How To Care For Hammer Coral
Class Anthozoa, Order Scleractinia, Family Euphyllidae, Genera Euphyllia and Nemenzophyllia
Common names: Often referred to as Euphyllia Hammer Coral or Anchor Coral.
Natural origin: Indo-Pacific
Hammer corals like others in the genus Euphyllia, usually require moderate care. Though generally tolerant, they need to be placed properly with plenty of space away from other corals, low to medium water flow, and moderate lighting.
Usually a favorite among reef tanks hobbyists, hammer corals are long polyp stony (LPS) corals which get their name from the appearance of their tentacles which are shaped like a hammer or in somes cases an anchor. Even though they are classified as a stony coral their tentacles can extend during the day and provide a nice flowing motion usually found with soft corals.
Hammer coral come in a variety of colors but are usually purple, green, or tan in color, and when lit they have vibrant glowing yellow or lime green tentacle tips.
Hammer Coral Feeding
These corals are photosynthetic and do not need to be fed directly but do sometimes capture prey and can feed on micro-plankton, mysis or brine shrimp and other meaty marine foods.
Feeding them directly has been known to improve their growth rate considerably.
Hammer corals also use calcium, and to a lesser extent magnesium, to build their skeletons so calcium dosing can be essential for promoting growth. Using a supplement like C-Balance can help keep better control of calcium and alkalinity which are important building blocks for skeletal growth.
Hammer Coral Lighting
Preferred lighting depends on species, but since they are dependent on photosynthesis to create their food and energy, most prefer more intense but indirect lighting. 150w T5 lighting or higher is usually recommended.
Hammer Coral Water Flow
Place in an area of low to moderate water flow which will allow the tentacles to gently sway. Too much water flow will prevent the tentacles from getting full extension and give your coral an unhealthy look.
Hammer Coral Placement
These corals can be quite aggressive, displaying long, powerful stinging sweeper tentacles that can reach up to six inches. Please place them safety away from other corals unless they are of the same family such as frogspawn corals. Do not keep with leather corals that may be toxic to larger polyped stony corals. Also avoid housing with hermit crabs.
Placement will also depend on which type of hammer coral you have. Wall hammer corals are known for slow controlled growth while branching hammer coral are more aggressive growers and tend to be more resilient.
If not otherwise explained, slow tissue recession may be a sign of starvation. Target feeding may help this situation. These corals seem to be more susceptible to brown jelly disease than most other corals. To help prevent disease, be careful not to damage the coral while handling and avoid housing with hermit crabs that can irritate the coral’s soft tissue.