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Issues with purple xenia and colt
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tripwater
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Joined: 29 Mar 2007

PostPosted: 2008.10.22(Wed)12:22    Post subject: Issues with purple xenia and colt Reply with quote

Hey all,

Not sure here as every post I read about pulsating xenias I have found people seem to have a hard time slowing them down. I have heard them being referred to a weed because they can take over your tank. I bought a purple pulsating xenia about 2 months ago and it has not grown at all. In fact it seems to have shrunk some. There are times it looks healthy then others it just draws up.

I have a 55gal reef with 60lbs of live rock. This tank has been up for well over a year. Everything in it is thriving except this and my colt coral. I have compact lights that are 2 X 65w 12000k and 2x65 true actinic. A powerhead on each end of the tank angled as such to cause moderate current flow in the tank. I have moved both of these guys around to try and see where they will be happiest but not found anything to get them to grow yet.

water params are
temp 78
pH 8.4
sal 1.024
amm 0
nitrates 10-20ppm
nitrites 0
phosphates 1.0
calcium 420

I supplement with purpleup, kent marine micro vert food, kent marine coral-vite and Julian Sprung's Sea Elements reef formula and phytoplan.

Other corals include a branching star polyp, green button polyps, zoanthids, blue eyed Goniopora, some mushrooms(not sure the type right off). All of which are doing well. In fact, I have started fragging the button polyps and shrooms and started new colonies.

Any tips or ideas as to what I may be doing wrong for the xenia or even the colt to just stay at the size they have been would be helpful. Thank you in advance for your time
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FloridaBoy
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Joined: 04 Jul 2004

PostPosted: 2008.10.22(Wed)19:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry you are having trouble. When I see a tank where most corals are doing well, but a few are not, my first thought is possible aggression issues or chemical wars. But now that I went back over your post, I noticed your nitrates seem a bit high for invertebrates, most reefers target a maximum of 5 ppm or less for nitrates. Nitrates are an indicator of dissolved organics in the water. The first link below has an addendum at the bottom that talks about Xenia suffering when higher nutrient levels are present in the water. That same article by Calfo also mentions targeting a proper alkalinity of 8-12 dKH and a stable pH in the range of 8.3-8.6 for these animals. Your pH may be dropping at night, or fluctuating without your realizing it. Likewise if the tank is heating up to 80 or above in the daytime, that could be a problem too---in which case adding a chiller may be required. I'm not sure if you are using a skimmer, some suggest over-skimming can actually hinder these corals, but since you're adding supplements I think you're okay there.

Beyond that, you may need to make some water changes to reduce those nitrates and then carefully add iodine and slowly elevate your pH, but be careful---they are VERY sensitive to pH changes.

Here are the GARF points for successful propagation of Xenia:

1. Keep the IODINE LEVEL UP by using Sea Chem Reef Plus at TWICE the regular dose.
2. Keep the reef below 76 degrees.
3. Move the Xenia into as many tanks as possible.
4. Keep cutting and trimming the colonies.

If none of these things help, it's possible you have chosen a weak or dying colony, and you may need to start with a fresh colony. You are right about the "weed" thing, some hobbyists actually have problems with them growing too fast and taking over the tank. Keep in mind, I am not an expert on these, and there is a lot of conflicting info on the internet about their care. for example, some authors claim they require intense lighting, others claim success with only moderate lighting.

I hope these links will help you...

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-02/ac/feature/index.php
http://www.garf.org/pulse.html#xenia
http://www.reefbuilders.com/forums/nano-tanks/4819-pulsing-xenia-dying-I-think.html
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidfaqs.htm
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tripwater
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PostPosted: 2008.10.23(Thu)6:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the reply and the info. Very helpful indeed. I will start some water changes and read up on some of the material you provided.
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art_of_war
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006

PostPosted: 2008.10.23(Thu)8:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

tripwater,

I don't mean to correct/add anything to this thread as Floridaboy has a few interesting points. However, I'm sure you mean pink or even "blue" xenia (if in fact that's what you have). I mention this b/c xenia is one of those "strange" soft corals that behave erratically and for no rhyme or reason do what they want in whatever tank they live in. I've spent over >$100 in xenia (pink, pulsing, pom-pom, anthelia, even the mysteriously coveted redsea blue xenia which is truly the most impressive of all with its irridescence and glittering look) however, all have not survived for any remarkable length of time in any of my tanks (I've kept as many as four (4) different reef tanks: props, quarantine and displays).

People say iodine is the solution! Okay, so I dose it every other day and it killed my cleaner shrimps (since premature and over-molting is bad for inverts). That's too bad but I have to try something. Other people say that xenia like "dirtier" tanks; let's try less frequent water changes. Uh oh, now my SPS aren't doing so well. Some acros brown out and others will bleach (not good). How about more flow; even direct blasting? Hmm, that's strange...now they retract a majority of the time and they're even starting to melt. What am I doing wrong?

Truth? NO ONE REALLY KNOWS. I've met people like myself who can't keep xenia for any length of time and others who spend a majority of their maintenance time ripping them out and throwing them away. Xenia is like the whole, "coral spawning" phenomena.

But at least you can say you tried. I wouldn't go too crazy with the supplements either as some of that stuff have a difficult time dissolving completely at saturation level. However, your other parameters appear to be alright. I wouldn't even worry too much about your calcium since a majority of your corals look mostly like softies w/ ex. of goniopora.
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tripwater
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PostPosted: 2008.10.23(Thu)8:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. I just took a quick video of my tank. I moved the xenia closer to the front in the hopes that you can get a better look. My camera is not the best. Maybe you can tell what kind it is. As you can see it is shriveled up and also at the end of the video, you will notice my colt frag. Had it for months now and it it still that size.

http://www.youtube.com/v/ftj76dh8xlw
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2008.10.23(Thu)14:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, it doesn't look very happy...
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tripwater
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PostPosted: 2008.10.23(Thu)14:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know Sad
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FloridaBoy
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PostPosted: 2008.10.23(Thu)15:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you should contact this Mission fellow and ask his secret, he has an amazing sequence of growth photos on this thread, stuff was growing so fast he eventually pulled 98% of the Xenia out and threw it away... one man's treasure is... Laughing
http://www.3reef.com/forums/frags/pulsing-xenia-vs-scissors-46892.html
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tripwater
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PostPosted: 2008.10.23(Thu)15:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah his look great. Bu I wonder if it is the fact that mine are not white? Every article or post I have come across about xenias growing well, they were all white.
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art_of_war
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Joined: 17 Nov 2006

PostPosted: 2008.10.24(Fri)8:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

tripwater wrote:
yeah his look great. Bu I wonder if it is the fact that mine are not white? Every article or post I have come across about xenias growing well, they were all white.


That's not true. I've seen pink anthelias (similar to xenia), pom-poms and even the coveted blue xenia grow impressively in tanks and not just in articles (actual tanks). There's tons of reefers out there, I'm sure you'll meet someone who has a tank that is over-run by xenia.

As a matter of fact, I recently traded with someone (rare SPS stuff) whose tank has quite an abundance of pom-pom. In a week, I'll be getting some nice frags of that stuff (free of course as I don't intend to buy any ever again). I love pom-pom xenia! I think it's so amazing how they pulse the way they do. I have an old quarantine tank I recently re-established that I wanted to experiment with the xenia in. I just thought about a possible reason some xenia colonies/frags crash could be attributed to LOW temperatures. Another theory is the possibility of them being kept with coral that slimes excessively such as hydnophora and garbage sarcos.

Oh well.
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