Propagation of Zoanthids … by lReef lKeeper

Hey everyone, this is Bobby again. I was asked to write an article on Zoanthid fragging for a back issue of the “Species Spotlight” on zoanthids, so here it is …

Below is a picture of the “tools” needed for the job at hand … a razor blade or scalpel, GLOVES, EYE PROTECTION, rubble rock, superglue gel, and a Zoanthid colony.

When fragging zoanthids, I ALWAYS recommend wearing gloves, AND eye protection. I recommend this because zoanthids can be extremely toxic to humans, and have even been known to be deadly. While zoanthid toxins are powerful they are also beneficial and scientists are currently working on a vaccine for CANCER, using zoanthid toxins.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can get into the good stuff. Below is a short video of a somewhat simple fragging of a zoanthid colony. We did this cut by simply cutting the overhanging zoanthids away from the colony and off of the rock.

In the video, you may have noticed why we ALWAYS recommend the use of eye protection. Just in case you did not see it, zoanthids can “shoot” water for quite a long distance. They can EASILY “shoot” far enough to hit you in your eyes. If this toxin hits you in the eyes, it can be a very painful situation. I don’t remember where I heard this. But I have heard that they have been known to cause blindness. If you are interested in learning more there is an article by Anthony Calfo on his experience with the toxin over on his forum at Marine Depot ... Marine Systems and Husbandry – by Anthony Calfo

When cutting the zoas, you saw that we simply separated them in a somewhat straight line and cut them away from the colony. Now that the cut is done, we are on to the mounting process. In this article, we have decided to go with the superglue mounting technique. Mike, (the friend helping in the pics and videos), uses superglue on a lot of the Zoanthids that he frags, and he frags a lot of zoas. I usually try to chip the rock to frag Zoanthids. Since he does his Zoanthids differently, we decided to let him show us how he frags them. My way is very easy to explain as you will see below.

When mounting these frags, we are using a superglue containing cyanoacrylate. This type of glue is the only type that we ever use when fragging anything. There is another type of superglue that does not contain cyanoacrylate, and it seems to cause a bad reaction when used with corals. The specific brand does not matter just the chemical cyanoacrylate. Superglue gel is far more effective than the much thinner regular superglue.

In this example we are simply pressing the frag to the glue and holding it there for about 15-20 seconds. Water activates superglue and if you are having trouble getting it to harden drip some tank water on it. If you are not sure it is solid let it sit in a samll bowl of tank water for a few minutes. Once the glue has hardened the frag goes back into the water that the water that the colony came out of. When I do my fragging, I usually just cut the polyps from the rock, or chisel a small piece of the rock off. If I cut the polyps from the colony, I just drop them into a bowl of rubble rock in the frag tank and let them attach on their own.

When you get all of the frags attached to the rubble you are pretty much done !! The frags should start spreading out somewhat quickly and over the visible glue. I have also noticed that if you do not have a colony with polyps overhanging the rock, that the colony seems to re-grow the polyps faster if you cut the frag from the center of the colony. This encourages colony to grow from all of the sides that were cut, instead of just on one side. They seem to heal in less than half of the time than if cut from one side of the colony.

I thought that this would be the easiest way to go about this fragging process for anyone that wants to frag their colonies and do some trading with fellow reefers in their area or club. If you decide that this article does not go in depth enough for your needs, feel free to send me a PM on Talkingreef, or post in the “Coral Fragging” forum, under the “Need help fragging??”topic (a sticky thread).

Well that is all for this article. I hope that it helps, and encourages everyone to do their part in saving our reefs. Thanks for stopping by, and I will see you in future articles.

lReef lKeeper