It's good to know a couple of terms:
- propagation: the method by which corals grow or extend, or, how WE get them to grow and extend. For example, Ricordea florida propagates by fission.
- fragging: physically splitting, cutting or dividing a coral into more than one piece in order to propagate more
- frag: pieces of coral, usually adherent to liverock or segments of coral polyps with their skeleton
1) Epoxy putty: this is an all-in-one two part epoxy that comes in a small tube. You can cut off small pieces and when you knead it in your hands, the epoxy is 'activated' and will harden shortly after. It is slightly difficult to work with under water, but, when it holds, it works well. It's good for corals on solid pieces of live rock and also for the bottom of a coral skeleton. BE CAREFUL: if you push too hard you can injure the coral, fracture it's skeleton or, if not wearing gloves, get a reaction to the epoxy (not common)
2) Glue: There are several brans out there which can be used to glue coral skeletons to your rockwork. They are basically cyanoacrylate, or, super glue.
3) Rubber bands: Tough to use, but, if you get a frag of a softie that is not attached to a piece of live rock, it can be rubber banded to the aquascape, or, to a piece of live rock first.
4) Plastic toothpicks: If you have a loose mushroom or other coral that is slimy and hard to affix, you can surround it with plastic toothpics with their tips placed in epoxy putty. Sorta a plastic fence. Takes work. DO NOT USE WOOD TOOTHPICKS. Another way is to stick the plastic toothpick into the tentacle of a frag, place epoxy on the tip of the toothpick and adhere that to the aquascape. Sometimes a rubber band is needed to hold the tentacle onto the toothpick.
5) Rest on the substrate: This is usually used for open brains, closed brains, plate corals. Simply lay them on the substrate.
6) Interlock: Sometimes the frag you buy may have a wedge shape and might fit nicely and securely into a crevice in your rockwork. Be careful that both the positioning and your aquascape are stable. If a rockslide occurs and damages the tisse on the coral, infection and death could set in.
- rings of plastic one liter soda bottles to keep softies from moving
- women's nylons or wedding lace wrapped around frags
The following soft coral arrives from your lfs:
1) Acclimate the coral carefully, both to temp and s.g.
2) Find a temporary place to allow the coral to safely recuperate from it's shipping and open up. In this case the coral was acclimated by drip method and rested on the substrate
3) Select an area on your aquascape that will maximize the coral's survivability
4) In this case, epoxy was used. Apply gloves. Cut off a satisfactory amount of epoxy that will seat the coral frag (in the photo above, it was tennis racket-shaped)
5) Keeping the coral submerged, either apply the epoxy to the bottom of the frag or, if easier, to the area of the rockwork that will hold the coral
6) CAREFULLY press the frag in place and hold it for a few minutes. You'll feel the epoxy warm up.
7) When stable, you can release.