6 Steps & Everything You Need for First Time Coral Mounting!
While captive coral spawning has recently become a viable option for scientists reproducing corals in captivity, fragmentation is much easier and is the process we use as hobbyists to reproduce or better said, duplicate the corals we buy, sell, and trade in the hobby. This is where you get the term "coral frag" and "fragging". Fragging corals is the process of breaking/cutting pieces of a coral and mounting those pieces to a coral mount or rock to grow into a new coral colony.
While there are a few different ways you can actually mount a fresh coral frag, there is one particular method that works extremely well for most any LPS or SPS coral.
Essential Stony Coral Mounting Supplies
- Frag plugs and mounts
- Extra thick coral glue (super glue gel)
- Tunze Coral Gum
- Cutting board or suitable work surface
- 3 bowls or containers for holding the coral frags while working
How To Mount Stony Corals Using "The Sandwich Method"
This method of attaching a fresh coral frag to a coral mount or piece of rock works extremely well because the coral will adhere almost right away. This means you can minimize the amount of handling and the amount of time the coral spends out of water. That said, it really only works with stony corals (LPS and SPS) because soft corals can be difficult to glue. If you find yourself working with soft corals, there are some alternative methods you can use.
The "sandwich method" gets its name because you are sandwiching a small amount of epoxy between two layers of super glue. It works when mounting corals to a frag plug as well as inside your tank when attaching coral directly to the rocks.
1. Prepare the workstation
Get everything you need laid out on your work surface and within reach. You want to work as quickly as you can to minimize stress on the coral. Have some towels on hand to clean up spilled water and wipe up any excess coral glue. Put on your gloves.
Fill all three containers with saltwater from your aquarium; do not use freshly mixed saltwater or saltwater from another aquarium that the corals are not acclimated to. Soak coral mounts into container #1 and place your frags into container #2.
- Container #1 is for soaking coral mounts
- Container #2 is to hold freshly cut coral frags
- Container #3 is to rinse and hold mounted coral
2. Glue - Epoxy - Glue - Coral
This refers to the layering of adhesives you will use on top of the coral mount or rock. This layering method works really well and tends to hold most any coral very well without having to hold the coral frag or wait for the glue to cure.
- Grab a coral mount and lay down about a dime-size dollop of coral glue.
- Mix up a marble size ball of Tunze Coral Gum and place that on top of the super glue.
- Then another dollop of coral glue on top of the epoxy.
- Proceed to push the bottom of your coral frag into the glue and epoxy.
- It should hold securely right away and you can place the completed frag into container#3 of saltwater.
3. Place coral into your frag tank or reef aquarium
The new coral frag will cure completely in a few minutes and is ready to be placed into a frag rack or holding tank. You can just as easily attach the coral frag to your aquascape using this same sandwich method of gluing. If you're dealing with frags from a different coral system, it's best to dip those corals before placing them into a tank of your own.