The Reef Tank banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a hammer coral a couple of weeks back and it was doing absolutely great - during the day it would "bloom" (for the lack of a better word) to three or four times its size. Today I went out for a few hours (the hammer for blooming when I left) and when I got home it had shrunk all the way back and there was a dime-sized area where the polyps were missing (or retracted all the way back into the skeleton/base) and there was some sort of white secretion coming off that area. :mad: I have two questions:

1. Could a turbo snail have done that? There are some very suspicious tracks leading up to the hammer (I have it sitting on my DSB) and I don't really have anything else in my tank that I can imagine inflicting that sort of damage (I have five blue-green chromis, a foxface rabbitfish, and two pajama cardinal fish; and I don't think my serpeant starfish are into corals :)).

2. Is there anything I need to do for the hammer or will it come back on its own? The rest of the polyps have withdrawn but aren't secreting anything that I can see.

Has anyone else had problems with turbos going after corals?

Thanks in advance.

K.M.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
The only way I think a turbo snail could hurt a hammer would be to fall off the glass onto it... it wouldn't do anything to it in a predatory manner.

My hunch is you could be seeing the beginnings of brown jelly disease. The white 'secretion' could be dead tissue floating away from the hammer, and this also could be why that portion is completely retracted... it's getting devoured by protozoans.

I've suffered through this three times so far in my tank, and it's a tough one to beat. I usually dip in a double-dose of iodine and 'paint' the infected areas with concentrated iodine with a pipette.
This usually eliminates the jelly after a single dip, but the infected head usually dies. :(
I have 2 'gapped' hammer colonies due to this stuff, and I hope I never see it again... it also killed my first frogspawn.

I really hope that your hammer was merely disturbed by something, and is not being infected by this disease... keep a close eye on it because it spreads fast.

I used Seachem Reef Dip (an iodine mixture) to doctor the hammer.

Crossing my fingers... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Reefer Addict said:
My hunch is you could be seeing the beginnings of brown jelly disease. The white 'secretion' could be dead tissue floating away from the hammer, and this also could be why that portion is completely retracted... it's getting devoured by protozoans.

I really hope that your hammer was merely disturbed by something, and is not being infected by this disease... keep a close eye on it because it spreads fast.

Crossing my fingers... :)
Oh, that's not good news :( Does this brown jelly disease spread and if so does it spread fast? That is, should I yank the hammer out now before the rest of the tank is infected? The only reason I think it was some sort of predator was the speed with which the change occurred (and how distinct the affected area is) the hammer went from fully extended to retracted with a "missing area" in a matter of six hours and the one area that's affected is extremely well delineated. I definitely will keep a close eye on it :eek:

Also, should I dip all my corals (at least the soft corals) from now on?

Thanks for the good wishes. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed too.

K.M.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
From what I can gather, the protozoans that cause brown jelly disease are forever present in our marine ecosystems. They normally are fairly benign until either through injury or other opportunity they infect the host.
If your other LPS corals aren't infected I'd just leave them alone... chances are you could injure them while moving them around and actually perpetuate the jelly.
All three of my cases of jelly also started like yours did... full extension to rapid deflation within a matter of hours.
I've found that brown jelly will devour an entire head of Euphyllia (torch, frogspawn, hammer) in about 2 days... which I guess is pretty quick as far as aquarium diseases go.
I'd just dip the hammer for the time being as a preventative if in fact brown jelly is occurring... the easiest way to tell if there's tissue damage is to lightly blow on the colony with a turkey baster (I use a small eyedropper) and if decaying tissue comes off of it then brown jelly is the likely cause.

I've been dipping any new corals I get in iodine (normal dose) before adding them to the tank as a preventative, but I'm not really sure if it makes a difference... the protozoans are already in the tank...
It can help kill off other bacteria that could also pose a problem so I figure it can't hurt.

Hope everything goes well for you. It's a nasty disease but you can overcome it. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
I have had the same experience as Reefer Addict and I have also dipped the coral to try to stop the infection from spreading. For some reason it doesn't seem to spread to other corals.

Good luck,

Pam
 

·
Banggai Mommy
Joined
·
2,395 Posts
Does it look any better? I've had Euphyllias do strange things and be fine after a little while. Is is sloughing tissue? That would be a bad sign - brown jelly does indeed move quickly. Is yours a branching hammer or a single large base? The branching ones seem to do better, if only because losing one head does not mean that the colony is lost. I've never been able to stop it - but that doesn't mean it's not possible. Good luck,

Keep us posted,
Danielle
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's gone...

Unfortunately, while I was out trying to track down Lugol's solution or Seachem Reef dip, the entire head "collapsed." It was a single large base and by the time I got home there wasn't a single polyp visible. It really was frightening that in about 90-100 minutes the hammer went from having a dime-sized area where the polyps were fully withdrawn to having all of its polyps withdrawn.

I pulled it out because I didn't want to risk the brown jelly disease spreading. When I looked closely at the coral after pulling it out it did seem lilke there was some tissue decay - although I didn't really see the brown jelly that the books (and this board) talks about.

I am really bummed about this because it was an absolutely gorgeous coral - incredible to look at when all the polyps were extended - it was eating and seemed to be thriving. The fact that it was also the single most expensive living organism in the tank also didn't help. I just wish I knew what I did wrong on this one - it almost seems like there wasn't very much I could have done to save this hammer (but I would like not to have this happen again :().

Thanks for all the good wishes, I wish I had something more positive to report.

K.M.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
658 Posts
You didn't do anything wrong. Don't blame yourself for this one...
I agree that hammers are very nice to look at. I have two colonies, a yellow and a green, and they are two of my tank mainstays.
Unfortunately after the brown jelly outbreak, the yellow hammer colony has 3 heads left out of about 10, and the green is missing 3 heads out of about 12...
Sorry to hear that your colony was a single head... I have a frogspawn that is the same way... it's one large head and if it were to get brown jelly the whole thing would be gone.
Sorry to hear of your loss though... I felt the same way when my first frogspawn bit the dust. :(
I wouldn't worry about brown jelly 'spreading'... like I said in my post, the protozoans are always there... it's only through injury that most corals become infected.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top