What is a Coral Frag?

What is a Coral Frag?

A coral frag is simply a fragment of a coral. Instead of saying coral fragments we often refer to them as a frags.  10 years ago in the aquarium hobby the idea of buying, selling or trading frags was still relatively new. Now frags are the commonly accepted form of coral among aquarists.

coral frags

A collection of different coral frag species 

How are coral frags made?

Coral frags are made by cutting or breaking off pieces of larger coral colonies.  A colony is the term used to describe a larger or unfragged coral. Fragging a colony would entail cutting fragments off of it or is some cases cutting up the entire colony into many small pieces. With proper aquarium care the frags will once again grow into colonies were the process can be repeated.

making sps coral frags

It took about 1 year to grow this Tenuis frag from a frag to a colony

growing zoa frags

How to make coral frags

We use a special bandsaw in order to safely make frags from our colonies. Some corals we frag we use simple tools and others we are even able to frag by hand. We often use razor blades aswell to cut soft corals. There is no rule book when it comes to making coral fragments and no two colonies would be fragged the same. Every piece is unique and approached differently and fragged with different techniques

A special bandsaw with a diamond blade is used to safely and precisely cut the corals and make frags

this band saw can be found here
coral cutting tools

In some cases bone cutters are the best option for cutting through the hard skeleton of corals

What is a Frag Plug?

A Frag plug is a small piece of specially designed ceramic that holds the coral in place. The coral pieces are glued with special adhesive to frag plugs. The frag plug is used to mount the coral in the correct position. Most coral we want facing up towards the light. Similar to planting a tree you want to plant it straight and not have it fall over. There are few corals that grow sideways and in those cases we would frag and glue them according to the way we know or think the will grow. The stem is designed to fit in coral frag racks, these rack allow people to hover or hold many coral frags in their aquarium until they can decide were they want to glue the frags. Once a coral is adhered to your rock work its not advisable to move it. These frag rack holders give people time to decide and have the corals held in limbo into they are ready to commit to a spot

reef tank frag rack

Frags plugs in many peoples opinion are unsightly. We are trying to recreate reef aquariums that mimic natural reefs and you wouldn’t find small ceramic frag plugs all over the reef. With time many coral frags will completely cover their respective frag plugs and you can no longer see them.

utter chaos palys

This coral is very close to covering the entire frag plug to the point where its not longer visible

Safety

Its important to remember some corals contain poison. Corals are living animals and want to protect themselves. We need to respect them and be careful when fragging. We always recommend wearing gloves and goggles when make coral frags.

how to frag coral safely

Its important to safely frag corals and always use gloves and goggles 

Why do people Buy Coral Frags ?

People buy coral frags in order to one day grow them into colonies.

There are a couple of great advantages of purchasing frags over colonies

Its fun to watch them grow

They are fun to collect

You can try many different corals for much less that buying a colony

If a single frag dies it may only cost $10-20 were colonies often sell for $100-200

They are sustainable and many corals are now being grown and traded in Canada resulting in less impact in our oceans

The downside is they can , depending on the coral species take a long time to grow into a colony. This hobby however rewards those who are patient

watermelon chalice frag

This beautiful watermelon chalice frag will one day grow into a showpiece colony

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