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Big Reef Display and Frag Tanks

Posted: February 24, 2014, 1:05 p.m. EDT


By David Lass

I recently visited Underwater World in Taunton, Mass., a store owned by Greg Driscoll, who has a terrific tank idea that I want to share.

Just in front of Underwater World sits a 265 reef tank with a fantastic collection of corals, both soft and stony, and is maintained in top form.

Since the tank has matured, Greg has taken on a regular basis frags from all of the corals in the tank.

He puts the frags on plugs and then rests them for a couple of weeks in a tank set up with a lighting egg crate (sold in home-improvement stores for use in 2-in.-by-4-in. ceiling lighting fixtures), which the plugs fit perfectly.

Underwater World
Underwater World store front. David Lass

The reef tank set up with the frags has got to be the most productive use of square footage in the entire store. Greg said that he has no idea how many frags he has taken over the years since the tank has been set up, but it has to be in the hundreds. And the time, effort and space that it takes up are minimal.

To frag a stony coral, all one has to do is snip off the growing tip of the coral. It is best to use a sharp pair of clips or scissors made specifically for this purpose. Then treat the newly cut frag in a dip of iodine or one of the preparations made specifically for fragging corals. Take a bit of coral adhesive and attach the frag to one of the little plugs also made specifically for this purpose. Set the newly created frag in a clean tank, preferably in a tray of some kind so the water flows completely around the frag.

In addition to making some very easy money by selling the newly minted frags (after they have recovered from the process; usually a couple of weeks), the stony corals in the large display tank branch and grow very fast, filling out the tank nicely.

Soft corals can be propagated simply by cutting off the growing parts of the colony, or slicing into pieces of corals, such as mushrooms. Some stores also will take frags that their customers have made from the corals in their home tanks, usually for store credit and not for cash. The only problem with this is that very quickly the customer base of your store can become flooded with a couple types of corals.

Whether propagating corals in the store or trading customers for theirs, it is always nice to know that we can have truly gorgeous reef tanks without having to take any corals from the wild.                                                                                                                                                                      

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