It’s enough to make an aquarist shudder, a beautiful reef with corals that are healthy and expanded, fancy cutting one? Er, not really, no.
The fact is that corals that are healthy are going to grow. Growth is of course absolutely normal and occurs with whatever the type of coral, soft or hard, and whatever species it is.
A captive coral reef that is successful will need attention in time, in addition to the usual but very important routine maintenance. Growth of corals can change seawater flow, reducing it for some corals which is not good. Corals that are becoming large can also overshadow others, which mean the corals in shadow are going to suffer because the zooxanthellae object to the lack of light. Corals can also expand to the point where they touch and in some cases this is when a territorial war begins.
The aquarist can deal with all of this without spoiling the appearance of the reef. The corals that are now becoming too large can be cut. The hobby term for cutting corals is ‘fragging’.
If it is only one coral or just a few that are causing problems, cutting can be done and the cuttings, or ‘frags’, can be grown on in the display aquarium. Or the aquarist could use a small shallow additional aquarium to grow on more numerous frags.
The frags when available and known to be healthy could be used as exchanges with other aquarists, or taken to the LFS for a credit or merchandise.
Frags are generally more tolerant of aquarium conditions than their wild reef counterparts, and this is a definite plus for the marine aquarist.
Propagating corals is not difficult and the procedures are straightforward. Corals are tolerant of the procedure and seldom suffer any negative side effects. Propagation is also becoming more important as time passes and the wild reefs slip into more serious trouble.
The link is a website that is very well respected. On arrival, a list will be seen on the left hand side. There are two headings to click on relevant to propagation, the first near the top of the list called ‘The Frugal Reefer’ and the second further down called ‘Propagation’. There are sub-headings to choose from.
The website is very interesting overall so it is worthwhile having a general look arounds well.