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FAQs about "Coral" Reproduction/Propagation:  Methods, Techniques, Practices

Related Articles: Captive Coral and Marine Invert Sexual Reproduction by Sara Mavinkurve, Growing Reef Corals For Profit by Anthony Calfo Coral Propagation, LPS Corals, True or Stony Corals, Order Scleractinia, Propagation for Marine Aquarium Use, Trachyphyllia Reproduction Event

Related FAQs: Coral Propagation 1, Coral Propagation 2, Coral Propagation 3, Coral Propagation 4, & FAQs on Coral: Coral Prop Livestock Selection, Frag Sources (Info., Livestock, Supplies), Frag Tanks/Systems, Frag Tools, Frag Feeding, Frag Health, Propagation Economics, Frag Troubles, Fraggle Rock (just kidding),  & FAQs Files on: "Frag Momma Frag, Whatcha Gonna Do? " by Group: Cnidarian Reproduction, Caryophyllid Propagation/Reproduction, Soft Coral Propagation, Growing Reef CoralsLivestock BusinessStony Coral IdentificationStony Coral Behavior,

Often... there's not much to do.

Frag Question, systems tied tog., fragging/mucus in situ...  2/22/12
Hello to the crew of wet web, my name is Brian and it has been long time since I last wrote to you.  Let me give a overview of my system, 60 gallon main tank with a 10 gallon sump and a 15 gallon frag tank (new addition) both running off the same filtration,  the system has been up for five years without incident, lighting is two bulb T5 HO (420 actinic and 6700K) on both tanks, skimmer is AquaC Remora Pro, my current inhabitants are two clowns, small hippo tang, starry blenny, yellow watchmen, green clown goby, six line wrasse, scarlet shrimp, hermits and snails and giant carpet anemone
<Dangerous here... to your fishes and other Cnidarians>

(8 inch diameter if open flat), all fish and inverts over have been in my system for over one year and all are in the main tank.  The current corals are red mushrooms, hairy mushrooms, branching hammer coral, button polyps and unfortunately Kenya tree (attempting to get rid of it but keeps coming back) and multicolor Ricordea.  All corals are growing very well and healthy, and some are growing to <too> fast almost, which is why I added the frag tank.  The frag tank has three tiers of egg crate and a few small pieces of live rock for gluing corals to.  I run charcoal in my sump and use RO water,  all water parameters are excellent so no need to type them all.     My current question is in the area of coral fragging, today was my first attempt at this new venture in the hobby and I have researched this pretty extensively before my first attempt but as I found out it was a bit different than how it sounds on paper.  I had two very large "hairy mushrooms" and a extremely large colony of "button polyps" I want to separate.  The mushrooms are about 8 inches each in diameter and were on the same rock and I wanted to break them apart keep one for myself and place one in my frag tank to recover and eventually trade in.  The polyps initially came on the same rock as the mushrooms and have taken over three neighboring rocks over time so I needed to cut them back as well.  As I began to remove the rock with the mushrooms I noticed that the polyps had formed a very thick mate to the other rocks and one of the mushrooms had a small part of its foot on another rock (approx 1/4inch piece of flesh). 
The only way I could have removed the intended rock was to take my scalpel and cut the base of the foot and the mat of polyps...(first question) Is this an acceptable procedure to do in the main tank or will there be ill effects?
<Do ALL such cutting, fragging outside the systems... NOT in water that you'll mix in the system even. AND wear gloves and eye protection. There are chemicals in these animals that have negative effects on humans>
 As i did so the corals began to release large amounts of mucus into the water, I have read that polyps are toxic... (second question) Is this a cause for concern in system? 
<It IS indeed>

After removing the rock I needed I placed it in a bucket of tank water and planned my attack with the bone cutters, I cut the one mushroom off the rock with a piece of rock still attached and placed in a revive dip for ten minutes.  The same procedure was done for the polyps.  The amount of mucus produced was insane form both corals, it was not like I have seen in videos on you tube.... (third question) Is this Normal?
<Can be, yes>

 After the dip was completed I used "coral affix" and glued the new frags to pieces of live rock from my frag tank.  The mushroom I intend to keep (which was the one i had to cut the foot) is mostly closed up, my worry is that the cutting of its foot may have caused damage to it.. ( fourth question) Is this valid or will it recover?
<Hopefully the latter>
  The other frags are also closed up but I figured this is normal due to the dip and being messed with... (fifth question ) How long do corals typically take to recover from fragging? 
<Minutes to hours to never>

All in all my first attempt went ok, granted it is a learning process.  If you have any other suggestions for me I would greatly appreciate them. 
THANK YOU and I attached a pic of my Mecca! Brian
<... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fragmethodf.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Reef tank... Free HH Duncans, sawing away. Prop. input    3/25/10
Hello my name is Eric,
<Hello Eric>
I recently purchased a frag mushroom coral and I've noticed that there are about 9 tiny Duncan corals sprouting underneath the mushroom.
<Lucky, very very lucky>
Is it safe to cut the Duncan coral to move them somewhere else?
<Yes, if this is what they are. Can you post a photo to confirm?
Duncanopsammia axifuga is a very easy coral to propagate this way. Either carefully snip or hacksaw the skeleton off at the base (I prefer a clean hacksaw blade cut) and stick to a rock using some putty. Keep a reasonable
distance between each head, as this coral will grow quickly, especially if you target feed it>
And if so where is the best place to cut them at?
<Posted>
What would be the best procedure to attach them to another rock.
<Two-part epoxy putty. I like Milliput, the terracotta one>
What other materials can I attach them to?
<Just use a rock>
Thanks for your time
<No problem, Simon>

Fraggin a Duncan Coral   12/2/09
Hello, first thanks for all the help getting my 150gal reef to where its at today, couldn't have done it without you.
<Some fun now!>
I have a Duncan Coral with about 12 heads now and its getting too big for the little stalk it is growing on. I want to frag it for the purpose of selling some of it and also spreading it around my tank a bit. I have read somewhere that you just break off the stalks? Does that sound right to you?
<Mmm, yes>
If not, could you give some basic info on the process?
Thank You,
Gary
<Sure... after making sure of the health of the colony, securing a plastic tray and hand tools... Pick up and gently "shake" the specimen in the main/display tank to have it pull in its polyps and tentacles, lift it out into the tray, and choose your surgical tool... If the specimen is small enough, a large flat-head screwdriver may serve. Insert this twixt the area between "heads" you'd like to separate and with your other hand on the opposite side (for support) of the colony (between heads as well), twist the screwdriver laterally, and you will very likely find that this will bring about a fracture of the pieces. I would rinse all, do a concentrated iodide-ate bath-soak for a few minutes, and replace the pieces in the system whence they came. Bob Fenner>

Coral farm 3/28/09
I have a greenhouse that is no longer in use and I have been entertaining the idea of starting a small coral farm. It wouldn't be anything too large,
<Even a small greenhouse can take several hours a week...>
but I'd like to do my part in slowing down the harvesting of the reefs and it seems there is potential for making a decent profit. I would prefer to use the greenhouse as the natural sunlight will cut startup cost as well as electric bills. Would concrete blocks and mortar make for a good holding tank, or would it be better just to use a long rubber trough?
<There are a few ways to go here... Do you have time to visit some going concerns? Perhaps Dick Perrin's Tropicorium...>
I am contemplating farming rose bubbletip anemones. I recently heard Anthony Calfo talking about propagating this coral,
<... not "corals">
and he mentioned it could be safely split every 2 weeks.
<Fallacious... this can't be done... "splitting" such animals requires that they be in "good shape"... This will not be the case with this frequency>
How long would it take for each of the two halves to grow back to the original size?
<Months... a few to several>
Would distributors be willing to purchase the specimens, or would I have to sell them locally?
<Possibility of both...>
Seems if they had to be sold locally then the market would get flooded pretty quick. I'm new the supply side of this hobby and wanted some direction.
<You are correct... a very good idea to "get the pulse" of the current market... Acanthastreas, Echinophyllias, some Acroporas, Duncanopsammias, Dendrophyllias...>
Thanks for your time; I appreciate all the time and effort you've dedicated to expanding and improving the hobby.
<Much study, a good deal of it fun/enlivening, awaits you... I strongly suggest you attend some local to not "frag swaps". Bob Fenner>

Mounting a Montipora capricornis 10/24/08 Hey Guys, <FJ> I have a simple question, I think. What is the preferred way to mount and place a purple rimmed Montipora Capricornis frag. I have two pieces. One is two inch long and half an inch wide piece. The other is a fairly rounded 4 inch by 3 inch piece. I was going to mount the with glue or putty flat on some live rock but before I do I wanted to check what is recommended. I can't find any specifics. What's your take? Thanks FJ <There are a few approaches... some folks do as you suggest, and just methacrylate or epoxy the bits to hard substrate... I prefer to mount them on some "stick to rounded base" plugs to make it easier to move about... See the net re "frag kits". Bob Fenner>

Neon Candy Cane Frag Mounting a Caulastrea Frag 9/24/08 Hello, <hi> I have a 24 gal Aquapod, been up and running for 4 months everything is going great with the tank. Last week I bought a neon candy cane frag. My question is on how to get the coral onto the live rock. I read numerous entries and I understand about the super glue attachment way. But how do I get the candy cane off of the piece of material that it is attached to when you buy it from the LFS? Do you cut it off of that piece (looks like an oversized golf tee) the coral is attached to? I am getting how to put them on the LR but I am not clear on how to transfer it. Thanks for any help! <Aaron you have a few options. Easiest would be to just jam that frag plug, (the golf tee looking thing) into a crack in the rocks and either epoxy it with something like Aquamend that you can get at your local hardware store, or super glue gel. Your goal is just to hold it secure so the various tank critters in your tank don't knock it loose. Over time coralline algae will cover the plug and you won't see it anymore. Your second option is to remove it from the plug by force, either by cutting it or breaking it at the base near the plug and doing the same gluing process on the rocks. I personally prefer the first method> Aaron<Regards, Jessy>

Mounting M. capricornis Frags - 11/18/05 WWM Crew, <<Kevin>> I received a small capricornis frag today, and I am inquiring in to the best way to attach the frag to a small rock for placement in my tank. Is superglue necessary or are there other possible means. <<Superglue is the best way in my opinion. Very easy to do...gently blot the back of the frag dry with a paper towel, place some superglue (gel) on the back and press to the rock...a quick dip in the tank water while holding the frag in place will speed curing. Once the glue starts to set (usually about 15 seconds), place the frag where it will receive good water flow and adequate light and it will begin to encrust/grow in no time at all.>> Thanks. Kevin <<Regards, EricR>> Brain (coral) frags, xenia repro.  - 04/19/06 Hello,     I was wondering if it was possible, or how to, frag a brain coral. <Can be scored, cut with a chisel et al., but best cut with a power tool that is securely mounted... a "wet-saw" for cutting tile, or a band-saw is most often employed here> Also, once xenia starts growing all over the same rock, is it normal for it to sort of grow taller as it fights for position, the last time it started getting taller was because a bulb had burned out and they needed more light, I think. <Happens> I checked and all the bulbs are good and since the last burn out I have even got a new lighting system that adds about 55 watts more, they are reproducing like crazy, and fully opened all day and most of the night, so I don't think they are unhappy, but when I first got them they were shorter.  Is it because there is almost 10x the amount now versus when I bought them?   Thank you for your time. <Maybe. Please see WWM re Cnidarian culture: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm Bob Fenner>

Attending a Frag Swap...Who Will/How Do I Store My frags? - 04/18/07 Hey guys and girls, <<Howdy Greg>> I plan on attending a frag swap at the end of June. <<Ah yes...that's the coral conference being held by Foster&Smith isn't it?>> The frag swap is 10 1/2 hours away. <<Driving then?>> We will be going on a Saturday and Sunday and plan on coming back on a Monday (early).  My question is what to do with the corals that we purchase Saturday and Sunday. <<Mmm, this will depend on how the vendors/traders are "set up."  If they are equipped with "running" systems and are there for the duration of the swap-meet then ideally they would mark and hold your purchases to be bagged the morning of departure (much like the vendors at the MACNA conferences).  If not, then you will need to bring storage/transport containers as well as a means to perform water changes/re-bagging>> Would it be possible to bring water out of my tank for a 10 or 20  gallon tank with a powerhead and a CF to store the corals until we bag them before we go home. <<This would work (if the place you will be staying has no objections)...do be sure to "acclimate" the corals to this holding tank>> Or should I just mix up the water when we get there??? <<I suppose you could do that, but I would prefer water that is "matured" as this will be less aggressive/stressful on the corals.  If hauling that much water is a problem, you could just bring a few gallons of the tank water and mix-up the rest at your destination...then mix this with the matured water you brought with you.  I recommend you do this as soon as you arrive and get the holding tank up and running before venturing out to the frag swap>> Any other options would be greatly appreciated. <<Do contact the person/agency sponsoring the swap and get their feedback as well...there may well be some type of consideration already in effect>> I plan on asking the vendors if they will keep the corals until Sunday but if this is not possible I want to do the best thing for survival! <<Indeed>> Thanks, Greg <<Enjoy the meet.  EricR>>

Attaching Coral to Live Rock -- 12/9/07 Hello Everyone, <Hello, Brenda here tonight!> I'm sorry if this has been covered. <Not a problem!> I searched but did not come up with the answer. Any way, I'm waiting for my tank to cycle, so I'm looking for info on coral frags. <This is an exciting time!> My rock does not have any flat areas. Will they still attach to an uneven surface? <Oh yes! It may possibly need some assistance (depending on the coral), super glue gel, fishing line, toothpicks, bridal veil to name a few. Many corals come attached to rock rubble, and just need to be placed in a crevice. What corals are you planning to keep? I have propagated many corals and may be able to give you more in-depth detail knowing the coral. Be careful when purchasing newly propagated coral. These generally need to go through a recovery period before adding the stress of a new/different environment.> The rock is very porous. It has a lot of craters. <Sounds like excellent live rock!> If this has been covered I'm sorry. <I'm not finding a whole lot of information here myself. You can try reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlplcfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlpropfaq2.htm You may also want to Google 'coral propagation' for more information.> I know you are very busy. Thanks for the help. Should I try to find rock with smooth surface? <No, what you have is best. Just be sure that your tank is ready before adding coral and know the care required for each. Since it is still cycling, it will be some time before it is ready. Until then continue doing what you are doing by reading and asking questions. Good luck to you! Brenda>

Re: Attaching Coral to Live Rock, Zoanthid Toxins and Safety -- 12/10/07 Brenda, Thank you for the info!! <You're welcome!> I was thinking of starting with some Zoanthids, and go from there. I figured I would start with these they seem to be hardy enough for my skill level. As you know they will add lots of color to my tank. <Yes, you have a lot of selection here. I have worked with and propagated Zoanthids many times. Let me give you a quick run down on Zoanthid safety. As with all coral, when handling you should wear gloves. However, with Zoanthids it is a must to use eye protection, a complete face shield is best. Zoanthids are extremely toxic, and can be deadly in extreme cases to humans and their furry friends. I am aware of several cases where this coral has released toxins by squirting someone in the eye or mouth, so you will want to keep your mouth closed if not using a full face shield. Keep pets and children away while you are working with these. Disinfect your work area, and any tools used when you are finished. Some important links to read: http://www.cbwinfo.com/Biological/Toxins/Palytoxin.html http://www.asanltr.com/newsletter/02-2/articles/Neurotoxins.htm http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=158663&perpage=10&pagenumber=1 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthidreprfaqs.htm If you decide to propagate these, it is best to remove a portion of the rock underneath the coral. This can be done using a chisel or even a razor blade. Then use super glue gel to attach to another rock, or frag plug.> Thanks again for the info, and keep up the good work, your services are invaluable and always appreciated. <You are welcome! Thank you! It is always good to hear we are appreciated! Good luck to you! Brenda>

Fragging Fungiids 8/11/04 Hi Mr. Calfo <cheers, my friend> I read today that people can frag a Fungia coral. <this is true... quite easy too by a number of different ways/means> I have one that is 9" across and it would be cool if I could frag  it. I've only frags Zoanthids and xenia and also my colt coral. Can you tell me how I can do this to my Fungia please. Thanks you, JJ <you can simply saw this animal in half (or in more pieces by pie shaped wedges following the ridges of the septa) with a Dremel. With good water flow, the pieces will heal in days to weeks, and growth to complete the "circle" will occur in mere months. These are hardy and wonderful corals to keep/work with. Please do take pictures if you do this and share them with us. Kindly, Anthony>

Galaxea Coral Hi <Hi Gaurav> I have a question regarding a tooth coral, Galaxea coral. I have one that is more than 12 inches in diameter. it is getting too big for my aquarium so I am thinking about fragging it. but I have never fragged a LPS hard coral before so I need some suggestions on how to do it. <I think fragging your coral is a wonderful idea. I'd like to suggest you use Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" as a reference and there are some wonderful websites that deal specifically with coral fragmentation.  WWW.fragexchange.com is one that immediately comes to mind> or do you have any better idea of what I should do about it. I have included a few pictures of it for reference. thanks for any suggestions you can give me. <If I may quote Anthony, "Galaxeas are fused colonies of individual, tubular corallites. Each cylinder crowned with a polyp can theoretically live on its own when separated. Coral farmers take colonies of Galaxea and rip paths between the corallites with an electric saw. Wire saw blades work well for this approach.. . . Propagated divisions laid on their side or against hard surfaces will quickly encrust and continue to grow.>  <I also know people who use a Dremel and do it on a lesser level. Good luck, Gaurav, I do encourage you to document what you do and post it on one of the websites. MacL> Gaurav

Brain reproduction? Greetings Crew! <Happy Holidays Ray, MacL here with you> Hope you are in a warmer climate than I am right now (10F with wind-chill of -15).  Makes me want to climb into my reef tank where it is nice and warm!  <Its not quite that cold where I am, and Bob is in Hawaii.> OK, done a quick search and can't find the answer to my question.  I have an open brain coral in my reef tank Wellsophyllia/Trachyphyllia).  Anyway, been in there for about 8 months and has nearly tripled in size, grown 2 new "mouths" and developed several new folds. Lately I have noticed that two folds are growing towards each other so that if they keep going, they will divide the entire coral in two equal parts with several "mouths" on each side.   So my question is:  how do they reproduce?  By fragmentation/division or by sexual reproduction? <It's asexual reproduction, usually by budding just like what you are seeing.> Everything else in the tank is doing great so I am sure it is not an environmental thing. <No its a good thing, you should be proud.> The only oddity is that after a year, my yellow-tailed damsel has chosen a new rock to claim as his own on the opposite side of the tank......and all the other fish inhabitants (mostly my yellow tang and coral beauty) still ignore his little fits to defend his territory (small guy in the tank). Thanks again for all your help in the past! <Ray, congratulations you are obviously doing great.> -Ray Coral Fragging Question 4/12/05 Hi gang, I'm hoping you could help me out. I've got a nice frag of M. palawanensis, and I am very fond of the coral. I've got someone that will trade me one of the wildest looking Acanthastrea lordhowensis frags I've ever seen for a small, dime sized piece of the palawanensis. I've never fragged a coral before, and the prospect makes me a little nervous. What is the best way to frag this one? It's so thick I'm not sure how to best break it. Thanks, Brandon  <I am fond of using a rotary tool (Dremel type) with a composite cutting wheel (and safety glasses!). If you don't own one of these, heavy scissors or diagonal pliers work fine too, but with far less control. You will likely end up with multiple pieces, but these can be easily mounted for future trades. Superglue gel will work well to mount them to pieces of rubble. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Pectinia paeonia propagation 6/29/05 Mr. Fenner: I love your website, it is a tremendous resource. I was hoping to get either Anthony Calfo, or Eric Borneman's opinion on the possibilities of fragging Pectinia Paeonia. <Anthony here with bells on... earring too... a tight lil purple dress. Its a good day.> I have read your page on the Pectiniids, and realize that there is little demand, and a slow growth rate for these corals. But is it possible to propagate these the same way as SPS  fragmentation?? i.e., breaking into smaller pieces and supergluing them to "plugs"? <Yes... similar> Or does this coral require an LPS method where the skeleton must be cut, and the tissue allowed to grow apart? <Not at all... the latter being too slow/conservative> My concern arises with the mouth shaped orifice located deep within the flutes of the coral... Thank you. Ben Ward <Pectinia can simply be sawn without care or caution to include a mouth with every frag. Use a masonry saw blade... preferably a wet saw (cooling the blade... less tissue damage). Cheap DIY tile cutting saws work fine here. Just rip into fast clean sections. We just did a fab demonstration of this at IMAC. Go to theimac.org and you will see DVDs of it for sale in a few weeks (cheap too). Maintain good water flow on the divisions... and be sure to make lateral or lower moves, but not higher, when returning the frags to the tank. Best of luck! Anthony>

Propagating Trachyphyllia and Indiana Marine Club 7/30/05 questions 7/30/05 Hello!......re my Trachyphyllia.....I really don't think it is going to make it.  Could you point me in the direction where I can find out how I could (if I could) frag the coral to possibly save some of it...if that's possible.    <You can literally cut this coral on a band saw... or better: a wet saw for tile or ceramic. Other tools will work fine of course. You might use a tile cutting bit on a Dremel, e.g.. But the gist of it is saw at least 1/2" into the good tissue (away from the infected part) and make the cut fast and clean. The saved portion does not need to have a mouth on the polyp. But you do need to expose the cut edge to decent water flow for faster healing> Sorry about the ignorant questions. Have you heard anything about "miracle mud"...what are your opinions concerning it. <Compositionally... it can be useful like other terrestrial substrates for plants and algae> Do you know of any marine fish organizations in Indiana.....I would like to get in touch with some people who are connected with the same hobby as myself (that way I don't have to bug the hell out of you guys when I want to talk about fish :) Thanks so much!!!! Codie <I do indeed know of a good Indiana club: http://www.indmas.org/ and the forum they frequent on: www.reeffrontriers.com and a fave shop: www.inlandaqautics.com best regards, Anthony>

Fragging Non-Branching Hammer Coral - 07/06/05 I know you can use a Dremel to cut the coral.  But I have a hammer coral that isn't the branching kind.  I want to frag this coral but how would I use the Dremel to cut along the top fleshy part of the coral. <<I have a friend who does this.  His method is to stretch a rubber band around the coral crossing the polyps where he wants to make the cut.  In a week or so, the polyps will recede from this point leaving open skeleton for you to make the cut without fear of damaging the polyps and risking infection.>> Thanks, S. Montgomery <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Greetings from Ottawa Canada, Shrooms fragging, hilarity  11/24/05 WWM crew: <Howzit?> I don't have a question at the moment but have enjoyed reading the many posts and answers that you have provided.   <Ah, good> Hope you will enjoy the turkey season and the related seasonal twist of the following which I posted at our local club site here in Canada ( http://ovas.ca/). <Oooh! Yes, saw/heard this.> __ With recent focus on Einstein I couldn't resist a bit of fun :)  . I responded to a PM question about mushroom fragging this AM and decided that with a bit of editing and being in a jovial mood after listening to a turkey sing, it would be suitable for a public posting. Here goes.  How to earn your Experienced Expert Mushroom Coral Carver/Copier (E2MC2) credentials. ___ Mushroom coral carving/fragging:  11/24/05 It's like cooking really. Cut off the tops with a sharp knife, leave the stem on the rock. Place the top in a plastic container in the bottom of the tank with some bits of coral or shells or bits of substrate and preferably with a bit of netting over the container. The netting will keep the crabs out, the coral rubble will give the mushroom something to attach to and presto about three days later your mushroom will hopefully have attached to some of the shell fragments or the rubble and you can take it out and glue the rubble bits to a piece of rock with cyanoacrylate glue - a.k.a. crazy Glue). The stem will grow back another mushroom eventually and presto you have doubled your mushroom population. Method number two: Use fishing line or elastic band to attach the head to a piece of rock (same method as for the leather coral except that the mushrooms are very soft and slimy so I prefer the first method). Method number three: Cut off head. Cut the head into a bunch of little pieces (like chopping onions or mushrooms for dinner). Place the bits in a container as in method # 1 or just throw the bits back into your tank. Either way, you will end up with the original mushroom stem growing back its head and you should end up with more mushrooms in total. With the scatter-in-the-tank method you just have less control over where they end up and you may have a slightly lower overall success rate. The chop-them-up method will get you lots of little mushrooms which will eventually grow to full sized mushrooms but not the fastest way but eventually you should get lots of quantity. Believe me. Your first attempt is an experiment. If it works for you, you instantly reach EXPERIENCED EXPERT MUSHROOM CORAL COPIER/CARVER status and can send out e-mails like this one. Enjoy your turkey. Ron (a.k.a. Rockgarden) <Thanks much Ron. Happy holidays to you and yours. Bob Fenner> Frag Placement/Securing - 04/04/06 Just got a nice frag from a friend.  I was wondering how I can stick it to a rock.  I know the superglue trick. <<Works well>> I have it placed between some rock now.  Is that good or should I adhere it to something.  Please let me know. Thanks, Jeromy <<If it is stable/won't get knocked around, it will adhere to the rock on its own.  Otherwise, use the superglue to secure in place.  Regards, EricR>>

Fragging A Montipora (digitata?) - 03/03/06 I currently have a larger piece of Montipora and would like to frag this.  Any suggestions? <<Well, if we're speaking about Montipora digitata this is very easy to do.  It's likely you won't even need tools as the skeleton of this coral specie is usually quite soft/brittle.  To frag, carefully snap (or cut with bone scissors/side-cutting pliers, if you wish) a small piece from the branch tips (about 1" long is ideal) and attach these to your choice of mount with a cyanoacrylate adhesive.  M. digitata is quite hardy and takes to fragging well so there is no need to be overly concerned about damaging the coral.>> By the way your site is great... <<Thank you...a collective effort.>> Eric Godin <<Regards, EricR>>

Coral Propagation Good morning to the Wet Web Crew!  I had previously fielded a question to Anthony about a small Sarcophyton that was not doing well in my 10g amongst star polyps (Pachyclavella.) and mushrooms (Disco.) that are also in the tank.  (If you get this Anthony, you responded with "Yikes".....btw this term made me research so much more thoroughly to better understand how corals interact chemically, not just what I could see...thanks!) <good to hear of the larger step... interesting stuff too: coral allelopathy> It was unknown at the time whether or not the exact cause for it not opening well was from tissue damage (part of the capitulum wedged itself down a rock crevice while I was on vacation, thus receiving no light) or from the chemical barrage of its neighbors.  I took several plans of action:  larger water changes, started running larger amounts of carbon, and added another 32w PC retro (for a total of 2x32w)....this worked very well and it has all but made a full recovery.   <all good and great to hear> Getting to my point :),  I noticed about a week ago that part of the capitulum, as it healed, had been dividing itself from the rest of cap (hard to tell exactly what was going on, it was on the rear of the coral and I have been missing the daylight cycle lately do to longer work days).  I now have a small bud about the size of a pencil eraser on the stalk right below the cap (cute lil guy, complete with a nice mini cap and polyps).  The part of the cap above it still stays curled in, as though to allow light to reach the bud so my question is.....should I remove the bud and place it on its own rock to allow the main cap to open up fully? <your call... easy to cut/prop if you want a cutting... else it will pinch off on its own in time. I would advise cutting it off with sharp scissors and then running a single stitch of nylon thread through the lower end of the newly cut "stalk" and tie the cutting off to a rock. It will heal in days and you'll have a new piece to trade or keep> The coral has attached itself to all the surrounding rocks, which will make it difficult, if not impossible to remove.....will running extra carbon suffice to remove any toxins released by such a small cutting? <yes... likely easily or water changes even better> And finally, plans have been for the coral, a 46g will be cycling in about a 1-2 weeks (final destination will be a 180g once I settle on a house). As always...thanks much, Ryan A. <best regards, Anthony>

Asexual Planulation in Fungia Anthony, i thanks for the reply.  About that Fungia coral i was telling you about, well guess what... I found a baby Fungia in my tank just yesterday! <Outstanding!> I'm pretty excited to say the least.  Yes i took plenty pics.  The baby Fungia polyp was actually on top of one of my green open brain corals.   <do see if you can remove it promptly. Attached or no?> I don't know if it was trying to attach there or what, but i got him isolated in one of those hang-on-in-tank deals.   <Aha..> I put a little chunk of rock in there in case he wants to attach, >no need... it is a free-living coral. Some planulated specimens live attached briefly. Yours is already out of the nest so to speak. Do keep it on sand> but i don't know if they are free living as a juvenile or what.  Anything you could recommend to me to keep this guy alive and not become fish food would be great.   <occasional feedings would help a lot. Several times weekly with fresh hatched baby brine shrimp would be great. Frozen if you must (baby brine only... not adult). Even better would be frozen Cyclop-Eeze if you can get your hands on it> I kind of don't know what to do with it , very tiny ya know...thanks , <no worries... it will be fine. Kudos to you for the good husbandry. Please do share some pictures when you can. Hi-res digital or scans if you can.> Steelers did indeed play nobly this weekend. <Thanks kindly for saying so :) It was a fine game to watch. Very sporting. Best regards, Anthony>

SPS Frags Hello folk on plugs, a quick question if I may. My LFS has some nice SPS frags, but always attached to "plugs". <yes...very handy> I would rather have the frags unattached, as they are easier to place with glue onto some of the live rock in my tank. <fine if you prefer... but it really is a dreadful idea unless you have an enormous tank and/or space you corals glued with consideration for very long term growth. Most aquarists make the mistake of placing corals (glued or nor) within 10"of each other which causes problems with aggression in just a year or two. A very short plan/vision. And so... to prevent having sparse looking tank for that year or two... plugs placed in drilled holes in the rock or between the rocks allows for easy extraction later if fast growth demands it between competitive species> What is the best way to remove them - break/cut them, or attempt to file down the plug? <you can simply take a rotary blade tool (Dremel) or hack saw and separate the two if you like> I can't figure out how one could mount frags onto live rock if they are attached to a plug, unless one attempts to put them between rocks, or drills a hole in the rock. Thanks, Steve <best regards, Anthony>

Coral Propagation Anthony- They're giving me 50% in store credit...and they just got in a large order from Walt Smith.  HMMMMM, I wonder where the store credit went to?   <heehee... you are an addict> At least I had enough left to take the wife out for dim sum.   AND, I did get two nice brood stock pieces.  More Zoanthids (neon orange and lime green) and a really nice Sinularia. <almost the value of Dim Sum <G>> I think I figured out a better way to get Cladiella to attach.  I implant a small (1/8") acrylic rod into the rock piece and leave 1/2-3/4" sticking out of the rock.  This end is sharpened but not REAL sharp.  I then impale the colt onto the rod, and then stitch it normally.  I think this gives me more than one attachment point, and that the colt may be more inclined to grow and attach around the acrylic rod than it is from the base to the rock. <very cool> This is how I've been attaching SPS and getting them into very precarious positions in my show tank.  I got the idea from the chapter in your book where you discuss using acrylic within the tank.   <rock on my brother!> I'm going to test my impaling theory this weekend and see if I get a higher attachment rate. <be mindful of excess mucus production and let us know how it works!> One last thing (at least for today ;-)) when you discussed using Aiptasia as a scrubber, wouldn't this allow them to migrate into the tank?   <nope... well fed, regularly harvested anemones will not readily send buds (development is interrupted). Still... there are better animal filters for reef tanks... like saleable Xenia. As mentioned in my book, they are better for fish tanks and heavily fed tanks. You take the good with the bad... they are better particulate feeders ... but they are also less valuable/more nuisance. Efficient though as an animal filter though with sloppy fishes> Or, should there be something like a UV between the Aiptasia scrubber and the tank? <if you like> Darrell (Unfortunately farming only supports the habit, but when my wife goes back to work I'm thinking about becoming semi-retired and spending more time in the industry.  Now I just need to sale her on the idea!) <Ha! Good luck... and if she agrees... you should marry her again and spring for dim sum weekly. :) Anthony>

Frogspawn Coral Budding 3/5/03 Hello, I hope all is well.  Firstly, I would just like to thank all of the crew for their help both directly to myself and through reading the FAQs.   <and thanks to you for caring and helping yourself/our hobby> I have just one question tonight, I noticed a small bud on the skeleton of a frogspawn I have had for several months.   <wonderful> It is about the diameter of a pencil eraser fully extended.   <in time it will need to be removed or it will die in the shadow of an older "head" polyp. In the wild, these are started for if/when the big polyps get eaten/destroyed> My question is  does the frogspawn translocate nutrients within the colony from feedings, <alas, no... each polyp must be fed> and if so, will this suffice the new polyp given that it is fairly obstructed from the light?    <as per above... needs fed and needs to be removed in time> Thank you again for your never ending assistance to all. Ed in NJ <with kind regards, Anthony>

Baby Bubble coral? 3/10/03 Hello again,   <cheers> I have never seen this before but will ask for your opinions, Mr. Calfo and Mr. Fenner.  Before I bought this green bubble coral I asked if there was any recession of the tissue or if the coral was stressed at all.  Since it was on the internet that's all I could do.   <indeed... the pitfalls of buying the unseen> I was told there was no recession of the tissue and that the coral wasn't damaged at all so I bought it.  Well go figure, when I got the guy over two months ago lo and behold there was some recession of tissue but no broken skeleton anywhere.   <no biggie... rather common on stonies with such large and exaggerated septa. Probably could have been packed better though (using folded plastic in the bag submerged as bumpers)> I have had the bubble in quarantine since I received it and have been trying to bring it back to health.   <feeding will be key... tiny portions several times weekly here> The tissue has receded more than when I got it buy yesterday noticed and small bud on the side of the skeleton or what I think is a baby bubble coral.   <correct... an asexual bud. It is completely separate from the parent and can be removed in time> Looks like it is anyway, during the day the tentacles have enlarged bubbles and at night the tentacles don't resemble bubbles at all but long skinny tentacles.  It is about the size of a small pea.  I am sending pics for you to go over.  What do you guys think?  Is this a baby bubble or just an anemone?   <it is a bud off the parent coral> How do I go about feeding it?   <just stirring the sand or detritus near it at night will serve you for months until it gets larger> All help is needed so I can care for this guy.  Thanks, Jeff <in time, use a rotary tool to saw it away from the parent and then glue it to a hard surface. Else, it will die in the shadow of the parent assuming the parent recovers and thrives. Kindly, Anthony>

Over propagating? 3/18/03 Hello and thanks for taking the time to answer a quick question. I have several large toadstools, which grow like mad. My question is, Is it possible to over-propagate a coral? <in this case (Sarcophyton), not at all likely so... some tenured aquarists have been doing this for over 15 years to the same colony> I am cutting about every month to keep them in check, and even the frags grow very fast. I guess its a good problem to have. <agreed> I was just wondering if any ill effects would come to the mother corals. Thank you Chad <none at all... simple asexual fragmentation. It happens naturally in the wild (branchlet dropping). Anthony>

Question on coral propagation 6/23/03 Hi am gonna propagate some of my mushrooms tonight and I was wondering if they would die if I took the rock with all the mushrooms out of the water? <no worries... they can stay out of water for many minutes if moist (spray lightly with saltwater). More than enough time to work on them> the instructions said take out of water cut with Exacto knife as close to the base of the mushroom the take the head and cut into 4 pieces leaving a piece of stalk/mouth <it can work... but is aggressive. Simply cutting in half is safer at first> should I cut it when there retracted at night or opened during the day <makes no difference> also does this hurt them I don't want to hurt them thanks JM great site and great people <with kind regards, Anthony>

Baby Plate corals - anthocauli in Fungiids 2/17/04 [The "baby" corals of which you speak are anthocauli (buds) on Fungiid corals. It is a common misconception that many Fungia never recover after they seem to have died (become denuded of tissue). Most in fact will begin to decalcify and issue these daughter satellites after just a few months. Leave those skeletons in the tank! When the clones grow big enough in the ocean, wave action/erosion and boring organisms dissolve the stem under the new bud and it breaks away to become free-living like its parent. The parent then continues to produce new buds. We have an article on this subject here at wetwebmedia.com at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/trachyreproart.htm best regards, Anthony Calfo> From Travis: Hi Alison, that sounds like you got a nice surprise after what must have been disappointing to see happen to your plate. From what I've heard, the babies will grow their own skeletons and detach on their own. If they're anything like their close cousins the Euphylliids, they will recognize each other as the same species and not sting each other. However, I'm going to forward this to the most knowledgeable and helpful group of folks I know, Bob Fenner and company at wetwebmedia.com They should be able to elaborate on this with more information and more expertise than I have to offer. Best of luck with your babies, and keep me posted! They are quite the beautiful corals, I have avoided them up until now because they are so easily damaged in transport, and rarely seem to recover. Travis Joanne Moore writes: > Hi Travis,  I have a question for ya about plate corals.  I have a long tentacled plate coral that recently died; however, it now has about 100 baby plates on it or " daughters."  I know they are it's baby's because they each look like little plates, each having their own mouths and each being about the size of my pinky fingernail now.  My question was, what happens when they get bigger, will they just walk off the parent plate or release into the water and attach somewhere else or what.  I can't get anyone who knows anything about this.  I love plates, but they are so toxic to the other corals if too close, so I worry about what will happen if they attach anywhere.  I was also wondering, if I use a toothpick maybe that would work, because I have some reef friends and family who would like a few if I could get them off.  Thanks for your time.          Sincerely, Alison Moore of lake Stevens, Washington.

Back from the dead! Hammer Coral 2/12/04 Hello all! <howdy> You probably don't remember this with the large volume of emails that you get, but a while back I emailed you about a problem with a hammer coral. The coral was mysteriously losing polyps every few days.  When the last polyp was dying, I noticed that a chunk of it was missing.  It appeared that my coral was being eaten, but I never found the culprit. <OK> Since the coral was gone, I moved the skeleton to the back of the tank to make room for other corals.  That was over a year ago.  This week I was surprised to find a tiny bright green polyp poking up from the back of the tank where the old skeleton was leaning up against the glass.  I turned the skeleton around, and found what appears to be two small polyps that somehow survived all this time.  They must have been microscopic when I put the skeleton back there! <sort of... many LPS corals have living tissues unseen deep within the corallite. Some will even begin to decalcify and feed the growth of new buds (anthocauli) from a seemingly dead parent "skeleton". I wrote an article about this with Steven Pro here on WetWebMedia.com if you care to look back in the archives (under Trachyphyllia)> The larger of the two new polyps is only about the size of a pea.  Should I start feeding them?  If so, what should I feed them?   <enriched baby brine shrimp or better, Cyclop-eeze ASAP> I used to feed my hammer coral very small pieces of meaty food, but I don't think I can chop the food up finely enough for these tiny polyps to eat.  I have lots of copepods, etc. in my tank, which they must have been living off of all this time.  Is that a sufficient source of food until they get bigger? <perhaps but not for long> Another related question for you... My old hammer coral was white with a slight greenish tint.  These new polyps are fluorescent green.  Can polyps from the same colony have different colors?  Or were these new polyps just hitchhikers on the original? <the former is correct... and the recovered polyps are simply responding to the change/difference in light. Some bleached/stressed corals can in fact pick up different strains of zooxanthellae too> Thanks! <kindly, Anthony>

Fragging corals 4/4/04 Hello all, I was reading Calfo's Propagation book and was confused about propagating Caulastrea (Trumpet/Candycane) coral. Do I just break off one of the branches and glue to a piece of rubble? <it can be that simple, yes> Will new polyps sprout? <yes... and arguably faster than if they were left in the crowded colony. Once fragged away, they have better access to water flow and light/food. As such, the polyps will divide/grow faster> Second question: Would it be possible to saturate a gallon of RO water with Kalk (calcium hydroxide) and then add baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), or vice versa, <Aieeeeee! no mixing here please - forms insoluble calcium carbonate (useless essentially for coral)> allow the precipitate to settle out of solution, then use the solidified  precipitate in my tank for buffer or slow release of calcium into the system? <nope> Or would the tank water's pH need to be really low in order to release the Ca and Bicarb ions?   <dangerously> Or would it work at all? <the latter in practical applications. Not recommended for any reason I can think of> Thanks. -RY Randy M. Yniguez, MA, LMHC <Best regards! Anthony>

Goniopora daughter satellites/buds 4/5/04  Hi All, I have kept my Goni for over a year. Recently it budded of a baby and has about 20 more on parent.  <excellent to hear!>  Any ideas on what to do next, thanks a lot Simon.  <I have cultured many of these myself (a few hundred at least) from a colony of G. stokesii I kept in my greenhouse. There is a picture of one of the active parents on my Book of Coral Propagation. For the buds, do not cut or collect them prematurely. Leave them to mature and drop off on their own. They are free-living at that point and need no different care than the donor. Best of luck, Anthony>

Fraggin' Fungia! 4/1/04 (the action, not the expletive)  hello,  <howdy>  I have a fairly hardy Fungia sp. specimen and I would like to know if it is possible to frag these creatures?  <well documented yes in the popular hobby literature (magazines, message boards threads, books like my Book of Coral Propagation, etc)>  If so, what is the best way to do so and are they hardy enough to withstand fragmenting?  <yes, easily so. And many techniques for it... A Dremel with a stainless steel cutoff wheel following the septa to make pie shaped wedges works best/very well>  thanks for you help  <best of luck! Anthony>

Easy way to get sun coral (Tubastrea) spawning 4/10/04  Hello, Dr. Bob,  <Anthony Calfo in his stead>  Five to six months ago I wrote to you about sun corals spawning in my tank, two months ago there was power failure for about 2hrs. Or so, and I noticed my sun corals spawning again, I thought it was just a routine as they do tend to spawn every month. A week later I was drilling hole into the tank to connect it to the sump and I turned the filtration off and lowered the water level then I noticed the sun corals spawning. Then I decided to go forward with the experiment of turning off filtration and observing whether the sun coral spawn or not, and after caring out this experiment three to four times at the interval of 10 to 15 days I reached the conclusion that when the water movement is absent the sun corals do tend to spawn.  <very interesting!>  As I can collect the sun corals from the near by sea shore only on the days of full moon or no moon when there is no water movement as the water level drops, I guess they must be spawning every 15th day. Since I don't have any other hard coral in my tank, I would be more than happy if you carry out this experiment and let me know whether this technique works or not on other hard corals. AMEYA  <fascinating information my friend... thank you so much for sharing. Please do follow up with more when you can. With kind regards, Anthony>

Coral propagation Bob, <Hmmmm... perhaps you've got someone as good here. Anthony Calfo in your service (author of the Book of Coral Propagation <wink>)> A few months ago I traded a piece of Xenia for what I was told is purple Nephthea. In two months it has grown from a single branch of 1.5 inches to five branches with the largest 4+ inches. I would like to frag this coral, but my last attempt melted within a day or two.  <because someone mistakenly told you that Nephtheids could be cut, no doubt, my friend> Do you have any suggestions for improving my success. I have been able to get a branch to attach to a new rock, but I am hesitant to make the cut. <more than a few ways to frag this animal asexually. Constriction is the safest but slowest. Use a plastic cable tie (AKA zip tie) to gently constrict a branch. Perhaps several times each week, the tie will have to be slowly tightened ever closer to the point of separation when successful branch drop occurs. The advantage to this technique is that in the process of pinching off, the fragment of soft coral usually attaches to the plastic tie, which serves as a handle for secondary attachment or at least as an impediment to the carriage of the fragment through the display with the currents. This plastic 'tail' helps locate a naturally dropped branch for aquarists who cannot or chooses not to cut a constricted coral in the final days before branch drop. The plastic tie is more easily glued or tied to a substrate than sensitive soft living tissue for settlement. Nephtheids and heavily mucosal Alcyoniids (colt corals and colored leathers) are best served by this method and (as you've noticed) commonly suffer from fatal infections if cut instead. Best of luck, fellow coral farmer! Anthony Calfo>

Anthocauli? Simply Budding Hey Anthony - just wanted to send you a shot of the anthocauli on my frogspawn. There are 2, but one is more visible (top left). This shot is obviously at night, but during the day they reach about the size of a quarter now. Ed Marshall, Austin, Texas <absolutely awesome my friend. Thank you so much for sharing. It reminds us to never give up too on injured or damaged animals :) A little schooling too: anthocauli most only refers to Fungiid satellites. In some other Scleractinians (Lobophyllia and Trachyphyllia, e.g.), clones seem to form similarly between the septa (the "ridges" of a large corallite) via decalcification of the parent. In your coral, the fissionary bud is not forming from between the septa and perhaps not even from de-calcification. It seems to simply (and wonderfully) be an event of budding. Ughhh.... sorry for the scholastic/academic bone picking :) But I'd to let it pass my without sharing the information. By any definition... it is great to see! I bet if you wait some months and beak it off, more will follow. Do separate with a Dremel if you do. Best regards and be seeing Texas soon (September), Anthony>

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