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Red Sea Pulsing Xenia

Pulsing Xenia is one of the few corals that move so actively on their own. It is one of the most popular corals in the reef keeping hobby as a result. Frags of Xenia are usually 1"-2" and have at least 2 stalks.

 Xenia Care

Xenia are one of the few corals that have a constant pulsing motion. It makes them one of the most eye-catching corals in a reef tank. The purpose of their pulsing behavior is not well understood but the prevailing sentiment is the corals pulse to increase flow around the colony and maximize surface area for photosynthesis. Xenia are also one of the fastest growing soft corals making them a great coral for beginners on one hand but opening up the possibility of rapid infestation on the other. Despite their growth rate issues, they remain one of the most popular corals amongst reef aquarists in the hobby. Please see below for additional care tips for Xenia as well as checking out our Top 5 Tips for setting up a reef.


Indo-Pacific - Islands of the Indo-Pacific including Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, and the Great Barrier Reef.


Xenia are adaptable to a wide range of lighting. If you have particularly intense lighting, we recommend starting the corals in lower light areas to allow them time to adjust.

Low Light

Low light translates to about 30-50 PAR

Medium Light

Medium Light is between 50-150 PAR

High Light

High Light is anything over 150 PAR

Lighting is a loaded topic, so for a more in-depth discussion of lighting, please see our Deep Dive article.

 Water Flow

Low water movement is recommended. Xenia's pulsing motion is an adaptation to provide water movement. The more water flow provided, the less these corals pulse on their own. Xenia derives much of its energy from the products of their zooxanthellae.


Xenia derives much of its energy from the products of their zooxanthellae. It is not known to actively "feed" on anything, but rather passively absorb dissolved organics from the water column directly through its "skin."


This genus for the most part has been propagated extensively in captivity and is an excellent candidate for aquaculture. It is reasonable to believe that a sustainable harvest can be achieved in time.


Proper acclimation is extremely important considering the stress imposed on the animals by the shipping process. Please take a moment to review our Acclimation Guide.


The images were taken with a Canon 5D mk II and 100mm macro lens under T5 Fluorescent lighting. Quite a lot goes into how we go about shooting the corals and anemones you see on Tidal Gardens. For an in-depth look at our methods, check out our comprehensive Reef Aquarium Photography FAQ.

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