+1 Hawkins Attained
Over the weekend, I took a bunch of frags to the store and traded them in for an ORA Hawkin’s Blue Echinata. This has been on my “Must Have” list for a few months now – I generally try to avoid the fad corals since the price goes up past what any sane human being should pay for something smaller than the size of your pinkie and with decent odds of dying on you. I’ve been trying to hold off on acquiring the astonishingly popular corals until I can trade for them, but, oh, popular for such good reasons. The Hawkins is supposedly a fast grower and extremely resilient to environmental change, so I’m hoping it establishes itself and takes off quickly.
Sometime soon, I need to make another bunch of frag clippings. I was surprised when the bulk of the store credit came from some GPS star polyps I trimmed off of the rocks in mid-January. I think of the stuff as only slightly more desirable than weeds and I’m always baffled when people want to pay money for it. Fragging GPS coral is disgustingly easy, too. I pound a piece of dead rock into smaller pieces and set these aside on a towel. Then I fill two bowls with water from the aquarium. I go into the tank and scrape the GPS from the rocks; these come off in thin purple sheets, and if you’re careful enough and take your time, you can get sheets larger than a few inches across. The scrapings go in the first bowl. Then, I take unbleached, colorless cotton thread and cut off 16-inch lengths. These are then wrapped around the GPS scraping and a suitably-sized piece of the dead rock to hold the frag to the rock. I wrap the string around the rock as many times as possible, then place the new frag in the second bowl. When all of the new frags have been made, I put them in a couple of plastic soap dishes stuck to the inside back wall of the 30g. After that, the only thing you have to do is wait and make sure that the ends of the string don’t pull away; the livestock won’t eat the string but if it gets loose it can screw up your pumps, powerheads, or filters. After a month, the GPS has adhered to the rock and has covered over much of the string, so I cut off any remaining string and take the frags back to the store.
EDIT: Oh hey, I found a video to show how to frag star polyps. Different method but same general approach.
The rocks are fairly clean now so I’ll have to wait another few months before I can make some more GPS, but I can get started on some SPS frags. Fragging SPS is easier than GPS as instead of scraping you just cut through the growth with a specialized pair of coral snips. The new clipping is then stuck into a frag plug of some sort. I use a ceramic plug and a frag putty made especially for the purpose, but that’s because I’m lazy: other people use everything from ceramic floor tiles to the green plastic vials that keep the ends of greenhouse flowers wet. I have a Greg Hillar Aqua Delight, a Larry Jackson Tricolor, and an ORA Tri-color (shown right, as captioning is being picky today). Hopefully in three months, I can trade some frags and get my hands on the next item on my wish list, the GARF Purple Bonsai.
Oh, and I’m fairly sure the new anthias did not make it, although I live in hope she’ll pop out of the rocks at some point. Sad frowny face.