Hammer coral, also known as anchor coral, is a beautiful and popular species of coral in the aquarium hobby. Its unique hammer-shaped tentacles make it an eye-catching addition to any reef tank. However, hammer coral care can be challenging, and it requires specific water parameters and feeding habits to thrive.
If you’re considering adding hammer coral to your aquarium, it’s essential to understand its care requirements. Hammer coral originates from the western regions of the Indo-Pacific and prefers moderate lighting and water flow. It’s also important to maintain stable water parameters, including pH, calcium levels, and magnesium levels, for the coral to properly form its skeleton and grow healthily.
In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on hammer coral care, including its placement, feeding habits, and water requirements. We will also discuss common issues that arise when caring for hammer coral and how to address them. By following our guide, you can ensure that your hammer coral thrives in your reef tank and remains a beautiful addition to your underwater world.
Understanding Hammer Coral
Hammer coral, also known as Euphyllia ancora, is a type of LPS (large polyp stony) coral that has a unique appearance. The tentacles of the hammer coral resemble the shape of a hammer, hence the name.
Hammer coral comes in a variety of colors, including green, brown, pink, and purple. The polyps of the hammer coral can also form the shape of a C, rather than a hammer.
Hammer corals are found in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Red Sea, Fiji, and Australia. They are typically found in shallow waters, at depths ranging from 3 to 30 meters.
Hammer corals prefer areas with moderate to high water flow and moderate to high lighting. They also require stable water parameters, including temperature, salinity, and pH.
Hammer corals are typically found in areas with sandy or rocky substrates. They can also be found in areas with low to moderate levels of sedimentation.
Overall, understanding the physical characteristics and natural habitat of hammer coral is essential for successfully keeping them in your reef aquarium. By providing the proper lighting, water flow, and water parameters, you can ensure that your hammer coral thrives in its new environment.
How We Manage Our Systems
Proper lighting is crucial for hammer corals. They require moderate levels of light and a PAR rating of 50 to 150. You can determine the PAR rating using a PAR meter, which you can rent from your local pet store. If you have less intense lights, you should move the coral up in the water column accordingly. For more help on lighting, you can see our exact light set up and schedules on our tank lighting post.
Hammer corals prefer moderate to strong water flow. This helps to remove waste and debris from their tissues and improves their overall health. However, they should not be placed in direct flow as this can damage their delicate tissues.
Hammer corals should be placed at the bottom of the tank, up to the middle in most reef tank systems. If you have strong reef aquarium lighting, you can place them lower in the tank. If you have less intense lights, you should move the coral up in the water column accordingly. Avoid placing them near aggressive or stinging corals as this can cause damage to their tissues.
Feeding and Maintenance
Feeding the Hammer Coral is an essential part of its care. These corals are photosynthetic and rely on their symbiotic zooxanthellae to provide the majority of their nutrition. However, feeding them meaty foods can reduce their level of aggression towards neighboring corals. You can feed them directly using a turkey baster. We typically broad feed our whole tank with the flow off in order to give our hammers a chance to eat at the same time as the food eat the frozen food.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Keeping your Hammer Coral healthy requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Here are some tips to help you keep your coral in top condition:
- Perform regular water changes to maintain good water quality. Aim for a 10-20% water change every two weeks.
- Test your water regularly to ensure that the pH, salinity, Alk and Calc are where they need to be.
- Remove any debris or detritus that accumulates around the coral using a turkey baster or a dedicated coral cleaning tool.
- Monitor the coral for signs of stress, such as tissue recession or discoloration. If you notice any issues, try moving the coral to a more suitable spot in your tank.
By following these simple steps, you can help ensure that your Hammer Coral thrives in your aquarium. Remember to be patient and take your time when caring for your coral. With a little effort, you can enjoy the beauty of this stunning coral for years to come.
Common Issues and Troubleshooting
Hammer corals are generally hardy and easy to care for, but they can still experience problems from time to time. Here are some common issues and troubleshooting tips:
Diseases and Pests
Hammer corals can be affected by various diseases and pests, such as brown jelly disease, black band disease, and flatworms. Brown jelly disease is characterized by a brownish slime that covers the coral’s skeleton and can quickly spread to other corals. Black band disease causes a black band to form around the coral’s base, which can lead to tissue loss. Flatworms are small, parasitic worms that can attach themselves to the coral and cause damage.
To prevent and treat these issues, it’s important to maintain good water quality and avoid introducing infected corals or fish into your tank. If you notice any signs of disease or pests, remove the affected coral and dip it in a coral dip solution. You can also use medications specifically designed for coral diseases, but be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Be sure to check out our guide to dipping your corals to ensure you are dipping correctly.
Dealing with Recession
Hammer corals can experience recession, which is when the coral’s tissue pulls back from the skeleton, leaving behind a bare skeleton. This can be caused by various factors, including poor water quality, inadequate lighting, and physical damage.
To prevent recession, make sure your water parameters are within the appropriate range, provide adequate lighting, and avoid placing the coral near strong water currents or other corals that may damage it. If you notice recession, try to identify and address the underlying cause. You can also try feeding the coral more frequently and supplementing with calcium and other trace elements to promote tissue growth.
Reviving a Dying Hammer Coral
If your hammer coral is showing signs of dying, such as discolored or receding tissue, it may still be possible to revive it. First, identify and address any underlying issues, such as poor water quality or lighting. You can also try fragging the coral, which involves cutting off a healthy piece and attaching it to a new rock or substrate. This can help promote new growth and revive the dying coral.
It’s important to note that not all dying corals can be revived, and sometimes it’s best to remove the coral from the tank to prevent further damage to other corals.
Are hammer corals easy to care for?
Hammer corals are considered moderately challenging to care for. They require stable water parameters, moderate water flow, and regular feedings. However, with proper care, they can thrive in a home aquarium.
How do you keep hammer coral happy?
Hammer corals require specific water conditions to remain healthy and happy. The ideal water temperature for the Hammer Coral is 78° Fahrenheit. They also need a pH level of the water between 8.1 and 8.4. To keep your Hammer Coral healthy, you’ll need to use the following water supplements:
- Calcium: 400 to 500 ppm. LPS coral needs sufficient calcium to grow.
- Magnesium: 1200 – 1350 ppm. Magnesium makes calcium available. If calcium levels are too low, check the magnesium levels first.
- Alkalinity: 9 – 11 ppm.
It’s also important to provide moderate water flow and feed the coral regularly.
Do hammer corals need a lot of light?
Hammer corals do not require a lot of light, but they do need moderate lighting. Low to medium lighting is sufficient for these corals to thrive. It’s important to provide them with the right spectrum of light, including blue and violet light, to promote healthy growth. We have often been able to get better coloration from our corals by moving them up slightly higher in our tanks.