Rare Zoanthids

25 May

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Fragging Corals Part 1: Supplies


Coral Fragging – the breaking of a coral colony into smaller fragments, is a natural occurrence in ocean reefs. In fact, it’s one of the ways that corals migrate and reproduce out in the wild. In nature, a number of things can split a coral: fish hunting for food, clumsy fish bumping into corals, strong currents, decorator crabs, falling objects, etc. When you think about it, it’s actually a bit silly that we turn what is a brutal natural occurrence into such a delicate surgery at home.

However, as our appreciate for the sea grows and our wallet shrinks, fragging and trading corals is one of the best ways to expand your personal collection, meet local enthusiasts and save some money in the process.

If you are thinking about joining the trade yourself, below are some supplies you will need to pick up to start the process.

Protective Gear – Goggles and latex gloves are highly recommended if you’re new to coral fragging. Some of the stuff you’re cutting up can be very toxic and you would not want to have a zoa accidentally squirt into your eye or mouth.

Exacto Knife – Similar to performing open heart surgery, these precision cutters are the perfect tools for cutting LPS and zoanthids. If you’re looking to trade soft corals, make sure you pick one of these up along with a few spare blades. Working with saltwater items tend to rust out the blades sooner than you think.

snips

Snips / Cutters – If you’re looking to trade SPS (hard, bony) corals, then having a heavier cutting tool will allow you to break off the SPS fingers more precisely than say… breaking the coral by hand.

Superglue Gel – Most of the glues sold in the hobby are just variations of the generic superglue gels you can find in your local drug store. Why pay $15 a bottle when you can pick one up for $2.50? I recommend getting the gel over the regular liquid superglue cause you never know how the two surfaces will line up – especially under water.

rubble rocks are just <i>smaller</i> rocks

rubble rocks are just smaller rocks

Rubble Rock – If you’re looking to frag corals, rubble rock, or small pieces of live rock/dry rock can be a great place to attach your new frag. It also makes the reattachment process a lot easier when you can pull out a small piece of rock to work with while you’re fragging.

plugs

Sand Plugs / Ceramic Plugs – If you like the unified look or would like to go PRO with your fragging operation, I recommend you check out the compressed sand plugs by Boston Aqua Farms. I am personally a bigger fan of the compressed aragonite plugs over ceramic ones because when you’re ready to attach the frags permanently to your display, it’s much easier to snip off the unwanted parts of the sand plug than ceramic or plastic plugs. Plus aragonite is a natural ingredient of the reef.

eggcrate

Egg Crate – If you are using sand plugs, then you will want to head down to your local Home Depot or hardware store’s lighting department and pick up an egg crate to keep the plugs upright. These egg crates can be easily cut into smaller pieces using the snips tool and if small enough, you can even super glue them to a magnetic aquarium glass cleaner to create a shelf for your new frags.

Styrofoam Tray – Depending on where you’re cutting your frags, you probably do not want globs of glue or toxic coral matter on your table that is normally used for other things. If you’ve bought fish or corals online, you can use the insulated box-top as your tray, otherwise, I recommend picking up a styrofoam piece to protect your workstation.

Tupperware / Saltwater – When working with frags and glue, you should always have some saltwater in a tupperware nearby. The reason being the glue cures a lot faster underwater so once you cut and set the frags, it’s recommended you give them a quick dip to finish the job.

For the serious frag trader...

For the serious frag trader...

Frag Tank – Now, if you’re REALLY serious about trading or selling frags, you can also get a separate aquarium for just your frags. Frag tanks are basically smaller, shallower tanks that allow for more lighting to promote the growth of frags. Keep in mind that once you’re at this stage of the game, you will try to justify its purchase as an investment to help earn some money back from the hobby through sales or trades… but what it really means is that you’ve just cross the line from hobbyist to addict. =)

Now that you have all the pieces in play, make sure you check out my next post in the series: the fragging.

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  • wally

    if i got thick scrap sheets of acrylic.. can i cut those into 2×2 inch squares and use that as a media to glue frags on?… will it restrict zoa growth compared to rubble rocks or ceramics?.

  • For zoanthid growth, you won’t notice much difference, less on acrylic, but about the same overall. However for almost any other coral, I would recommend using rubble rock or the aragonite plugs. They give a more natural surface to grow on and they look better too.

  • Oh yea, and addict is putting it lightly 🙂

  • Jeremy

    What kind of super glues are safe??

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