoskeleton is absent in Xenia Coral, unlike other soft corals. Most of the Xenia Coral types are found attached to the rocks in its wild habitat.

Xenia Coral Types: How Many Types of Xenia Coral Are There?

Xenia is a genus, and more than 60 species are under this genus. These species are very closely related to each other in their major characteristics, so different Xenia Coral types are studied due to the differences in aspects of Xenia Coral species.

The classification of Xenia Coral is made based on the different colors, movements and polyps. According to the scientific classification, there are the following types of Xenia Coral:

  • Xenia Umbellata (pom-pom xenia)
  • Xenia Elongata
  • Xenia Efflatounaria
  • Xenia Sansibia
  • Xenia Cespitularia
  • Xenia Anthelia
  • Xenia Sympodium 
  • And many more

There are some common names for the Xenia Coral types as well. These include Blue Xenia, Ruby Red Xenia, Yellow Xenia, White Xenia, Silver Xenia, etc.

Can You Grow Xenia Coral or Pulsing Xenia in a Tank?

Yes, you can grow Xenia Coral in a tank. It’s an easy to care for yet fast-growing soft coral. When the right growth conditions, similar to their original habitat, are provided, it will grow in your tank in no time.

However, growing and maintaining Xenia Coral in a tank can be challenging. If the conditions are highly suitable, Xenia Coral can easily transform into a weed, which can be a problem for your tank.

Therefore, before choosing any Xenia Coral, you must do extensive research about its growth rate and care requirements. It will help you choose the right tank size and adjust the parameters accordingly.

Xenia Coral Care

Xenia Coral care isn’t difficult if you understand what to do and how to do it. Continue reading to learn in detail how to care for the Pulsing Xenia.

  • Stabilize Water Parameters

Stable water parameters are essential for the growth and survival of Xenia Coral. Here are some things that you should consider while adjusting the tank water parameters for Xenia Coral:

  • The pH should always be between 8.1 – 8.4.
  • The water hardness that Xenia Coral can tolerate is 8 – 12 dkH.
  • The best temperature range for Xenia Coral is 72 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It survives and grows the best if the specific gravity is between 1.023 – 1.025.
  • Keep these parameters in the ranges mentioned above or very close. Any major fluctuation can negatively impact the health of your Xenia Coral. 
  • Lighting Requirements for Xenia Coral

Xenia Coral is photosynthetic, which means it needs sufficient light for food production. Without light, photosynthesis won’t occur, and you’ll see your Xenia Coral dying over time.

The preferred light for Xenia Coral is a moderate to intense light. Before adding them to the aquarium, acclimate them properly to the tank light. It’s important to ensure that photosynthesis isn’t disrupted due to a new tank and lighting.

  • Feeding Xenia Coral

The thing that makes Xenia Coral relatively easy to care for is that it doesn’t need any additional feeding for survival. Xenia Coral remains pretty satisfied by getting food from photosynthesis. The nutrients produced by the algae Zooxanthellae are absorbed by Xenia Coral using its soft tissues.

Aside from this, if the rate of photosynthesis slows down due to any reason, Xenia Coral can also fulfill its nutrient requirements from the fish tank itself. Your aquarium has many dissolved nutrients that Xenia Coral can easily consume.

Xenia Coral can survive well in tanks that have high amounts of dissolved nutrients, so if you have Xenia Coral, you don’t have to worry too much about feeding it.

  • Water Flow for Xenia Coral

Xenia Coral prefers a low water flow for maintaining its pulsing motion. Although it can do well in water having a high flow, the pulsing motion will stop. Therefore, it’s best to keep the water flow low in the tank for Xenia Coral.

  • Xenia Coral Placement

Unlike star polyps, Xenia Coral is a peaceful coral variety. It won’t attack its neighbors, but it’s a fast-growing coral. You’ll see that Xenia Coral will cover a lot of space in your tank in no time.

Because of this, you must provide Xenia Coral with sufficient space to grow without interfering with the growth of others. The ideal Xenia Coral placement is on a separate rock or island to keep them at a distance from others.

Another reason to keep it at a distance is that if an injury occurs or the Xenia Coral dies, it produces toxins. These toxins are potentially harmful to other creatures in the tank. You can perform carbon filtration or remove the tank’s injured or dying Xenia Coral if this happens.

Common Issues That Can Occur With Xenia Coral

There are many functions and mechanisms of Xenia Coral that are still not understood completely. However, studying its care and growth requirements can help find a reason for the common issues with Xenia Coral. The following are some of the most common issues that occur with this coral:

  • Xenia Coral Dying

While some colonies of Xenia Coral are highly accommodating, others cannot tolerate any changes. If the water conditions or the other tank parameters change, you’ll see your Xenia Coral dying in these colonies.

So to keep your Xenia Coral alive for a long time, check the tank conditions are maintained and remain constant.

  • Xenia Coral Not Pulsing

Xenia Coral has a pulsing activity that can sometimes stop without obvious cause. However, its growth continues and the coral doesn’t die. The exact cause of this behavior isn’t known yet.

Expert aquarists believe that this can happen due to low pH or alkalinity. If Xenia Coral is under stress, it can also stop its pulsing activity. The pulsing will resume as soon as the conditions or the environment becomes familiar again.

  • Xenia Coral Not Opening

Even the slightest change in alkalinity can cause your Xenia Coral to stop responding. Your Xenia Coral won’t open until the tank’s alkalinity isn’t adjusted to the required value, so remember to regularly check the alkalinity and pH of your tank.

How To Propagate or Frag Xenia Coral

The razor blade method and the rock method can be used to propagate Xenia Coral. Propagation of Xenia Coral is much easier than you might think. There are two ways that you can use to propagate your Xenia Coral:

Razor Blade Method

Cut or frag your Xenia Coral using a razor blade. Then you can attach the frag onto a substrate or rock with the help of aquarium glue, a rubber band or a toothpick.

Rock Method

For this method, place a loose rock near a fully-grown Xenia Coral colony. It’s a fast-spreading coral, so it will soon grow on the loose rock too. Once the rock is covered, you now have a frag.

This frag can then be placed anywhere in the tank by making a hole in the rock using a rubber band or aquarium glue.

Stop Xenia Coral From Spreading

Xenia coralOne of the biggest challenges aquarists face is keeping Xenia Coral in the tank. It can have tremendous growth, so you have to look for ways to control it from spreading too much.

Here are some ways you can stop Xenia Coral from spreading.

Always position Xenia Coral at a height in the tank. This is an excellent way to stop the unnecessary spread of Xenia Coral because it’s difficult for this coral to spread in the downward direction.

However, after positioning it in a high place, you still have to keep an eye on Xenia Coral. If it becomes comfortable, it’s not hard for this coral to find a way to spread.

While cutting the Xenia Coral, some pieces might remain in the tank. These pieces can quickly grow to a massive coral under the right conditions. Therefore, always check that there aren’t any pieces of Xenia Coral freely floating in your tank.

Why the Xenia Coral Pulses

No matter how attractive the Xenia Coral may look while pulsing, we just can’t figure out the reason why it does this. It’s something that even scientists don’t know yet.

There are a lot of opinions for why the Xenia Coral pulses, but no definite answer is available. The reasons that scientists associate with Xenia Coral pulsing behavior include:

  • It is a method Xenia Coral uses for exchanging gases with its environment.
  • It helps to extract the required nutrients from the water.

There are many other things that are linked with this behavior of Xenia Coral. Although the exact cause isn’t known, it’s generally believed that this is done for a good reason. Xenia Coral gets benefits from its pulsing behavior.

Maintenance Tips for Xenia Coral

To keep your Xenia Coral healthy and visually beautiful, here are some maintenance tips that you can follow:

  • Keep Xenia Coral in a Separate Tank

Keeping Xenia Coral in a separate tank is a good decision for many reasons. As it’s a fast-spreading coral, it will get enough space for growth in a separate tank.

In addition, Xenia Coral consumes the nutrients present in the tank water.

If you have other corals in the tank, competition for nutrients will start. Xenia Coral itself isn’t aggressive, but its neighboring corals can become its rivals when it consumes too many nutrients from the tank. With fights and lack of nutrients, your Xenia Coral’s health can deteriorate.

  • Always Keep the Phosphate and Nitrate Levels in Check

Phosphates and nitrates are used as a food source by Xenia Coral, but they are also used to control the excessive spread of this coral. By limiting the amount of these nutrients in the water tank, the growth of the Xenia Coral can slow down.

However, remember that these nutrients are your coral’s food. If you are an expert in balancing water parameters, you can try limiting the amount, but it shouldn’t be less than what your Coral Xenia needs for food. Also, it shouldn’t be very high because it will allow Coral Xenia to take over the whole tank space.

  • Never Allow Strong Currents in Your Tank

Strong currents can affect pulsing behavior. If the currents are more than the tolerance of Xenia Coral, its pulsing can even stop.

As you now know, Xenia Coral pulses for a good reason; therefore, you must ensure that the currents aren’t very strong in your tank.


You have now learned to grow Xenia Coral successfully without allowing it to cover the whole tank; let’s have a quick review of he things we learned in this article:

  • Xenia Coral is a fast-growing and easy to care for coral belonging to the East African Coast and Central Pacific region.
  • There are many species of Xenia Coral, amounting to more than 60.
  • Xenia Coral is photosynthetic and lives in a symbiotic relationship with Zooxanthellae algae.
  • Some common issues with Xenia Coral include excessive growth, sudden death, no pulsing behavior, and unresponsiveness without any clear reason.

This ends our guide on Xenia Coral care, growth and maintenance. With every point of this post in your mind, you can now grow and care for Xenia Coral without any problems. Remember to ask for help from an expert if you get stuck anywhere!

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