Hammer in the process of bleaching

IE Reefer

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Hey everyone,
So I've been having this hammer for a little over a year now and for whatever reason, sometime around late November it started to bleach, long story short it's down to its last head and I don't know what to do. I really want to keep this coral alive but it seems unlikely, is there anything that I can do to help the little guy? For my lights, I have 2x AI Primes on a 29 DT (
IMG_E1805[1].JPG
), I feed all the corals Penepets and the shrimp from Rod's food (which this particular coral rejects), and I am currently checking all my parameters (Salinity, Temp, pH, Alkalinity, Nitrate, Phosphate, Calcium, and Magnesium).

Here's the link to the video I took of the coral
 
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Hey everyone,
So I've been having this hammer for a little over a year now and for whatever reason, sometime around late November it started to bleach, long story short it's down to its last head and I don't know what to do. I really want to keep this coral alive but it seems unlikely, is there anything that I can do to help the little guy? For my lights, I have 2x AI Primes on a 29 DT (
IMG_E1805[1].JPG
), I feed all the corals Penepets and the shrimp from Rod's food (which this particular coral rejects), and I am currently checking all my parameters (Salinity, Temp, pH, Alkalinity, Nitrate, Phosphate, Calcium, and Magnesium).

Here's the link to the video I took of the coral
Flow might be a little heavy. Is the frag moving?
 
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Hmmm... can you provide a full tank pic under white lights. Also, post your water test results when they're completed.
Sure thing! I finished my tests a while ago, here are the results:

Salinity: 1.027 (planning on using RO for future top offs)
Temp: 77° F
pH: 7.8 (took around 12 pm, planning on taking another test in the morning and once I get back home after school 3 pm)
Alkalinity: 7.7dKH (I need to figure out how to bring that up)
Nitrate: 4.56ppm
Phosphate: 0.25ppm (do I need to lower this parameter?)
Calcium: 500ppm
Magnesium: 1320ppm
 
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Here's a pic of the coral again (he's looking worse) and a full-tank shot (might be a bit musky because I just cleaned the class from algae)
 

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MaxTremors

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Sure thing! I finished my tests a while ago, here are the results:

Salinity: 1.027 (planning on using RO for future top offs)
Temp: 77° F
pH: 7.8 (took around 12 pm, planning on taking another test in the morning and once I get back home after school 3 pm)
Alkalinity: 7.7dKH (I need to figure out how to bring that up)
Nitrate: 4.56ppm
Phosphate: 0.25ppm (do I need to lower this parameter?)
Calcium: 500ppm
Magnesium: 1320ppm
Have you not been using RODI for topoffs? The PH is a little low, but wouldn’t cause bleaching. Alk is fine at 7.7 so long as it’s stable (do you have a lot of other stony corals? If so you may need to start dosing a two part or something like AllForReef). Nitrates are fine, phosphates are pretty high, they should be 0.03-0.08. Calcium is a little high (are you dosing anything?). Mag is perfect. You didn’t post what your lights are set to (what are the levels at max intensity and how long is the photoperiod?). The phosphates could be a reason why it’s receding and not doing well, bleaching is usually a lighting issue (but parameter issues can make corals bleach that otherwise wouldn’t, still a lighting issue but parameters are the catalyst, if that makes sense). Without knowing what you have then set at, I would put them on a thirty day acclimation mode starting at 50% (it’s a setting in the AI Prime app). During that 30 days work on getting your parameters in range and stable.
 
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I've been topping off with RO, not sure why I said that lol. I've been kind of struggling with keeping my pH at 8.0 or higher, not too long ago I added some airline tubing to the air venturi of my protein skimmer so that it can take in air from my bedroom, but I haven't seen any difference so far. The only other stony coral I have other than the hammer is an acan. The only thing that I am manually dosing is Red Sea AB+, nothing else. Sorry about that; Ultra Violet, Violet, Royal, and Blue are at their max during the photoperiod; the photoperiod lasts from 1 pm to 8 pm (7 hours). Would the acclamation procedure look something like this?

IMG_1808[1].PNG
 

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I would definitely lower the lighting. Having two AI primes on a 29g at the maximum is a lot of light. I would lower each to the following:
UV: 70
V: 70
B:90
RB:90
R:5
G:5
W: However much you prefer, but I recommend 20.

I ran a single AI prime at this schedule on my 28g cube, it was more than enough light for anemones, SPS, pretty much anything. You really don’t need to overdrive them unless your tank is much deeper. I would try lowering them and see what it does (still work on getting parameters stable).
 
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I would definitely lower the lighting. Having two AI primes on a 29g at the maximum is a lot of light. I would lower each to the following:
UV: 70
V: 70
B:90
RB:90
R:5
G:5
W: However much you prefer, but I recommend 20.

I ran a single AI prime at this schedule on my 28g cube, it was more than enough light for anemones, SPS, pretty much anything. You really don’t need to overdrive them unless your tank is much deeper. I would try lowering them and see what it does (still work on getting parameters stable).
My tank is about 18" deep and the lights are about 7-8" off the surface of the water, maybe less. I followed BRS recommendation for AI Primes, but it may have applied to a different setup than mine. I was kind of skeptical at first about running max light, but I think that I should tone it down to your recommended settings.
 

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My tank is about 18" deep and the lights are about 7-8" off the surface of the water, maybe less. I followed BRS recommendation for AI Primes, but it may have applied to a different setup than mine. I was kind of skeptical at first about running max light, but I think that I should tone it down to your recommended settings.
You can always turn them back up. It can take months for corals to recover, so give it some time, so long as you don’t see negative reactions from your other corals (and I’m confident you won’t, the settings I mentioned will still give them plenty of light), just give the hammer time to recover. With any powerful LED, I would be weary of setting it at the max right off the bat without a PAR meter, corals recover from too little light far more easily than from too much.
 

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Sure thing! I finished my tests a while ago, here are the results:

Salinity: 1.027 (planning on using RO for future top offs)
Temp: 77° F
pH: 7.8 (took around 12 pm, planning on taking another test in the morning and once I get back home after school 3 pm)
Alkalinity: 7.7dKH (I need to figure out how to bring that up)
Nitrate: 4.56ppm
Phosphate: 0.25ppm (do I need to lower this parameter?)
Calcium: 500ppm
Magnesium: 1320ppm

A few things:

  1. How are you measuring salinity. 1.027 is a tad high, but nothing to worry about.
  2. ALWAYS top off with RODI.
  3. pH of 7.8 is a bit low. You can get that up by opening a window in the room and letting in some fresh air and circulating that air with a small fan.
  4. Yes, your ALK is a bit low (I run at 8.5 and my Hammers love it!). Red Sea Reef Foundation B is a good way to bring it up (I use it).
  5. Calcium is a bit high, but it isn't the end of the world.
Tell us more about your water changes. What kind of water and salt are you using? Usually, people don't do water changes frequently enough. But in your case, it almost seems like your water changes might be too frequent (High Calcium, low nitrates).

Water changes serve two purposes: nutrient export and element replenishment. Too frequent water changes would explain low nitrates and elevated calcium as you may be replenishing calcium faster than your consumption rate.

Your phosphates might be high because you aren't using RO water for topping off. Only RO water moving forward.
 
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A few things:

  1. How are you measuring salinity. 1.027 is a tad high, but nothing to worry about.
  2. ALWAYS top off with RODI.
  3. pH of 7.8 is a bit low. You can get that up by opening a window in the room and letting in some fresh air and circulating that air with a small fan.
  4. Yes, your ALK is a bit low (I run at 8.5 and my Hammers love it!). Red Sea Reef Foundation B is a good way to bring it up (I use it).
  5. Calcium is a bit high, but it isn't the end of the world.
Tell us more about your water changes. What kind of water and salt are you using? Usually, people don't do water changes frequently enough. But in your case, it almost seems like your water changes might be too frequent (High Calcium, low nitrates).

Water changes serve two purposes: nutrient export and element replenishment. Too frequent water changes would explain low nitrates and elevated calcium as you may be replenishing calcium faster than your consumption rate.

Your phosphates might be high because you aren't using RO water for topping off. Only RO water moving forward.
1. I measure the salinity with a refractometer
2. I don't have easy access to a RODI water filter (I guess it's time to upgrade the water filter from RO to RODI)
3. When should I open up my window? I get home around 2-3 pm sometimes 5-6 pm and lights go out at 10:30 pm
4. I'll lookout for some the next time I visit my LRS. I looked up how to raise Alkalinity on Google, and it said that I could add 1 tbsp of baking soda to each 10g, could I do this instead of paying $20 for the additives?
5. Do you know of a way to bring it down? Water changes?

I haven't been doing water changes as much as I should have (my last water change was during the first week of Jan, I think), I remove/add 5g, I use Red Sea Coral Pro Salt (1/2 cup of salt per gallon mixed), and I use the same water I top off with (RO). Yeah, I'm not sure why I said that before, lol.
 
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1. I measure the salinity with a refractometer
2. I don't have easy access to a RODI water filter (I guess it's time to upgrade the water filter from RO to RODI)
3. When should I open up my window? I get home around 2-3 pm sometimes 5-6 pm and lights go out at 10:30 pm
4. I'll lookout for some the next time I visit my LRS. I looked up how to raise Alkalinity on Google, and it said that I could add 1 tbsp of baking soda to each 10g, could I do this instead of paying $20 for the additives?
5. Do you know of a way to bring it down? Water changes?

I haven't been doing water changes as much as I should have (my last water change was during the first week of Jan, I think), I remove/add 5g, I use Red Sea Coral Pro Salt (1/2 cup of salt per gallon mixed), and I use the same water I top off with (RO). Yeah, I'm not sure why I said that before, lol.

  1. Remember, refractometers need calibration.
  2. You will have success with RO or RO/DI. Never use tap water.
  3. I would leave it open just a crack around the clock. But at least 12 hours per day. If you leave for school at 8am, open it before you leave and then close it at 8pm that evening. This ins't something you do for a while... it is something you do for good.
  4. Yes, you can use baking soda, but I'm not sure how long the effects last.
  5. Water changes are a good way to bring most things down. If you are referring to your calcium number, you will see it come down over time as your corals consume calcium.
Whatever your water change schedule it is critical to keep it ON SCHEDULE. Random water changes cause fluctuation in your water chemistry. Remember that stability is our friend in this hobby. Random changes translates into a lack of stability in your water chemistry.

How big is your tank?
 
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  1. Remember, refractometers need calibration.
  2. You will have success with RO or RO/DI. Never use tap water.
  3. I would leave it open just a crack around the clock. But at least 12 hours per day. If you leave for school at 8am, open it before you leave and then close it at 8pm that evening. This ins't something you do for a while... it is something you do for good.
  4. Yes, you can use baking soda, but I'm not sure how long the effects last.
  5. Water changes are a good way to bring most things down. If you are referring to your calcium number, you will see it come down over time as your corals consume calcium.
Whatever your water change schedule it is critical to keep it ON SCHEDULE. Random water changes cause fluctuation in your water chemistry. Remember that stability is our friend in this hobby. Random changes translates into a lack of stability in your water chemistry.

How big is your tank?
It's a 29g DT, but the entire volume including the sump is ~37g
 
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