Many people want to introduce corals to their aquarium even when they do not have a reef aquarium. One of the biggest problems is that you may not know which corals are the best choice for your aquarium. When you start asking around in the neighborhood or other communities, you will find the Hammer Coral as the go-to suggestion.
Nevertheless, being the beginner aquarium keeper you are, you may have questions about the Hammer Coral option for your fish tank. First and foremost, you must be wondering why you should get one for your aquarium. Then, there are follow-up questions such as how to care for Hammer coral animals and where to put the Hammer coral. Long story short, caring for Hammer coral could be a tricky topic for people who are new to aquariums and fishkeeping.
We had the same questions when we got started with fish tanks and accessories. It is one reason why we decided to create this complete guide to Hammer corals. The following guide explains almost everything you need to know about Hammer corals and how to care for them. In addition, we have explored areas such as the ideal growing conditions, nutrients, and compatible fish species for the corals.
What Is Hammer Coral?
Euphyllia ancora, better known as Hammer coral and anchor coral, is one of the large polyp stony corals you can use in aquariums and other spaces. In some scenarios, the same species are known as sausage coral, ridge coral, and bubble honeycomb coral. It belongs to the botanical family of Euphyllidae and is known for its impressive variety of colors. There are a couple of reasons why Hammer coral is a popular choice for fish tanks and aquarium specimens worldwide. First, taking care of the Hammer coral animal does not consume a lot of time or effort. Second, the Hammer coral animal adds charm to the aquarium environment due to its puffy tubular tentacles and semi-fluorescent nature. Therefore, when combined with the right set of lighting, Hammer coral can change the way your aquarium looks.
Now, we will talk about the distribution and habitat of the Hammer coral. Like many other coral types, the Hammer coral is also found in tropical waters. You can find a high amount of this coral in the Indo-West Pacific and Maldives area. In addition, Indonesia is also home to a larger presence of coral. As you can guess, the destruction of coral reefs has impacted the overall population of this species. Even though it is not in an endangered category, Hammer corals are facing destruction due to pollution. It is worth noting that you can find Hammer coral in different colors and patterns. Some of the options are Gold, Green, Neon Green, and Grey. This variety in terms of color means that a fish keeper gets to choose the correct color-based variant for their aquarium.
Due to the increasing demand for the product, Hammer corals are now aquacultured as well. That is, corals are made with the help of science and technology. Therefore, the Hammer corals that you get from a nearby aquarium shop could be from Australia or some other continent that does not have a presence of coral. Rest assured, these plants are optimized to thrive in aquarium conditions where you maintain freshwater. That is almost everything you should know about Hammer coral, we believe. Now, we will answer some important questions you may have about caring for the Hammer coral animals in your aquarium. Keep in mind that we are offering general suggestions here. You may have to optimize the caring steps based on the subspecies you have.
Are Hammer Corals Easy to Care For?
Compared to other aquarium plants and corals, Hammer corals are not the easiest to care for. At the same time, you do not have to spend a lot of time or effort on the coral, either. In terms of the difficulty of caring, Hammer corals stay in the middle. People may find it moderately difficult to care for the species. At the same time, you do not have to be a fishkeeping or aquarium expert to make this possible. Instead, you have to be sure that the aquarium offers the best possible growing environment for the coral animal. When you combine such an environment with proper feeding, Hammer corals can give you the best results.
Here are some things you should know about Hammer corals before determining whether they are easy to care for.
- These coral species require a moderate level of care. It means you cannot plant the coral and forget about it. Instead, you would have to pay attention to the coral as much as you pay attention to other species in your aquarium.
- Compared to other plants, Hammer coral animals have an aggressive temperament. So, you will have to adjust the settings of the aquarium based on the feedback from the plant. For instance, if the coral does not grow as per your plan, you may have to check the lighting.
- In addition, you may have to provide supplements and specialized water flow to ensure that Hammer corals are growing at best possible speed. Once again, you may have to adjust the placement of the item according to the lighting/nutrition requirements.
These points must explain that Hammer corals require some effort from your side. However, provided that you want to keep your reef aquarium good-looking and healthy, spending a few minutes every day to monitor what is happening will not be a problem, we believe.
On a serious note, though, you should not get the Hammer coral animals if you cannot dedicate time and effort. If you leave the plant to grow on its own, it might end up in a non-ideal shape, not suitable for anyone. After all, you have to spend a considerable amount of money to get a good sub-species of Hammer coral, you know.
Where Should I Put My Hammer Coral?
As we said, the Hammer coral is a stickler when it comes to the growing environment. Therefore, you have to be careful about the placement of the same. Keeping the corals at a random part of the aquarium will not provide you great results. Instead, you have to select based on the number of nutrients and sunlight that the coral needs. Of course, it would also depend on the lighting setup you have arranged for the aquarium. As you can guess, this part of Hammer coral care requires a holistic strategy since you might have other species in the same aquarium. Therefore, make sure you pay attention to the following aspects.
You have to consider three significant aspects before you decide where to place your Hammer coral.
1. The availability of sunlight is an essential factor. Without the recommended amount of sun, the Hammer coral animal would not grow properly. Therefore, you have to ensure that the coral animal has access to the right amount of sunlight. Without it, photosynthesis in the Hammer coral animal could be at stake.
2. Waterflow is also another factor that can determine the placement of Hammer coral. The water flow must be at a medium strength if you want to ensure the best growth rate for the plant. If the flow is too high, the Hammer coral could be at stake. On the other hand, if the flow is too low, the coral may have trouble absorbing the right amount of nutrients.
3. The third could be what the Hammer coral is next to. As we mentioned in the previous section, Hammer corals could be aggressive at times, especially during the night. At these times, the plant will try to absorb nutrients from every possible source, including other plants in the aquarium. Therefore, it makes sense to keep a reasonable distance between the Hammer coral and other plants.
Unfortunately, you cannot skip any of these aspects while deciding where to place the Hammer coral. In fact, you will have to pay attention to more factors. For instance, you have to ensure that you can feed the coral properly after setting up everything. Similarly, if you want to make frequent changes to the fish tank, things must be optimized in the first place. At the same time, you have to be sure that the tank does not contain any species that would harm the coral — and vice versa. And we do not think we have to tell you how crucial unpolluted water is to the growth of Hammer coral in an aquarium. As you already know, water pollution is the primary reason why coral reefs are facing destruction in many parts of the world.
Do I Need to Feed Hammer Coral?
Yes, you need to feed Hammer coral if you want the same to grow at full speed.
Once again, random feeding does not help any subspecies of Hammer coral. So here are some of the aspects you have to take care of instead.
- As we mentioned earlier, Hammer corals can be quite aggressive at times. It means the coral requires constant access to nutrients. The water in your aquarium may not be able to fulfill these needs at all times. Therefore, you have to follow a well-designed feeding strategy. You can continue the strategy until the corals reach the desired size and dimensions.
- You have to keep in mind that Hammer coral animals need to get used to the feeding system. To get the best results, you can use a professional feeder. As far as a saltwater aquarium is concerned, the aggressive nature of the coral could be an important factor. If your fish misses something, the coral will take care of it. If you want to avoid this situation, you should use an accessory like the Sea Squirt feeder, which allows you to push meaty food and other elements to the polyps of the coral.
- There is no point in focusing on the feeding patterns and dimensions if the tank does not contain the basic minerals that help the Hammer coral grow. The most important components would be calcium and magnesium. Therefore, you should always keep these minerals at a reasonable level. In that way, you do not have to worry about the Hammer coral being underfed.
You also have to show some discretion as to the things you feed. As it happens, you can choose from a wide variety of options in the market. For instance, Mysis, Krill, and shrimps are some of the most favorite edible things for Hammer corals. As long as you provide these items at a convenient size and volume, the coral will consume them without any trouble.
We must warn you that the specifics of feeding may vary depending on the coral subspecies. Therefore, you may have to check the species details before you provide the coral the feeding material.
How to Care for Your Hammer Corals?
Suppose you have decided to get Hammer corals for your saltwater aquarium after reading so far. We hope you are ready to spend a reasonable amount of time taking care of the corals. In that case, you have to take care of the following aspects to ensure the maximum growth of the Hammer corals. We have split this guide into multiple sections, such as Sunlight, Nutrients, fish species, compatibility, etc. The perfect living space for Hammer coral will be the best combination of all these aspects. Shall we get started?
Hammer coral requires a considerable amount of sunlight to grow properly. Therefore, it works well if you can provide a moderate amount of sun. Here is the thing, though. You do not have to worry if you cannot expose the aquarium to direct sunlight. Instead, you can choose a third-party lighting system that uses LEDs. The best part is that Hammer corals will adjust according to the change and enhance their growth. Having said that, you have to choose the intensity of the lighting system based on the feedback from the corals.
We must add that sunlight is an aspect where you do not want to make compromises. If the corals do not receive the right amount of sunlight, they will not be able to do photosynthesis properly. And the aggressive nature of these animals will come as a problem here. The animals would extend their tentacles and try to consume all things within reach. So, considering all these things, ensuring proper access to sunlight is essential for the holistic growth of your saltwater aquarium.
As we mentioned earlier, you have to keep the chemical balance of the saltwater tank in check. First, you have to ensure that the water contains a reasonable amount of calcium and magnesium. Both these are great when it comes to the growth of the Hammer corals as well as other species in your reef aquarium. But you have to check whether all the fish species in the tank can survive a high amount of calcium. If that does not seem to be a problem, you can go ahead with the fish tank.
We also mentioned that you should keep the tank filled with unpolluted water. The involvement of chemicals is detrimental to the development of Hammer coral. Therefore, if you are unsure about the water in the tank, you should set up some kind of purification system for the same. For instance, experts say that a high level of copper will affect the growth of Hammer coral. As for the calcium level, you have to maintain a figure of 400ppm.
For the proper growth of the coral and the health of other species, you have to place the Hammer coral with the right amount of distance from each other.
You do not have to be a stickler while choosing the nutrients for Hammer coral. Of course, you have to keep the levels of calcium and magnesium high in the water. At the same, you have to remove copper from the entire system — as much as you can. As far as the growth is concerned, you can feed a variety of things to the coral. We are talking about meaty substances like shrimp and krill, which you can find without issues. These materials can ensure maximum growth of the coral within the shortest span as well.
Of course, you may be wondering about the overall compatibility of Hammer coral with other components in your saltwater aquarium. It is when we have to consider the aggressive nature of the coral.
As we said earlier, the coral species is known for its use of tentacles. These tentacles are used to seek food and resources from the neighbors. However, fish would not be subjected to this issue, and you can add any saltwater fish to the tank. As we said, make sure that the fish can survive at the recommended calcium levels for the coral reef.
By the way, if you want to prevent fish from destroying the coral, you should check out butterflyfish, which do not nibble the coral.
FAQ: All Your Questions About Hammer Coral, Answered
What are the different colors of hammer coral?
When it comes to hammer coral colors, nature’s artistry truly shines. These living ornaments can vary from deep emerald greens and earthy browns to vibrant reds and mystical purples. You’ll even encounter colonies that exhibit a kaleidoscope of colors, turning your aquarium into an underwater rainbow.
What flow requirements does hammer coral have?
Hammer coral requires medium to high water flow. The flow should be strong enough to move the tentacles of the coral, but not so strong that it damages the coral.
How Should You Feed Your Hammer Coral?
Offering a varied diet of phytoplankton, zooplankton, reef roids, mysis shrimp, and even tiny, meaty treats like brine shrimp and krill can keep your coral flourishing. Just remember, moderation is key. Overfeeding can quickly muddy the waters, both literally and metaphorically.
How do I care for my hammer coral?
Mastering hammer coral care means understanding the symbiosis of light and water chemistry. A balance of moderate-to-high lighting and stable parameters such as temperature, salinity, and pH is critical.
Your attention to a pristine, pollutant-free environment will be your coral’s best chance at a long, vibrant life.
My Hammer Coral is Turning White: What’s Happening?
Coral bleaching can be a dramatic signal that your hammer coral is under stress. The causes can range from fluctuating water temperatures to poor water quality.
The key is to identify the root of the problem swiftly and take corrective measures.
What If My Hammer Coral is Losing Flesh?
Tissue loss can be a pressing concern, often stemming from various factors like pests, diseases, or even water quality inconsistencies. A prompt diagnosis and action plan are crucial for the recovery of your hammer coral.
How Can I Prevent Algae Overgrowth?
Combatting algae growth is a balancing act. The secret lies in maintaining an impeccable water quality and optimal flow. Sometimes, introducing a phosphate remover can be the extra help you need to keep algae at bay.
What are some of the most common pests and diseases that can affect hammer coral?
Hammer coral is susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, including corallimorph algae, brown jelly algae, red slime algae, STN (stony coral tissue loss), and RTN (rapid tissue necrosis).
It is important to inspect your hammer coral regularly for signs of pests or diseases. If you see any problems, treat them immediately to prevent the spread to other corals in your aquarium.
If you still have any questions about Hammer corals, do let us know through your comments. As you have seen, caring for Hammer coral is not a Herculean task. And if you can take care of these aspects, there are many reasons to get Hammer coral for your aquarium.
Ian Sterling, founder of Fishlab.com, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website, Fishlab.com, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.