curator

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I was wondering if anyone had experiences propagating LPS’s ? Here are a few starting point tips from my experience. Propagating LPS is a bit more complex and risky than SPS. I’d say it’s best to start with less difficult species and work your way up. A good starter may be a colony of Caulastrea. Looking over your colony you will notice the polyps have grown from single branches, and the mature branches then split after the polyp splits through fission. Glancing at the colony like a 3-D puzzle and visualize multiple cuts that will yield you a second colony. You can use a cutting tool like a Dremel, or small hack saw. You could also turn to breaking the branches with two pair of pointy nose pliers.

Blastomussa Merleti is another LPS that welcomes propagation. The colony is a collection of calcareous tubular colonies, a mature specimen can almost be fractured along these vertical tubes as though they were perforations. In this case I have always used a chisel and small hammer, prior to striking I etch the line I wish the colony to separate on with either a dremel or small hacksaw blade.

Blastomussa Wellsi is perhaps a step forward in the more advanced area. Wellsi grows is various sometimes convoluted patterns. Along with the unpredictability of the skeletal structure the Welsi is often grown onto rock. Your first step (like the other LPS) is to gently wave your hand above or to the side of the coral encouraging the polyps to close. Take a look at the underside of the colony analyzing a place where you could cut or fracture the specimen. In some cases you may be able to gently pry a portion of the colony off if it has grown off the rock base. You can make small incisions top side as to outline the polyps with a tiny hammer and jewelers screwdriver this will aid the polyps in a clean break around the perimeter.

In some case no matter how you cut the specimen you will be down to a single polyp then needs to be cut down the middle. This is tricky business and best left to happen naturally. Make certain you cut the underside almost completely then gently set the two pieces down joined by this single polyp in a low flow place in the Aquarium, in a short time the polyp should split on its own.

Blane
 

kbauer

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Any suggestions on how to propogate a zoanthid colony on a good sized rock (which I don't want to break). They are growing over the sides but when I took the rock out of the water to cut off some of the polyps, they were very watery and did not separate into gluable pieces (it seemed to me). I have it sitting next to another rock and am thinking that it will grow over, but then I will have to get good at underwater surgery 8O .
Is there any other way?

Thanks.
 

curator

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Not to promote my site J but I do have a lesson posted on Zoanthus propagation. A favorite topic of mine, I have collected about 28 color morphs. Lat year Julain Sprung visited my home to check out my set up and one of the photos he took made it into his book Invertebrates page 51 top right. Had to mention that crowing moment.

http://www.thesea.org/asp/zooprop.asp
link to propagation lesson

http://www.thesea.org/asp/zoo.asp
my Zoanthus collection

The Zoanthus colony will spread onto another rock by the method you mentioned, however it could take a while. You do have a few alternatives here without terribly defacing your rock. First try to identify what you actually have most people call everything Zoanthus that appears to be a sea mat, it may be palythoa, or protopalythoa. Each of these can be handled a different way. Zoanthus are colonial and connected in one mat of fleshy tissue, or a maze like pattern of fleshy tissue. In the second case I have found these colonies to be loosely attached to the rock. In some sections of the colony you will be able to actually pry a bit of growth up and gently separate it from the rock, using an instrument like a razor. Go slow the process is similar to peeling a sticker off in one piece. At the end you will have to sever the piece do not attempt to tear it away. This species (arguably they can’t all be the same) seems to have a short base from the tissue and does not recover from adhesives as quick as protopalythoa. I would suggest you take a small piece of rock, lay the fresh new removed mini colony of zoanthus on top of the rock, and gently wrap it with one zip tie. Apply just enough pressure as to have the zip tie lightly touching the top of the zoanthus do not pull it tight. In the colonies that grow in one dense mass of tissue this is more difficult but modify the removal by using a jewelers screwdriver and rock. In this method actually cut into the rock about ¼ inch below the colony, try to excavate out a 3 inch by 3 inch piece, and glue the underside of the colonies rock to a small rock and place in a low flow area for a week or so.

Blane
 

kbauer

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Thanks Blane; I researched my corals as to whether they were portopalythoa , palythoa or zoanthus in Borneman's book and I think they are zoanthus. They are similar in appearance to the picture on page 185 in his book. I think you have given me plenty of tips on how to propagate them both in this post and on your very informative web site. I especially liked the pictures of the tools 8O I guess this will be underwater surgery after all!

Thanks again!!
 

jamesw

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And Blane forgot to mention in his post - Zooanthids can be EXTREMELY toxic, so wear surgical gloves, and do not get your fingers near your nose and mouth while cutting them. The palytoxin is a powerful agent that can cause paralysis.

HTH
James Wiseman
 


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