Reef Gardening – Coral Propagation

A reef aquarium is a delight. Hard or soft corals healthy and growing. Fish cruising about, in and out of the rocks, hoping to find something edible. Beautiful coralline algae growing on rocks and on the rear glass. Tiny life forms going about their business. Just as on the wild reef. Except this is a captive reef, assisted and maintained by an aquarist and supported by nature.

The aquarist is proud of the creation, and rightly so. He/she has expended a lot of time on research, and money on equipment and livestock. Time is also spent on maintenance, such as cleaning the glass of unwanted algae, ensuring the reef structure is safe, and checking and removing unwanted items from the sand and/or rocks. Seawater parameters are maintained, with additives where necessary. [Read more]

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  1. I am thinking of learning how to propagate corals for my experience and to help support my local pet shop, of which I work at. I am looking for a few ideas for “starter” corals to ease the transition into this field.
    Any help or advise you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Hello Roxanne.
    To start with I suggest you use just a toadstool coral (Sarcophyton sp). This will get you over the first ‘cut’ and give you confidence.
    There are two ways of “fragging” a toadstool that I have used.
    The first is to cut the head off. Leave a good length of stalk on the original coral (it must not be too short), and a short length of stalk on the head. The original stalk will grow a new head. Attach the cut off head by firmly fixing the short stalk between two rocks, or keep it in place with a cocktail stick or similar.
    The second way is to cut the head off and not leave much stalk, if any, on the head. Then cut the head into, say, five parts. Attach each part to a rock with a cocktail stick or rubber band (not too tight) and leave to attach and grow. The original coral will grow a new head. The one hitch with this is that sometimes the new corals from the cut up head are a bit misshapen, and, of course, it takes longer.
    In both cases water quality must be good with decent movement and lighting adequate.
    I suggest you initially use the first method, just cut the head off and produce two corals from one. This will give you confidence.
    I have done it many times and not had any problems, and I’m no surgeon!
    Once over the hurdle you could consider using other corals.
    Have fun! You’ll certainly help the pet shop, and also the reefs at the same time.

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