Simple Steps to Coral Conservation
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Coral propagation is a challenging and fulfilling aspect of reef keeping. It is also a great way to enjoy the reef aquarium hobby without placing unnecessary pressure on natural coral reefs. As the world's reefs decline in health, it is crucial for hobbyists to be aware of this engaging facet of their hobby.

We encourage home reef enthusiasts to pursue coral propagation. It is rewarding as a hobby AND as a conscientious effort to protect our natural reefs. Our "3-P" approach offers a simple and sensible way for every reef hobbyist to promote coral conservation.

PLAN - Whenever possible, plan to stock your aquarium with aquacultured corals. Aquacultured corals are raised in a controlled and monitored environment. Thus, they are hardier, less likely to carry disease, and adjusted to captive conditions. In addition, a wealth of information about their specific needs is known, making them a great choice for reef-keepers.

PROPAGATE - Consider propagating your existing corals. Coral propagation is a cost effective way to have more corals, but more importantly, it helps alleviate the demand placed on corals harvested from the ocean. By propagating corals, reef hobbyists are able to essentially fill an aquarium with just a few parent corals.

PARTICIPATE - Reward your efforts by participating in local or national coral conferences and frag swaps. It is the perfect environment for you to exchange stories, tips, and even sell your propagated corals to fellow hobbyists. These special events pool together an amazing wealth of information from different groups to help ensure the best responsible care for corals.

Mushroom Corals and Colony polyps such as Xenia are among the easiest corals to propagate in the home reef aquarium.
  • Use a sharp pair of tissue scissors or bone cutters to make a clean cut.
  • Sever the bud from the parent coral.
  • It is crucial to incorporate a single motion rather than multiple snipping motions to ensure a clean cut for faster healing.

    Be sure to make the cut at the base of the coral bud where it attaches to the parent coral.

    If the distinction between parent and bud is not clear and you do not feel comfortable, wait until the bud matures and the distinction is clear.

  • Attach the severed bud to a small piece of live rock.
  • Use monofilament or nylon fishing line to gently, yet tightly, secure the coral to the live rock.

    Position the coral in an appropriate location with regard to lighting and water movement.


  • Use a sharp pair of bone cutters and make a clean cut to sever a fragment from the parent coral.
  • Attach the coral fragment to a small piece of live rock or a ceramic plug. Use a water resistant adhesive to secure the frag onto the live rock or ceramic plug.
  • Provide and maintain ideal water conditions to ensure healthy growth. In due time, the new coral will mature and fill out nicely. As long as the corals are provided for, this process can be repeated indefinitely - resulting in a well-stocked reef aquarium from just a few parent corals.

What's the best way to acclimate new corals?
The drip method is ideal for acclimating new corals. Use our drip acclimation kit for a convenient way to maintain a drip rate of 2 to 4 drips per second. When the water volume in the container with the coral doubles, discard half and continue the drip until the volume doubles once more

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