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CoralsSoft Coral

Waving Hand Anthelia Coral

By February 2, 2022No Comments

Anthelia is a popular soft coral that is kept in reef tanks. It also goes by the name Waving Hand coral. This is due to its long stalks which wave back and forth in the water. On the end of each stalk is a polyp that could resemble a hand. It has 8 tentacles on each of its stalks.

Due to its appearance, it is sometimes to confused with Xenia. They both have similar polyps, and they both move back and forth in the water. The biggest difference is size. Anthelia are much larger than Xenia.

lionk to xenia, anthelia coral, waving hand athelia


Anthelia come in a variety of colors that can complement your reef tank. Purple and pink are the two most popular colors, but they also come in shades of brown. This is a colonial coral that has multiple polyps with tentacles on each one. It can grow new polyps on the colony, and it can encrust over live rock to form new ones. This is what makes it such a fast growing coral.

Most specimens that you buy are aquacultured as they are easy to propagate.

  • Location: Indo-Pacific Islands
  • Family: Xenaiidae

Water Parameters

Anthelia is a hardy soft coral that can tolerate some mild changes in your water parameters. This coral does great in normal saltwater tank parameters. It may benefit from trace elements and iodine.

  • Temperature: 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH: 8.1-8.4
  • DKh: 8-11
  • Salinity: 1.023-1.025


A great place to put Anthelia is the bottom of the tank. They can get big by growing new polyps from its base. These soft corals can overtake your entire tank if you place them on live rock that is adjacent to other rock. It will send out runners from its base and sprout new colonies everywhere that it can reach. If your goal is to have an entire tank of waving hand coral, then you should place it anywhere on your live rock. Over time, it will grow almost everywhere.

If you can keep it isolated, then it will not be able to encrust and grow out. This is similar to how Xenia can be placed in your tank.


This coral can thrive under most reef lights. It can grow in lower light areas as well as intense. Medium PAR is a good sweet spot for them. If you do have higher levels of light, it is best to start them lower in your tank so that they can acclimate to it.

Anthelia Care

Anthelia are easy to care for, and they are suitable for beginners. They are not sensitive to mild changes in water parameters, and they do not require intense lighting. You will not need expensive reef lights to grow these in your tank.

The only extra care needed for this coral is if you let it grow wild, you will be trying to remove it from all over your tank.


Anthelia do not need to be fed because they get their energy from photosynthesis. Like most corals, they host zooxanthellae which provides what they need. They will filter feed, so you can provide food like microplankton to them a couple times a week. They are fast growers without supplemental food, but if you want the most growth, that will help.

How To Frag Anthelia

Anthelia are easy to frag. There are two ways that you can do it. One way is to cut a branch off of the colony. It should be around 2 inches long. Then place this branch on some rubble in a container. Place it in the lowest flow area of your tank so it does not blow away. If you cannot find an area like that, you can put something over the container like a wedding veil to keep it from floating away.

It will attach to the rubble in a week or so. Once it does, you can glue the rubble to a frag plug.

The other way to frag Anthelia waving hand coral is to cut one of the runners from the colony where a new colony has started. This may be more difficult if it is on live rock. If you set it up on multiple frag plugs with the intention to do this, it is much easier.

Do Anthelia Pulse?

Anthelia coral do not typically pulse like a Xenia. Certain species can pulse in the right conditions, but it is not common. It is all less likely to happen in a home aquarium. If you are looking to get a coral that will pulse, Pulsing Xenia is your best option.


My name is James, and I am the founder of Saltwatercoraltank. I love everything about the ocean, and my main hobby is saltwater aquariums. Currently, I have 3 tanks that I maintain. I have a 130 gallon mixed as my main, and I prefer softies.

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