The award-winning manufacturer Maxspect continues on its path of uniqueness with the launch of the Nano-Tech Bio Plug. Made from the same porous material as Maxspect’s popular Bio-Blocks and Bio-Spheres, the new Nano-Tech frag plugs are quite different to standard ceramic plugs both in material and what they claim to do. 

The porosity of the plug allows water to penetrate through, providing a good potential place for beneficial bacteria to colonise. But according to Maxspect, the coral frag can then benefit by drawing nutrients up through the plug as well as feeding on the bacteria itself:

“Due to the extremely porous nature of the Bio-Plug, water current can penetrate the Bio-Plug to reach the surface of the coral frag, both from the top and bottom,” says Maxspect on its website. “This allows the coral frags to extract nutrient from the water column easier.”

“The Bio-Plug also serves as a bio-media, huge amount of bacteria colonies grow inside and on the surface of the plug, many of which can be easily captured by the coral frag polyps as food, which further increases growth rate of coral frags.”

The words are accompanied by images of a long term test done over an eight-month period with two frags, one on a standard plug and one on their own, but the real proof will be if the reefkeeping community notice a difference when growing multiple frags side by side in their own tanks.

Maxspect already had me at the idea of biologically active frag plugs which would also do their bit in nitrogen cycling. I also hope that the rough surface may aid the coral to base out and become attached more quickly, as well as taking up glue and epoxy more readily. But to go on to say that corals could feed on the resulting bacterioplankton is definitely a claim I would like to see more science on. 

Several methodologies already include the feeding of bacteria to corals with beneficial claims, although it usually involves either agitating filter media to remove biofilms, like in the case of Zeovit, and/or dosing bacteria directly to the water column, like in the case of Aquaforest Pro Bio S for example.

If all of the above attributes are coming together to produce increased coral frag growth, these will be as big a hit as their filter media range, and as game-changing. Could this also lead to carved Nano-Tech Bio-Rocks in the future? And replace reef aquascaping rockwork and conventional bio-media altogether?