How to Frag Your SPS Corals - Acropora, Montipora, Encrusting SPS, and More!
While making frags is the best way to capitalize on the slow growth associated with SPS, it's important to make sure you are fragging properly the first time as you may only have one chance. With these fragging tips and tricks, you can start making successful coral frags quicker and minimize damage to your precious SPS corals.
Jen's Top 12 Tips
1. Safety First
Having both eye protection and gloves that fit you properly are crucial to ensuring that you can frag your SPS corals safely and efficiently.
2. Work Area
Keeping your work area clean, organized, and properly lit can make all the difference in successfully creating attractive and healthy frags. This is especially true with SPS where precision cutting and gluing are key.
Always wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty and for those with long hair, tie your hair up and out of the way. Your going to get glue on everything, at least there is a good chance you will.
Tools of the trade, here are the basics you will need to have on hand for a successful round of fragging.
- Gryphon AquaSaw - not mandatory but helps make quick and precise cuts
- curved blade bone cutter
- small cutter
- larger one
- glue accelerator
- frag plugs/mounts
5. Rinse Your Tools
Rinsing your tools in RO water after using them washes off the saltwater and reduces the risk of rust.
6. Natural Shapes
Following a coral's natural growth pattern when fragging will lead to faster healing. If you are planning on selling the frags, corals with multiple branches sell much better than a simple stick.
7. When To Frag
When your corals are overgrowing, touching their neighbors, or you need to make room for other corals, it may be time to do some fragging. Don’t frag small corals as it will take them a lot longer to grow. Fragging corals to help remove nuisance algae like bubble algae is also a great way to take care of two things at once. If you notice any tissue loss, it is important to remove it and save some of the coral by fragging it.
8. Right Tool, Right Job
Fragging plating SPS corals like Montipora caps is very easy by just breaking off pieces with your hands or using a bone cutter. For tabling SPS corals, use a bone cutter or saw and cut at an angle for remounting. These corals like to grow out and not up, therefore, cutting at an angle will help with faster growth. For encrusting SPS like Leptastrea, cut them using a bone cutter if they are on a rock or by using a saw if they are on a frag plug or tile. For Acropora, a bone cutter or a saw will work the best. When it comes to large branches of Acropora, using the curved blade bone cutters will ensure that they won’t crumble under pressure. Finally, for thin branches, you can use a small bone cutter.
9. Dip Before Sticking
For SPS corals, we recommend using the BRS Xtra Thick Gel Super Glue & our Insta-Set for quick hold. Keep in mind that less is more when it comes to gluing your corals in order to avoid making a sticky mess. For a quick tip, we recommend putting a small dab of glue on the plug and dipping it in your tank water for a couple of seconds. Then, dry off the base of your frag and stick it into the glue. This will help give your glue a quick and stronghold on the frag.
11. Mounting Options
You have lots of mounting options when it comes to SPS Corals. In general, plugs are for selling and organizing, discs are for propagation, and rubble is for display. When placing SPS in your display, most people will cut off the bottom of a frag plug, but if you glue the bottom of the plug to your scape, the coral will grow more vertically rather than encrusting over the rock-scape.
12. Promote Healing & Color
Be certain to place newly fragged SPS in areas with similar flow to what they were previously receiving. You will also want to mimic the same lighting and water parameters. Consistency is key when it comes to promoting proper healing.