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New Hammer Spewing Brown Stuff... Zoo or jelly? Trouble?

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I have a 6 month old 14 gallon nano (Fluval Evo) that has been doing great.  We have 2 clown, 1 blue damsel, 1 Rainford Goby, basic clean up crew.  For corals, have zoanthids, a pulsing zenia (growing and pulsing nicely), 2 headed torch coral, Long Polyp Leather, 2 Duncans, Bubble Coral, Green Polyp and Metallic Green Hammer Coral (the coral in question)


The metallic green Hammer was added to the tank exactly two weeks ago with a couple frags of the green polyps.  It was doing totally fine, opening every day, closing a bit a night.   Unfortunately I had to leave town last Friday for a family emergency out of state, and left the tank in care of very capable girlfriend - she can handle the basic feeding and watching the tank, she doesn't overfeed.  


I tested parameters right before I left and they were great:


Salinity 1.025
Temp 77.9
Ph: 8.1
Nitrates 0
Phosphate 0.09
Calcium 400
Alk 8 dkh


We do a weekly 10% water change.


I have a couple of Arlo cameras on the tank so I can spy on it when I'm travelling just to make sure everything is ok.  I noticed over the weekend and progressing through today that the hammer was not opening and is expelling some brown gunk.  I've tried to read up on the forums about this and see conflicting reports (based on different people's photos) that things like this could be brown jelly disease or the coral is expelling it's Zooxanthellae.


I wanted to post my actual photos for real opinions on what's happening with mine, if anyone can help.  Unfortunately I'm not home and won't be for 3 or 4 more days.  I can try to direct my girlfriend what to do if anyone has ideas.  Hoping for input that it's going to last until i get home and can test water again.

EVERYTHING else in the tank is perfectly fine and doing great.


Also of note (and wondering if this could be it) - one day before adding this coral, we upgraded the tank lighting from the stock Fluval lid lighting (primitive on/off white or blue only tank light) to the AI Prime HD+ with a nice light programming setting and schedule recommended by many others.   I put it on a 3 week acclimation schedule to ramp up the lights from 50% of setting to 100% of setting over the 3 weeks.


I'm curious since the hammer looked great for about 5 days then slowly started to do this (looking like these photos today) - do we think the AI Prime (only at 50% and acclimating  is not acclimating slow enough and the coral started to react to too much light?   Again, everyone else is fine.  I think it's interesting that the coral looks best on the ends (where it's under the shade of the live rock) and worse in the middle, where it's under direct light.


If this is a too bright of light issue, i can lower and extend the acclimation schedule.

Based on these photos though, do people agree with this assesssment?  Or am I in more serious trouble?  Will it recover?    I'm hopeful since I do still see a lot of green throughout, it's just expelling this brown stuff but the polyps still seem nice and green even though they are withdrawn significantly.


Thanks for any advice!






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Unfortunately it looks like brown jelly to me. Wall type euphyllia are particularly susceptible to this. Freshwater and iodine dips are the only way to stop it but the success rate is pretty low there.

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Ohhhh that's brown jelly, unfortunately.  I'd pull it from the tank ASAP, so it doesn't infect other corals.  It unfortunately doesn't look like you can salvage that one.  You can see how the brown jelly has eaten away and almost all the coral flesh, leaving only the white skeleton behind.  That hammer looks like a wall hammer as well, which I believe get brown jelly disease easier.


I've had one experience with brown jelly, it sucks.  Always hate to see it happen to others.  Part of the game I guess, but still sucks.

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The zooxanthellae expulsion could very well have been a response to higher light. The coral was adjusting to it, but it is a stress response.


In the photo, this is very definitely 'brown jelly disease'. You're going to want to baste away whatever's melted. If it hasn't progressed to the mouth of each polyp (this looks like it may be a wall hammer, so there might not be definitive branching?), they may be able to heal assuming water quality is kept pristine, lights are dimmed, etc etc. If it has, you're likely better off chucking it altogether.


I don't have experience with brown jelly having progressed anywhere near that far, but the couple of times I saw it begin I just basted away the brown/slime every chance I got and overdosed any bacterial supplement I had on hand. The corals bounced back within a couple of days.

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I'd recommend looking through this thread to get a better idea of what you need to go through for treatment. This reefer documented his process pretty thoroughly. 


It does look pretty far gone though so don't get your hopes up. 



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