fragging a catalaphylia jardinei

rjung1

New member
Anthony, I asked for advice/tips on doing this in the new coral propagation forum but so far have not received any responses. I hope I am not out of line asking you directly here but I consider you an expert so. . .
Anyway, I know this is not the best species for fragging, but I really like a specimen that is in a local dealer's tank. Problem is it is quite large and I don't have room for this much (and taking into consideration the additional growth its reputed for and desiring to give it a good 6 inches space from other corals as you suggest in your book). The good news is that a friend also would like to have some of the specimen (who wouldn't, it has striking purple tips) and if we could feel confident about fragging it into two pieces it would be great. One reefkeeper suggested using a dremel tool to cut the skeleton in half, but leaving the living tissue uncut. Then placing the partially cut piece in a tank on the substrate with one half slightly elevated above the other half. Then it was suggested that the coral would finish the seperation of the living tissue on its own naturally in a week or so, doing the least amount of damage (or really none at all). This sounds reasonable but do you think we could go ahead and cut the tissue cleanly with a razor blade at the same time as we saw the skeleton? Imatience and no holding tank required...

Robin.
 

Anthony Calfo

New member
Robin,

My apologies for the delay in reply. I need to check in with the adminstrators to see if I have not adjusted my settings properly. I did not get a notice for this post and was just directed to it now.

**Anthony, I asked for advice/tips on doing this in the new coral propagation forum but so far have not received any responses. I hope I am not out of line asking you directly here but I consider you an expert so. . .


Please do not feel that it is ever a bother to ask a question. We explore, grow and become enlightened in doing so! It is a pleasure that you care to know my opinion.


**Anyway, I know this is not the best species for fragging, but I really like a specimen that is in a local dealer's tank. Problem is it is quite large and I don't have room for this much (and taking into consideration the additional growth its reputed for and desiring to give it a good 6 inches space from other corals as you suggest in your book).

Interesting... alas, so few large specimens make it through the chain of custody with little or no damage. As much as I love to see corals propagated, this specimen would be best left alone for that very purpose. To explain, some corals will ultimately yield a greater and/or more successful (survivability) number of clones if allowed to mature to reach a critical mass. As we know that this scleractinian does not produce as many sucessful clones through fragmentation (number and survival) as so many others (like SPS), it is a candidate for leaving to mature with the hope of producing via a more suvccessful and/or natural strategy (planulating, polyp balls, etc). So... my advice for these and so many more reasons is to please let this big fella stay together. I'd honestly feel better endorsing its fragmentation if you had experience fragging other Euphylliids first.

**The good news is that a friend also would like to have some of the specimen (who wouldn't, it has striking purple tips) and if we could feel confident about fragging it into two pieces it would be great.>

There are enough small specimens still imported that it would serve the greater good for all for you to pursue them. I strongly agree with Eric Borneman that at least some if not much (but certainly not all) of the problems with elegants recently are due to luminary shock of specimens imported from great depths (dark purple tip elegants)

**One reefkeeper suggested using a dremel tool to cut the skeleton in half, but leaving the living tissue uncut. Then placing the partially cut piece in a tank on the substrate with one half slightly elevated above the other half. Then it was suggested that the coral would finish the seperation of the living tissue on its own naturally in a week or so, doing the least amount of damage (or really none at all). >

Very sound advice and proceedure. I concur wholeheartedly.

**This sounds reasonable but do you think we could go ahead and cut the tissue cleanly with a razor blade at the same time as we saw the skeleton? Imatience and no holding tank required...
Robin.>

The holding tank will be critical in any case. The sensation of other competitive cnidarians in a display tank will impose undue stress on this lovely coral. It really would fare better if fragged in a dedicated vessel. Another concern is the type of elegant you are working with: is the corallum (skeleton) a meandering wall formation (which tells us it was collected on a hard substrate) or is it a conical vase like corallum (like a Trachyphyllia) which suggests it was a free-living specimen collected in the sand?Again... my ultimate advice would be to have patience, find a smaller piece and leave the experimentation to aquarists with necessary hardware (QT tanks, mono-specific systems, etc) and experience.

I am however looking forward to hearing of other coral farming adventures from you :D

Wth kind regards, Anthony
 

Reefs_Rock

10 & Over Club
Anthony

I'm glad you responded to this post. I know you are very busy and for you to post is an honor.

One thing about open minded thinkers is the ability to carry on discussions without losing perspective of the ultimate result, ie, the furthering of our cause. Two can agree or disagree and by discussion of methodologies gain insight and wisdom. In this case, the fragging of elegant coral.

In answering the following quote.....
One reefkeeper suggested using a dremel tool to cut the skeleton in half, but leaving the living tissue uncut. Then placing the partially cut piece in a tank on the substrate with one half slightly elevated above the other half. Then it was suggested that the coral would finish the seperation of the living tissue on its own naturally in a week or so, doing the least amount of damage (or really none at all).
You said....
Very sound advice and proceedure. I concur wholeheartedly
Even if the fragger, operating the dremel tool, had the skilled hands of a brain surgeon to cut the skelatal structure of the coral I believe tissue damage would occur because the tissue is conected to the skelatal foundation.

In my humble opinion I concure with your first suggestion as to propagation.....
it is a candidate for leaving to mature with the hope of producing via a more suvccessful and/or natural strategy (planulating, polyp balls, etc).

You might find the following related thread interseting.....
http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&postid=701475#post701475

Also, the property for our greenhouse has been found near FT Pierce, FL and will be purchasing it soon, then comes the house followed by the greenhouse. If you would like an automatic update go to my web site The Cultured Reef and enter your e-mail address in the member's only area and when you get the confirmation e-mail click the link confirming your desire to receive updates. If you have time sign our guest book and put a pin on our guest map. It would be an honor to have you as a member.

Sincerely

Richard Hilgers
 

Anthony Calfo

New member
Richard... excellent to hear from you!

Quite a lively thread over there in the prop forum too!

Indeed, many good points made by several people. And of course there is no definative answer or solution short of a responsible excercise of our free will.

My advice FWIW on whether to fragment a Catalaphyllia would differ between aquarists and specific circumstances.

Yes, my ultimate position is as stated (book and post): for most people in most situations (so-called casual aquarists with mixed species garden reef displays) fragging an elegant is not recommended outside of an emmergent need. There are plenty of other animals for such kind folks to work with while the status of elegants seems to be burdened somewhat (overcollection, artifact of the shipping process... whatever).

A damaged or dying elegant is another matter altogether and perhaps a very good reason for judicious experimentation.

And then there are experienced farmers (controversial, outspoken and otherwise...ahem Dr Fraggenstein :D) that are ultimately the best candidates for any experimentation that will be done. To some extent..yes, you do have to break a few eggs to make an omellete. The degree of such sacrifice I cannot speak to here. For that the self-governing body would need/want to debate and reach an intelligent consensus (self-policing again :)) But while there are specimens available for ornamental display (this assumes that a sustainable population still exists), reasonable and judicious experimentation is appropriate IMO.

So... I checked out your website... looks like it has/will have a lot on content! Kudos to you, my friend.

If you would like any articles to post I have plenty of free content to share. Do solicit from others as well. I have some friends that would like to share articles as well I'm sure. E-mail me privately if so.

I'll be sure to sign up for updates and will look forward to visiting your coral farm soon :)

With kind regards,

Anthony Calfo
 
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