CORAL FARMING REVIEW - GLUING FRAGS TO CORAL BRANCHES
|WE USE THIS METHOD ON CORALS OTHER THAN ACROPORA|
THIS IS A PAVONA SPECIES
We often receive sps corals that look brown and once they are placed in our systems for a month the color changes to green, pinks and even purple. We use VHO's over most of our systems. We end up with at least 8 watts per gallon of light. We increase the lighting gradually so as not to shock any of the tank mates.
We have worked with some wonderful people in this hobby who provide incredible propagated animals to our genetic bank. Some of our prized corals come from Steve Tyree, Mike Paletta, Dick Perin, and many individuals who trade their propagated coral for a new one that they do not have yet.
We have taught several of the larger coral farmers this method of attaching sps corals. They have reported that they can now propagate these corals with a savings of two thirds on labor. These farmers had been using epoxy to attach the corals before.
|Before using the super reef glue we did our homework and tested the different glues on the market and found out that the Army was using glue on humans when they were wounded during the War. Note when you glue your fingers together it does not hurt it just sticks.|
Since then we have over used way over 6000 grams of glue in our systems. Sometime it is found to be on my clothes or on my hands. I even accidentally glued my dog to the floor (some glue had dripped on the floor and my dog is always under foot and she stepped on it and could not figure out why she could not move).
|Fragments of sps corals do extremely well when glued with thick super glue. Only the center skeleton is attached at first. These cuttings have been very strong even before the tissue grows down onto the base rock. In a very short period of time you will notice that the animal begins to grow right over the glue and onto the rock itself. We learned that when we use this method for attaching corals the cut heals right away, and this allows the animal to recover from the propagation immediately. Several fragments have fallen in the aquarium.
We have noticed that once the animal has grown over the super reef glue and unto the rock you can pop off the original frag and place it on a new rock with the glue and have the old one that attached to the first rock continue to grow and develop into branches and soon be ready for fragging in the future.
| One of the reasons we did not like the epoxy is that it took a very long time for coralline algae to grow on it. It also takes a long time for the epoxy to set, and what we can do in a short period time takes hours with the epoxy method. The sps coral covers the super glue in a few weeks in our systems. || We are now buying many of our new frags unmounted so we can glue them in our systems. This way of purchasing sps corals can often save money because the grower does not have any time in the grow - out. If you purchase frags this way be certain that each type is bagged in a separate bag. We only put corals together that came from the same colony. We often receive three to five frags in one bag and they all do fine. We float the bag until the water is the same temperature as the reef aquarium. These corals can be mounted the same way as the freshly harvested ones from your aquarium.
Small pieces of small polyp stony corals can be glued to branches by breaking off small pieces from the colony. These frags are glued one inch apart. The bases grow together and the coral forms a natural looking head very soon.
The most interesting thing is that none of the polyps around the base die. When we use epoxy some tissue always dies. I love to watch the polyps grow down onto the base rock. They form a circle of polyps around the fragment, and then new branches start up from this base. Some of the
bases are now over four inches wide. We have removed the original cuttings, and the bases are growing several new branches. Some of the colonies have been cut four times and they now have over sixty branches. It seems the more attention you pay to these sps corals the better results you will see. We tend to propagate them often and spread the risk to different systems in the Foundation to make sure that one animal will survive. We honestly have loss more animals due to freight than any other reason.
Small wire cutting pliers
two small bowls full of reef water
Small plastic pans
MATERIAL LIST glue type Super glue
Reef aquarium safe coral branches - Coral rubble - thin AragocreteTM branches
Coral to be cut
Make sure to have a towel in place to wipe your hands and to clean up spills.
Choose the branches and prepare the attachment sites.
Prepare the fragments by breaking a small branch from the parent colony. This can be done by using a small pair of pliers. We use side cutting pliers to snap the frags from the colony. The coral will break rather than cut. Grip the branch firmly and twist it gently.|
These frags are placed in a plastic pan of reef water. If at all possible it is best to make your cutting outside of the reef tank so that the toxic slime released when propagating is not left in your system. I always treat with the Sea Chem Reef Plus after propagating both the sps corals and the soft corals.
|THIS METHOD WORKS VERY WELL ON CORALS THAT PRODUCE SMALL FRAGS SUCH AS THIS HYDNOPHORA
Place the fresh cut frag on the paper towel for 10 seconds. Apply the thick super glue to the prepared site on the base rock. One drop is usually sufficient. Pick up the cutting and press the newly cut fragment to the prepared site. Making sure that you pay attention to which side you glue down to the branch. The freshly cut frag should be attached right where you made your cut. It is harder to tell which side you should glue when receiving coral frags from a dealer but usually the side that is widest is the side to place the glue and adhere to the branch.
If we have a problem with any algae we place a handful of our Reef Janitors in these grow out systems. Our newest finding is the remarkable bubble algae eating Emerald crab that eats several kinds of algae that the other Janitors won't touch.
- NEW -
WE NOW PUT A SMALL DROP OF GLUE ON OUR FINGER AND THEN WE TOUCH IT TO THE SITE UNDERWATER WHERE THE CORAL WILL BE ATTACHED
We have noticed that the sps coral will grow right over a snail shell if the shell stays in one place too long. You can notice this in this picture. This coral has been in Sally Jo's system almost two years now and has found new homes all around the US.
We have been gluing many frags to coral branches underwater. When a new colony comes into the lab we break off several of the lower branches. We apply a small ammount of glue to the branch first so the frag sticks in seconds. We then apply gel type super glue to the broken part of the coral. A ball of glue the one half the size of a used pencil eraser will hold most frags in place. We pick a spot in one of the show tanks, and quickly push the frag against the small ammont of glue we have just applied. A slight twist to spread the glue on the surface of the live rock helps. Count to 6 and release the frag. Not only does it hold the new cutting in place it gives you the freedom to move it when you need to. Just pop the animal off by the glue and reglue it to the next location.
WE PHOTOGRAPHED THIS CORAL OFTEN AS IT COVERED
THIS CERITH SNAIL SHELL WITH TISSUE.
THIS CERITH SNAIL IS AN IMPORTANT REEF JANITORTM
THESE ARE ONE OF THE ONLY SNAILS THAT EAT HAIR ALGAE.
ALGAE CONTROL IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE HEALTH OF SPS CORALS
You need to have a system in place that does not have algae problems. Once an algae gets on your sps corals you will probably loose the coral. If you look closely at all the pictures of my systems you will not see any algae, that is because I place the reef janitors in my system and make them part of my monthly maintenance schedule. These janitors do very well in captivity and are tested by our research Foundation to be the best mixture to provide your system with the perfect balance you need to grow these corals. However some do die off from time to time and need to be replaced. Because of all the skimming we do and the other fish we have in our systems these janitors tend not to reproduce or the larva gets skimmed out.
THIS ACROPORA IS GROWING OVER THE SNAIL SHELL.
WE HAVE NOTICED THAT THESE CORALS GROW OVER
SHELLS VERY FAST.
THE NEW TISSUE IS OFTEN VERY BRIGHT COLORED
NERITE SNAILS FROM THE REEF JANITORTM PACKAGES
EAT DIATOMS AND RED SLIME BEFORE THEY
CAN OVERGROW THE YOUNG CORAL FRAGS
We look at these reef systems as a continually changing life form. The more your corals grow the more water movement you will need to provide. We never start out a new reef system with intense lights so as to enable my newly set up reef to grow coralline algae and once that has taken hold on all the rock then we begin to increase the lighting gradually over a period of time until it is up to over 10 watts per gallon. In our show tanks we use the VHO's and there absolutely has been NO coral that we have not been able to grow. We have a two year old baby flower pot that came from captivity. The mother had thirteen babies in one year.
SOME NOTES FROM SALLY JO
We are a research facility in Boise Idaho and our mission is to - To provide the citizens of Idaho and the World a showcase collection of aquatic plants, fish, reef animals and products. To stimulate interest in, appreciation for and an understanding of these collections. To be implemented through plant records, public displays, collections, applied research, publications, internship programs and sales of quality products.
|Having dedicated our Foundation to this mission we are a Non-profit organization that provides all of our research material to everyone. We have posted many reef farming newsletters on our site. We have published articles in SeaScope, FAMA and Marine Fish Monthly. |
We host seminars at our location at least three times a year, with the pioneers of the reef hobby sharing all of their knowledge. We also have an annual reef tour when our members open up their homes and share their reef results with the general public.
We have our next seminar scheduled for Oct. 23 and 24 1999 please call 1-800-600-6163 for details.