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merickson45

Hammer Coral suddenly dying

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merickson45

Hi everyone,

 

Just wanted to post this picture of my hammer coral which is not doing so well, to see if anyone can identify what is wrong with it. Here are before and after pictures (before is a frame from a video, sorry for the bad quality, only picture I have)

 

image.png.0342fa6df5b84928d4013364e7f13bfd.png    20200228_165723.thumb.jpg.a1bad948200e1eb1cfdf58a2e60d2f7a.jpg

 

I've had it for around 3 weeks, and it had been doing great that whole time. I had it in a quarantine tank for a few weeks, and it seemed to be doing fine, so a few days ago I transferred it to my main display. The parameters on each tank are essential identical (Alk ~9 dkH, Phosphates < 0.1ppm, Nitrates < 5ppm). It seemed fine at first, but after a few days it closed up tight, and last night I saw some skeleton starting to show. This morning I transferred it back to the QT after doing a short iodine dip. This picture was taken just now. Only thing I've heard of that kills euphyllia fast is brown jelly, but I don't really see any of the typical traits. Any ideas/suggestions?

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merickson45

Btw, this is a frogspawn in the same display tank, which makes me reasonably sure it's not an issue with the parameters.

 

20200228_183137.thumb.jpg.dbb2e6a82ee25b4b33f4012ed4e49b31.jpg

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Tamberav

Anything near it that can sting?

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merickson45

It died, the flesh peeled off overnight. There was some jelly like stuff on it, but it didn't look like brown jelly from pictures I've seen, more like coral slime.

 

There was not anything near it that could sting, I placed it on the sand bed away from other corals. Everything else in the tank is still doing great.

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Jesterrace

As a Frogspawn and Hammer Farmer, I find that they tend to do best with dirtier water (ie Nitrates in the 10-20ppm range).  That said each individual coral is different and it could just be one of those that wasn't going to do well no matter what you tried. 

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bruinhd

The only explanation I can give for this, is that the coral living in your tank were likely harboring a bacteria that was overwhelmingly foreign to your new frag. If you add another frag in the future and it melts, consider doing a dip on all the corals in your show tank. Just a thought.

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mcarroll

Sorry it didn't work out for this one...here are my thoughts anyway in case it helps...

 

On 2/28/2020 at 8:15 PM, merickson45 said:

The parameters on each tank are essential identical (Alk ~9 dkH, Phosphates < 0.1ppm, Nitrates < 5ppm). It seemed fine at first, but after a few days it closed up tight, and last night I saw some skeleton starting to show. This morning I transferred it back to the QT after doing a short iodine dip. This picture was taken just now. Only thing I've heard of that kills euphyllia fast is brown jelly, but I don't really see any of the typical traits. Any ideas/suggestions?

What are you using to test phosphates?  Is "<0.1" possibly "zero"?   It seems like both levels are quite low.

 

How much light is on the QT and how much is on the display?   Do you have a meter (lux or PAR will work) so you can measure the specific difference between the coral's old and new locations?  It would be good to have the numbers to talk about, but it's unlikely that they were identical.

 

Excess handling is probably a Euphillia's worst enemy....their tissue is easily damaged and their skeletons are SHARP.

 

So IMO all the moving (LFS>Home>QT>Display) and related handling related to placement or mounting is the most likely culprit -- incidental damage in other words -- with the low nutrient levels and high light levels just making the coral less resilient toward physical stresses like that.

 

It's also possible that it's simply from high light levels and lack of nutrients in combination (depends on your answer to that first question).

 

I quote this article and picture a lot:

Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates

 

The pic (from that article) shows high ("H") and low ("L") nutrient growth conditions for nitrate ("N") and phosphate ("P")...and you can see that all of the low-phosphate corals look like dookey (from left to right) at the macro level, tissue level...even their symbiotic dino's aren't healthy:

1-s2-0-s0025326x17301601-gr1

 

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merickson45

Thanks all for the replies and useful information! I'm using a Hanna ULR tester for phosphate, so I don't think it is actually 0. I don't have a PAR meter, but the QT has a Hipargero Aqua Knight while the DT has a Kessil A80. I keep the Hipargero on ~50% intensity, ~60% blue ~40% white for 8 hours per day (these numbers are hard to estimate because of how the spectrum/intensity values are tuned for this light). The Kessil ramps from 100% blue, 1% intensity to 60% blue, 40% white, 100% intensity and back down over a 10 hour period. The tank is an IM Nuvo 10 Gallon. I placed the Hammer on the sand bed at first to acclimate.

 

For what it's worth, I was quite careful moving the coral, I made sure to gently disturb it so that it would retract before taking it out of the water. Still, I hadn't thought of this possibility at the time, and I'll keep it in mind in the future.

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merickson45

Still trying to figure out why this happened, so now I'm exploring less likely ideas. The hammer was in QT with this other Micromussa that had been having some issues. As you can see in the attached picture, there is this brown fuzzy stuff growing on it, which seems to originate at the base of the coral where the flesh meets the rock/plug. It does not seem to grow on the coral itself, only at the base and on the rock/plug. I assumed it was algae, and have been siphoning it off and trying to lower phosphates, but it keeps growing back. Does anyone know what this stuff is?

 

I know this is a different topic than the original post, but it's the only thing that wasn't quite right in the QT, so I figured I'd mention it.

 

20200218_191430.jpg

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mcarroll
On 2/28/2020 at 8:15 PM, merickson45 said:

The parameters on each tank are essential identical (Alk ~9 dkH, Phosphates < 0.1ppm, Nitrates < 5ppm)

On 3/2/2020 at 10:37 AM, mcarroll said:

Is "<0.1" possibly "zero"?   It seems like both levels are quite low.

On 3/3/2020 at 12:33 AM, merickson45 said:

I'm using a Hanna ULR tester for phosphate, so I don't think it is actually 0

 

"<0.1 but not zero" sounds like the result from an Salifert test kit.  😉 

 

What does the readout on your meter currently say for phosphates 

on this tank?

 

7 hours ago, merickson45 said:

I assumed it was algae, and have been siphoning it off and trying to lower phosphates, but it keeps growing back.

This seems like another indication that nutrients could be too low...weird algae instead of green or coralline algae.

 

But light could be another factor...

 

On 3/3/2020 at 12:33 AM, merickson45 said:

I don't have a PAR meter, but the QT has a Hipargero Aqua Knight while the DT has a Kessil A80. I keep the Hipargero on ~50% intensity, ~60% blue ~40% white for 8 hours per day (these numbers are hard to estimate because of how the spectrum/intensity values are tuned for this light). The Kessil ramps from 100% blue, 1% intensity to 60% blue, 40% white, 100% intensity and back down over a 10 hour period.

 

Unfortunately, those are nominal settings and don't say anything about actual intensity.  Like if I asked "How fast?" and you said high, medium or low.

 

So you're left with a few questions to try and answer.  (And getting a lux meter (and microscope) should be on your to-do list.  More on that later....back to the questions.)

 

What's the difference in wattage between the two lights?

 

What's the difference in mounting height (from the water surface) on each light?

 

What's the difference in lenses between each light?

 

What's the difference in depth of coral placement between each tank?

 

...or if you had a lux meter:

What's the difference in lighting between those two spots in each tank?

 

Answer those questions either way and you should be able to know if lighting was involved. Over-lighting without proper time and conditions for photo-acclimation can definitely have the effect you saw.

 

Lack of phosphates (yet to be confirmed) could make any such side-effects even more acute.

 

Now back to the gear...

 

Light Meter

You can get a light meter on amazon or ebay for $5-20.   I've been using a $12 LX-1010B (from eBay) for years now....back then it was one of the least expensive models for sale.  You can check it out here if you want: Beginner’s Lux   You can get measurements from the water surface for pretty much everything, but some folks have put them in a ziplock baggie for underwater usage.  I've been fine with surface readings.

 

Microscope

Just like the light meter, this is cheap and HIGHLY recommended.  You can start with a toy scope from amazon or eBay like this $11.50 model....same as the one I started with:

 

Quote

 

But you should also check craigslist and other similar listings for USED microscopes....seems like there's always at least a few listings. 

 

I used the toy scope pictured for a few years, and it works, but it's shaky because it's $11 and plastic. 

 

I ended up finding a used REAL microscope for $10 at a local thrift store.  I ordered a 3D mechanical stage for it ($15-20) and a nice LED light ($10) to replace the mirror (that actually works well)....I already had an iPhone mount to take pics through it -- I'm set now! 

 

AmScope and others have really good deals on new scopes all the time too if you just prefer to buy new....but nothing for $10.  😉

 

But a basic scope and basic light meter don't have to set you back more than $20 total....maybe less.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.   I wanna see what YOU see in that algae under a microscope when you take a sample and get pics of it!!  👍

 

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