It’s not often that I get a chance to cut into a pectinia due to the tendancy for them to look far better as a colony than as frags. Recently, I got the chance to slice into this gorgeous “Space Invader” pectinia, and I couldn’t miss the chance to film it for you.
Enjoy, and be sure to comment below if there’s a species you’d like to see cut!
The method I use for fragging the majority of hard corals is primarily the same with the cutting tooling being an Gryphon band saw.
Cooling liquid used is fresh mixed saltwater with enough iodine to color it a light amber. This helps to disinfect cuts as they’re made which has shown to greatly increase frag survival.
All corals are stored during cutting in a small bucket holding water taken directly from their home aquarium. This water is used both to keep them wet as well as for rinsing any flesh away from cuts while I’m working on them.
All finished, and rinsed, frags or trimmed colonies are soaked in Seachem Reef Plus dip to insure that minimal flesh is lost.
Both soak buckets are rinsed and replenished between colonies to reduce the risk of interactions between loose flesh of different coral species.
Notes about pectinia:
Pectinia is by far the most interesting, internally, coral I’ve ever cut into. Inside you’ll find huge spaces of fluid filled flesh suspended between parallel blades of skeleton that radiate from a central growth point. The key to successfully cutting these corals is to maintain the gaps between skeletal blades while cutting, moving and gluing. To do this, I’ve found the best way is to cut either parallel with the blades or perpendicular to them. This keeps them together in groups which work together to hold the flesh together.
As with most LPS corals, survival is GREATLY increased for any frags that include a mouth. Plan your cuts out thoroughly with pectinia to be sure each frag keeps a mouth.
Some pectinia specimens with have fleshy surfaces that extend all the way to the back of the coral making them challenging to glue. It’s possible to glue them standing on end with the fresh cut surface directly to the plug, however for stability reasons, I generally choose to glue on the back surface even over flesh in order to leave photosynthetic and mouth surfaces oriented towards the light.
Pectinia is a weird one to cut into due to its minimal skeleton, but don’t let this turn you away. They are extremely tough, and even cuts I’ve made in error generally lead to a healthy frag in the end.