Polyp bailout on my Euphyllia sp. golden hammer.... what to do?

Reefscape20g

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Hi everyone,

Two days ago I noticed my hammer coral curled up, almost no polyp extension and really looking not that fluffy/happy...
The next morning the situation was unchanged but I noticed some of the polyps had let go, or were letting go at the moment.
Sorry for the bad quality picture, my iphone has some troubles with these close ups. You could also see the mouth very clearly, something I didn't notice before:

hammer 01.jpg

hammer 02.jpg

On the picture above you can see some of the hammers polyps have let go and it's mesenterial filemants are coming out...

The hammer was the first coral I bought and doing absolutely fine. It's been in the tank for almost 4 months, with no problems so far... The tank is up and running for 7 months so far. Beside some mild dino outbreaks, nothing 'bad' happened at the moment'. (ps. all other corals are doing fine, this is the only one showing signs of stress :()

hammer.jpg

This picture shows how the coral normally looks when its happy.

I have absolutely no idea what caused this problem.
I performed my typical waterchange the day before, 25% on my waterbox cube 20, with Tropic Marin reef salt pro.

This are the water parameters I have at the moment:
salinity: 35 ppm
pH: 8.15 pH
alkalinity: 6.4 dkH (bringing it up to 8 dKH, dosing around 0.25 dkH daily)
ammonia: 0 ppm
calcium: 450 ppm
magnesium: 1380 ppm
nitrate: 2 ppm ( dosing 1 ppm daily with KNO3-solution)
nitrite: 0 ppm
phosphate: 0 ppm ( dosing 0.01 ppm daily with KH2PO4-solution)

I run carbon, no gfo, no skimmer.

Can anyone help me out?
 
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Reefscape20g

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Low alk and no phosphate are the primary suspects. I assume if you are bringing up alk to 8, then it hasnt been entirely stable.
Thanks for the advice @Cell. I guess your right.

I have this daily morning routine when I add nitrate, phosphate and alk to the tank.
On a daily base I manuelly add 2 ppm of nitrate, 0.01 - 0.02 ppm phosphate, and 0.25 dKH alk every morning at the same time in the back filter chamber of my waterbox. And I add 4ml of Aquaforest NP PRO (carbon dosing)

I this 'cocktail' of additives to much for the hammer (and maybe other corals), causing them to stress out?

And what is the reason that the mouth of the hammer is showing so clearly? Especially in the morning?
Is this also a stress reaction? (ps. the mouth is closed, not open)
 
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Although my hammer didn’t show it when I started to bring up Alk but the changes definitely showed on other LPS. Once your alk is up and stable there they loved it. LPS don’t like change in my experience.
I would even go slower than 0.25. Use doser to increase it so there is no jumps in parameters.
You want that nitrate at 5ppm and phosphate at around 0.05ppm. That works for me.
 

elysics

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So you are riding right around 0 phosphate, dose it every day in the morning and the next morning it is 0 again? Probably should dose a bit more then to hold stable at a number higher than 0

You could also decrease your carbon dose a bit of you don't do it specifically to increase bacterial load, and save a bit on additives
 

downonthereef

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Hi everyone,

Two days ago I noticed my hammer coral curled up, almost no polyp extension and really looking not that fluffy/happy...
The next morning the situation was unchanged but I noticed some of the polyps had let go, or were letting go at the moment.
Sorry for the bad quality picture, my iphone has some troubles with these close ups. You could also see the mouth very clearly, something I didn't notice before:

hammer 01.jpg

hammer 02.jpg

On the picture above you can see some of the hammers polyps have let go and it's mesenterial filemants are coming out...

The hammer was the first coral I bought and doing absolutely fine. It's been in the tank for almost 4 months, with no problems so far... The tank is up and running for 7 months so far. Beside some mild dino outbreaks, nothing 'bad' happened at the moment'. (ps. all other corals are doing fine, this is the only one showing signs of stress :()

hammer.jpg

This picture shows how the coral normally looks when its happy.

I have absolutely no idea what caused this problem.
I performed my typical waterchange the day before, 25% on my waterbox cube 20, with Tropic Marin reef salt pro.

This are the water parameters I have at the moment:
salinity: 35 ppm
pH: 8.15 pH
alkalinity: 6.4 dkH (bringing it up to 8 dKH, dosing around 0.25 dkH daily)
ammonia: 0 ppm
calcium: 450 ppm
magnesium: 1380 ppm
nitrate: 2 ppm ( dosing 1 ppm daily with KNO3-solution)
nitrite: 0 ppm
phosphate: 0 ppm ( dosing 0.01 ppm daily with KH2PO4-solution)

I run carbon, no gfo, no skimmer.

Can anyone help me out?
Personally, I think something is nibbling on your hammer. I've had polyp bailout with euphyllia, and it's not just one or two of the tentacles that go, it's the whole head that detaches from the skeleton. Maybe keep an eye out and see if anything takes a bite every now and then. I know tangs and rabbit fish can take a liking for corals when there's not enough food for them. To me, your coral looks happy. I've attached a photo of my torch that bailed and how it looked before completely detaching.
 

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Reefscape20g

Reefscape20g

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Although my hammer didn’t show it when I started to bring up Alk but the changes definitely showed on other LPS. Once your alk is up and stable there they loved it. LPS don’t like change in my experience.
I would even go slower than 0.25. Use doser to increase it so there is no jumps in parameters.
You want that nitrate at 5ppm and phosphate at around 0.05ppm. That works for me.
I was in the belief that the increase in alk in steps of '0.25' is subtle enough for the corals to bear....
I hear people saying you can adjust your alk in steps 1 dKH max a day...

Maybe it's the nitrate and phosphate dosing that is to drastic, but even that is hard to believe because al other coral look perfectly happy to me.

I'll test my parameters again this evening to see what's going on.
If the numbers start to match it's maybe time to slow down on the dosings....
 
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Reefscape20g

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You're second pic doesn't look like bailout to me. It looks like you've got a fish or invert that's chewing on it
I know it doesn't look 100% like polyp bailout, but still some of the polyps came lose, and the hammer looks really stressed. This morning again I noticed the mouth of the hammer showing clearly, like the polyps around it move a little bit away. After about an hour, everything is back to 'normal' and the mouth is tucked under the surrounding polyps.
Is this a normal reaction?

The only fish and inverts that are in the tank are:
2 ocellaris clownfish
1 royal gramma
1 tail spot blenny
1 cleaner shrimp
A dozen tectus snails
6 nassarius vibex (they stay mostly in the sand)

I feed more then enough so none of them should start nipping on the corals :D
None of them look like potential coral-eaters to me :D
 

downonthereef

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I know it doesn't look 100% like polyp bailout, but still some of the polyps came lose, and the hammer looks really stressed. This morning again I noticed the mouth of the hammer showing clearly, like the polyps around it move a little bit away. After about an hour, everything is back to 'normal' and the mouth is tucked under the surrounding polyps.
Is this a normal reaction?

The only fish and inverts that are in the tank are:
2 ocellaris clownfish
1 royal gramma
1 tail spot blenny
1 cleaner shrimp
A dozen tectus snails
6 nassarius vibex (they stay mostly in the sand)

I feed more then enough so none of them should start nipping on the corals :D
None of them look like potential coral-eaters to me :D
Some of my euphyllia have gaping mouths in the morning, they're normally just pooping. If the hammer is fine again by mid day, then I imagine there's nothing to worry about. But, the tentacles that are damaged are from some sort of trauma, whether you caught it with the syphon or something is nibbling them. This is not polyp bailout :)
 

Bribo12

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Blennies are notoriously not as reef safe as they are listed on most sites. I believe lawnmowers and starry blennies are the only true 100% reef safe blennies. I used to have a flametail that nipped clams. Took me about $400 in maxima and crocea clams before I realized what was happening. Also had a buddy that had a bicolor that killed a bunch of his lps corals, acans, hammer, goni. I won't ever own a blenny again. My money is on the tailspot.
 

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Question - If your nutrients (Nitrate/Phosphate) are at/near zero, why are you carbon dosing and then adding more Nitrate/Phosphate? Seems like if you backed off some of the carbon dosing you could reach a point where it's not necessary to add nutrients.
 
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I was in the belief that the increase in alk in steps of '0.25' is subtle enough for the corals to bear....
I hear people saying you can adjust your alk in steps 1 dKH max a day...
This is correct. .25/day is not high
 
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Reefscape20g

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Question - If your nutrients (Nitrate/Phosphate) are at/near zero, why are you carbon dosing and then adding more Nitrate/Phosphate? Seems like if you backed off some of the carbon dosing you could reach a point where it's not necessary to add nutrients.
I watched a video of Michael (Mikeymikemike) on Youtube a few weeks ago about dosing nitrate and phosphate combined with carbon dosing. Lou Ekus from Tropic Marin said a similar thing about this in is video with Reefdudes.

Corals have an excellent system for taking out nitrate from the water, but a lousy system for taking out phosphates. Knowing that corals can live without nitrate but not without phosphate brings up the importance of carbon dosing.

You carbon dose not to lower your nutrients but to feed your corals! Thats a whole other philosophy on carbon dosing than what most of the reefers think about.

fyi
 

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I watched a video of Michael (Mikeymikemike) on Youtube a few weeks ago about dosing nitrate and phosphate combined with carbon dosing. Lou Ekus from Tropic Marin said a similar thing about this in is video with Reefdudes.

Corals have an excellent system for taking out nitrate from the water, but a lousy system for taking out phosphates. Knowing that corals can live without nitrate but not without phosphate brings up the importance of carbon dosing.

You carbon dose not to lower your nutrients but to feed your corals! Thats a whole other philosophy on carbon dosing than what most of the reefers think about.

fyi
Yes I've seen this discussion before, but I don't find anywhere in this video that they recommend dosing carbon until nutrients reach zero and then adding more nutrients. He stated that once you get into the acceptable range, you should switch to their "Balance" product to keep Phosphate in the 0.03 to 0.1 range. At 31:35 he also mentions the danger of overdosing and reaching zero level.
 
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Yes I've seen this discussion before, but I don't find anywhere in this video that they recommend dosing carbon until nutrients reach zero and then adding more nutrients. He stated that once you get into the acceptable range, you should switch to their "Balance" product to keep Phosphate in the 0.03 to 0.1 range. At 31:35 he also mentions the danger of overdosing and reaching zero level.
I'm not saying to carbon dose untill nutrients bottom out. And no, my nitrates and phosphates are not near zero because I carbon dose. This 'problem' existed before I started the carbon dosing.

I'm just saying that I believe in the benefits of carbon dosing combined with dosing nitrate and phosphate to feed your corals. That is my personal take on nutriets in a reef tank. I pretty sure there are millions of way to tackle this issue.

For now I combine these 2 elements.
 
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