There isnt much information here about fragging corals so i thought i would start a thread dedicated to the tips, tricks, methods, ideas, and anything coral fragging related. Ofcourse, all are welcome and encouraged to join, contribute and discuss on the topic.
Some basic things to have handy when fragging ( not all pictured )
-Clean, sharp razor blades
-Super Glue, the gel kind. $1 store super glue works but the tubes seem to have more air then glue. the actual glues sold for coral fragging work the best but come more expensive. IME these tend to be a thicker gel.
-bucket of rubble rocks. i keep a bucket of rock chips, shells, coral skeletons, and a seperate bucket with tile chips, frag plugs and disks for mounting corals on. my favorite thing to glue on are shells, then rock rubble. to me these are much more natural appearing then tile squares, round plugs, and so forth.
-towel or two
-small container of tank water
This is the basic list for fragging. you could always have natural wood toothpicks, rubberbands, netting and a few other things for certain corals.
now that you've gathered your materials needed to frag lets set that aside and gather what is needed for safety before proceeding.
i like to wash my hands and even forearms up to my elbows with warm soapy water prior to working. rinse very well, you do not want ANY soap residues in your tank.
-gloves are a must, esp. more so for certain corals like zoanthids and palythoas. EVERYONE will have a different allergic reaction to different things, but trust and believe these carry a toxin. i believe tribes use to rub their arrowheads and spear tips in this toxin prior to going hunting. please take this serious.
-safety glasses or if your cool ( or not cool and its sunny ) sun glasses work. this is just as important as gloves, when cutting into corals they like to squirt, which someone knows where your eyes are.
-long haired folk may want a hair tie to keep them from burning up in the bunson burner. lol, kidding no burners here but keeping hair out of the face is a good idea, esp. since its a bad idea to touch your face and eyes after you start working with your corals.
To start, select your coral from your tank. Pick a coral thats healed and been established and growing in your system (not the one you just got from your LFS )
I dont like cutting more then 10-20% off a coral as the mother colony will have an easier time healing and recovering then if you would just chop the entire thing into peices.
heres a small zoanthid frag we will work with,
i carefully took a clean razor blade ( pre-rinsed for any oils ) and went under the coral between it and the peice of tile it was glued to.
after removing the coral from the tile i took the time to remove as much of the hardened glue on the coral as possible without causing any damage. in this case, all glue was removed.
normally i like to cut more then 1 polyp for each frag but for this time i took one
using as little glue as possible but enough that it wont break free glue the cut coral polyp to your shell/rock/plug. in this case i choose a live astrea snail
i dont have hermits but if i did they would eventually get into a shell with a coral on it, moving it to another area of my tank. pretty cool way of spreading corals but not if you want to place them in certain areas yourself as down the road things will pop up out of no where.
a quick iodine dip wouldnt hurt, i skipped doing that here (esp with the live snail ) but back into the tank it went.
*change your gloves when switching to another coral.
heres a peice of rock rubble, natural wood toothpick and rubber band. this is one method to use on certain corals that cannot be glued successfully. in this example, toadstool leather is one of them.
peirce the underside of the coral with the toothpick.
rubberband it to the rock. i snipped the toothpicks edges and ended up breaking the toothpick while doing so however i checked it and its still holding the leather strong so i left it as is instead of trying to re-stab another location on the coral. this is only temporary anyways until the coral attaches itself to the rubble rock at that time it can be removed.
back into the tank and repeat
wash hands with warm soapy water after you finish fragging. do NOT touch your face, eyes, mouth, food until you are done and your hands have been fully washed.
hope this helps some and i will add to it as i can. all others are encouraged to join too!