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The Pulsing Xenia Coral

Adding the stunning Pulsing Xenia coral to a home aquarium can either be an excellent decision or an absolute nightmare. This fascinating coral is also known as the Pom Pom coral because of the pulsing motions its tips make. It comes in various colors, including brown, cream, white, and pink. The Pulsing Xenia coral grows very quickly, and once it is acclimated to the tank, it’s fairly hardy. Because of this and its mesmerizing behavior, beginners are often highly attracted to this type of coral. However, there are also many drawbacks to maintaining it.

Care Level

Moderate to Difficult


The Pulsing Xenia coral mainly gets its nutrients from photosynthesis so it would need high-quality lights in the aquarium. Pulsing Xenia corals do well when they are in home aquarium environments with organic matter that is at a level of dissolution that is higher than average. Therefore, it’s important to stock enough fish in the tank. Aquariums without fish need mature sand that can be stirred to release organics. Some add microzooplankton to the tank to ensure that the coral is well fed.

Aquarium Care

A typical live rock or reef environment is an ideal habitat for this type of coral, along with fish for organic matter production. Stable water conditions are crucial to keeping Pulsing Xenia corals happy. Around 20% of the water has to be changed monthly, which can be done by changing 10% every other week but ideally should be done by changing 5% weekly. The water must have a moderate to high flow, and the lighting has to be good. Pulsing Xenia will grow fast under high-intensity lighting.

Pulsing Xenia

Possible Issues

It’s important to place this type of coral on its own island in the tank. Otherwise, they could easily invade every piece of live rock in the aquarium. This coral literally grows like a weed. Some hobbyists create a “moat” around the area where the Pulsing Xenia coral colony is situated. Another potential issue is that this coral is susceptible to periodic die-off, which coincides with lunar events. If this happens, some colonies may be preserved by clipping the tips off and letting them settle on their own.


Pulsing Xenia corals are not aggressive to other aquarium inhabitants. However, they can be a tasty snack for certain types of starfish, sea slugs, and some fish species. One of its main predators is the Xenia crab. This little critter takes on the color of the Xenia and slowly eats the coral away. Another potential issue with compatibility is that the Pulsing Xenia could move over other corals as they grow towards the light. This can be avoided by making sure that it is placed in an area with adequate lighting.

Pulsing Xenia coral

Fun Facts

The Pulsing Xenia coral does have the ability to kill people, but only if they’re not careful. Its toxic fumes have been known to cause flu-like symptoms in humans and pets when the coral is moved out of the water. If ingested, it can be deadly. To avoid this, simply keep the coral submerged in water.

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