Pulsing Xenia Dying

Pulsing Xenia Dying: The Mystery Solved

The mortality of Pulsing Xenia is a huge problem in the captive care of corals. One day they’ll be thriving. And the next day it looks like they’re about to die. As a result, many aquarists are left puzzled as to why this happens. 

So, you might be asking yourself, ‘’why is Pulsing Xenia Dying’’

There are several reasons why your Pulsing Xenia might be dying. Firstly, check your water parameters. Secondly, there might be problems with the lighting. Third reason why Xenia is dying could be water quality. Finally, Xenia isn’t getting enough nutrients. 

We’ve discussed this issue extensively, just for you. So, spare us a few minutes.

Let’s start!

Mythbusting: Xenia Will Die In Low Light

There’s a common misconception when it comes to Pulsing Xenia. A lot of people think that if aquarium lights are too low, Xenia starts dying. But, that’s not the case. 

Unlike other corals like frogbit, Xenia is quite flexible when it comes to light. Hence, you can experiment with aquarium lighting before setting on your preferred option. 

Moreover, there’s a reason why people think Xenia dies in low light. This is because when they’re exposed to low light, they go into hiding. As a result, it’s perceived as they’re about to die. That, however, is not the reality. 

The main cause behind Xenia’s disappearance is that they have difficulty adjusting to changes. Therefore, give them time and you’ll see them pulsing again sooner rather than later.

So, if you recently changed your aquarium lighting and notice Xenia hiding, don’t be alarmed. 

Reasons Why Xenias Are Dying

Xenias are fascinating creatures. If you ask any aquarium enthusiast which coral would be in their dream collection, they’ll say Xenias. 

Unfortunately, many newbies to the hobby are unaware of how to properly incorporate Xenias into an aquarium. Or what is required to care for them. This frequently leads to them asking that one question we hear so often. And that question is “Why are my Xenias dying?”

Furthermore, we’re sure you’ve spent a lot of time catering to your precious Pulsing Xenia. So, we can understand the dilemma you might be in if something goes wrong.

Sometimes even doing absolutely everything right, Xenia starts to die. And that is an absolute travesty. With that said, let’s take a look at a few things that may be going wrong.

Water Parameters

One key feature when it comes to the survivability of Xenias are the water parameters. 

If your Pulsing Xenia starts to smell, that is one possible symptom of their death. Usually, this happens due to the change in water parameters. 

There are three key water parameters you need to consider. They are:


The first parameter you should check is salinity. It’s one of the most crucial factors when it comes to the health of aquatic plants. In simple terms, salinity is the amount of salt present in the water. When water evaporates in the aquarium, the salinity level rises. This is because salt ions stay in the water.

Pulsing Xenias have evolved to live in water with a specific concentration of salinity. They can tolerate minor changes in salinity. 

As a general guideline, you should keep a salinity of 1.026-1.028 for Xenias. However, the greater the deviation, the more stress it’ll cause to Xenias. This could eventually lead to their death. So, make sure you keep the salinity constant. 

One way you can check the water salinity is by using a hydrometer or a refractometer. Simply dip them in the water and see the reading. If it is above or below 1.028, you’ll need to fix it. Check the solution below to do just that.

To make your life much easier, here are some suggestions of hydrometers and refractometers-

The approximate cost of the Deep Six Hydrometer is $9.99-$11.99 Keep in mind that the shipping charge is extra depending on where you live. This will do the job for you seamlessly. 

On the other hand, if budget isn’t an issue for you, go for the Vee Gee refractometer. It’ll cost you around $115-$120 plus the shipping charge. If you opt for the refractometer, you’ll get a much faster reading. This is because refractometers only require a drop of the sample. Whilst Hydrometers require a larger sample. 

Also, the temperature is less of an issue with refractometers. Because of the small sample size, the sample will cool faster than a hydrometer sample.


If your salinity is more than 1.026, just drain up to 10% of the tank water at a time. Then add fresh water to replace the removed water. Please bear in mind that the additional water should be the same temperature as the aquarium water.

But, if your salinity is less than 1.026, remove 10% of the aquarium water at a time. And then, replace it with salt water to achieve desirable salinity levels.

In addition, mix the saltwater in a large bucket according to the instructions. Then, bring it to the same temperature as the tank water before adding it.

Keep doing these until you get the reading of 1.026-1.028. Moreover, this salinity is good enough for your other habitats as well. So, if you’re concerned that your other species may perish as a result of the salinity, you can rest easy. 


Alkalinity is another crucial parameter. It is the measure of bases and the ability to resist pH changes in water. A disruption of alkalinity causes Xenias stalks to disappear one by one. If they lose all the stalks, there’s no coming back. 

The optimum pH for Pulsing Xenias is 8.1-8.4. If the pH goes lower or higher than that, then it’ll be catastrophic for them. Therefore, if you maintain alkalinity, you’ll be 100 times more successful in keeping the Xenias alive.

You can buy a pH testing kit online to carry out the tests. Here are some of our recommendations-

The approximate cost of the API pH Test Kit is $4.49-$7.49 plus the shipping charge. It’s quite affordable and is one of the best testing kits out there. Alternatively, Tetra EasyStrips are another great option. It costs just $5.99-$7.99 plus the shipping charge.

All you’ve to do is take a sample of the water using these and check what reading it gives. If you’re not satisfied with your pH levels, follow the solution below


It’s now time to measure the alkalinity level of your water. Then, you can rule out alkalinity as a probable reason for your Xenias’ impending death. The ideal alkalinity level is between 8.1-8.4. Below, we’ve discussed in detail what to do if your alkalinity is lower or higher than that.

Low pH

Is your pH reading less than 8.1? Then dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. You should do this for every 10 gallons in the tank. The baking soda takes 24 hours to affect, So, kindly wait 24 hours and check the reading again. 

Alternatively, you can drain no more than 20% of the tank’s total amount of water. Then, replace it with tap water and let it sit for 24 hours before testing it again.

 High pH

On the flip side, if the alkaline level is higher than 8.4, you’ll need to lower it. Here’s how to do that-

Dilute your aquarium water with filtered, low mineral water. This is the quickest and easiest technique to reduce alkalinity. Alternatively, you can produce water by reverse osmosis and add it directly to the tank. 

Once you’ve done so, take a reading of your alkaline levels again. And ensure it’s in the 8.1-8.4 range.

As the tank’s alkalinity is restored to healthy levels, you’ll notice a positive shift in Xenia’s physical condition.


Xenias can die as a result of large temperature fluctuations or severe temperatures. If you notice the Xenia is starting to change color, it’s due to temperature changes.

Xenias prefers temperatures ranging from 22°C to 26°C (72°F to 78°F). Slight differences are typically not a concern. However, a swing of more than 3 degrees can be fatal for Xenias.

Furthermore, a significant number of enthusiasts advocate for the usage of LED lighting over metal halides. This is due to the lower amount of heat produced by the former.

A stick-on thermometer attached to the tank’s side is a simple method to keep track of the temperature. You should check the temperature every time you glance at the tank. This’ll ensure there are no odd changes.

High Lighting

Lighting is critical in the lives of Xenias. It allows them to use their zooxanthellae to do photosynthesis. Thus, they’ll have the energy they require for growth and other activities. The ideal lighting for Xenia is medium to high.

If there’s too much light, Xenia will start to shrink. This is one of the main indications of their impending death. What to do when that happens? Check out the segment below.


If you find the Xenia shrinking, transfer it to a lower-light region of the tank. An example of that would be the bottom of the tank. The last resort would be lowering your light settings. But, we don’t recommend this because it might’ve adverse effects on the rest of the inhabitants. 

Notably, if you’re adding a new Xenia to the tank, it should be placed in a low-moderate light. Once it has settled in full, bring it to the spot that has ample lighting. 

Water Quality

Water quality is another crucial factor for Xenia’s survival. A fish tank is an enclosed habitat. Any waste generated by inhabitants of your tank is contained within the fish tank. Due to the waste, toxins such as harmful ammonia and nitrite are discharged into the water. 

If the nitrite level fluctuates from 0.5ppm, Xenia will start to melt. This is often the last indication of their deaths. 

There is a simple method for testing water quality. Just put a bucket of water from your tank next to a bucket consisting of fresh saltwater. And you’ll be able to visibly see if your tank water is contaminated. 

If you see your tank water is indeed polluted, follow the instructions given below.


The first solution would be to change out the carbon in your water tank. Only this time, use a little extra in a power filter. Or, you could do the old-fashioned water changes to pull the pollutants out.

Do three to four 30% water changes a few days apart. And turn over most of the water in the tank. Furthermore, there’s a chance you’ll stumble upon a dangerous condition that’s killing Xenia. If that’s the case, 50% or even 90% water change is recommended.

Lastly, see if changing the water quality helps to save Xenia. If it does, examine what was in the water that was causing the coral’s death. In this way, you’ll be able to prevent it from happening in the future. 

Lack Of Nutrients

Pulsing Xenia, like other photosynthetic cnidarian corals, derives the bulk of its nutritional requirements from photosynthesis. Which is aided by the symbiotic alga that lives in its tissue. These corals are also suspension feeders in addition to this way of feeding. 

Also, Xenias use their fleshy, feathery polyps to catch planktonic debris. And then absorb nutrients from the aquarium water straight through their skin.

Hence, if they don’t get enough nutrients, Xenias stop pulsing. Once that occurs, it means they’re very close to their deaths.

There are, however, a few things you can do to prevent this from happening. Please check out below to find out what you can do.


If your Xenia is not getting nutrients from the contents of the tank, you’ll need some alternatives.

One option is giving them reef roids or coral frenzy. These are additional supplements that’ll give the Xenia nutrients they require to live. 

In addition to that, giving them microplankton on occasion is another feasible alternative.

And these are the few possible reasons why your Pulsing Xenia might be dying.


Does Water Flow Affect Xenia?

Pulsing Xenia is a tough coral that can flourish in any water flow. But, keep in mind, that water flow has a direct impact on its pulsation. A reef tank with too much water flow will have a weaker pulsating motion in Xenias.

Where Should I Place Pulsing Xenia?

Pulsing Xenia should not be placed on the main rock with other corals. You should place them on distinct island rocks separated by sand. As a result, it’ll keep them from spreading too far.

What Is The Ideal Tank Size For Pulsing Xenia

Pulsing Xenias grow quickly and are quite large. In consequence, they should be kept in a saltwater tank with a capacity of at least 10 gallons. (40 L).


And that’s all we’ve for you today on the causes behind Pulsing Xenia dying.

We understand the gravity of the situation, which is why we’ve gathered everything we could. Hopefully, you’ll be able to save your precious Xenias by reading this article. Saving the Xenias will take some time and effort. But you’ll get there if you follow our instructions.

Best of luck and take care of yourself.

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