Fragging and Attaching Leather Corals

Discussion in 'Soft Coral Discussion' started by ritter6788, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. ritter6788

    ritter6788 Coral Fraud Private Eye Staff Member Team R2R Photo of the Month Award R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    There are many different types of coral and many different ways to propagate them. It's much easier fragging a stony coral, like an Acorpora, and just gluing it down with Super Glue Gel. Soft corals can be much more difficult but it gets easier to attach these once you get the hang of it.


    This thread is about corals in the "leather" category. This includes corals like, Toadstools, Devil's Hand Leathers, Finger Leathers, Colt Corals, etc. The best way I have found to frag these is with a very sharp razor but sharp scissors can be used but puts more pressure on the coral resulting in a less clean cut. First of all, remove the coral from the tank if possible. This prevents toxins from the coral getting into the water column and affecting other corals. Then choose the area of the coral that you would like to frag and gently (and carefully not to slice your own hand) slice the piece that you have chosen to frag. It doesn't hurt to give both the frag and the mother colony a dip in a coral treatment or Iodine solution like Lugol's or Coral Rx and can help healing the cut areas more quickly. I've also found that it doesn't matter which part of the coral you choose as a frag. Example, you can cut a piece of a Toadstool's foot and grow a new coral from that just the same as you can cut a piece of it's head and get the same results. Once you have your frag (or frags) it's time to attach them to something so they can begin to regrow.

    It's easiest for me to do it on a frag plug with a rubberband but rock in place of frag plugs will work also. Superglue will not work at all on these corals. They slime themselves off the superglue. There's no way superglue or epoxy would work. The trick is to keep them as still as possible and the rubberband has to be just right or the coral will come loose or split in two. I like to do mine on frag plugs so I can set them on a rack or place them on the sandbed and they won't move around too much. This can take a week, a month, or longer depending on light, water chemistry and how much the frag is disturbed. Hermit crabs, snails and other pesky tank mates can be a pain also when trying to give these corals time to attach so the more you can isolate them the better. I've never had luck with using fishing line to sew the coral to a surface and I've also never had luck with the toothpick method were you stab the coral with a plastic toothpick and then glue or rubberband the toothpick to a surface. The coral almost always ends up splitting in half when I've tried these methods.



    Here's a pic of how I did mine. This is an example of a Green Sinularia and a Toadstool. A small branch was cut from the Sinularia and a small clipping was cut from the foot of a Toadstool.


    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic of the mother colonies that were fragged.

    [​IMG]


    I wrap the excess rubberband around the peg on the bottom of the frag plug and that's how I adjust the tension on the coral. If the coral is starting to get away then just slip it back under the rubberband and tighten it a bit. Look underneath the rubberband and make sure it's not too tight and cutting the coral in half. Just enough pressure to hold the frag still. Some pressure is good and the coral will start to grow around the rubberband and look like it's going to make two branches but don't worry about that. Just make sure it's not cutting it completely in half.


    and the finished product.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Don't try to rubberband it facing up like it normally would grow. Just lay it flat on the plug and once it attaches it will grow upwards toward the light and right itself again. Get the most surface area of the coral you can on the area you are mounting it to. It will look sad at first but it will take care of itself and once it's grown a little you won't even be able to tell.


    If you don't like the look of frag plugs then once the coral is firmly attached then use a pair of cutters to snip off the excess plug from around the coral and superglue it where ever you like. If it still looks unnatural just give it a little time and the coral should soon grow over the remaining plug and you won't even know it's there. You can also use reef safe epoxy to mount the plug to the rock work in your tank if you like.


    Another method that was suggested to me but I haven't tried is using a jigger glass. Get a small glass about the same diameter as your frag plug, (like a shot glass) and drop the plug in the bottom. Place the frag on top of the plug and set the whole set up in the tank. This method might be good for harder to attach soft corals like Xenia.

    If anyone has other methods of fragging and attaching these corals please post them here! There's always more than one way to skin a cat.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  2. wysiwyg

    wysiwyg marine predator man R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    very nice guide never woulda thought to rubberband it to the frag plug
     
  3. revhtree

    revhtree Owner Administrator Staff Member Team R2R Photo of the Month Award R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Well done!
     
  4. Pkunk35

    Pkunk35 Well-Known Member R2R Excellence Award

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    Great post! leather fragging can be difficult...I know in the past I've heard of methods involving toothpicks...personally I don't like skewering my frags.

    The rubberband method is great! Haven't see it quite like that before, I would almost be sure that the frag would split, but obviously they come out great! Thanks for the tip!

    The method I use for xenia and other corals that don't take well to super glue is to buy some bridal veil at a fabric store (they should sell them by the foot I believe), and basically do what ritter suggest except that you use the veil netting to cover the whole frag plug and then tie the veil off with a rubberband or zip tie. Once the frag adheres to the plug you remove the veil. This method works very good with xenia and was much more useful prior to frag plugs existing as we would often have to use odd shaped rubble to frag onto.
     
  5. Chelle's Ocean

    Chelle's Ocean Well-Known Member

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    Great write up :)
    I want that toadstool!! lol
    :)
     
  6. Young Frankenstein

    Young Frankenstein I sniff ozone and relax. R2R Excellence Award

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    Great thread, thanks for posting.

    I would also like to see this methods you stated above.

    Another method that was suggested to me but I haven't tried is using a jigger glass. Get a small glass about the same diameter as your frag plug, (like a shot glass) and drop the plug in the bottom. Place the frag on top of the plug and set the whole set up in the tank. This method might be good for harder to attach soft corals like Xenia.
     
  7. Pkunk35

    Pkunk35 Well-Known Member R2R Excellence Award

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    Yes, I too am not really understanding the "jigger glass" method. Sounds similar to using pieces of PVC piping to "contain" coral frags while they are recovering.
     
  8. cvysochin

    cvysochin Well-Known Member

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    Ive tried the veil method but have a 30% survival rate due to detritus clogging the veil and not allowing water circulation to the frag resulting in death.

    I now use waxed( not mint) dental floss and a needle. The waxed floss allows you to tighten the knot in the floss once tied. I either use a piece of rubble or a frag plug with two notches cut out for the floss to sit in an not slide off. I pierce the coral about 1/2-1/4" above the bottom with the needle and floss. I then pull the floss through enough to hook it in the notches and wrap around the plug stem once then tie. I put them in a low flow area(usually under a powerhead) for a week and they usually are attached and growing strong w/in 3 weeks.

    Sorry I dont have any pics and this might sound complicated but I've done it so long I can do 20-25 frags in about than 30 mins. :)

    This way I've have a 100% survival rate but occasionally one does release due to over tightening.
     
  9. Pkunk35

    Pkunk35 Well-Known Member R2R Excellence Award

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    Nice!

    Yeh, i suppose the veil method is more for xenia as they attach to the substrate within days to a week.
     
  10. ritter6788

    ritter6788 Coral Fraud Private Eye Staff Member Team R2R Photo of the Month Award R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Don't get me wrong, they will split right in two if the rubberband is too tight and it doesn't take much but the good thing about this method is that you can adjust the tension of the rubberband depending on how the coral is reacting. If it keeps slipping out or looks like it's pinched too much in the middle then adjust the band a little.

    I haven't tried it yet but it was suggested to me by a local reefer. The only problem I see is how to you keep the frag from attaching to the side of the glass?

    I'll have to try this method. I've never been able to get Xenia to attach so I always use bone cutters and cut a chunk of rock underneath the coral and glue it down.
     
  11. Ace25

    Ace25 Well-Known Member

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    I just let my leathers frag themselves naturally.. then let the babies lay in the sand for a couple months until they get their toadstool shape. At that point the base is encrusted with sand which I can then easily glue to a frag plug if I wanted. I know that is different that doing the cutting/attaching yourself, the way I do it is not a replacement for the great writeup by ritter6788. I gave a dozen big pieces to my LFS last week just to get them out of my tank. I wish I knew more people locally that wanted them because I would rather give them to fellow reefers vs a LFS.

    Here is mine today.. just went through its annual dropping of the frags last month.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2013
  12. uall8up

    uall8up Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Great write up. Thank you for the info. I learn something new everyday on this forum!!!
     
  13. Reef Breeders

    Reef Breeders The LED Guy R2R Supporter Gold Sponsors

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    Great tips, I will try this soon!
     
  14. Reef Breeders

    Reef Breeders The LED Guy R2R Supporter Gold Sponsors

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    Now that is really, really cool looking!
     
  15. NanoNathan

    NanoNathan Well-Known Member

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    I did this but it fell off due to to much flow and rubber band to loose. But a half bottle of super glue later I got it glued down lol.

    Sent from my tank using tapatalk
     
  16. ritter6788

    ritter6788 Coral Fraud Private Eye Staff Member Team R2R Photo of the Month Award R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Wow! I had a devils hand do that but not a toadstool. Too cool!
     
  17. cvysochin

    cvysochin Well-Known Member

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    Yeah it would be easy if all toadstools did yearly fragging by themselves but it's just not the case. I do have one that frags itself but definitely not annually.
    I also have a huge Tyree(roughly 12x14" tall) and a white(roughly 8x8) that have never, in thier lives, fragged themselves. would be nice though.. LOL
     
  18. chris13115

    chris13115 Well-Known Member

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    ritter this was awesome, fragged my spaghetti LPS no problem! I see a winner in your future
     
  19. Connie

    Connie Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    My sinularia propogates itself. It releases branch tips that fall to the bottom. In a few days it has attached to a little piece of shell or rock. I then take the frag and attach the rock or shell to whatever with gel glue. It multiplies much faster than I want it to...lol
     
  20. ritter6788

    ritter6788 Coral Fraud Private Eye Staff Member Team R2R Photo of the Month Award R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Are you sure it's a sinularia? Mine is way too slimy and I can't even get glue to hold for a few seconds. Kenya trees on the other hand will stick by themselves.
     

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