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Fragging a leather Hello,         First of all I would like to say that you guys are very helpful. I have two questions about my toadstool. I bought it about a year ago and it is just now starting to have little babies growing from the base of the stalk. My question is how do I remove them from the parents once it has grown its own full crown and at what time should I do this. << You can cut them anytime.  I'd wait until the head is about the size of a quarter.  You just take your scissors, or sewing shears, and cut the stalk right off. >> It has four as of today growing off of it in different parts of the base . My other question is that I am going to moving in a month or so and I wanted to see what the best plan was for moving it , Reason I as this is when I brought it home putting it in a middle location as far as how high it was in the tank and it has grown up and out so that it is attached to three or four rocks at the same time. << Couple options.  You can slowly move the rocks apart everyday.  This will either cause the coral to let go of some rocks, or divide on its own.  The other option is to just cut right through the leather so you have pieces still attached to each rock.  Those pieces will grow and heal very well.  I'm not sure what method I prefer at this time. >> Any help would be great. Thanks Tom <<  Blundell  >> Green Finger Tree coral 8/14/04 Hey Gang! Long time, no talk!! Greetings from Denver!; Anthony, my friend, remember the "Mash 4077th" Green tree In my tank? <cheers, Scott... great to hear from you mate> Well, the coral is getting so large, there's a large branch hanging' down that I supported with a piece of LR knowing it would attach, then I could frag it. <outstanding!> Then I decided to see what it would do on its own, that was like 6 months ago! For the last week now, the coral has been somewhat closed up and looks as if it is directing efforts on splitting the branch off onto its own rock (it did attach). Is it normal for them to look "lethargic" while doing this? <yes... quite so during a natural fission> Thanks a lot, Stormbringer.  PS; Oh yea, I'm sure the gang back here would want me shout a howdy your way, so, there ya have it!! Take care my friend <fantastic... and a shout back atcha. I miss seeing those beautiful Rocky Mountains. I loved that nifty public aquarium of yours too... Ocean Journey - very nice. I'll look forward to returning one day :) One of your local club members, Kip Tani, is coming to MACNA Boston... very nice chap. We'll drink a toast to y'all from Beantown <G>. Kindly, Anthony>

Propagating Yellow Sarcophyton elegans 8/11/04 Hi, Crew my name is Raul Silva and from Caracas; Venezuela so excuse my English for the beginning. <no worries my friend... it is a pleasure to hear from you!> I have a yellow Sarcophyton (elegans) and I'm thinking to propagate it, but I've been reading that it is a not so easy to propagate as many other Sarco's, <this is true like many other "colored" (green or yellow) leather corals. They are sensitive to being cut with a knife> so my question is if its possible to propagate with high rate of success, <it can certainly be propagated... but never with the same high rate of success as common brown species of Sarcophyton or Lobophytum. Only attempt small cuts on the crown or foot of the stalk with specimens that have been captive and strong for more than six months. The parent coral should also have been left in the same place undisturbed for that period of time minimum because recently moved corals are usually stressed and they are poor candidates for propagation> I order the Anthony book but still not arrived, any advise ?? thanks and regards from Venezuela. Raul Silva <after you cut a small disk or lobe (one inch/25 mm) off of the top of the leather, it is best to try to let it attach naturally on some rubble in a shallow cup full of rubble submerged in the tank. Attempts at gluing or tying down the coral with thread can often invite and infection. Best of luck! Anthony>

Propagating Yellow Sarcophyton elegans II 8/11/04 Hi, Anthony... its a real pleasure to hear advise directly from you, <I'm very happy to help, my friend> and I can't wait for the arrival of your books (I buy the coral propagation one and the other you wrote with Bob). A friend and I have a web (www.reefven.com) in were we are trying to upgrade the level of knowledge here in Venezuela and also to commercialize products and animals, at fair price (difficult here) <yes... I understand that it is very expensive for you to import reef products. This will get better in time as the hobby grows in your country> so I know you have a coral farm... is it that possible to buy corals from you? any idea how to do it?   <alas, no... I have recently sold my coral farm so that I can write books and travel and pursue other endeavors in our hobby and industry. I may get back into it one day though. Soon perhaps <G>.> Thanks my friend... its a pleasure to talk with you. <the pleasure is mine... I hope to see you in your beautiful country one day :) > Raul Silva <with kind regards, Anthony>

FAQs about Soft Coral Propagation/Reproduction

Related Articles: Soft Coral, Coral Propagation

Related FAQs: Cnidarian Reproduction, Soft Corals 2, Alcyoniid Propagation, Coral Propagation, Livestock Business, Soft Corals in General, Soft Coral ID, Soft Coral Compatibility, Soft Coral Selection, Soft Coral Systems, Soft Coral Feeding, Soft Coral Health, Alcyoniids, Nephtheids, Dendronephthya, Paralcyoniids, Nidaliids, Xeniids

Cutting back/moving colt coral 11/09/08 Greetings crew, <Hello, Jessy here> I have a 65g reef tank with a 35g sump/refugium setup. 6x 39w ho t5's (2x6700k 2x 12000k 2x actinic). I have been growing and fragging colt coral for a few years, purely by necessity, and still they are pretty much taking over the tank. I'd like to move pretty much all of them, and make room for other corals. The problem is that I have about 15 of them that are at least 6 inches tall, quite thick, and attached to pretty large rocks. I want to know the best way to get them off of these rocks. When I frag them, I either cut branches off or just catch the ones that float away and rubber band them to small rocks, which I place in my refugium until I bag them up. Is it possible to simply pull it off the rocks? <I wouldn't pull them off the rocks. I would do one of two things. One try to break the rock where the coral is attached by prying it with a screw driver or some other wedge-like tool. If you absolutely can't get the rocks out of the tank, then I would take a razor blade to the base of the coral and remove it that way. There will still be some stump left over on the rock. This will eventually grow back if you don't do something about it by either removing it physically or killing it chemically with kalk or something. Either way just make sure to run carbon in your system to catch all the nastiness this project will release in your water.> Or is it possible to cut them at the base, and attach them to smaller rocks? <Yes you can do this too> If so what about the "stump"? My LFS will take them for trade if I can get them onto smaller rocks, and I'd really like the left half of my tank back. Thanks as always for any insight, Josh <Regards, Jessy>

Coral growing too big for tank 9/9/08 Greetings oh wise and gracious ones! <Greetings in return, patient and lauding reader!> After 30+ years of freshwater, I ventured into marine tanks 5 years ago armed with knowledge from your site. Thanks for the help that made my tank a success. <I imagine that with 30 good years of experience, you could keep a can of sardines alive if you put your mind to it. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though, we appreciate your support.> I have a 29 gallon reef with a 20ish gallon homemade refugium/sump. 2 - 65w power compact lights - 10K and 50/50 (10K/Actinic) pH runs 8.1-8.3. Currently Alk runs 3-4 meg/L and Ca is mid-400ish (generally they are better balanced with Alk 4-6 and Ca a bit lower - time to add to the DSB). Ammonia/nitrites/nitrates stay negligible (rarely perceptible). Only change was when I went on vacation and turned off the house A/C (to save $$) and didn't think about the tank. STUPID. Upon return the water was over 100?. Lost 2 species of coral (melted away) and two fish. Two months of water changes, cleaning, and restocking of refugium life before it's back to normal. (Cost WAY more than any savings from A/C being off.) <Ahh, yes. One of those unfortunate 'learned the hard way' moments...but glad you've shared, hopefully others may stand to gain from your loss as well> Stock includes candy canes, mushrooms, polyps (still recovering), Zoanthids, amphipods/copepods, bristle worms, snails, crabs, but only one fish currently - a beautiful maroon clown I've had from the beginning who has a love/hate relationship with my hand - has been known to draw blood. :-) Not sure how I'll add more fish now that her trusted tank mates have died (Coral Angel & Blenny). All this to give background and say it's because of your help. :-) Now to my question. One coral seems to have done real well post heat wave. After shedding it has exploded. <Ahh, yes...can happen. Interesting things are sparked in the metabolisms of living things by adversity> It came as a freeloader on some of the original live rock. It is now about 8" tall and 5" across. It is starting to push against the top of the water and I am concerned. <That is one heck of a hitchhiker> One, it's overtaking the view for others. Two, the exposure to air. Thought I'd cut it back and trade it in for something else at my Local Fish Store (a common practice of mine as the corals get too big). <And a fun way to get new stuff!> Before I did, I wanted to verify what kind of coral so I can be better informed in how to cut it back. I've been told different things locally (devils hand/toadstool/leather) so I thought I'd ask a trusted source. Looks to me like a toadstool but I don't see such long stalks in identification pictures. With a definitive identification I'll look around WWM for help on how to use the razor. Would love to leave enough behind I can start again. <Looks like some sort of Sarcophyton to me...these guys are easy to cut, you can just 'trim' a bit from around the edge, cut this ribbon in to bits and let these bits grow on to rubble and then become a solid coral. I wouldn't recommend cutting through this guy's stem, but if he's really too tall, you could perhaps trade he and the rock he is on in and keep some of the little clones? One word of caution, if this fellow really is yellow-yellow, he may be a somewhat rare and delicate chap- do be careful not to handle it with more that featherweight touch and not grasp it in the same place twice if you can help it.> I'm attaching two pictures. Pretty accurate color though the "flowers" of the polyps are greener (stalks are yellow). I am also attaching a third picture of the other "hitch hiker" from my live rock (Colt Coral?), just because I think she's pretty (must be a she since it's pink right?). <Yep, some sort of colt or Sinularia> I appreciate your help as always. <No problem!> PS: Understanding it is based on their belief, but should I expect this to be worth much at the LFS? <Small frags won't fetch a whole lot, although if you grow them out a bit you can begin to see more significant value...all has to do with supply and where you sell.> <Benjamin>

Re: Attaching Soft Coral Frags? -12/18/05 Alright,  Thanks again for your help.  I have recently received some soft coral frags (spaghetti finger leather and colt coral).  They are not attached and I am having trouble. <<Not uncommon with these corals.>> I have used the toothpick and rubber band method but this method really dose suck.  The coral just tears its base and floats off. <<That would seem to indicate too much water flow in the vicinity of the newly attached fragment.>> Of course super glue is out of the question as they just produce slime and come out of the super glue.  I was wondering if you could help me? <<I have always found it best to place fragments of these corals in a shallow tray with some rock rubble, allowing the coral to attach on its own.  Of course this means placing the tray where water flow doesn't blow the frags out of it.  EricR>> Thanks.

Sarcophyton Propagation techniques 9/30/05 Kind regards to my American friends from the UK <And to you!> My question relates to Sarcophyton propagation. I have read the previous links on this site that have proven most helpful. However my dilemma is this.  My Sarcophyton toadstool is now mammoth - I have it as a show piece in a 24x24x24" tank, where it has attached itself to a very large piece of live rock ( the only piece in this tank, which is half covered with star polyps ). It has a very broad base approximately 4-5" in diameter and the crown is about 18" in diameter. It has the most beautiful polyp extensions. <Congrats on your outstanding success with this animal!  As successful aquarists, corals that outgrow our systems becomes a serious problem.> What I would like to do is remove the crown and transfer it to my 250g (UK size) reef set up. The toadstool has been undisturbed for over 3 years and was a very small specimen when I first had it. Because of its size the bottom of the aquarium is shaded and preventing the star polyps from spreading. <Sounds like a reasonable plan.  However, as you seem to be aware, the sheer size of this animal presents some problems.  You will be exposing a large area of damaged tissue, releasing a  tremendous amount of potentially noxious tissue fluids, and will require a lot of space for the fragment(s).> I also have concerns that the new crown will never grown back as spectacularly as the original mother specimen ( is this true? ). <In time I am sure it will, although it may be a bit funny looking for a while.> Also what is the best method of removing the crown  - the live rock is extremely heavily to remove from the aquarium. <I would suggest only removing the rim of the crown and leaving the central part to re-grow.  This will leave some polyps with the stalk to help it heal and hopefully reduce the risk to that part of the animal.  After disturbing the animal so that it contracts, this can be done in the tank if the animal is too large to remove.  The resulting ring of tissue can then be cut into segments, each of which can be attached to substrate.> It seems from what I read that the crown should remain in the same system until it has healed and attached itself to a new medium.. Because of its size and the lack of space in the old aquarium once cut I would like to remove it. <You can exchange a large portion of water between the tank a day or so before you "operate".  This will bring the water chemistry close enough that it should not be a problem.  Do try and match the lighting as closely as possible.> When cut should the damaged area be left up turned to expose it to the water flow?  <Yes.  The damaged area should be provided with a fair amount of turbulent water flow.> Finally how can I minimize mortality? <In addition to the steps outlined above, I would suggest running carbon for several days after the event as well as a couple of 10-20% water changes in the first week or so.> Thanks for a great site, look forward to your response. Thanks, Warren  <Glad to!  Good luck and best regards, AdamC.> Mixing cnidarians 7/29/05 A year and half into my first tank (37 tall) I find myself ensnared   in beginner "garden reef" syndrome. <Almost a universal experience> Noxious combo #1,512: Sinularia and Sarcophyton higher up, Discosoma   and Zoanthids near the bottom. And thanks to a spontaneous frag   trade, I inherited some quickly-growing frags of Pachyclavularia,   Capnella, and Xenia. Finally there's a medium-sized Montipora that   hitchhiked in on the Sarcophyton rock. <Heeeee, well put> Right now the corals are all well spread apart but I know this mix   won't last forever. In fact the small Pachyclavularia frag just   started kicking the butt of the Sarcophyton the other day.   Sarcophyton closed up like a tulip and the only polyps that would   extend were a few on the opposite side of the star polyps. That   lasted four days; I performed two 10% water changes, changed out the   carbon, but to no avail. So I moved the polyps, and lo and behold, in   a few hours the Sarcophyton was back to normal. <Yes... not the storybook teevee presentation of the "peaceful reef" eh?> For the long term plan I have two questions, 1 specific, 1 general. Specifically: The Sinularia is gigantic. I want to remove it. The   problem is that his stalk is like 3" wide and he's attached to the   two largest pieces of rock in the tank. Any advice on removing? <Can, could cut, move about all, or more all, including the bits on the rocks and have regenerate, sell, give away...> I don't want to release horrific waves of toxins into the tank...but   the rocks are such a substantial part of the tank that removing the   rocks would be difficult. How strongly are these attached to their   rocks? <Very... tearing is not a good idea. Best to sever with a sharp single-edge razorblade (outside the tank...) rinse, remove to another system/s...> Can the base/stalk be detached from the rock without cutting   much tissue? Or do you have to slice under the rock a little?. <Can try... with a chisel, grooved side down... but almost always better to cut the Alcyoniids> Could I harass it enough to encourage it to loosen its grip? <Not a good idea> Maybe working   at night would be better, since it's half the size then. Any other   suggestions? <Take your time, enjoy yourself, come out dive/adventure traveling with me/us> Generally: I have to decide which ones to keep. I'm happy to part   with the Sinularia and Zoos, but that leaves Xenia, Capnella,   Sarcophyton, mushrooms, star polyps. Like so many others I love my   Sarcophyton, I'd like to keep it, frag it. I guess I could run a   Sarcophyton-dominated tank, but I'd like to keep at least a *few*   other corals. I do also like the Xenia a lot, and the star polyps   (which I now know don't mix well with this Sarcophyton). As long as I   leave the shrooms and star polyps in the mid-to-bottom part of the   tank, can the rest stay on top? <... almost feel like I'm chatting with a youngster asking for more candies...> My rock arrangement has sort of upper   level and lower level terraces. I know situations differ widely with regards to setup, particular   specimens, maintenance regimen, etc., so... 37 gallon tall -- to be upgraded to a 75 or 90 55 lbs LR 3" DSB OrbitUSA 2x65 PCs -- to be upgraded with the bigger tank, T-5s maybe? AquaC Remora 3 Maxi-Jet powerheads Whisper power filter (for carbon) 2x Ocellaris Royal Gramma feather duster, cleaner shrimp, peppermint shrimp, ~25 snails, a few   hermits Thanks for any advice. John <John, you've "got it bad"... perhaps a job in a store or public aquarium... Get the larger tanks... Yes, plural. Bob Fenner> Problems Attaching Sinularia - 06/11/05 Hi There, I was hoping you wouldn't mind answering a quick question about Sinularia. <<Not at all.>> I have read the Coral Propagation Book (fantastic by the way) <<Agreed!>>, and have tried just about every method of grafting (green) Sinularia I can find.  The frags never die, they just pull off and float away.  some of these frags have been attached 4-5 times by different methods up to 2 months from when they were cut from the parent colony. <<Yes...one of the more difficult corals to reattach to a substrate.>> Here's a break down of the methods used.  Natural Settlement: after 4 weeks frags are still sitting in place but not attached. Toothpick: after a few days tissue rips off the toothpick. <<Too much water movement?>> Superglue: Doesn't stick to the tissue at all and if it does the coral peels itself off after a day or so. <<Pretty much useless for this particular application, yes.>> Wedge in drilled hole: black tissue forms at the hole and frag breaks away. <<Yikes>> Rubber band: compresses tissue too much - necrosis - no attachment. <<Have experienced same.>> It may sound like the current is too strong, but I have tried very low current as well. I am fairly sure current is not the cause. Hmm...too much water flow would have been my first guess too.>> What we are using for substrate is small blobs of concrete that are cured in water for 4 weeks.  Could the concrete be the problem? <<Is possible.  If not fully cured, the high pH of the substrate may be irritating the coral and keeping it from attaching.>> Would the coral prefer a smoother surface such as river pebble? <<Wouldn't use this...stick to a "marine" source.>> Or is there something else about this substrate that the coral is rejecting? <<As previously stated.>> Sarco's love the blobs and attach within a week. <<Different corals may/will react in different manners.>> I have about twenty good healthy parent colonies that are crying out to be farmed but until I crack the method I cannot see the point in going ahead. <<Try this...obtain some cured live rock rubble, and using a sewing needle and fine monofilament fishing line, "sew" the frags (securely but gently) to the live rock.  Place in a shallow container and put the container in your prop system where it will receive "light" current.  It may take some experimentation on your part to find the right amount of "sewing" needed to do the job.  Once the coral attaches, cut and remove the mono.>> Thanks for all your great work, Greg <<Hope this helps.  Regards, Eric R.>> Leather coral attached to multiple rocks 1/5/05 Hi, there, I would like to commend everyone at this site for such an informative and readily available source of support for reef keeping. I read it almost daily, but this is the first time I've written. <Thanks for the kind words!  Glad you have benefited.> My question regards a finger leather coral I purchased about 3 months ago. It came attached to a small fragment of live rock, but the coral has grown significantly in the past months, which is great. I had expected it to move off of the fragment, but instead it has fused to a larger rock without releasing the small one. This has created a sort of gap underneath the coral, which looks like an arch. Is there a way to get it to move fully off without damaging it? Does it hurt to have it stretched like this? Thanks! Mike <This is totally normal and of no concern unless you need to re-arrange.  If you need to move the coral, or would like to make a fragment, you can cut through the coral tissue with a razor blade to free up the original small rock.  The chunk of tissue will almost certainly grow into a new colony.  Best Regards. AdamC.> Controlling excessive soft coral Growth 7/26/04 I'm hoping you have a solution for me.  I have an outbreak of Capnella (Kenya tree coral).  The stuff is propagating like crazy.  I would like to remove some of the established stalks but am fearful of cutting them off of the rock there are attached to.  Would doing so release any toxins? <it can to some extent... other greater risks though (excessive mucus, stimulating a response (chemically) in other corals in the tank from exudations, etc.> I have noticed that when I take stalks that have broken off and haven't yet attached to anything, that once in the air they smell like crazy. <true... many soft corals are quite noxious> Any ideas how I can thin this stuff out before it strangles out everything else? Jerry <using diagonal pliers or poultry sheers seems to be the best bet. You can snip at the base of the rock without touching the corals and skin under them for removal. You can also use a sharp wood chisel to scrape under them again without actually touching the tissue. Then trade, donate or sell them to local stores and hobbyists. Anthony> Large Toadstool Leather - Split Stalk My toadstool leather coral has been with me for almost two years.  I purchased it as a baby just over two inches tall.  Now, the toadstool stands a little over 14 inches tall and only has a few more inches to grow in my 125 gallon reef tank. << Great, that is what the hobby is all about. >> My problem is that I recently damaged the leather by moving it...when gripping the stalk my finger split it about 1.5 inches wide about 2 inches up from the base.  The split looks like I cut it with a razor, almost perfectly straight (horizontal). << Okay >> My question is, if I want to do my best to safe this guy, do you recommend any special "first aid"? << Yes, add iodine (debatable, but I think it works) and make sure their is lots of water motion near him.  Now here is another idea.  Why not complete what you started and just cut right through him?  You can cut them right through the stem and usually the stem grows a new head, and the big head you have will attach to a new rock.  This is a common fragging technique. >> Thanks, << By the way, don't tell Calfo I used such poor terminology here. >> Scott. <<  Adam Blundell  >>

Toadstool first aid and propagation - 2/11/04 Hello. I have a medium sized toadstool leather that up until recently has looked great (see attached). <Great picture> A couple of weeks ago it drooped over (more than it was already drooping) and it quit extending it's polyps until a couple of days ago. <It is now extending polyps again?> I was checking out the tank just now and noticed a fungus-y looking material at it's base. <more info here>  I picked it up a took a sniff - whew - quite stinky!!! <Yuck. Know the smell.>  And yes, there is a split in it's column near the base.  <Interesting. Maybe a predatory mollusk making a home here complete with a food source. although spotty, sounds like predation for sure. Many possibilities: crabs or snails brought in small now large and burrowing from the inside out of the leather, a fish that has suddenly taken to nipping and causing wounds, indeed other possibilities here as well> My question is: Is any part of the leather save-able?  If yes, can I use a regular sized very sharp Exacto knife for the surgery, and can I use a regular sewing needle with clear nylon thread to attach it to it's base? <Yep. Simple solution here. Have a VERY sharp razor blade or scalpel ready. A needle with clean nylon thread (or fishing line) ready and waiting to stitch too. A piece of small rock or rubble as well. Move 3/4-1" above the highest necrotic area of the base of the stalk. Cut clean and fast through the animal. You must wear gloves and keep the procedure down to a minimum time of handling (maybe even cut in place). After the cut, look at the exposed trunk and be sure that you cleared the soft and necrotic area...(or for predator) if so, run a stitch or two through the base (no more than an inch from the bottom) and tie it off to a piece of rock. Return it to the exact same place (if not cut in place) it was in the tank and do not touch it for weeks. Maintain strong water flow and very aggressive skimming in the tank. Small daily doses of iodine may be therapeutic for the tank too (not extra iodine... just your weekly dose broken down to daily). You could propagate the tunic as well (the coral head) if you like and cut it like a pie, although I don't expect you are wanting to do this> Let me know and thanks in advance!!! <Good luck ~Paul>

-Slicing and dicing- I am going to attempt to propagate some neon green finger leather and would like to have some advice on how to do it. <Hmmm... well although I will not explain to you ever aspect of coral propagation, I do have some advice to offer. First, I'd pick up Anthony's book aptly titled "The Book of Coral Propagation". With softies such as your finger leather, you want to make one nice clean cut (no sawing w/ a blade that is too small or dull). There are as many ways used to attach soft coral as there are people propagating them. My preferred method of attaching these types of cuttings is rather passive. Take a plastic cup (3-4" diameter, you know, those red soda/beer cups?), cut it down to about 3-4" tall. Place a half an inch or so of small gravel like coral bits. Although it's better done in a refugium, if you depress the cup a few inches into the sand, it won't move, and u can drop the cutting inside. The purpose of the cup is to eliminate the strong water flow that would blow the cutting around the tank, yet allow for proper healing. Once the cutting has attached itself to some coral bits, those can be superglued onto a larger rock. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Cathy

Soft coral propagation 10/15/03 Hello again, am an avid follower of your website and am sure I would have given up in frustration if not for all the information here. <excellent to hear of your continued participation and resolve> I have a 75 gallon reef tank with the following. Bubble coral Cup coral Star polyps Zoanthids Open brain coral Red and blue mushrooms Leather coral After a shaky few months starting up everything is going just great. The zoanthids were extra's on some of the coral rocks but they are on the same rock as the star polyps and are crowding them out. I started with about three zoanthid polyps and now have about ten. <quick tip... Zoanthid is spelled with only one "o" [no zoo-]> I would like to find a way of distributing my star polyps to other rocks to help keep at least some of them from being smothered. I am unsure how to propagate them. Can I use a razor blade and cut some off at the base of the stalk and put them on another rock or would this just kill them? <it will work fine... the underside of the stolon mat can be superglued to another surface patted dry... or you can simply temporarily tie the fragment down until it attaches> Would it be better to try and cut around a small section of them and try to pull the section off of the rock? <cut instead of pulling/tearing for best results> I have found articles to propagate mushrooms but not these corals. <I have written an entire book on the subject of coral propagation, my friend... do check out reviews of it across the 'Net or on Amazon.com: "Book of Coral Propagation, Reef Gardening for Aquarists" by Anthony Calfo> I have read that iodine is a good addition for soft corals and to slowly increase dosage until you see an increase in diatom growth, <true/agreed> my problem is that I already have a lot of diatom or Cyano growth, its covering the sand but luckily is not on the rock anymore. Should I take that as a sign to not add iodine? <nope... its a sign that you have too many nutrients in the system at large. You need cleaner feeding/foods, bigger water changes and/or likely better performance form your skimmer (3-5 times full cups of dark skimmate weekly. Daily would be a better skimmer. > Also do you know anything about the new Kent Zooplex product? I currently use marine snow and am happy with it but thought I might try some of the Zooplex. thanks <I have concerns with any food products sold undated and un-refrigerated. I can assure you that your corals would fare much better from a plankton generating refugium. Anthony>

Xenia propagation and shameless book plugs 8/4/03 I have been reading the entries on wetwebmedia.com (WWM) regarding Xenia propagation, and I have also been reading GARF's website. <hey... and don't forget my Book of Coral Propagation <G>: http://www.readingtrees.com/books_in_print.htm heehee... shameless... just shameless <G>> I understand that the pH should be relatively high (8.3+) and the temperature low (76F). <correcto... especially so on the pH... but not so critical on temp. Warmer temps can be tolerated easily even if not ideally> I recently added a very nice rock with 4 Xenia stalks on it and I would like to promote the growth of them in my tank. I have a very stable pH of 8.0 (+/- 0.2 day/night) and my tank temperature is 82-81 F (day/night). <the temp is fine... the pH is not going to work. Really very flat for success with most corals> I do not use a fan inside my canopy, but I am considering adding one. I think I can cool the tank by 3-4 degrees just by adding a small fan. In your opinion should I try to adjust the pH and the temperature? <the pH is a much bigger issue here for all. Do relax on the temp> I have attempted to raise my pH before using pickling lime and baking soda, but I only ended up with a very well buffered system (~6 dKH) with high calcium numbers (525 ppm) and my pH was still lower than my goal of 8.0. <have you read through the archives regarding pH and aeration (insulation of modern homes trapping CO2/affecting off-gassing of carbonic acid. Very common in the summer months with closed windows and doors. Do confirm this problem by aerating a glass of aquarium water outside for 6-12 hours vigorously... the pH should not move upwards (else a problem is indicated)> I wonder if high nitrate levels (20-30 ppm) could be the problem? <not a problem for Xenia. They can be found growing on the sewage effluent pipes of coastal hotels... seriously> I am addressing them with 40% water changes each weekend. <still excellent to hear> They are dropping and I will have them under control in about 2 more weekends. Shame on me for not getting a new test kit. <we have all made this mistake... good to hear you on the ball now, my friend> I have added more live rock to my refugium and will also increase the sand bed depth in the refugium from 1-inch to 3-inches. <hey... while I am shamelessly promoting books... see the info on the same link above for our book on "Reef Invertebrates". It has the most extensive coverage of refugiums/live sand, plants and algae in the hobby. See Amazon.com and the big message boards for reviews/perspective of both titles for your consideration :) > Your help is greatly appreciated! Jeff <best regards, Anthony>

Tank update and coral reproduction - 5/19/03 Good day (Paul), <Hey you. How you doing?> This is just an update on what is happening with my tank. I decided to kind of make my own mini refugium. I took this container I had purchased from FFExpress a while back that I used to acclimate fish in and separate aggressors. It was a hang on plastic container with a lid with long slits on the lid. <Wow, they sent their fish in that? Cool!> I took that and drilled holes all in the sides, and put some Chlorodesmis (Maiden's Hair) in it with some of the tank's sand and created an in-tank refugium. <A nice idea> It seems to be working well, as I can see small crustaceans all in the container. <Very cool> I have seen a bit more growth in my corals, although I can't necessarily attribute it to the refugium. <Not yet, but will help in the long run. Better to have it than not in my opinion> I have had a problem with one of my Sinularia's, called a "Speckled Leather". It was a bit too close to the Lobophytum and I think the Lobophytum didn't appreciate it and declared chemical warfare and the Sinularia is losing. <As often is the case, corals placed too close to one another will result in chemical warfare. It is important to note, though, some corals are always releasing terpenoids to reduce growth in other corals. Water changes and carbon use can help alleviate the problem> It used to extend it's bristle-like polyps during the day and retract and shrink up like a pile of Jell-O at night. Recently it has been doing this during the day. So I moved it to the bottom on the sand since I have no room anywhere else for it. Right before the move, I noticed it kind of "melted" a little bit. Now that it is moved, I have discovered a layer of "flesh" that seems to be growing in the spot where it used to be. <How did you remove it?> The Sinularia's flesh is rubbery with a light purple color, yet the patch of flesh on the rock is a dull white color with an unusual texture. <Understand. Very likely will result in a new Sinularia. It is white probably due to the lack of zooxanthellae at the moment.> It is kind of like overlapping layers of flesh, kind of like the top layer of a baked apple pie, or like a weave almost. I first saw this layer of flesh actually developing from one of the coral's branches that was melting. <I believe Sinularia is one of a few corals that employs a "sloughing" method for reproduction. I'll tell you what, if you don't have it already, I highly recommend Anthony's book on coral propagation. It specifically mentions reproduction methods in various corals (where it is known and witnessed) I feel this is a very beneficial book for all coral keepers regardless if you plan to propagate them. I don't have mine in front of me as I am at work but I remember reading about the many methods of reproduction these corals use in the face of adversity in aquarium life>  When I moved it, the layer of flesh kind of stuck to the rock and was left behind. <I believe this may result in a new Sinularia. Keep track of its growth> That was about two weeks ago and it looks like the patch of flesh is actually growing. Is this dead tissue or is this some kind of reproduction? <Very likely reproduction. Note your methods and the growth rate in a journal. Nice to hear from you and keep me in the loop. I am very interested in your findings. =) Paul> Thanks for any insight Charlie

The Doughnut technique- trimming down an overgrown leather Dear Crew, <cheers, Howard> One of my toadstools is now 14 inches in diameter. (a small scrap glued to the rock two years ago) It is shading other life and I want to either remove or trim it. <no worries... can/will be done> I can't use Anthony's method of taking it out and cutting around it because it firmly attached by a 4 inch diameter "trunk" to a very large piece of rock which contains other life. Can I safely cut about a 2 inch strip off the circumference working under water in the aquarium with a scalpel?  <although not "ideal"... it certainly can be done in the aquarium. Ensure strong water flow for the parent afterwards... use extra carbon/chemical filtration media and aggressive skimming for the ensuing week or more... and do an extra water change or two in the following week> Or, can I just cut the entire top off and let it re-grow from the trunk? <also can be done... but much more risky> Also, I would like your opinion on whether I may have too much live rock coverage. All exposed rock has with pink and purple algae. I wonder if having a half of the visible surfaces of the rock covered with mushrooms, polyp colonies, and corals (and therefore no algae) is diminishing the natural filtration of the rock system? <tough to say... and to some extent can be reconciled with strong water flow throughout the system (assuming your reef is built off the back glass (4" ideal) and not leaning against the back aquarium wall (stifles flow through the reef). Our goal is 10-20X tank turnover in water flow. At any rate... the amount of animals covering the rock is a bigger problem with aggression/allelopathy than stifling rock biotic activity> Howard <be sure to share those propagated cuttings with local aquarists/stores! Kind regards, Anthony>

Fragging/Pruning Sarcophyton Toadstools HI folks, thanks for the great service you provide; if the answer to this is somewhere on the site, I'm afraid I couldn't find it, so here goes:  I have a 46 bow front running for about 1  1/2  years. Two of my first critters were a green and a gold Sarcophyton, each about the size of a quarter.  Now the green is about the size of a salad plate, and the gold is as big as a dinner plate and growing rapidly. I'm thrilled they're so happy, but soon they'll fill the tank, literally.  I've heard there's some way to "prune" them; I just have this one tank or I'd try to propagate them.  I might be able to give or sell "cuttings" (if that's what you'd call them) to the LFS, but I have no idea how to go about it and sure don't want to risk hurting them.  I'd appreciate any advice you could offer.  Thanks very much! <I recommend Anthony's book as it is provides all this info in detail. You wave the toadstool down and lift it out onto a clean cutting board (plastic is best). Using a very sharp razor knife, excise the outside edge/margin completely around the outside, if a large specimen, an inch or slightly more, and return the toadstool to the display. The outside ring can be cut into 1" pieces and allowed to attach to rock rubble.  Plastic containers covered with wedding veil work well keeping the new frags in place. Good luck! Craig>

Propagating colt coral: Klyxum and Cladiella 3/27/03 Hello guys, You have been very helpful to me in the past, and I love your site! <thanks kindly> I have a 120g reef system, established about 4 months ago, all coral and fish are doing fantastically.    One coral has literally doubled in size in the 2 months I've had it...was sold to me as a Colt Coral, a "leather" coral that is light brown and branching with dark brown small polyps.   <yes... Klyxum... formerly known as Cladiella and then Alcyonium> I understand I can propagate this coral with a cutting. <sort of... although it will tolerate cutting, it is risky with such mucoid species. Pinching off (constriction) is safer for parent and division> What should I do, simply cut off a branch with a razor and cement it to a rock?   <colt coral does not glue well at all... needs to be stitched with nylon or fishing line and tied off to a rock. The line can be cut weeks later after the coral attaches> Must I "bandage" the one I cut it from? <not at all... the parent simply needs to stay in its original position with good light and water flow and will heal within days likely> Thank for you guidance. Jeff <if you have or get my Book of Coral Propagation Jeff... chapter 12 describes all of the above and then some in detail. Kind regards, Anthony Calfo>

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>

Human Poisoning from Sarcophyton? Anthony- After a somewhat panicked web search, I came across your article: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-06/ac/feature/ on coral propagation in Reefkeeping magazine.  I say "panicked" because while I was attempting to cut a diseased portion of a Sarcophyton species off, I inadvertently cut my finger in the process.  The cut was shallow; so shallow that I did not realize I cut myself until the "operation" was complete, and it did NOT draw blood. However, I'm worried about any toxic reaction.  It's been two hours as I write this, with no sign of rash or anything at the cut site, or any symptoms that can't be explained by panic disorder. Are there any warning signs/window of time I should be looking out for a "bad" reaction?  Is it possible I introduced something harmful or lethal via this shallow cut? I feel incredibly stupid for (a) doing this and (b) e-mailing someone I don't know about it, but I'd really like the opinion of an authority on this so I can rest easy or get myself to the hospital. Thank you very much for your time.. -Todd <Cheers, Todd. Very glad to hear about the propagation efforts! Sorry to hear you got a scare :p No worries though my friend. Nothing imminent is likely regarding a poisoning or allergic reaction. What risk there is no worse than the same risk of being bit or stung by a non-venomous fish or even simply putting your hand in the tank on a daily basis with a hangnail or other non-related wound. Specifically, there are nasty microbes in all aquatic environments and specifically we fear Vibrio or Mycobacterium. Your first step of course was/should be to cleanse the wound thoroughly with soapy water and then use a disinfectant (antibiotic cream, peroxide, or the like). The doctor is unlikely to be necessary but do call at least to get his advice. Really... the concern here is more from a septic infection from the razor than anything the coral could impart. Sarcophytons are specifically noxious to other corals and aquatic invertebrates with regard for allelopathic compounds. Again, since this is not an overtly poisonous (to humans) animal and you didn't even draw blood... it seems likely that you will have a very nice holiday week. The only poisoning that I see as being likely in your near future is alcohol poisoning tomorrow night <G>. Happy New Year, my friend. Anthony>

Propagation of "Rose Leather" Hello, I will be acquiring a large "rose leather" in the near future and am wondering if they can be propagated as most other leathers can be by cutting off the cap and then sectioning into smaller pieces?   <certainly> How would I go about this with this type of leather being that is has numerous folds and valleys in the cap of the leather?  I love the way they look and would like to propagate it.  Any insight would be much appreciated.  Thanks again for the replies, Jeff <this would be hard to describe in the simple body of an e-mail but with your experience of cutting other leather corals, it is somewhat intuitive from an aesthetic point of view. Be sure to use a very sharp single edged blade like an Ex-acto knife or scalpel. Best regards, Anthony>

Propagating Coral hi I have a 90 gall tank with 2 colt corals & a bubble coral that are getting too big for my tank, can these be cut w/o killing the entire coral? <the colt coral can be controlled easily through constrictive propagation techniques (no cutting here). The bubble is rather more difficult if easily possible at all (depends on shape of the corallum and the use of electric saws). Thinning the colt is relatively easy although this more than most any other soft coral requires special considerations (purging in heavy mucus in water baths and stitching to new substrates). If it was a Leather coral, the protocol would be short and sweet. However, a thorough discussion with these two species deserves pages worth of instruction/advice. At the end of this message is an excerpt from my Book of Coral Propagation that may be of help. Do consult the book if you have further questions about preparation or protocol > Also I have 2 bubble tip anemones that have split and now I have 6, is there a way to remove them from the rocks & crevices w/o injuring them? <yes... simple shading with overhead plates or obstructions (although described in my Coral Prop book). A creeping shadow will encourage the anemones to crawl onto a waiting smaller rock (removable) or let loose altogether. Peeling the anemone off is not at all recommended. If any event seems to disturb the base tissue, please let the stabilize in your tank for a couple weeks before moving to giving them away. They are very susceptible to infection> I would like to give them away & make room for other things to give my tank more diversity thank you in advance <very kind... what part of the country are you in? Perhaps we can put you in touch with good aquarists or a society in your area. Best regards, Anthony> From the Book of Coral Propagation, Volume 1 by Anthony Calfo (2001/2002)

CONSTRICTING as a technique of soft coral propagation The constriction of coral is a slow process most often employing elastic or adjustable constraints such as plastic cable ties/electrical ties, dental or office rubber bands and plastic/nylon wire or thread. To summarize, it is one of the safest, but slowest methods of asexually fragmenting soft corals. Constriction can be conducted successfully on almost any Alcyoniid and Neptheid. It is one of the only safe methods for fragmenting some of the most sensitive octocorals… specifically the heavily mucous species such as "Colt" corals (Alcyonium and Cladiella species) and Colored Leather corals (Sarcophyton and Sinularia species). Constrictive techniques require supervision of the parent/donor over time (days to weeks) in anticipation of the branchlet drop (or from a need to adjust fasteners). This is indeed a simulation of a natural process commonly reported in octocorals. Unassisted, many soft corals have been observed to permit, if not encourage, stands of algae to constrict branchlets for natural fragmentation. The least demanding methodology of constriction is to apply small rubber bands like those used by dentists for orthodontic braces. These tiny rubber bands are available in sizes of mere millimeters in diameter. They can be spread with forceps, pairs of tweezers or even chopsticks to slip over a branch or lobe of soft coral. Some experimentation may be necessary to find the optimum size, but it is better in general to be slightly more flexible at the risk of extending the time for harvesting a dropped branchlet rather than too tight, causing an abrupt and unintended cut. A properly fitted rubber band on a segment of soft coral will look like a ring that is too tight on a finger. After the fitting, the coral should continue to inflate and extend polyps as usual beyond the point of constriction (although this might take a day or two afterwards). The rubber band will expand and contract with the normal osmoregulatory activity of the coral. Concurrently, the coral will begin to naturally pinch off and heal at the point of constriction before the branchlet drop.  Within a couple of weeks, the branchlet drop should be successful. A delay may be an indication that a slightly tighter constriction is necessary. The only significant disadvantage to this methodology is that after the branchlet drop, the fragment is mostly healed at the base without a substrate. Without an anchor, a secondary treatment for attachment will be necessary to prevent the fragment from blowing around the system with the currents. For fear of losing a branchlet to the currents, an aquarist can cut the last little bit of tissue (less than 1/8"/3mm) before a branchlet is about to drop naturally. The small bit of exposed tissue from a cut will assist natural settlement techniques. Sensitive corals should be permitted to settle naturally (perhaps in a rubble trough) while hardier specimens may be glued, tied or stitched. Please refer to the following chapter for securing techniques. Constriction with adjustable constraints is to be conducted as described above with a few considerations. Cable ties are known by several other names and are commonly used to constrain electrical wires or like strands in construction applications. They are essentially small, plastic ratcheting straps than come in sizes of millimeters in length and width to lengths of several feet. Aquarists will, of course, use the tiniest sizes and can find the most useful assortments from suppliers of products for household electronic repairs, like radios and computers for example. Some plastic ties are made with adjustable releases and are recommended whenever possible for control in propagation techniques and the opportunity to recycle the tool. A plastic tie slipped over a segment of coral is unable to expand and contract like a rubber band with osmoregulatory activity and requires almost daily attention during the procedure. Perhaps several times each week, the tie will have to be slowly tightened ever closer to the point of separation when successful branchlet 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 branchlet for aquarists who cannot or chooses not to cut a constricted coral in the final days before branchlet drop. The plastic tie is more easily glued or tied to a substrate than sensitive soft living tissue for settlement. Plastic/nylon thread or wire and office sized rubber bands are also used along with several other like-fasteners unnamed here. The process is so self-explanatory that it would be redundant to detail every fastener ever used by aquarists. They will all fall into a category of fixed, expanding or adjustable, and the benefits for each have been described in kind above or should be obvious. Resourcefulness is indeed one of the finest attributes of coral farmers. Summary of constrictive propagation: the safest but slowest method of fragmenting octocorals. Gradual constrictions from adjustments are preferable when time allows. This is the preferred 

Sarcophyton fragging Hi folks, <James... a shout out to Oz from your Yankee friends! Anthony Calfo at your service> I am in the midst of Anthony's most enlightening book, however I have not yet come across this answer!! <then I shall make up something very convincing :) > I have a large (12 - 14 " diameter) Sarcophyton sp. that I desperately need to frag as it is shading a large area of my tank, however it has attached itself to a major underpinning rock in my reef structure, so the only way I could possibly frag it without destroying my entire tank is in situ. <OK... not great for the terpenes, noxious mucus tunic, etc that will be released... but we will likely be just fine. have a water change scheduled for just afterwards, run PolyFilters/carbon, skim aggressively, etc> Should I "attack" it slowly, taking small pieces at a time every couple of weeks/months until the coral is of a more manageable size, or should I simply cut off what I require to remove using Anthony's donut technique & get it over & done with. <I'm liking the donut technique. Foolproof in a healthy tank with a healthy parent. No prolonged release of noxious elements, a very direct method. My advice would be to use a VERY sharp scalpel/razor of course... and do not take more than a 2-3 cm ring at first. If necessary, revisit say 8 weeks later and do again> Needless to say toxins released are a major concern, as well as minimizing stress on my original critter,  <agreed> and fellow residents which consist of a couple SPS, a large number of LPS & some other softies/mushrooms. The tank is a 4 x 2 x 2, modified Berlin with Plenum & skimmer. <if you have a fine skimmer that is consistent and produces daily dark skimmate... go for it with above advice. Do follow up if you need/like anymore advice on technique. And be sure not to move donut outside of the system if possible and definitely do not place donut (cut or not) in brighter light than parent... same or slightly lower. Strong water movement, a little extra iodine and overall good water quality... you won't know the difference on the parent in a few weeks (healed callus)> Thanks for your help <best regards, my friend. Anthony> James Nilsson Business Development Manager Cumberland Lorne Conference & Leisure Resort AUSTRALIA

Re: Coral.... (Farming) A little about my company and plans. In the next month I will be launching my website and magazine ads. The company will be Frags-r-Us. <Neat name> I have been keeping and growing coral for about 10 yrs. As the name applies I will be selling Frags. I want to offer a very good product and offer the new and advanced aquarist a very good reliable product. Customer service in this industry IMO stinks. <Too much in too many places> I want that to change with my company. The website I have in design is a fun almost cartoon type website. Customers will be able to pick the frag they want from thumb nailed pics.... The e-com service I am using is Microsoft. I will also offer trading of these corals to my retail customers, And will be buying tank raised coral from customers in trade for my Frags. <A busy game plan> I plan on offering 5-6 types of Frags from the normal small plug mount to multi combo rocks. My location is in the DC area. I now have about 800 gallons to start. I will be expanding as needed. There are 2 ads that are going to published in the next month as I finish the website and get my stock. At this point I need to find a small and reliable collector that cares about his product and the reef itself. Someone who can take a order for harder to find stock. Perfect example: www.cquarium.com Adam has the best quality of coral I have seen. I'm looking for a collector that can supply me with the kind of stock he has listed. I have bought from him but his prices are not based on wholesale. (which I understand) If you could help me find a collector that you fill would be a help, that would be great! I am having problems finding what ill call my high end Frags. This is a bit of info on me to this point I would also like to talk about a banner on your site and any other suggestions you have would be great thanks again Bill <I see. I will gladly introduce you to friends here... the best way at this point is to blank cc them... allowing them to individually respond to you. If you don't hear back from folks w/in a few days, please re-contact me... and I'll phone (these are friends as well as industry associates) and ask on your behalf if they have interest, stock in helping you and you helping them. Many good times ahead my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral.... (farming) Bill... Bob forwarded your query to me. My name is Anthony Calfo (author of the Book of Coral Propagation, V.1). I am delighted to hear of your endeavor and purpose... our industry needs more empathetic business men and women who know that ethical commerce succeeds all that are faithful! As far as importing and buying wholesale...determine your targets: SPS (you'll want a good Fiji supplier)... LPS and Zoantharian oddballs (you'll want Indonesia). As a rule... resist Indonesia as much as possible and never transship Indo. So little of it makes it to LAX well let alone across the country. If you have your business formed legally already (phone directory listing, business license, and/or storefront), then let me suggest that you talk to Mary Middlebrook of Marine Specialties International: phone 805-986-4301 e-mail: marinewholesale@hotmail.com She is one the MOST ethical wholesalers you will ever meet. She favors inverts/corals... her prices are not rock bottom cheap BUT her mortality rate is amazingly low... thus a great deal. She tanks and holds all imports... no revolving door like most every LA wholesaler. Do look her up... but know that she will not sell to you/anyone that isn't a prepared/legitimate business yet (no basement businesses). Read more about her vision/purpose at: http://www.reefsource.com/sustainable_industry.htm And if you don't have my book and want more advice on shipping and receiving livestock... I can excerpt that chapter for you with pleasure. If you will be promoting a self-sustaining industry... please consider being a distributor of my text as well. Look me up all over the web (Amazon, ReefCentral, etc or my sire directly at www.readingtrees.com) Please feel welcome to save this address and call upon me for shared advice and opinions. It is a great honor when anyone cares to know your opinion and asks you to share it. With kind regards, Anthony <Outstanding Anthony. Am going to post to WWM for others edification. Bob Fenner>

New Coral E-tailer Just wanted to thank you for your time with me. I did receive a few e-mails that were helpful. Thanks again and I'll keep you updated with what I'm doing. I'm now working on the e-site and will send you the url as soon as its up. Should be no longer then 2 weeks. Thanks again Bill <Real good my friend. Bob Fenner>

Coral.... (upcoming commercial culturist, outlet) I am starting a e-site to sell coral. I will be buying all my stock (soft) and keeping 50% for propagation and 50% to sell. I hope in one yr to be 80% captive grown. <Good for you. A worthy goal> I want to sell only the harder to get soft corals that aren't easily found in the trade. I really like a lot of the info. I have read on this site! I was wondering if you have any importers that are good to work with that will find the stock I seek? <Several> And reliable! Any help in this would be great and I also would like to put a banner on your website in the next month or so! Thanks again Bill 301-293-XXXX <Need to know a bit more about you. Have you been in the trade? Whereabouts are you, will you be operating? Have you been culturing Alcyonaceans for a while? Bob Fenner>

propagation and water quality I have this large Xenia that I want to propagate, <Hmm, a bit of premonition here... just made a new FAQs page on soft coral propagation... and moved a bunch of alcyonacean FAQs about... timely> which resides in my 60g reef tank [54 + sump-fugium]. My concern is that the cutting process, and resulting clippings will foul the tank which has other inhabitants; of note is my Majestic angel. <Possible... better to do this splicing and dicing (gots to stop watching late night teebee serials, or at least their ads) in a more calm setting> The angel is fat and healthy, and owns the tank. Very shy but does come out for parade and food - a fabulous fish. Anyway, from what I've read from you, these fellas have acute water sensitivity so I'm concerned about creating an undesired result. Tank is well skimmed. Angel has been in there for almost three months. This weekend is water change weekend... I could also do clipping and then change the water. Suggestions? <Do the clipping, allow settling... maybe on bits of crushed rock... in another place if you're concerned. Otherwise, only cut up larger chunks of the Xeniid colonies, tie them down as well as you can, screen the intakes of all pumps, and don't worry. Bob Fenner> J --

Proper Means Of Attaching Colt Coral After Propagation Bob, I have successfully propagated numerous mushrooms and leathers but I have this colt coral that I have tried numerous times to propagated but I cannot get the cuttings to attach to anything. I have tried rubber bands, using a mesh material, and probably some other ways also. I was wandering if you could give me your expert opinion on this situation. Thanks, Tony. <Hmm, have done a bunch of attaching of soft corals... and have many friends in the culture biz who do so... with acrylates (super glues...), various tie-down procedures, simple "place in a pre-made hole" approaches... I'm wondering instead if the problem might be the area where you're trying to attach the animal in question. Is this a "new", totally uninhabited substrate? Are there perhaps some other objectionable sessile animals nearby? Try a new "rock" base away from other alcyonaceans. Bob Fenner>

Coral cutting Good day...I have a relatively new Colt coral that I'm thinking about propagating. I'm completely new at this propagation thing and am looking for some pointers. Is there a particular location on the coral that I should be looking at to make the cutting?  <Our technique includes cutting off the cap/top of the leather about an inch down, and cutting the remainder (if you want lots of new colonies, otherwise the base can be left intact) into pieces from the center out, like sections of a pie> Such as at a branching point, etc.? My H2O parameters are pretty good, with unmeasurable readings on the areas most commonly discussed. I've only had this coral for about 3 weeks, but I think it has already grown noticeably. It stands tall and proud every day, with excellent polyp extension. This is my first experience with something other than 'shrooms, or some of the LPS types. I love the look of the Colt, as well as the Leathers. Another question, once the cutting is made (using a razor I presume), <Most likely, yes. Single edge... watch your fingers!> do I use superglue to attach to a bit of LR, or is it better to try wedging or rubber-banding?  <We "scrunched" these bits into pre-made gravel/cement bases that were cast with a hole in them... they can be netted, loosely banded, super-glued down... There are books that cover these procedures on the market. Do you have Eric Borneman's recent "Aquarium Corals" title? Very useful on its own, lists most all current, pertinent literature in its bibliography. The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium by Fossa and Nilsen v. 2 should be gone over as well...> As you may be able to tell, I am a little apprehensive about this but I'd love to have 2 colts instead of 1, then 4, then 8 and so on! After the cutting is made, is there any special care needed for the coral? Do I need to place them in a different lighting location? This is a 48G flat-back reef system. I'm running 4X55W PC with half actinic, half 10K. The bulbs are the smart bulbs which are white and blue for each bulb. When I replace the bulbs I'll definitely buy separate blue/white bulbs. That way I can choose the mix for dawn/dusk etc.. <No special lighting, changes.> Thanks in advance for your help. Jason Harris, who says: "If it's home-grown, it has to be good!" <Mmm, be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Mushrooms & leathers bob...I have a 3"x5" rock from LFS with about 8 green striped mushrooms on it.(1" to 3" in dia.) they have grown somewhat since purchase. is there a way to excise them from their cramped home to other live rock or do I let them migrate themselves? I also have a toadstool leather that when purchased had a small child attached to it's base. are there ways to separate the two without harming either? so many questions and so little time. thanks, jim nix >> Well stated, thought provoking as always... Yep to both, Dr. Frankenstein! Get out your sharpest scalpel, or single edge razor blade (careful here, that red blood is yours, not theirs). The mushrooms can be cut from their base by tilting them up... and are best re-attached where you want them with thin thread (just tie the 'shroom down, sport)... alternatively the rock they are on can be placed near where you want more (is this English?) and the asexual offspring will make their way there in time (careful as these can "sting" a large number of their larger brethren stinging-celled species... keep them separated by a few inches). The Leather gets about the same treatment sharp tool-wise, but the liberated part should be attached with something more serious... store-bought or fish-style "crazy glue"... a few dabs will do ya. Some culturists go the route of dipping or coating over the cut through area. If your animals are in good shape the tank going fine, I'd leave do with these treatments. Bob "in the la-bore-ah-tory" Fenner

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