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Old 02-18-2013, 05:40 AM   #1
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Please help!

There is definitely something going on with my hammer. At first it just closed up after a 15 gallon water change early Thursday morning. My mushrooms/ricordia closed as well, along with my zoas and leathers, and although they haven't really opened up they are not showing the signs my hammer is. The two brain corals in the tank at the time; a lobo and trachy, seemed happy that morning following the water change. Both inflated and were showing their feeding tentacles for the first time. The trachy was the biggest I have seen it since I've got that coral, they both also ate. Thursday I was expecting a couple more corals and I was picking up my puffer fish so I wanted to do the water change ahead of time hoping to avoid further stress to the new additions to my tank. I had also been doing more frequent water changes to bring my nitrates down. After that particular water change my parameters were as follows:

Ammonia- 0 (API)
Nitrite- 0 (API
Nitrate- 25 (Salifert)
Salinity- 1.026
Temp - 80F

The temperature and salinity remained the same during, through, and after the water change. I had racked my brain trying to determine if I did anything differently during that change but came up with nothing that should have had any affect. I did take off my skimmer, clean it throughly, and remove the remaining sponges that came with the skimmer, hoping to help with my nitrates even further. I also cleaned off my light fixture. The new corals I added that day were some zoas, mushrooms, wellso brain, platygyra, and sun coral. My fish, including the puffer I added that day (Thursday) are acting as normal. The zoas and mushroom from the new addition have not opened but the brains (feeder tentacles have been extended and both have ate) and sun coral don't appear to be affected that I can tell. The sun hasn't opened fully to feed but is trying to and looks much better than my first sun (long story-explained in another thread).



Anyway, now the zoas I have had in the tank have opened back up and look as they always have, the leather appears to be shedding (waxy, shrunken down), the mushrooms/ricordia have still not opened to their fullest since that particular day and look basically the same as they did after that water change. The brian corals and sun coral appear to look the same, with no noticeable issues as of yet.

The hammer was added to my tank on February 7th along with one of the tracys, some zoas, and the lobo. This was the first time I had added any LPS to my tank. Until that water change the hammer appeared to be doing well, certainly better than now. There was no skeleton showing (that I noticed). It opened up fully the next day and had been doing so while the lights were on daily until this past Thursday after the water change. These are photos from the first day and day after I added the coral to my tank.






The coral looked like this until that water change on Thursday, even then all it did was close up. On Saturday I first noticed skeleton showing and Sunday I saw that the one head is basically gone. I have no idea what is causing it. I have not seen any fish or inverts picking at the coral.

I performed another water change yesterday of about 15 gallons. My parameters afterwards were as follows:

Ammonia-0
Nitrite- 0
Nitrate- 10-25 (salifert)
Salinity- 1.026
Temp- 80F

These are photos I just took of the hammer a few minutes ago. The heads have not opened up anymore than this photo shows in the last few days.






I have carbon in a media bag running in a small HOB filter that I placed on the tank Friday sometime just in case and to see if it would help.

Here are my tank specs

60 gallon

85lbs rock

Fish:
Starry Blenny
Ocellaris Clown Pair
Melanarus Wrasse
Solandri Puffer

CUC:
Various Snails
Hermits
Peppermint Shrimp(2)

Corals:
Ricordias
Rhodactis Mushrooms
Zoa Colonies
Snowflake Polyp Colony
Sinularia Leather
Blue Actinodiscus Mushroom
Branching Hammer
Lobophyllia
Platygyra
Trachyphyllia geoffroyi
Trachyphyllia radiata
Sun Coral

Equipment:

Reef Octopus BH-2000
Maxi-Jet 900
Maxi-Jet 1200

Lighting:

4 bulb T5HO fixture
2x54watt 10k daylight
2x54watt actinic
moonlight LEDs

I've been using Instant Ocean salt since the start up of my tank. My water mixes for at least 24hrs with a powerhead and heater before I perform a water change. I'm using RO/DI water I produce at home.

My test kits for alk, cal, and mag are supposed to be arriving on the 19th according to the tracking information. My new LED lights just arrived the other day but I haven't had a chance to hang them yet.

My tank has been running and cycled since the beginning of November, with the first fish (Starry Blenny) added on November 4th.

I really hope I covered everything. I tried to mentioned any and everything I could think of, maybe even too much. I'm just not sure whats going on.

Really appreciate help on this.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:33 PM   #2
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The tissue is receding and causing the hammer coral to die the cause is most likely the water change it could of had chlorine or the coral couldn't react to such an unstable unexpected water change. Try pouring water through your filter next time. Happy reefing!
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:32 PM   #3
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I know the tissue is receding I just can't figure out why. It did close up after the water change but the receding didn't start until at least the next. I just don't understand what from the water change would affect the hammer like it has. Especially since there are other LPS that haven't been affected.

I don't think it was something like chorine because I did add prime to the tank this water change. I only did so because I had cleaned out the skimmer in tap water and didn't want to take a chance with whatever water may have been left on the skimmer.

The new water is pumped back in through my water changer using a pump so its a relatively slow process.

I just don't know. I mean something with the water change upset some of the corals but I don't know if that is what is causing the tissue to recede. I don't know how to determine the cause by looking or how to figure out the cause.

I didn't dip the coral and am wondering if it is some sort of bug but I don't know why it would have taken almost two weeks for any recession on the hammer. Also, the other heads seem to be okay, no recession like the one, yet anyway.

Thanks for trying to help. I'm hoping to figure this out with help from this forum of course.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:19 AM   #4
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I agree with you that it must be something from the water change... I also have a new tank that has been cycled since Nov. I do only a 10% change every week. And I also had an issue with a coral that was fine before the PWC and died after the change. Mine only took 2 days to die! How far apart was the Pwc? Maybe it was too much at one time? I will be following to see what the experts say. It will be interesting to figure it out.
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendy8184 View Post
I agree with you that it must be something from the water change... I also have a new tank that has been cycled since Nov. I do only a 10% change every week. And I also had an issue with a coral that was fine before the PWC and died after the change. Mine only took 2 days to die! How far apart was the Pwc? Maybe it was too much at one time? I will be following to see what the experts say. It will be interesting to figure it out.
I had done one other water change since having the coral about a week before with no issues.

Yeah, I really just want to know whats going on, whether it was something I did or not. I just can't figure it out and really want to save it.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:56 AM   #6
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Are you absolutely sure its not the puffer?
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mikalicious209 View Post
Are you absolutely sure its not the puffer?
Pretty positive yes. It reacted first to the water change that I did before adding the puffer. The damage didn't look like bites to me either, polyps fell away basically.

I know the puffer is a risk but so far so good with both corals and CUC. If the puffer does begin to pick at coral I intend to set up another tank for the coral.

I believe now it was the flow that did it. It was getting pretty good flow in its initial spot. I had tried numerous times to adjust the flow but it was difficult in that area without messing up the flow around the whole tank.

I moved the hammer once I noticed damage on the one polyp initially, making sure lighting wasn't an issue. The location it is in now has made it much easier to give it a much gentler flow. I also upgraded to Koralia powerheads from Maxi-Jets, this seems to have made a pretty good difference as well. There is only the one head where it looks to be completely dead to me and two others that appear damaged. Two heads are completely intact and have fully opened. I'm hoping the other two with some damage will make a recovery.

I may be wrong so if anyone else has anymore insure I'm open to it. I'm not sure exactly what signs to look for in terms of figuring out exactly what is the problem but from my searching it seems flow is the most likely.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:09 PM   #8
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My hammer is not getting any better at all. There is now only one polyp left and the others have basically fallen apart/disintegrated just as the first. My test kits came in for alk, mag, and cal. Here are my result from all of my water parameters I tested for on Tuesday.

Temp-79F
SG-1.026

Red Sea

Ca- 430
Mg- 1320
dKH-12.6

API
Ammonia- 0
Nitrite-0
pH-8.2

Salifert

Nitrate-10-25

The last water change before these results was on Saturday with Instant Ocean. I performed a water change after getting these results, about 15gallons, to further lower my nitrates.

My other LPS, three different open brains and a playgyra, are all doing great. They've been inflating and extending feeders at night and don't have any noticeable damage. Because these are doing so well I don't see how it could be something with my parameters, though the ricordia haven't opened up much lately and the leather is shedding. Zoas are opened up and doing fine as well.

I'm beginning to wonder if it could be BJD. I haven't seen any obvious 'brown jelly' like I've read about but when researching I have read of some having a hammer or similar die in a similar manner as with BJD (not opening, receding of skin and polyps disintegrating quickly) but with white film/discharge or none at all.

I did snap a photo last night and it looks like there may be 'brown jelly' coming from the top right head, I can't be certain and didn't want to jump to conclusions. The polyp below that one was gone by early this afternoon. I'll be attaching the photo.

I still don't believe my puffer has bothered the hammer and the hammer did begin showing signs before the puffer is added. I have not seen the puffer near the coral or seen any obvious signs of biting/etc.

I had thought it was the higher flow that had caused the issues but don't see why it'd still be dying if that was the case.

Please help, I don't know what else to do.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:45 PM   #9
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Are you using RODI water?

Also, are you checking phosphate levels? Your problem is identical to one I had when I first started my tank. None of my zoas opened and my torch and hammer stopped expanding. when the heads died it looked like jelly; however, it was decaying tissue.

If your problem is phosphate get blue life phosphate rx. It is amazing!!!!!
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquaman024 View Post
Are you using RODI water?

Also, are you checking phosphate levels? Your problem is identical to one I had when I first started my tank. None of my zoas opened and my torch and hammer stopped expanding. when the heads died it looked like jelly; however, it was decaying tissue.

If your problem is phosphate get blue life phosphate rx. It is amazing!!!!!
I use RO/DI that I filter at home.

Besides the ricordea being a little moody lately all my other corals are fine. The zoas have been opening, rhodactis mushrooms are open, and my other LPS (brains) are all doing great. The brains are inflating as they should (mainly at night) and extending their feeders. Because the other corals are doing fine I find it hard to believe its a parameter issues.

I do not have a test for phosphates. I'm leaning towards getting the Hanna Checker for phosphates since its not too expensive and I'm sure much more reliable than other tests.

After that post, I've continued researching/reading as much as I can, I did read something about decaying tissue and this certainly could be the case as well. I just wish I knew what caused its decline.
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