Top Tips to Frag Your LPS Corals! Learn How to Frag Acans, Torch Corals, Chalice Corals and More!
LPS or Large Polyp Stony Corals are some of the most visually stunning with their brilliant colors and passive movements that make them a beautiful addition to any reef aquarium. That being said, LPS are some of the most challenging corals to frag. So much so, some species of LPS coral cannot be fragged at all, their physiology simply does not allow for it. Thanks to Jen and her willingness to share her wealth of knowledge and experience, you can avoid costly mistakes and learn how to safely frag your LPS corals with these Top Tips!
1. Safety First
It is best to wear eye protection and gloves when fragging any type of coral. Your gloves should fit your hands snuggly, oversized gloves will make cutting and gluing frags significantly more difficult.
2. Work Space
Keeping your work area organized with everything you need within reach. Having the proper tools laid out will make the process more efficient and minimizing stress upon the corals should always take priority. Nice bright lighting is also a great forethought as it helps prevent mistakes during cutting.
3. A Proper Uniform
Make sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting glue on. For those of you with long hair, tie it up and out of the way because there is no trick to getting the glue out of your hair. The idea is to cut your coral, not your hair.
4. Tools Of The Trade
The most successful tool when it comes to fragging LPS corals is a frag saw such as the Gryphon Aqua Saw. That being said, both standard bone cutters and curved blade bone cutters will also work on suitable corals. We recommend a set of forceps for moving the corals around without damaging tissue. Extra Thick Gel Glue, Insta-Set, towels, and frag mounts of your choice will also likely be needed.
5. Rinse Your Tools
Rinsing your tools in RO water after you are done using them will significantly decrease the speed at which they rust. Saltwater corrodes just about anything with long enough exposure, even high-grade stainless steel.
6. Natural Breaks & Shapes
Where and how you cut your corals can impact how fast they will heal. Therefore, following the natural growth patterns of the coral while avoiding cutting tissue as much as possible will yield much better results.
7. What To Frag
There are some LPS varieties that can be fragged safely and some that cannot but cut at all.
SAFE TO FRAG LPS
- Favia and Favites
- Lobophyllia or "Lobos"
- Acanthastrea or "Acans"
- Goniopora and Alveopora or "Gonis"
- Branching Euphyllia or "Torches", "Frogspawn", and "Hammers"
- Echniphyllia or "Chalices"
- Caulastraea or "Candy Coral", "Trumpet Coral"
DO NOT FRAG
- Elegance Coral
- Bubble Coral
- Wall Type Euphyllia "Wall Hammer"
- Scolymia or "Scolys"
- Wellsophyllia or "Wellsos"
- Trachyphyllia or "Trachys"
- Acanthophylla or "Meat Corals"
8. Cutting Tips
For Favia’s and Chalices, we suggest using a saw, but if you must use bone cutters be gentle and create large frags that have at least one eye on them. For Lobo’s do not cut through polyps or tissue, but for Acans you can cut through tissue if each frag has a mouth. For Euphyllia and Goni’s use a saw for the best possible frags. Once again you can use bone cutters, but just be sure to not crush the skeletal base.
9. Dipping Before Sticking
We always recommend dipping LPS frags in Iodine before sticking them to a frag plug to help aid in the healing process.
10. Pick What Sticks
Using both the BRS Extra-Thick Gel & Insta-Set is our recommended method for gluing LPS corals. Just remember that less is more when it comes to gluing frags of any type.
Having lots of options when it comes to fragging vessels will allow you to choose the most ideal coral mount. Generally speaking, plugs are for organizing and selling, discs and plates are for propagation, and rubble is for use in a display. For Chalices and Favia’s use rubble or plates because they are encrusting corals. For Lobos and Acans use plates or rubble, and for Goni’s and Euphyllia use rubble for the display and frag plugs for propagation.
12. Promote Healing
Place newly fragged corals in high flow areas to aid in the recovery process. We also suggest running carbon or doing a water change after fragging colonies within your system. You will also want to place frags in a place where they will be receiving the same light and water parameters that they were previously under. Dosing Amino Acids is a great idea and is known to aid in tissue generation for your freshly cut corals.