Growing corals is mainly done by fragging them. This means that a piece of a colony is taken away, which then grows back into a complete colony. This article discusses how this can be done. Fragging is very easy for many corals. If you maintain the right water quality and provide sufficient lighting for your coral, it will start to grow on its own. There are several ways to frag the coral.
It sometimes seems very drastic, but in nature it also happens. For example, storms can break off pieces of coral. Other corals can divide like disk anemones. Also, there are corals that leave bits of their feet, such as discosoma, when they start moving themselves. A new version of the discosoma will then arise from this foot.
Fragging of corals is practiced worldwide and the number of species that can be fragged continues to grow.
SPS can grow very quickly, allowing them to overshadow other corals or themselves. They can also sting other colonies. So it is often necessary to frag them. Sometimes fragging is also used to save colonies. For example with RTN (Rapid Tissue Necrosis). This can be done by clipping the coral above the affected tissue.
Select the tool
The tools you need while fragging are very simple. You need something to loosen a piece of coral. This can be done by hand or using scissors or pliers. You can also cut off a piece with a sharp knife.
Always wash your hands before and after fragging coral. Before fragging to avoid infecting the coral and after fragging to prevent any toxins from remaining on your hands.
Ways of fixing
After you have loosened a piece of coral, it must be fixed to the substrate. For example, it can be inserted into a hole or crevice in the rock of the aquarium. It can also be adhered with cyanoacrylate adhesive (superglue). Epoxy can also be used. Another way to bind coral to substrate is by using elastics. Some corals are very difficult to glue because of the mucus they produce. In that case, tying it with elastics is a good option. When the coral has grown to the substrate, the elastic can be easily removed. Other corals such as discosoma or disc anemones are difficult to fix even with elastic bands. Use can be made for this with a bowl of stones with a gauze over it. First put a layer of stones in the container and then place the pieces of coral on the stones. Cover the tray with a mesh so that the corals are not blown out of the tray and wait until the corals have grown themselves to the stones.
Small polyp stony corals are very fast growers that like high light intensity and water flow. They are also very easy to frag. Acropora, for example, can be fragmented by simply cutting a piece and then sticking it to the substrate.
SPS can also form plates such as Montipora. Feel free to break off or cut a piece. This piece can then be cut into smaller pieces and then glued to the substrate. This can also be done with superglue.
Soft corals and mushrooms
With soft corals such as Sinularia, pieces can simply be cut or clipped. Mushrooms can simply be cut into pieces by mouth. These pieces can then be placed in a tray of bricks as described above. In a few weeks the small pieces of coral will have grown attached to the stones.
Another soft coral is the green star polyp. This one is framed in a completely different way. You can simply pull/cut pieces of the substrate. These pieces can then be attached to another substrate with an elastic band or superglue.
Large Polyp Stony corals are generally a bit more difficult to frag than SPS. Often LPS also grow more slowly. Still, it’s often worth fragging them. Especially Caulastrea, a branching coral is easy to take cuttings. Simply by using the same method as with SPS corals such as Acropora. Fungia, on the other hand, is fragmented in a different way. These can be sawn into pieces. Fungi can also be placed upside down. The coral will then die and new small fungi will emerge from the skeleton.
Always wear gloves
Wear latex or vinyl gloves if you plan on fragging. They will protect you from the slime the corals produce. Some corals can even be very toxic and you definitely don’t want that in your body. It is also better to wear gloves for the corals themselves. This prevents infections of the coral.
Dipping coral reduces the risk of infection
Many people fragging corals use coral dips. Many of these dips are iodine based. This is a very potent antiseptic. The use of dips reduces the risk of infection. Resulting in greater success with fragging coral.