Pulsing Xenia, Xenia elongata

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Pulsing Xenia makes a great addition to the reef tank, and it's a marvel to watch says Jeremy Gay.

Common name: Pulsing xenia.
Scientific name: Xenia elongata.
Origin: Indo Pacific.
Requirements: Moderate to bright lighting from T5, LED or metal halide. It should have moderate flow with ten times tank volume turnover per hour.
Water parameters: Very hardy with regard to parameters and tolerates even nitrate-laden water. (See notes below.)
Notes: Pulsing Xenia is the perfect soft coral for beginners as it tolerates and even thrives in less than perfect conditions.

Some reefkeepers say that this coral actually uses nitrates as a nutrient — and it has even been used in Xenia-only refugiums as it can filter water-removing nitrate and capture tiny food particles as it goes along.

The pulsing action of the large polyps on this coral are the main attraction!

You have to see a live one in action just to appreciate the marvel of this coral opening and closing all its polyps in quick succession, and it always grabs the attention of non-fishkeeping onlookers too.

It pulses to draw oxygen over itself and the less water flow it receives the more it pulses.

However, this coral is considered a pest by some marine keepers, as it can rapidly spread all over the aquarium. However, shops will always take any frags as imported specimens don’t appear to do as well — due to lack of oxygen available in transport.

Availability: Widely available from marine stores and hobbyists.

Price: £30-50, though frags will be £10 or even free from hobbyists.