Xenia Coral Dying

Xenia Coral Dying? Most Common Signs

Caring for Pulsing Xenias in captivity can be challenging work. One minute they’re thriving, the next, they’re shriveled up, looking like they’re about to die.

Some of the common signs that a Xenia Coral is dying include the plant shriveling up or retracting, so it appears much smaller than usual. If the conditions of your tank aren’t right, the Xenia may start to smell or melt away. Sometimes a Xenia shrinks because it is adjusting to a new setting, but it’s always worth monitoring this behavior to ensure your coral doesn’t die.

Continue reading to find out why your coral shrinks, why it may be dying, and – most importantly – the steps to take to prevent this. After reading this article, you’ll have all the care tips you need to ensure your coral can thrive.

Why Is My Pulsing Xenia Shrinking?

The Pulsing Xenia will often shrink to show displeasure at a change made to its tank or living environment. This happens as billions of symbiotic algae recoil, which causes a rapid change in the appearance of their host.

But don’t worry; within a few days, or even hours, your Pulsing Xenia is likely to return to its normal state – possibly even more vibrant than before. 

You can provide too much light for Xenias, though, and you’ll need to be mindful of this. If you notice your Xenia begins to shrink, move it to a lower-lit area. And when you add a new Xenia Coral to the tank, ensure you start it off in a low-lit area.

Change is what Xenias struggle with the most, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to die. Give them some time to get used to tank changes and watch as they flourish once again.

Reasons Why Xenia Coral Is Dying

Xenia Corals can be temperamental creatures who know just how they like things to be. Many factors that can lead to their death include lighting, water quality, or nutrients.


A common misconception surrounding Xenia Corals is that low light kills them – this is not true. Xenia is relatively flexible regarding lighting, but adjusting to a new setting may take time.

If you lower the light in a Xenia tank, the coral may go into hiding while they adjust the new setting. This does not mean they are dying. Allow them time to adapt and come back just as big and bright as before.

Water Parameters.

Water parameters are crucial to the survival of your Xenia Coral. These include salinity, solution, and alkalinity. If you change these water parameters, you may notice that your coral starts to smell; this is a sign of their impending death.

Salinity – or the amount of salt present in the water – is one of the most critical factors in the survival of your coral. While Xenias can tolerate a minor change in salinity, it has evolved to live in a specific saline concentration, and it’s best if you can mimic this environment as closely as possible.

Aim to keep the salinity of your water between 1.026 and 1.028, with minimum deviation. Remember, the more significant variation you take from this concentration, the more stress you place on the Xenia.

An easy way to check the salinity of your water is to use a hydrometer or refractometer. When water evaporates from your tank, it leaves a more concentrated saline solution behind, so it’s important to check this often. The more consistent environment you can provide for your Xenia Coral, the better.

Alkalinity is also an integral part of Xenia’s environment. The optimum pH range sits between 8.1 and 8.4; anything that deviates from this range can have catastrophic effects on their health.


The last major factor in the wellbeing of your Xenia is the temperature of the water. These coral prefer a temperature in the range of 22 to 26 degrees Celsius. They will tolerate slight fluctuations, but more than three degrees of deviance can be fatal.

LED lights can provide a great alternative to metal halides as they produce less heat, thus having less of an impact on the overall temperature of the water. Keep a thermometer at the side of your tank to quickly check the temperature each day.

What To Do If Xenia Coral Is Dying?

What you should do to address a Xenia Coral dying depends on the symptoms they are displaying.

If the stalks of your Xenia starts to disappear, it’s a sign that something is wrong, and you’ll need to address it before they lose all of their stalks. If this happens, they’ll die, and you’ll have no way of bringing them back to life.

If you think your Xenia is dying, follow the steps below:

  1. Check the salinity of the water.
    1. If the concentration is above 1.028, remove 10% of the water and replace it with fresh water.
    2. If the concentration is below 1.026, remove 10% of the water and replace it with salt water. Keep doing this until you get the right saline balance.
  2. Check the pH of your water.
    1. If the range deviates away from 8.1 – 8.4, adjust the water.
    2. If your pH level is less than 8.1, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and add it to the tank. You’ll want to add one glass for every ten gallons of water in the tank. Then wait 24 hours and recheck the reading.
    3. If your pH level is more than 8.4, dilute the water using filtered water. Then recheck the reading.
    4. Continue to adjust as needed.
  3. Check the temperature of the water. 
    1. If it is less than 19 or higher than 29 degrees Celsius, you’ll need to adjust it straight away.
    2. Aim to get the temperature between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius.

How Do You Care For Xenia Coral?

Xenia Coral thrives in a consistent environment, so maintaining this consistency is your number one job as their carer. 

Check the salinity of the water often; if its saline concentration is greater than 1.028, drain around 10% of the water and replace it with fresh water. If the concentration is less than 1.026, drain 10% and replace it with salt water mixed to achieve the right balance in the tank.

When you replace the water, make sure you keep the temperature consistent with the other water in the tank.

In addition, provide plenty of light for your Xenias. This is critical to allow them to carry out photosynthesis, which they require for growth and energy. 

Remember, consistency is the key factor when it comes to Xenia Corals.

Final Thoughts.

Xenias are a beautiful coral that many aquarists long to have in their tank. The problem is that beginners are unaware of how to care for them properly, which often leads to the question, “Why are my Xenia Corals dying?”

They can be fickle creatures, and sometimes you’ll think you’re catering to their every need, but something will still go wrong. The key is to persist with a good care routine and keep a regular check on their health. 

Understanding some of the common issues these corals face helps you address any problems. With these skills, you’ll be well equipped to nurture a thriving Xenia Coral.