Hammer coral - WHAT IS HAPPENING?! :(

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onlytoby

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My hammer coral really isn't doing well, it's no longer puffy and looks skinny, shrivelled and won't really come out at all, it's been 1 week I've had it.
As the week has gone on, it went from being puffy and large to droopy and less extended and now skinny/shrivelled and not extending

I hadn't done a waterchange for 2 weeks as my nitrate and phos were too low, so I just done a 20% change now and my parameters are:

6.4 alk
1440 mag
500 calcium
.24 salinity
Phos is just about detectable (still after 2 weeks no water changes!)
Ammonia/Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5

I just bought some all for reef, but im worried about my mag/calcium rising too much if I dose this too often.

I've heard bicarb of soda/soda ash can be used. Do I have to bake these first? How much do I use and how much effect will it have?

Is what's happening to my hammer something that looks like low alk? I did have a cardinal peck at it yesterday, when I first noticed it wasn't doing too well.

The photos below is today compared to last week

1632584898993.png

1632584911002.png
 
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STEEZY

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Your alk definitely seems too low to me. Should be at least 7, preferably greater than 7.5. If you are worried about low phosphate, add some reef roids, your corals will love it and the phos will go up for sure. Feed more for more nitrates.
 

REEFTIDE

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You would have to fix your Alk to try and stabilize it. Your Cal is also super high. Were you using anything besides the salt? I would buy a bottle of alk and raise it slowly, then see how the hammer does.
Generally I like a little more nitrate in the tanks as well
 
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RGoltz

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I would say:
  • Alkalinity is too low. I would raise with something like Brightwell 8.2. This will help with PH. Bring this up to 8 over the course of one week at least.
  • Calcium is high but I would not take any action here.
  • Salinity should be raised slowly.
  • NO3/PO4 need to come up. I feel like euphylia and zoanthids, particularly zoanthids, are a leading indicator of low PO4. I like to be at 0.03, 10. As mentioned above, broadcasting reef roids or gonipower will help with this. I would NOT direct feed euphylia
But that is only chemistry. Make sure that the hammer is getting indirect flow so that the polyps sort of “float” around. Also consider the lighting where the coral is at. They like lower lighting but can adapt over time.

Is that cyano near the coral? If so, nutrients and water movement…
 

OREGONIC

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I would start by testing some freshly mixed saltwater To make sure cal and alk are balanced on the water you are using. I am a firm believer in always dosing alk and cal in equal balanced amounts. I tried years ago dosing 2 part not in equal amounts and it did nothing but cause consistent imbalances between them. Once you know your fresh saltwater is balanced all/cal start by doing 5-10% water change per day for a week or 2 to balance out the alk/cal again and slowly raise the alk back to an appropriate range. You could also add small amounts of dosing during this time, just don’t make drastic fast changes. I personally shoot for alk in the 7.7-8.2 range, because of this I use Red Sea blue bucket. Always pick a salt that closely matches the parameters your tank sits at. As for the phosphates they are very easy to add, use a PO4 additive, you could also feed more but that will likely raise your nitrates too so much easier to just add PO4. I have always had issues with my tanks processing phosphates better then nitrates so I always have just added phosphates as needed. Your nitrates are fine in my opinion but they would also be fine at 10PPM. I have always had the best success with nitrates in the 3-7ish range and phosphates in the .02-.06 range but every tank is different.
 

Tcook

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Your PO4 is too low but wouldn't cause any issues in a week. It will over the long haul. As many have pointed out your Alk is way too low. I would be interested in the Alk swing. What is alk of freshly made salt water and what is the measured alk of the tank daily until the next water change? Euphyllia hate swings.
 
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onlytoby

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Dkh and salinity are pretty low. I'd raise salinity to 1.026 and dkh definitely above 7. I keep my dkh at 9.5. What's your ph and what lights are you using?
I have an AI Prime and unsure about the pH, will have to test for it tomorrow :) I'd imagine it must also be low as the alk is low
 
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onlytoby

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I would say:
  • Alkalinity is too low. I would raise with something like Brightwell 8.2. This will help with PH. Bring this up to 8 over the course of one week at least.
  • Calcium is high but I would not take any action here.
  • Salinity should be raised slowly.
  • NO3/PO4 need to come up. I feel like euphylia and zoanthids, particularly zoanthids, are a leading indicator of low PO4. I like to be at 0.03, 10. As mentioned above, broadcasting reef roids or gonipower will help with this. I would NOT direct feed euphylia
But that is only chemistry. Make sure that the hammer is getting indirect flow so that the polyps sort of “float” around. Also consider the lighting where the coral is at. They like lower lighting but can adapt over time.

Is that cyano near the coral? If so, nutrients and water movement…

I bought some all for reef today so I will be using that to maintain my levels from now on, but tomorrow I think I'm going to use a bicarbonate of soda mix and water changes to get it back to normal, fingers crossed! Going to look into a cheap dosing pump now too.

I've always had 1.24 salinity because I thought it would be best for evaporation as I don't have an ATO incase it went too salty, but I will get this to 1.25 over the next few days

To be honest I really struggle with the flow to get right! Originally I thought that was why I had cyano, but it turns out my nitrates and phosphate were out of balance. I have two rocks in the middle of the tank with a canyon in the middle, originally I had the powerhead at the back in the middle of the tank, but it's now on the left side, 3/4 up the tank in the middle of the panel. The hammer would have been below and in the corner so shouldn't have been getting hit too hard!
My 20G has 800GPH on it, but given having cyabo before I imagine this would come right back if I lowered it!

Would the hammer still float if there's little to no flow, or would it droop?
 
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onlytoby

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I would start by testing some freshly mixed saltwater To make sure cal and alk are balanced on the water you are using. I am a firm believer in always dosing alk and cal in equal balanced amounts. I tried years ago dosing 2 part not in equal amounts and it did nothing but cause consistent imbalances between them. Once you know your fresh saltwater is balanced all/cal start by doing 5-10% water change per day for a week or 2 to balance out the alk/cal again and slowly raise the alk back to an appropriate range. You could also add small amounts of dosing during this time, just don’t make drastic fast changes. I personally shoot for alk in the 7.7-8.2 range, because of this I use Red Sea blue bucket. Always pick a salt that closely matches the parameters your tank sits at. As for the phosphates they are very easy to add, use a PO4 additive, you could also feed more but that will likely raise your nitrates too so much easier to just add PO4. I have always had issues with my tanks processing phosphates better then nitrates so I always have just added phosphates as needed. Your nitrates are fine in my opinion but they would also be fine at 10PPM. I have always had the best success with nitrates in the 3-7ish range and phosphates in the .02-.06 range but every tank is different.

I also use the Fritz blue bucket which is why I'm so surprised Alk is so low because I only have 9 corals, 7 softies and two Lps! Then again, the tank is 7-8 months old and never dosed and only relied on water changes!
Once everything is back in sync I'm going to get a small doser, I think!
 
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onlytoby

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Your PO4 is too low but wouldn't cause any issues in a week. It will over the long haul. As many have pointed out your Alk is way too low. I would be interested in the Alk swing. What is alk of freshly made salt water and what is the measured alk of the tank daily until the next water change? Euphyllia hate swings.
It's Fritz blue bucket so I believe from memory should be 8-8.5 and changed weekly.
I haven't actually checked the freshly made sea water so I will have a look shortly, I only done a water change today so will wait 3 days to bring levels back and do another test then. Just scares my nitrates and pho I've worked so hard for after the last two weeks will go!
 

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I also use the Fritz blue bucket which is why I'm so surprised Alk is so low because I only have 9 corals, 7 softies and two Lps! Then again, the tank is 7-8 months old and never dosed and only relied on water changes!
Once everything is back in sync I'm going to get a small doser, I think!

With that low of a consumption you could likely just dose Kalkwasser. It has a great benefit with increasing PH too. It is also by far the cheapest additive to dose. You can mix kalk with your ATO water but your kale/cal will sway a little with evaporation rates. I cheap doser and just mixing the kalk in a separate container to dose from is better. I run a kalk stirrer and does the most I can of kalk and have a calcium reactor to supplement past the point the kalk can do on its own. I dose way more kalk at night then the day to help keep the daily ph swing smaller.
 

attiland

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My hammer coral really isn't doing well, it's no longer puffy and looks skinny, shrivelled and won't really come out at all, it's been 1 week I've had it.
As the week has gone on, it went from being puffy and large to droopy and less extended and now skinny/shrivelled and not extending

I hadn't done a waterchange for 2 weeks as my nitrate and phos were too low, so I just done a 20% change now and my parameters are:

6.4 alk
1440 mag
500 calcium
.24 salinity
Phos is just about detectable (still after 2 weeks no water changes!)
Ammonia/Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5

I just bought some all for reef, but im worried about my mag/calcium rising too much if I dose this too often.

I've heard bicarb of soda/soda ash can be used. Do I have to bake these first? How much do I use and how much effect will it have?

Is what's happening to my hammer something that looks like low alk? I did have a cardinal peck at it yesterday, when I first noticed it wasn't doing too well.

The photos below is today compared to last week

1632584898993.png

1632584911002.png
Alk is way too low should slowly raised to 8+
You look like have cyano or Dino going on the sand too
 
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