Top 10 Tips for Successfully Fragging Soft Corals, Zoanthids, Leathers, Mushrooms and More!
If you’re ready to start fragging soft corals in your aquarium, but you aren’t sure where to start, these top 10 tips will give you the confidence you need to jump right in. Jen shares her wealth of experience in fragging to help you create the perfect soft coral frags.
1. Safety First
Always wear eye protection and gloves when fragging any type of coral. This is especially important when fragging Zoanthids or Palythoa as palytoxin is extremely serious and can send you to the hospital if the proper steps are not taken. Additionally, purchase gloves that fit you well as gluing corals with loose-fitting gloves is very difficult.
2. Prep & Tools
Be sure to keep your work area organized and have out all the fragging tools you may need before getting started. Having good lighting will also help you see exactly where you are cutting and how you are gluing your frags.
Be certain to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting glue on. Also, be sure to put your hair up if you have long hair. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to remove glue from your clothing or hair.
4. Tools Of The Trade
Bone Cutters, Forceps, Coral Scissors, Glue, and Frag Plugs or rock rubble are the essential tools for your fragging adventure. A towel is also recommended to clean up any messes and to use for your hands.
5. Rinse Your Tools In RO
Metal fragging tools will rust over time, but they will rust much faster if they are not rinsed in fresh RO water after each use.
6. Natural Breaks & Shapes
Evaluating how your corals can be separated by following natural breaks and shapes will allow you to frag them easier and give them the opportunity to heal and grow back faster.
7. Gluing Tissue
Generally, you cannot glue coral tissue from mushrooms and leather corals directly to a frag plug or rock rubble as they will create a slime coat that simply sheds the glue.
8. Cutting Tools
For mushroom corals, use a bone cutter to cut the polyp and a little bit of rock off the colony. Otherwise, mushrooms can be cut down the middle as long as each side has a mouth. Then, placing them in a container with some substrate in your tank will allow them to not be blown all over your system. For Leather corals, using scissors to cut them is rather easy. The main issue comes when trying to secure them to a rock or plug. We recommend either using rubber bands to attach them to some rock or wedging them into a rockscape. Finally, for Zoanthids, you will want to break up the colony with bone cutters and create smaller frags using scissors while trying to still leave some substrate. Try to cut as little tissue as possible when fragging Zoanthids & Palythoa.
The BRS Extra Thick Gel & Insta-Set make a great pairing for securing soft coral frags to a plug or rock rubble. Be sure to not use too much glue as less is always more when it comes to coral glue. You can also take your time as most soft corals are very resilient and can be out of the water for an extended period of time.
10. Dipping Before Sticking
Dipping your recently created frags in Iodine before securing them to a frag plug helps to promote a healthier and faster recovery.
11. Plugs, Plates, & Rubble
You have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to mounting options for your coral frags. In general, plugs are good for organizing and selling, discs are great for continued propagation, and rubble is ideal for sticking frags back into a display.
12. Promote Healing
We like to recommend placing newly cut soft coral frags in high flow areas. Also, we like to run carbon or conduct a water change after a fragging session. Placing frags back into nearly identical conditions that they originally were in will allow them to heal much easier.
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