Due to hammer coral being a relatively beginner friendly coral to keep that can work well in a wide range of different niche tank setups, we commonly see people reaching out and asking a number of different questions about their hammer coral.
In addition to this, hammer coral has seen a spike in its popularity recently too resulting in more questions than usual being asked from the coral keeping community.
We have already published articles on hammer coral shrinking and hammer coral not opening but we have noticed people having more serious problems with their hammer coral recently.
This is why we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over the most common reasons that your hammer coral is dying as well as how to correct the problems.
Why Is My Hammer Coral Dying?
Many of the reasons that your hammer coral is dying will be related to problems with water parameters.
That said, there are a number of other potential problems with your hammer coral dying that can also cause a number of issues so we want to cover them all below with a brief overview.
Without seeing photographs of your coral it is very difficult for us to be able to offer specific advice though so seeking the advice of an experienced coral keeper in your local area can be a good idea but our generic advice about hammer coral dying below should still be able to help many of our readers.
Bad Water Quality!
The number one reason that we see for people struggling to keep their hammer coral alive is down to bad water quality in their aquarium.
Hammer coral is a very sensitive coral species and even the slightest change in water parameters can cause problems for this coral.
Just because hammer coral is classed as “beginner friendly” it does not mean that it is easy to keep for people brand new to aquarium keeping.
When it comes to coral keeping, the term beginner friendly usually presume that you have at least six months of experience, usually one full year to let your core skills build up involving maintaining water quality.
Issues With The Food Supply!
Another common reason that we see people struggling to keep their hammer coral alive is down to a problem with the food supply.
Hammer coral needs a regular and reliable source of food in order to survive and if this is not provided then the coral will eventually start to starve and die.
In most cases, we recommend providing your hammer coral with a small piece of suitable, meaty food such as mysis shrimp or krill once per week, sometimes more in low nutrition tanks.
However, it is important to remember that every coral is different and some may need more or less food than others so it is important to be prepared to experiment a little bit until you find what works best for your particular coral.
Sadly, disease is also a common cause of death in hammer coral.
There are a number of different diseases that can affect this coral species and many of them are very difficult to treat effectively.
The best way to prevent your coral from getting sick in the first place is to quarantine all new corals before adding them to your main display tank.
This will not guarantee that your coral will not get sick but it will greatly reduce the risk.
If you do notice that your coral is starting to show signs of disease then the best course of action is to seek the advice of a qualified aquarium vet as they will be able to offer you the best chance of saving your coral.
Poor Water Flow!
Another common problem that we see people having with their hammer coral is poor water flow in their aquarium.
Hammer coral needs a low to moderate level of water flow in order to stay healthy and if this is not provided then the coral will eventually start to die off.
If you have other corals in your tank that require a high water flow then you may be able to tweak the placement of your hammer coral to a slightly different area of your tank to offer a lower level of water flow.
Too Much Light!
Whilst hammer coral does need a good level of light in order to stay healthy, it is important to remember that too much light can also be a problem.
If your coral is receiving too much light then it will eventually start to bleach and die.
The best way to avoid this problem is to gradually acclimate your coral to any new lighting that you add to your aquarium and always make sure that the coral is positioned in an area where it will not be receiving direct sunlight.
Still, most types of hammer coral need a low to medium light intensity with 120PAR often being the upper limit in many setups but some people can increase their light intensity slightly higher.
Just keep iI mind that the placement of your hammer coral can be a way to counter having to have high lighting intensity in your tank as you can block off light exposure by placing your hammer coral lower in the tank to try and save it.
Problems With pH Level!
Another common problem that we see people having with their hammer coral is problems with the pH level in their aquarium.
Hammer coral needs a specific range of pH in order to stay healthy and if this is not provided then the coral will eventually start to die off.
The ideal pH range for hammer coral is between 8.0 and 8.4 but some people have had success keeping this coral at a slightly lower or higher pH.
If you are having problems maintaining the correct pH level in your aquarium then we recommend using a reliable pH test kit to help you to keep track of the levels in your water and make any necessary adjustments.
Water Parameters Changing Quickly!
Water parameters can change rapidly in a tank after a large water change often making your hammer coral appear to be dying.
This is usually only if you are changing over half of the tanks water supply at once though so you can easily avoid this by sticking to the standard 10%, 20% or 30% water change at a time.
Tank Mates Eating The Coral!
One of the most common problems that we see people having with their hammer coral is that their tank mates are eating the coral.
This is most often seen with fish such as tangs and angels but can also be seen with certain types of inverts such as crabs and shrimp.
The best way to avoid this problem is to make sure that you choose appropriate tank mates for your hammer coral and to provide plenty of hiding places for the coral to retreat to if necessary.
You can also try using a physical barrier such as a piece of egg crate to keep the fish away from the coral but this is not always 100% effective.
The Ammonia Cycle!
One of the most common problems that we see people having with their hammer coral is that they are not cycling their tank correctly.
The ammonia cycle is an important process that all aquariums need to go through in order to stay healthy and if this is not done correctly then it can lead to a whole host of problems, including death of your hammer coral.
The best way to avoid this problem is to make sure that you cycle your tank correctly before adding any fish or corals to it.
Summary Of Why Your Hammer Coral Is Dying!
- Bad Water Quality!
- Issues With The Food Supply!
- Water Flow Problems!
- Problems With pH Level!
- Water Parameters Changing Quickly!
- Issues With Light Intensity!
- Tank Mates Eating The Coral!
- The Ammonia Cycle!