Many newcomers to the saltwater aquarium hobby usually ask the question, “What the heck is a coral frag?” If you have seen a coral frag in an aquatic store, then you also probably wondered how they got the coral on a piece of rock. In this brief article, I will not only explain what a coral frag is, but also how to do one yourself.
A coral frag is simply a cut off piece of any type of coral, latched onto a rock or a place holder. Usually, the coral will be cut from the very bottom of its branch, then gently tied to a rock with some type of nylon fishing line or reef glue, and finally placed back into the aquarium to regrow. The rock you use is completely optional as it is your call what you would like its base to be. It takes anywhere from 7-14 days (sometimes even longer) for it to fully heal and “stick” onto the rock, but once it does then the coral looks just like new… without anyone ever knowing you cut it off its original host.
After it has been attached/stuck to the rock and opened its polyps back up, it is now what is considered a coral frag. Some corals are a little more complex on how to frag out, so research is definitely needed when doing them yourself. It is highly recommended that you keep a cleaner shrimp in the tank that you’re cutting your coral branches off of, so that way the shrimp can help heal the coral’s base.
The most expensive coral that I have ever seen in this category would be a new hybrid of Chalice called Rainbow Inferno Flamethrower Chalice (Yes, people name them weird things if they have not been founded yet…). Either way, not many people are distributing them right now, and they’re selling for a whopping £900 per frag.
Another phrase that comes up quite often is the term LPS and SPS. This is a very confusing abbreviation because even knowing the terms do not help out a beginner much. LPS stands for large stony polyp coral, and SPS is soft polyp stony coral. This simply defines corals into two different categories based on how long their branches are. These types do not necessarily mean that one is easier to care for than another. It all depends on the specific type of coral you are looking to purchase for your tank and what you deem is aesthetically pleasing. Below, I will list some of the more popular corals by these two categories to look out for:
Bird of Paradise
Vivid Tricolor Acropora
Green Apple Cap
Purple Tip Nasuta
Red Montipora Palawanesis
Candy Cane Coral
This is just a small list of both types of corals you can get, with hundreds more to choose from. Also as you probably noticed, SPS corals have much more elaborate names than the LPS corals! There are so many different varieties of each type, that it is nearly impossible to list every single one. I even had to condense down the LPS list because there are many subspecies of the ones that I listed. Even if we did manage to list them all, hobbyists are still finding new hybrids of coral, like the Rainbow Inferno Flamethrower Coral that I mentioned previously.
It is a very interesting approach to keeping coral not only a hobby but also a relevant topic for those wanting to learn more about coral reef beds in the ocean. Approximately 33% of our ocean life lives on reef beds, so it’s no wonder that people are so enthralled by it.