Fragging Corals for "BOOSTED" Growth: Do you believe in it?

BRS

Do you believe that you can boost coral growth and reproduction by fragging your coral?

  • YES

    Votes: 212 42.2%
  • NO

    Votes: 76 15.1%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 204 40.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 2.0%

  • Total voters
    502

Calm Blue Ocean

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I have a branching GSP that seems to put on a growth spurt every time I snip a few of it's branches off. I actually find it's resilience amazing. Hack away with some scissors and it yells "tis but a scratch!"

I just snipped a chunk off of my sinularia because it was just getting too big and afterward it stood more upright than it had in a while and I can't help but think that removing all that weight made a happier coral. We'll have to wait and see if it puts on a growth spurt.

With SPS my only fragging experience has been in the name of saving a life. STN, RTN. Snip that last group of polyps that still have color! And it often works! But I've found those 1/4" and 1/2" pieces do nothing remotely like a growth spurt. Recovery is slow and laborious.

So perhaps it depends on the coral species and perhaps depends on the health and maturity of the original colony?
 

Tjm23slo

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Great point! When a cyclone comes to a coral reef hundreds of corals are "pruned" by the beating waves.
The tree gets its nutrients and water primarily from its roots and energy from leafs for photo synthesis.

Most corals get energy from polyps and flesh via light absorption.

if you cut the roots of a tree you don’t get faster growth. However if you micro frag and place the frags close to each other the fuse and grow faster. But only once the fuse do they accelerate growth. With zoas what doubles faster 1 polyp it 5. 5 or 20?
 

LRT

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So like- I have some softies. If I split my massive ricordea mushroom via a razor blade, that both half’s will grow back strong and big?
Highly reccomend you dont do it. Shrooms are highly susceptible to bacterial infections. The only shroom ive ever seen with bjd was Florida ricordia. Ive seen ricordia cover an entire rock as 1 shroom with who knows how many mouths.
One way ive seen to get them to split faster is gravity. Tip it on its side and make it walk. Ive seen them stretch nearly 3 inches down from one rack to another and still not separated from mom colony.
 

Treefer32

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I have a fuzzy green SPS coral that is extremely brittle. It had grown rapidly and a good 4 -5" with a couple branches. Then suddenly it started receding and dying. I cut off two branches and glued them to frag plugs right away and placed on my frag rack, hoping to save them. The main colony died completely. That's when I did an ICP test and discovered my phosphates at .55 and my trace elements non-existent (was using regular IO salt). I switched to reef Crystals and dosed trace elements and reduced my phosphates over a 2 month period. 1 coral frag survived. I pried it off the frag plug, and not all the coral came off. Several pieces remained on the frag plug. I glued the stem to a rock and waited. Now several months later, the new frag on the rock has grown rapidly to be almost as big as it was when it died and the remaining piece on the frag plug has regrown over the frag plug and is growing as well. I'm impressed.

I really think thinning out softies and/or SPS can probably cause them to grow. I think LPS is a whole different story. Maybe fragging faster growing corals like Duncans and hammers, frogspawn, etc, could foster new growth, in the right circumstances. But, fragging excruciatingly slow corals like Acans, might just make you have smaller acan colonies for a couple years. :)


As far as inducing faster growth:

Stable parameters, lower phosphates (consistently), stable alk, stable lighting, good water flow, and for me, a secret to success is dosing trace elements weekly, seems to keep the corals colored up and growing strong.
 

Timfish

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WHether a coral will grow faster fragged depends on multiple factors and include, age, feeding as well as species/genotype and context dependant variables.










 

Dkmoo

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There is a relatively easy way to settle this if someone wants to test the hypothesis:

1) take two medium sized frags of the same species. Let them sit and recover any previous stressors until you see both are in similar health and happiness.

2) measure their weight

3) frag one into 2 small frags, leave the other alone

4) put them back in the same place

5) wait 2 months.

6) measure change in weight in term of a %

Can even do this with multiple pairs to improve accuracy and repeatability.
 

walloutlet

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I marked not sure… but while doing some tank maintenance one of my dang clown fish fought my hand and made me accidentally “prune” one of my digi’s. So I’ll let you know in a month if it makes it grow any faster. Lol!
 

Sleepydoc

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Great point! When a cyclone comes to a coral reef hundreds of corals are "pruned" by the beating waves.
Except corals are not trees - far from it. What applies to trees may not apply to corals.

As far as ‘natural pruning’ goes, corals are undoubtedly evolved to handle these events, but is it a net positive or negative for them?
 

Barnabie Mejia

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I’m not sure either, but I do want to try this with my zoas, I have a few that seem like they have stalled in growth but I wouldn’t mind putting a few polyps on plugs to see where they end up.
One of my digis had a branch break off and I placed it on a plug and it seems to be doing well, but I will say that the colony that it broke off of has had some growth! But it might be a coincidence, thus me saying “not sure”
 

MabuyaQ

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However if you have apple trees and do not prune often you will get apples every other year where a well pruned tree can produce a consistent crop every year...... so I think trees much like coral are dependent on what type they are and what you are attempting to accomplish.
The frequent pruning is putting the apple tree in survival stress (next time it may get pruned at ground level). As a result it maximizes sexual reproduction to pass its genes as best way to survive. I know of very little people that are able to get corals to sexually reproduce no matter how much they frag them.
 

Nigel35

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Except corals are not trees - far from it. What applies to trees may not apply to corals.

As far as ‘natural pruning’ goes, corals are undoubtedly evolved to handle these events, but is it a net positive or negative for them?
Just an example lol but I think it could be beneficial for some species.
 

reefsaver

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It's circumstantial. A colony connected by tissue for example, that shares nutrients, food, Zooxanthellae and energy may grow faster in the grand scheme than if you were to dice it up. I think surface area and placement is big on growth, if you take a piece of coral from a shaded, flow ridden part of the coral and put it on an open frag rack getting perfect lighting, flow and regular feeding, of course it will grow fast. But I think the main colony will always be bigger and the frag shouldn't be able to catch up to the main colony in growth if they share they same lighting, flow and care regiment.
 

tltruitt8

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Stability is king! Not sure if constant fragging will get you better growth, it has to heal at some piont first.

In the wild they spawn as a natural reproduction.

Interresting topic though!
I’m still in discovery mode on this topic. I’ve been in the hobby since 1995, and have maintained thriving LPS tanks over the years with a small string of SPS victims due to lighting and higher nutrients in my LPS environment. I upgraded a year ago to a larger tank with AI lighting, and I’ve transitioned to mixed reef on the way to SPS dominant. Gotta ♥️ Those sticks! 1) On nature and in the wild...I have 3 pocillapora...2 from spawning after 4 months in the tank. 2) I also have a purple/green hammer that came home as 4 heads and is now 227. I broke the colony apart and tossed 81 branches from underneath that died from lack of light/flow. The 3 individual colonies are all growing numerous new branches in a healthier environment. 3) My clown tang broke 2 of my growing SPS frags in half giving chase to a new inhabitant. Top halves are on frag plugs in a new frag rack which I think will be more beneficial until new frags have a more visible presence for idiot fish. Both halves are flourishing though. 4) I’m fragging my first 2 acros this weekend that are about 14 months old. Huge...now touching and creating too much shade over montis below them and new branches growing beneath at their bases. It will be interesting to see how the mother colonies grow after...
 

tltruitt8

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By cutting of the branches you:
1. Take away resources that would have been used for growth
2. You created a wound (stress) that has to be healed with resources that can not be used for growth

So in the end you reduced total growth compared to if you had not cut of these branches. All you did is direct the left over growth to the area you find desirable, thus shaping the tree to your liking. If you hadn't done so the tree would shape itself in the most efficient shape.

The same will apply to our corals.
I have always adhered to this theory since beginning in the hobby in ‘95. To me, nature has always known best. I think I’ve begun to change my point of view since I started vegetable gardening during last year’s isolation at home. I inadvertently tested this theory on tomato plants. One plant I temoved the sucker branches trimmed as recommended; the other, took nature’s course. I found that trimming redirected resources from roots to primary branches (receiving more nutrients. Light and air flow were also increased, and pollinators were able to reach more flowers. The trimmed plant produced 3x the tomatoes than the untrimmed, and had no pest or disease issues from excessive overgrowth. I found that also held true with most of my euphyllias. I had a 4-branch hammer I added in 2014. During my most recent move and upgrading my tank, I had to break it apart to get it out of my old tank. It had grown to 227 live branches, and I discarded 81 from underneath that had died from lack of light and flow. Happens in nature as well, but our closed systems don’t experience “real” nature...hurricanes, toxins, fish that are not reef safe, recurring water instability spikes, battles between corals upon unfettered growth. I’m responsible for every living thing in my reef, so I need to provide the very best, healthy environment whether I upgrade to larger/more tanks to provide more space for growing corals or rehome surplus growth. After seeing those 81 dead hammer branches, I’m beginning to feel that we, as responsible reefers, have to compensate for those natural events that take place in the wild....whether we are in the hobby for enjoyment only, or in some cases, for a profitable retail business. Our corals will thrive better either way.
 
BRS

Do you house a "Reef Safe" Angelfish in your reef tank?

  • YES and it's going good

    Votes: 161 41.7%
  • YES but it's not working out

    Votes: 10 2.6%
  • NO I have tried it in the past and it didn't work out

    Votes: 35 9.1%
  • NO I haven't tried yet

    Votes: 168 43.5%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 12 3.1%
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