Hammer coral: Care, Placement, Lighting, Growth (Beginners Guide)

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Your first reef aquarium is up and running. You are ready to fill it with new corals. And you already have one particular coral in mind.

The Hammer coral. 

But, you don’t know anything about Hammer coral care. 

How does it differ from all the other corals out there? Is it difficult to keep it alive? Is it beginner-friendly? 

You need answers and you need them now. 

Mostly, you are looking for someone that can answer these questions:

  • How to take care of Hammer Coral? 
  • What’s the best placement & lighting 
  • What’s the best food to grow it faster? 
  • And, finally, where can you buy a Hammer coral frags? 

In this guide, I’ll cover all those questions. 

By the end of this article, I am confident that you will be capable to take care of this magnificent animal. 

Let’s get started. 

hammer coral


Natural Habitat & Types

The Hammer Coral (Euphyllia Ancora), also known as the Anchor Coral is one of the most popular LPS corals among reef enthusiasts. 

Beautiful colors, different varieties, and multiple shapes. What’s not to like?

Did you know that it gets its name from the hammer shape of its tentacles? Pretty awesome, isn’t it? 

One of the many reasons why hobbyists love it so much it’s the fluorescent appearance under actinic lights. 

These types of corals come in different color varieties. You can find them with purple or green tentacles and rarely in orange color. However, we can both agree that whether the color, these corals are amazing by themselves. 

They inhabit areas of tropical waters all across the Indo Pacific Ocean, mostly at depths of 130 feet. There are two varieties of Hammer Corals. The first ones grow in wall formations and the other ones in branching formations. They are both beautiful, however, with one difference, the branching types grow faster. 

Hammer Coral Care

No matter what type of livestock you choose, whether are corals, fish or invertebrates, as long as you stick to the reef keeping basics you’ll enjoy every minute of this beautiful hobby.

Even though every coral has different requirements, it all comes down to one thing.

Biological and chemical balance in your tank first, then everything else. It’s no different for the Hammer Coral too.

However, don’t be intimidated by this.

Regardless of your experience level, with following few simple rules, anybody with an interest and desire for keeping corals can do it.

You don’t need to have previous knowledge, but you need to read and research. And then read some more.

And, of course, you need to have big patience.

Something so hard to do, for all of us, but necessary for success. At least, at this hobby.

If you are interested in getting a Hammer coral and it’s your first coral I encourage you to let the tank sit without livestock at least 6 months.

If you are bored to look in an empty tank then you can get a clownfish. Of course, when then the tank is fully cycled. But, you don’t need to wait for that, too.

These days are so easy to set up a tank in no time. Live bacteria and one clownfish are all you need. Afterward is all on the clownfish and the ammonia it produces.

Assuming you’ve set up all the necessary equipment in your tank before.

When the tank is mature enough you can introduce your first coral. That’s the time when the real fun begins.

LPS corals, in particular, Hammer corals need stable levels of calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity in order to grow.

There are two ways to achieve stability in your reef tank. Regular water changes, which you should anyway do, to replace the depleted elements and adding additional additives.

In terms of water chemistry, that’s all you should need to know. Now let’s explore the other aspects of Hammerhead coral care.

Hammer Coral Placement & Flow

Where you place your Hammerhead coral will determine your success. Why I am telling you this? Because, by nature, Hammer corals are aggressive. At night they will extend their sweeper tentacles searching for food. In the process, they might sting other corals near them. Keep that in mind when you are searching for suitable tankmates.

Another important aspect of placement is water flow. Too strong flow and your Hammer won’t open. Too little and it won’t get the necessary nutrients.

That means that finding the perfect position can sometimes be tricky. A wrong position can go both ways. Damage of the coral itself, or damage for the near neighbor corals.

You can easily accomplish this by placing them approximately 6 to 7 inches away from other corals. Find a place that doesn’t have direct and strong water flow too. Moderate water flow will be sufficient.

It’s worth to be mentioned that Hammer Corals will be more tolerant of corals from the same genus such as the Frogspawn and Torch corals.

Hammer Coral Lighting

Hammer corals are photosynthetic animals and need light to survive. You can’t keep corals without good lighting. Invest in a quality lighting system now, and you won’t have problems soon.

However, they are quite adaptable corals in terms of lighting.

Just make sure that you acclimate them slowly. Experiment with the position until you find a perfect spot.

Hammer Coral Feeding & Growth 

As with any other coral, it’s necessary to understand their feeding requirements if you want to have success keeping them. 

In general, all LPS corals have developed several different ways of getting their necessary nutrients. The Hammerhead coral is no exception. 

It gets 90 percent of its energy from photosynthesis, through a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae is a marine algae that lives within the coral tissue. 

Although it mainly depends on the lighting, the Hammer coral will benefit from additional feeding. 

It will certainly have a better growth rate, it will look more colorful and healthier. Keep in mind that these types of corals can get hungry. And when they are hungry they will become aggressive and extend their tentacles. And you want to avoid that. 

There are a lot of foods on the market that Hammer corals will happily accept. You can feed them Mysis, shrimps, and Krill. Even though, they’ll eat bigger pieces, make sure that you target feed them with appropriate sizes. 

Another important thing to pay attention to is the level of calcium and alkalinity in your reef tank. 

All LPS corals need calcium to build their skeletons. If you notice lower levels of calcium or magnesium in your reef tank, then you need to start dosing. 

Usually, most of the new reef tanks won’t have enough calcium, and if you want to see your corals grow faster, use additional elements. 

You’ll see a big difference in no time.

See also: Why is my hammer coral not opening?

Hammer Coral for Sale

Many people enjoy keeping corals in their home aquariums. Over the past years, the hobby has progressed so much, that now there are corals to buy in almost every local fish store. And that’s a good thing.

Coral reefs are dying off all around the world.

The Coral Reef provides habitat for nearly one-third of the saltwater fish species. And it’s important to preserve it.

With today’s methods of Coral aquaculture, the future of the coral reefs is promising.

If you are interested in purchasing a Hammer coral, you won’t have trouble finding in your local fish store. They’ll probably have in stock. However, there are other ways if you are not satisfied with the quality of corals.

There are a lot of online shops, some great, some with questionable quality, to choose from.

It’s up to you where you want to buy your corals. And, there is always a possibility to trade corals with other hobbyists.

Just make sure that you purchase a healthy and good looking specimens. It will save you from troubles down the road.

How to Frag Hammer Coral

How to frag corals can be difficult to explain in simple words. It’s always better to see it, so you can visually understand it. Just check the video below.

Just remember that the Hammer Coral propagates like any other LPS coral. Eventually, you’ll notice that new heads are popping out of your Hammer coral. Wait until they are fully grown, and then cut them out. You can glue the new heads on a different rock.

But, be extremely careful. Damaged Hammer corals can be susceptible to infections.


Are hammer corals easy to care for?

The hammer coral is not the easiest coral to take care of, mainly because of its aggressiveness and the specific conditions it needs to thrive. However, every beginner can keep these corals in their reef tanks with proper care and sufficient knowledge.

Where should I put my hammer coral?

Hammer corals, just like most euphylias, are aggressive by nature. To avoid any trouble, place your hammer coral on a surface that is 4 to 6 inches away from the other non-euphylia corals in your tank.

If you are interested to learn more about other types of corals, feel free to check our other guides.

Final Thoughts 

The satisfaction of having a small piece of the ocean in your home is immeasurable. Keeping corals, watching them grow from frag is so relaxing and fun thing to do in your free time. 

The Hammer Coral, in particular, is a great candidate to start your reefing journey. 

 I am sure that it will be a nice addition to your reef tank.

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