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So, you’ve been to the coral store and picked up some frags for your aquarium. But how do you fixate these tiny ones in the tank? Today’s article narrows your options down to the top 6 glue brands.
I’ve hand-picked these brands for you:
- Gorilla XL Super Glue Gel (Personal Choice)
- Two Little Fishies Coraffix Cyanoacrylate Adhesive
- Bob Smith Insta-Cure Ic-Gel
- Microbe-Lift Coralscaper Gel
- BRS Extra Thick Super Glue Gel (#1 Cost)
- Seachem Reef Cyanoacrylate Glue
But before we dive into specific products, you may want to know what types of glue exist.
There are 4 types of glues currently in common use:
1. Two-component glues & adhesives
2. Gel-based superglues
3. Plastic-based hot melt glues
4. Quick-setting non-toxic cement
It’s strongly recommended to use either two-component (epoxy) or gel-based glues. Each of today’s products is either epoxy or gel. I picked some solid and reliable brands, so you can safely & efficiently treat your corals. Without further ado, let’s jump in.
Gorilla XL Super Glue Gel
I wish I knew about it sooner… This gel cures relatively fast; creates a whooping bond with just about any material, including fleshy coral; and it’s completely non-toxic.
After spending a few days on the forums, I realized that people respect and appreciate this brand for a reason. Although Gorilla XL was not created exclusively for aquariums, it is great for many corals. Be it LPS, SPS or others. The main advantage of the brand is its versatility. If you compare this glue to the others, it turns out to be plus or minus the same, with one important caveat.
More than once I’ve come across reviews labeled “monster” or “heavy-duty”. Virtually all reefers who have used Gorilla claim it’s the most potent glue on the market. Plus, when you consider this glue can be used for a variety of tasks, you have the opportunity to buy a large package and save money without sacrificing coral safety (other glues can often be toxic to living creatures like corals).
Gorilla XL Super Glue Gel Features
- Versatile & multifunctional. Vertical application is possible
- Long-lasting and concentrated formulation. You only need a little bit of product to mount any frag
- Treats almost any material. Thus, suitable for big frags
- Guarantees strong adhesion and works relatively fast
- Fantastic for stony corals & live rocks
- 7000+ 5 star reviews on Amazon
At first, I was skeptical about Gorilla Xl because of the popularity of the company. A wide range of products for all kinds of folks and tasks, a big-Inc company. You know how it works: high expectations + good marketing = successful business, but in the end — a mediocre product, which barely reaches the average level. But how wrong I was… Don’t take my word for it! Try out Gorilla XL and see for yourself.
Two Little Fishies Coraffix Cyanoacrylate Adhesive
CorAffix has a pretty thick consistency, which is a major plus. It builds enough layers when working with frags. Another great line behind the product is versatility. You can use it to mount most of the frags — be it SPS, LPS, or soft corals.
The company offers two packaging options to choose from. Tubes, for more precise application. The glue in tubes has a thicker consistency and stays where you apply it. But, a tube can hold a lot less glue than a bottle, and it also expires faster.
On the other hand, you can buy the glue in a 2oz bottle that has a “more diluted” consistency. This is to keep the glue from hardening inside the can. It’s worth noting that this consistency does a great job of gluing fractions.
Here’s a little tip on how to use tube glue: If you apply too much glue, use a piece of paper or a towel. Allow the excess glue to leave the tube. Then place a needle, pin, or nail in the neck of the tube. This way you will prevent the neck from hardening, which can cause a lot of inconveniences the next time you use it. You can leave the cap intact because it is made of a special material that is adapted for safe contact with the glue.
Coraffix Cyanoacrylate Adhesive Features
- Easy to use. All directions are clear
- Honey-like viscosity. Glue stays where you put it
- Great for mounting large frags, rockwork
- Has two forms available. Tube or bottle
- Glue stays up-to-date even if not used for a long time
The company offers a whole range of products, including putty. You can leverage their Reef Coral Live Rock Putty Aquastick Coralline Red Jumbo to yield even better results. Great glue but I’m not 100% sure about it.
Bob Smith Insta-Cure Ic-Gel
If the advertising wizards had to reduce the name of this adhesive to one word, it would be the word instantly. Insta-Cure Ic-Gel caught my attention in a blink of an eye. Mainly because of great reviews from pros like Bulk Reef Supply. Who if not these guys got a knack for reef-keeping?
Ic-Gel comes in different sizes: both “thick”, and “extra thick” formulations are available. The main distinction is a package. Which is either bottle or tube. Bottle re-closes, rarely get clogged, and contain less viscous formulation. Tubes, on the other hand, are much more popular among reefers. The reason is you can easily spread tubed glue: it won’t run off as opposed to the more “liquid” bottle glue. Plus, you can squeeze the tube underwater (it doesn’t suck water in).
Generally, I recommend the tube version. It’s less messy and more practical. Ic-Gel is my #2 option so far. If you’ve tried Gorilla but didn’t like it for whatever reason, make sure to give
Bob Smith Insta-Cure Ic-Gel a chance. The tube size is 0.7oz but thanks to Amazon’s great deal. You can get a package of 3 Ic-Gels at a special price.
What exactly makes the Insta-Cure a matter of choice?
Bob Smith Insta-Cure Ic-Gel Features
- Secures your plugs & rockwork
- Cures in a fraction of seconds. Usually, 10-20 seconds is enough
- Reef-safe. No worries about polyp stony corals: both small and large
- Money efficient. One of the greatest values on the market
Bob Smith Insta-Cure Ic-Gel is one of my favorites. I would recommend that if you didn’t yet decide which glue is the best fit for you. Bear in mind that the bottled version is a bit harder to use.
Microbe-Lift Coralscaper Gel
Coralscaper from Microbe-Lift is a two-component silicone-based adhesive. The color of the glue looks aesthetically (does not seem like a foreign body in the reef). Another great feature of this product is its silicone base. Forget about that awful sticky hand feeling!
This glue pairs well with putty. Try the following recipe:
- Prepare a ball of putty then glue the bottom side of it.
- Place the glued putty onto the rock (intended frag spot)
- Dry the plug completely
- Glue the frag and stick it to the putty ball. It takes 10 seconds or more
- Once glued, spread the putty around the plug and rockwork
The principle of the bonding is simple: two parts — usually one based on epoxy resin and one based on ceramics — are mixed together in equal proportions by kneading with your fingers to a soft plasticine state. Next, work is done to fix the coral and in 5 minutes the glue cures, in half an hour it finally sets.
Microbe-Lift Coralscaper Gel Features
- Works in and out. You can glue your frag underwater
- Suitable for sharp corals (e.g. Acropora)
- Applicable to LPS, SPS, and soft corals
- Safe for the aquarium
- Cures quickly, only takes a couple of minutes
- Can be combined with putty
Keep in mind that Coralscore, like any other two-component glue, is not designed to treat soft corals, they are glued either with gel-based superglue or tied down with a rubber band for a while.
BRS Extra Thick Super Glue Gel (Best Price)
Bulk reef supply gel is a perfect way to glue down your frags. Whether you’re involved in a DIY project or do it commercially, this game-changing glue will help.
BRS Extra Thick Gel Super Glue is 110% coral safe. The gel holds its shape well and dries in minutes. Besides, with the thin gel, you can work with all talks of frags, no size is a problem. Thanks to its gel-like structure, the glue sneaks into the remotest coral areas and glues them together. If another glue fails, try BRS Extra Thick Gel Super Glue.
Especially if you mount frags a lot. In this case, you could buy the ultimate large bottle (10oz). But it’s not cheaper if you use any less than half of it. So, you really got to be able to utilize all that treasure. If you’re not sure about this size, you can always get the smaller one under the same brand.
BRS Extra Thick Super Glue Gel Features
- Not as thick like BSI IC-Gel or Gorilla glue
- Lasts nearly forever
- Nozzles may get clogged or covered in glue
- Easy to make frags
- Costs under $4 per ounce (big pack)
- Has extra caps to deal with dried glue
- Requires a good shake before applying
- Putty-like glue (yet vicious)
This is a great product with a lot of positive reviews. The only big disadvantage is the glue is not available on Amazon. It could be a little trickier to get BRS Extra Thick Super Glue Gel (I imply this 10oz bottle specifically. The company has other similar products). Alternatively, you can get this glue directly from the manufacturer’s website.
Seachem Reef Cyanoacrylate Glue
Is there any specific reason why I included Seachem’s glue in the list? Well, that’s hard to say. Initially, there was not a word in this article about Seachem and their miracle glue. Everything happened later…
When I finished writing the article, I spent another couple of days poring over the Internet in search of useful information: talking to people, piling up questions. Until one forum mentioned Seachem, the name seemed familiar. And later I remembered that this old yet innovative company is kind of a synonym for quality. So I started actively researching their glue, and subsequently included it in this list.
Just a few reasons why Seachem glue stands on the fifty-yard line:
Seachem Reef Cyanoacrylate Glue Features
- Harmless to animals within your display tank
- Great choice for soft corals
- 17x thicker formula
- You can glue even rocks
- Cures dry, damp, and underwater
- Pleasant color, matching coralline rocks, algae
- Won’t cloud the water up if used correctly
- Can be stored for a very long time if tightly covered with a lid
Reef Glue is a high-caliber cyanoacrylate gel used for mounting, gluing. From tiniest baby-frags to large full-fledged colonies — you can treat corals safely with Seachem Reef Glue. Even though I wouldn’t call it my favorite, it’s worth trying out.
I evaluated these brands based on the direct opinions of 60 reef-keepers, studied tons of reviews, and talked to pros in local pet stores. Eventually, I came up with an idea to compare them quickly.
Short note: Pricing — The price for the smallest bottle available (usually 1-2oz) per ounce. Imagine some A-branded 1oz bottle is $8 with no alternatives, while another brand offers 2oz for $10. How do you compare the price? Per ounce. For the A brand, I would put $8, for the B — only $5.
Here is a brief of everything I’ve said above:
|Brand||Pricing(average per ounce)||Safety||Performance|
|Bob Smith Insta-Cure Ic-Gel||$6-7||A||A-|
|BRS Extra Thick||$6 ($4)*||A||B|
|Seachem Reef Glue||$10||B||A|
*BRS Extra Thick gel has several packages available. If you buy big-sized glue (10oz) it’ll cost you less than $4 per ounce.
Please keep in mind that all scores are my subjective opinion. Choosing a specific glue brand (especially when it comes to corals) can be a thorny task to pull off, I just wanted to make your choice easier.