[Coral-List] Methods for nubbinising tabular corals?

capman at augsburg.edu capman at augsburg.edu
Thu Mar 11 17:34:28 EST 2004

Gel-type superglues can work well for this sort of thing, and are far 
less bulky than epoxy putty or clay.  There are a number of good ones 
marketed for this purpose that are used extensively by reef aquarium 
hobbyists.  You might contact Inland Aquatics in Terre Haute, Indiana 
for suggestions (they have a web site).  Also, if there is a reef 
aquarium society in your area, you would likely find its members to 
be great fonts of knowledge about practical things like this 
involving the propagation and growing of corals....these folks are 
mostly not researchers or even scientists (though some are), but many 
reef aquarium hobbyists are extremely knowledgeable, skilled, and 
clever at working with corals in aquaria (researchers should not 
underestimate the potential value of making connections with advanced 

Recently, one of my students set up a coral growth experiment using 
small (approx 2 cm) Acropora branch tips glued to the ends of 10cm 
lengths of glass rod.  Not all superglues worked equally well for 
her.  Of the brands available locally in the local hardware stores in 
Minnesota (USA), she found that "Duro Quick Gel" worked best (I have 
no idea what brands you would have available though).

Superglues don't always hold coral fragments extremely tightly in my 
experience (especially if the coral is glued to glass), but if the 
coral fragments are healthy they should sheet out at the base and 
attach fairly quickly (depending on species..in our case, the corals 
had firmly attached themselves in no more than a few weeks), and then 
you are home free....attachment will be secure at that point.

To get the best grip with the superglues, the surface you are gluing 
to should probably be a bit rough.  You should also dry the base of 
the coral fragment with a paper towel before applying the drop of 
glue (I think there might be advantages to applying the glue directly 
to the base of the coral fragment rather than or in addition to the 
surface you are gluing to), and make sure the surface you are gluing 
to is dry.

I have also heard of people using hot melt glue to attach corals. 
Heat might be an issue of course if the coral fragment is small, but 
such glues can grip quite well and a small dot of glue might be 
enough for a good hold.  I have not tried hot melt glue myself though.

I hope this helps.


Bill Capman
Associate Professor
    and Department Chair
Biology Department
Campus Box 117
Augsburg College
2211 Riverside Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55454  USA
FAX: 612/330-1076
capman at augsburg.edu

>Dear coral-list,
>I was wondering if anyone had any prior experience with creating nubbins from
>tabular acroporids (A.cytherea, A.clathrata etc) for tank experiments.
>The 'traditional' (vertical) method using plasticine and cups for creating
>nubbins from branching corals doesn't seem applicable - the fragments i am
>using are ~5cm in length, and need to be kept in an 'in-situ' form (i.e.
>horizontal) with minimal contact with live tissue. Any 
>recommendations would be
>greatly appreciated.
>Jez Roff
>"C'est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot"
>  Louis Pasteur
>Coral-List mailing list
>Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov


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