Coral fragging is corresponding to gardening. You cut a fragment from the coral and place it someplace else. You can sell or trade with friends. It is mostly done to control excessive growth rates of some corals where you don’t want a tank full of only a single species. Not all corals are suitable for fragging, and neither do all corals need fragging.
Corals that grow fast, have easy to cut or break branches, and can grow from the tiniest of fractions make great fragging corals. Fulfilling these criteria, GSP, mushroom corals, toadstool leather, etc. are some of the best corals for fragging.
If you are looking to grow different types of corals to give your reef a dazzling look, fragging is for you. Here I am going to talk about the 10 best corals for fragging and fragging tips. Both LPS and SPS corals have great fragging potential, although LPS are a bit difficult. I will also discuss what makes a coral suitable for fragging.
What Makes a Coral Easy to Frag?
You don’t have to frag all corals. Coral fragging depends on what you want and what a particular coral species offers. If a coral grows blazing fast and you want a tank full of them, you don’t need to frag it. On the other hand, if you’re going to decorate your reef tank with diverse species that grow fast, you need to resort to fragging. If they grow slow, fragging is irrelevant.
Corals that are hardy, Corals that grow fast, and Corals that can grow from tiny bits of pieces make a coral easy to frag. As for LPS corals, there are two varieties. One that grows like a wall and the other that grows like a branch. Branch type is the easiest to grow as all you need to do is to cut off a branch and place it in the tank. It’s that simple.
Wall-types are horrendous to frag. Most of the time, you won’t find an appropriate spot to cut through. Thirty percent of wall-type corals do not survive fragging. As for SPS coral, all of them respond well to fragging. Also, they are fast growers, which makes them suitable for fragging. The bottom-line, branch type fast growers are your best bets when fragging.
10 Best Corals for Fragging
Now that we know what makes a coral suitable for fragging and learned some names, it’s time to move on to the main course. Here are the 10 best corals for fragging (with tips):
1. Mushroom Corals
The first coral on my list is mushroom coral, and it rightfully deserves the top place. Mushroom corals are one of the hardiest corals that you could find in the market. They are resilient and grow fast to be a well-deserved candidate on this list. They grow just like actual mushrooms. The trunk-like base extends and grows to become a full-sized mushroom.
Most soft corals are easy to frag. I’ve provided a list of easy soft corals for beginners that you can find here. This might be interesting for you if you’re looking for some coral inspiration.
These corals are often chosen for fragging by aquarists because they grow dominantly fast and have a tendency to encroach on other living species in the aquarium. These can be a danger to other creatures in the tank, especially those that do not have an active defense mechanism. Mushroom corals cover rock rapidly as multiple mechanisms work behind it.
Fragging mushroom corals are easy. All you need is a razor-sharp blade or any cutting instrument. I prefer a scalper. Take the mushroom out of the tank that you would like to propagate. Detach it carefully from the rock by using a chisel. Cut through the mouth along the long column. You can cut it into as many pieces as you want.
Lastly, you can attach the frag to smaller rocks and place them in the tank. You will have those rocks covered by fast-growing mushrooms in no time.
2. Green Star Polyps
Green star polyps grow stupendously fast, and it’s challenging to contain them without fragging, of course, unless you want a tank full of GSP’s. They are tough and can withstand the rookie mistakes that are likely to be made by beginners. Green star polyps also look very exotic, which is why they remain one of the top choices by aquarists.
GSP corals grow like weeds and will take over your entire tank in a blink of an eye. They will grow on to pump, pipes, glass walls, literally everything. They engulf the whole rock they are on and grow inside the crevices. They even grow onto the sandy surface going beyond the rocks. Keeping their growth at bay is enough of a reason for fragging.
If you want to frag an entire colony, you can take them out of the tank and tear them off using your hands, like papers. This method may seem cruel and rude, but it’s totally okay. If you want to frag the parts that have extended beyond the rocks, take the rock out of the tank. Cut carefully along the periphery of the rocks to separate the corals.
Place the newly made fragments on tiny rocks. Cover them with a net. Make sure the pieces are pressed against the rock just hard enough so that they don’t move. Finally, Place them in a low flow place in the tank. Also, make sure they are in a secure spot where they can’t be harmed by other aquatic creatures.
3. Toadstool Leather Corals
Sarcophytons, commonly known as leather corals, can always be a great addition to your reef tank. Toadstool leather is the most available among this genus. They look exceptional and exhibit the signature ‘swaying’ movement by corals under medium water flow. They also provide excellent shelter to clown fishes in case you have them in your tank.
Toadstool leathers undergo a phase where the polyps remain retracted, and they are coated by a wax-like layer. It gives an ominous look, and it may seem that the coral is sick or something. Actually, it’s an entirely natural process. By this process, they get rid of any excess algae or other dirt they don’t want on their bodies.
I’ve found a great video on Youtube that I found very insightful to watch:
Fragging toadstool leather is pretty straightforward once you have grabbed the basics. It would be best if you had scissors, some rocks and rubber bands. When cutting, make sure the stock remains intact. Cut a ring-like shape or so in the rim and cut them into small pieces. Place the unchanged stock back in the tank. Make sure to wash everything because they release toxic substances after being cut open.
These substances can be dangerous to other creatures in the tank. As for the fragments, place them on the rocks. Find a crevice so that they don’t get crushed against the rocks by the rubber band. Once again, wash properly and place them in the tank.
Acropora corals make one-third of coral reefs. They are small polyp stony (SPS) corals and make a branching appearance. They grow pretty fast under optimum conditions. High-intensity lighting is excellent for Arcoporas’ vivid coloration, although they do well under moderate lighting. However, they should be acclimated to intense lights to avoid any discoloration.
They get all the necessary nutrients from the symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae algae. Anything extra is also welcomed. Acroporas are not notoriously fast-growers. They are mainly fragged to grow in a different spot or to trade. They grow reasonably fast, so you won’t have to wait impatiently for the frags to regrow.
As they are SPS corals meaning they have a stony skeleton, you will need a saw or pliers. Using a band-saw is pretty handy. If you cannot find a proper spot to cut by the band saw, I recommend using a pliers. Cut as close as possible from the base while leaving some portions on the base to regrow. Cut a few tips according to your need.
Attach them vertically on the rocks using super glue gel. Try using square-shaped rocks. Once they are correctly attached, place them in your tank. In 3-4 weeks, they will grow up to become full-sized corals.
5. Torch Coral
One of the most common in the Euphyllia genus, torch coral, looks just like a torch swaying in your tank. They can adapt to moderate flow and light. Plus, they are not aggressive at all. Rather, when placing them in your tank, make sure any fish or coral do not attack this coral as they do not actively defend themselves.
Torch corals grow as a branch instead of growing as solid walls, unlike other species of Euphyllia. Despite being a stony coral, you can use a saw, bone cutter, or even snap a branch off bear handed. They don’t grow extremely fast, so fragging is done to keep the colony in ideal shape.
You can trade or sell the frags. Fragging is a common and popular way to make money to fund your hobby. Here is a guide on how to grow coral for profit. If you’re not interested in selling but just want to propagate your coral the right way, check out this article on coral propagation.
You can use a bandsaw to cut the branches from the base. Using a saw is preferred because you will get a clean cut to attach the fragments to frag disks conveniently. Like any corals, they release toxins when cut, so it’s always ideal to rinse them in an iodine solution. Use super glue gel to attach them to frag disks. Make sure the new frags remain upright once placed in the tank.
Xenia grows ridiculously fast. You can actually frag it without cutting. It keeps on growing in any direction it can find some space. You can put rubble or rock in its path of growth, and xenia will engulf it in no time. Then you can pick up the piece of debris, and there you have an excellent section of xenia frag.
If you can’t wait to get your hands dirty, literally speaking, just cut a branch or two. Since they are very soft, you can cut them without taking the whole colony out of the tank. After getting your desired unit, tie it with a piece of rock and place it on the floor of the tank. The wound takes about a week to heal. After putting it in the tank, you will get a new colony in ten days or so.
7. Duncan Coral
Duncanopsammia or Duncan corals is a widely popular LPS coral. They have a stony skeleton, which means they require high levels of calcium and other trace elements for surviving properly. They have branches and fleshy polyps. They have a close resemblance to zoanthids due to the identical looking polyps.
They grow reasonably fast, but that’s not the reason behind fragging. They are fragged to share or sell and sometimes to revive them from damage. Sometimes they are infections in the branches and at the base. Even if these infections are localized, they may cause the whole colony to suffer. The only remedy is to cut off the infected part.
You can use pliers or clippers to cut off any branch you like. After cutting a few branches of your likings, attach them vertically to the frag disk using a coral gel. You can use super glue or other adhesives available on the market. But using specialized coral gels are preferable. Then place them in the aquarium. That’s it!
8. Candy Cane Coral
Candy cane corals are excellent for fragging. In fact, they are one of the top choices for beginners to learn to frag. Their anatomy is what makes them so easy and suitable to frag. They have a giant fleshy polyp that sits on top of branches extending from the coral skeleton. They are very peaceful and play well with other residents of your tank.
While you can snap the branch off using your hands, using some sort of tool is advised. You can use a bone cutter, pliers, or clippers to cut the coral. Make the cut below the fleshy polyp. Do not go all the way down to the base. Also, do not cut right below the polyp. Make sure some part of the branch comes with the polyp so that you can adequately attach them with rocks.
Have other tools like epoxy or glues, small rocks, disinfectants before starting the procedure. Attach the fragmented portion with rock using glue, coral gel, or epoxy. Before placing them back in the tank, rinse them with mild disinfectants. They release toxins, so better safe than sorry. Be sure that they are set in the low light area of the tank.
9. Plate Coral
Plate coral is also known as Fungia coral. This coral is unique looking, unlike any other on this list. They are identical to a plate, disk, or saucer, whatever you call it. They resemble a piece of hardened bone that is shaped like a plate. That is what gives their name. They have their mouth in the middle of the plate, which plays a crucial role in fragging.
So, the key is cutting them like pizzas. You can cut up to as many pieces as you want as long as each piece contains some part of the eye (the middle part of the coral). You must use a band saw because they are tough, and cutting them with a manual saw isn’t an option. After cutting in pieces, place them on the sandy surface of the aquarium.
Some debate that plate corals do not require the eye to propagate. In that case, you can cut them in any shape you want. Just don’t cut them into too tiny pieces to notice. For a standard-sized coral, cutting to 6-8 pieces is recommended, no matter how you cut them. If you have second thoughts, I recommend cutting them like pizzas, so each part contains the eye.
10. Devil’s Hand Coral
This is another variety of leather coral. It is called Lobophytum Leather or Devil’s hand coral. This coral looks like a hand with more than five fingers. This gives them a terrifying look. This distinctive appearance also makes them one of the easiest corals to propagate. Even if it’s your first fragging attempt, you can do it correctly.
The devil’s hand coral offers multiple convenient fragging points. In fact, all of the fingers are potential fragging points, and you can cut through any of them. You can use stainless steel scissors, a blade, or a knife. But using scissors is the most convenient method. Just cut through as many fingers as you like, and there’s your fragging done.
You can attach them with rocks using rubber bands. Try using rocks with enough pockets so that the fragments do not get excessive tension from the rubber band. Alternatively, you can place the pieces in a plastic container along with some rubbles and cover it with some kind of meshy veils. Place them in your tank, and the frags will attach to the rubbles naturally.
Final Fragging Tips
Fragging is a hobby for many aquarists. But hobby or not, some corals require mandatory fragging due to being fast growers. Fragging isn’t a universal procedure. Different species need to be fragged differently. No matter the reason, some elementary knowledge about fragging species and processes is essential if you are into it.
In the article above, I have mentioned the 10 best corals for fragging with some tips and tricks. Enthusiasts or beginners, this article is aimed at all sorts of aquarists to help them with fragging their beloved members of the reef tank. Best of luck with creating a beautiful reef tank and thanks for stopping by.