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Weekly Cutting Of The 300 Gallon Reef & New Acro Frag Plug

By Fish of Hex on

Travis: What's up, guys? Welcome back to Fish of Hex. My name is Travis. Today we're going to be taking two video ideas and combining them into one, just because they do work well together. Now, the first part is going to be showing you how I frag up the 300 gallon reef. Now, I do this about once per week. I try to get in there and cut coral just to prevent them from killing themselves or each other. I'm going to talk about my whole thought process behind doing that and why I cut certain corals and why I haven't even bothered with some colonies just because it is just too late to take care of that.

Then the second part of the video, I will be showing you a acro frag plug which I help develop with reef craters. Now, there are many different versions of this frag plug out there. Basically, the concept is to have the ability to hold up the frag, basically the stick type of SPS, the acropora, that kind of stuff, allowing it to hold up straight while the glue dries, so you don't have to worry about falling over. Because anybody who has frag coral knows that just regular flat disc can be a little bit of pain when it comes to gluing SPS coral onto them.

With that said, let's go ahead and get into the 300, star cut it up and I'll show you guys the whole process. While I'm in here cutting up the corals, let me just go over the whole thought process behind why I frag and why I do it so often. Now, when it comes to cutting up the colonies, as I mentioned, it's all about keeping them from killing themselves and mostly killing each other. The thing is that if you just let the tank grow, they will grow into each other. With anything, there's going to be a winner and a loser.

9 out of 10 times it's usually the colony that I really like that doesn't win. It ends up getting too stressed out and eventually will STN and be completely white within just a few weeks. I've tend to just go in there, cut up what I can and keep them away from each other just enough that it doesn't really mess with how the colony looks, but it keeps them happy and lets them continually grow and without that additional stress. Now, there are certain parts of the tank like in the middle top rock structure.

I have given up on cutting that, that big blue staghorn with that Fishofhex milli. Those guys go at it all the time. If you guys remember, a few weeks ago I had some STN on that blue acropora. It went away when I actually cut the millipora away from it and allowed it to grow. That STN at the bottom actually stopped. It went away completely. Now, over the last few weeks, these guys have started growing into each other again. The STN has started back up on the bottom of that acropora. Unfortunately, there's a whole branch that's just turning away right now, because that millipora is just doing some crazy damage.

Now, I'm going to just leave that alone, let it continue to grow and see what happens over the next few weeks. If I find that the whole colony is just not doing well, I'll go in there and frag out and remove the entire thing and put a piece back in there and have it grow out in a different direction. I mentioned doing something like that, I think a month ago or so. Because the STN stopped, I didn't really bother going in there and cutting it. Because it's starting up again, it's just one of those things I might have to actually do.

Now I will admit, it's pretty painful not only visually to see one of your favorite colonies just getting destroyed by another coral, but financially, just knowing how much these frags are worth and how much I sell them for on a daily basis. Knowing that I'm just bleeding out money, it's just like a twofold, it hurts in both directions. I really don't like the fact that I'm having that issue right now in the tank, but it's one of those things where sometimes you just need to step back, let nature do its thing and see what the outcome's going to be.

Again, worst case scenario, I pull out the entire colony, I still make some money on the acropora that I pull out, I get to put a piece back where I wanted to and again, that will continue to grow. It sucks, but there is always going to be a positive side to the whole situation. Moving back to the whole process of cutting coral. I like to get in there with the bone cutters and just snip off a little bit. I don't squeeze all the way through. I just add a little bit of pressure and twist. That way it doesn't shock the whole colony, because you'll notice when you cut big pieces of SPS coral, if you cut straight through it without putting any kind of side twisting pressure, it actually rattles the whole colony.

That could be bad if it's weak in any point underneath where you're cutting, it could potentially break off the whole colony. I always go in there, add a little bit of pressure and do a little twist, which will allow it to break right where that pressure is. Now of course, when it comes to fragging and removing the corals, I like to isolate them by species in a plastic cup with tank water. Now, I do this for a couple of reasons.

The first one is to make sure that they never dry out. The second is to make sure that they never touch any other acropora, which could potentially further the stress that they have by stinging each other. Since they're already injured from me cutting them, you need to make sure that you take great care so they'll get through this healing process and eventually be good frags that I can sell. Now, speaking of the healing process, it usually takes about three weeks for them to go through it before I actually put them on the website.

Anything you guys see me cutting today will not be available for several weeks. That's just because I want to make sure that I give the coral the best chance to make it through the shipping process to your house and to go through any changes that might be between our two systems, water parameter wise and the whole shipping stress. I want to make sure that they can have the best chances possible of surviving and doing well in your tank. A lot of people like to cut coral, ship it out within the next couple days. That's something that I refuse to do.

If I have to wait several weeks to actually sell a coral, it is what it is. Let's go ahead and move over to the workbench. I'll show you the frag plugs, their features and how they actually work. Now, as you guys can see, they are relatively small frag plug. The top is three fourth inches, which works out well. Basically, I did that just because I use egg crate in my frag system. I like to make sure that I can keep them close together. Allow me to put more acros in that small of a space.

Now, it works out great because not only are they small, but they're also a darker color, which is really good for taking pictures. It doesn't pop like the white, especially when you're editing. You're trying to make the whole coral look the way it does in real life. Sometimes the white from a frag plug can really throw off the whole imaging and can be really hard to deal with. Having them being darker, having them being smaller are just two perks to these frag plugs.

Then the most important part is having that hole in the middle, which allows me to just simply add a little bit of glue and then go ahead and just put the acro inside that hole. It holds up relatively well. Now, there are some instances where the base of the corals are a little bit bigger than the hole. You just have to angle and make sure it just sits right before you eventually put your glue accelerator, which by the way, I use the BRS glue accelerator and their thick gel super glue for this whole process.

It's just one of those things that I really like how the whole combination of the plugs, the glue, the glue accelerator. It just allows me to get them fragged up quickly and then into the frag tank. Now, once I have a batch of frags ready to be put into the frag tank, I'll gather them all at one time and drop them in there. Now, I tend to keep the flow a little bit lower during this process, and then over the next several days I'll ramp it back up to his normal speed just because I don't want to take any chances of knocking the plug off or knocking the coral off and just dealing with the whole process of fishing around the tank trying to find pieces of acropora.

What you will notice if you are doing this is sometimes that the glue itself interacts not only with the glue accelerator to harden, but sometimes inside the glue words, not directly interacting with the accelerator. It will interact with the saltwater and cause it to bubble up and you'll get these little bubbles at the bottom of the frag plugs. In a couple days, once the corals have calmed down, I'll go in there and just pull off the little pieces of glue that might have bubbled up and then we're good to go.

Eventually, they will break off and go down the overflow, but because it bothers me the way it looks I just go in there and break it off myself. Well, guys, that's about it for this video. I hope you enjoyed it and found it to be somewhat entertaining. Now, I do apologize for being such a cut and dry type of topic. It's really not that exciting, but you guys have wanted to see this type of content.

Of course, I want to provide the content you guys want to see. That's just how it is. If you have any more ideas for videos that you want, definitely put them in the comments section. I'm definitely up for creating that type of stuff. Now, if you guys want to support the channel, or you want to purchase these frag plugs, definitely check out for coral sales, the frag plugs, all that good stuff. You guys know what's there. I'll see you guys Wednesday with another video. I do plan on doing an email Q&A this week.

If you want to be part of that and you want your questions answered, definitely email me at [email protected] by Wednesday morning. I'll be able to add that to the video. Now, if we get a hundred different questions, it's going to be very difficult to answer them all. We'll see how many we get and how long the video is and then we'll just maybe make a second one. With that said, I'll see you guys later. Peace.

About Fish of Hex

Travis’ main reef display tank featuring many small-polyp stony coral (SPS) is a 300-gallon custom glass aquarium setting on a welded iron stand, both from Custom Aquariums.

"Here you will find everything you need to know to be successful in the saltwater aquarium hobby. I have several video series such as "Beginner Guide to Saltwater Aquariums", "300 Gallon Build" and "How to & Diy". I will teach you how to avoid common mistakes and prevent tank disasters. With thirteen years of experience in the hobby, I plan on sharing all of it with my subscribers. I take great pride in helping others and seeing their tanks grow into amazing works of art makes the time I put into making these videos worth it. Follow me and you will have an amazing reef tank in no time!"

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