Xenia coral is well known for its relaxing effect on anyone who watches it. Xenia are considered a soft coral, with sturdy stalks up to 3" long, which are tan in color. As the water drifts past them, the polyps on the end of the xenia stalks open and close in a pulsating or pumping motion. It offers a beautiful addition to any reef aquarium.
As far as hardiness is concerned, xenia pose an interesting case. While some hobbyists cannot keep this type of coral alive, other hobbyists report that xenia are almost like a fast growing "weed" coral. Although there are guidelines that can be followed as to xenia care in the home aquarium, no one seems to fully understand what will guarantee the success of xenia on the reef.
Xenia Lighting And Water Current
Xenia require an environment that includes moderate to strong lighting. Usually brighter is better for xenia coral living in a marine aquarium, although some success has been reported at lower light levels. Xenia also require at least moderate water flow, as they are one of few corals that seem to do well right up against the strong output of a powerhead.
Xenia has sturdy stalks up to 3" long, which are usually tan in color. The end of each stalk is covered with a crown of feather-like polyps, each carried on a 1"-2" stem. Those polyps pulsate open and closed in a pumping motion. Groups of these stalks form colonies that can grow into large mats.
Xenia Agressiveness And Feeding
Xenia have an extremely low aggression level.They do not possess any apparent stinging capability, but xenia tend to grow over and shadow other corals if allowed. When kept in the right conditions, xenia may require frequent pruning to keep it from crowding out other corals. Xenia is photosynthetic and does not accept any known foods if offered in the aquarium. It is believed that xenia can absorb some nutrients directly from the water. Xenia may do better in tanks that are not frequently skimmed.
Xenia reproduce in the tank by attaching its stalk against adjacent surfaces and splitting into two colonies. With this phenomenon, xenia colonies tend to "walk" in the direction that the water movement bends their stalks. Xenia can usually be coaxed to grow up the back glass of an aquarium.