Most people that own marine tanks have at some stage kept Green Star Polyps (GSP). Its hardiness makes it the perfect coral for the beginner, as it tolerates a wide range of lighting and water conditions. The amazing colours it displays under subdued and blue lighting also make it a worthy addition to high end reef tank setups
For all the good things GSP has going for it, it can also potentially become a pest in a very short time. My preference is to keep GSP away from the main live rock structures, as once it takes hold it is extremely difficult to remove and can even smother other corals. I prefer to have ‘GSP Islands’ sitting on my sand bed where I can appreciate them, but also control their invasiveness as they can’t attach themselves properly to the substrate. If the coral starts growing wildly, just lift the rock out the water and trim the GSP matt that has expanded over the substrate with a pair of scissors. You could even use the off cuts to make a few frags if you want to.
Scientific Names: Clavularia viridis
Common Name: GSP, Green Star Polyps
Figure 1. This is the GSP mother colony I have chosen to frag. It is being housed in a container with all the tools nearby. GSP are hardy, so having the colony out of the water while fragging will not cause it any harm. You can also see the Plug Pebble that will be used to frag the GSP onto for grow out.
Tools of the trade:
- Scalpel: We will be using our trusty scalpel to remove the GSP from the live rock. Make sure you use a nice clean blade. Using an old rusty blade can potentially cause infections in the coral.
- Cyanoacrylate glue: The adhesive will be used to attach the GSP to the 4 frag plugs. Using decent glue is important, as you do not want your prize new frag detaching from the plug and floating away!
- Plug Pebble: This is a new product we designed to help people create ‘coral gardens’ The Pebble comes with 4 plugs that allows you to slot different corals into the holes that will then fill out to create the coral garden. For the purpose of the article, we will frag GSP onto all the plugs so we eventually have a ‘GSP Island’ that can sit on the sand bed.
- Containers: As always it is useful to have a couple of containers to house the corals before and after fragging.
You may want to still wear gloves, although the GSP is not toxic like the zoa’s or slimy like the mushrooms. The GSP matt is almost rubbery and is very easy to work with!
How to frag GSP (Green Star Polyps)
Figure 2. This involves examining the colony you want to frag and identifying possible locations where you can start removing the coral from the live rock. Remember to look for a lighter pink mat as this is a tell-tale sign of new growth and could be a good place to start.
There are potentially three ways to frag GSP.
- Method one involves using a scalpel to remove the GSP from its base and gluing it to a coral mount or some live rock.
- Method two involves breaking up the live rock with GSP on into rubble and using the rubble as frags.
- Method three involves placing frag plugs or live rock against the GSP colony and allowing the coral to grow onto them. This method actually works extremely well with the aggressive growth rate that the GSP demonstrates.
Personally I do not like smashing up live rock to frag corals and prefer finesse so we will use method one.
This will be a similar fragging technique that we used for the zoa’s in our first ever article. If you tried and succeeded in fragging zoa’s, GSP will be a piece of cake!
The first thing you need to do is identify the best place to remove the GSP from the live rock. A good little tip is to use the colour of the GSP mat as a guide. The more mature part of the coral will be a deep purple or maroon colour, whereas the new growth is usually a light pink colour. This is where you want to start working from.
Figure 3. I have identified a good spot to start fragging. It is important to work slowly as the GSP matt can sometimes be brittle which makes it prone to breaking. Don’t worry if you make a mistake though. GSP is a lot more forgiving that your expensive red hornet zoa’s and will recover quickly from any ‘accidents’ !
Slide your scalpel under the mat and start working your way up the coral. It is also worth mentioning that the GSP mat is more brittle that that zoa mat, so work slowly. When you have fragged as much GSP as you need, cut it from the mother colony.
Figure 4. Here I am working my blade under the zoa matt and removing a few good pieces for the frag plugs. GSP does not attach to live rock as strongly as zoa’s, and once you are able to get the scalpel under part of the colony, the rest will just peel off. Place the GSP frags into the container with tank water, as once they have been removed from the main colony they are prone to dry out.
Figure 5. You can see how easily the GSP is peeling off the rock. Don’t rush this step!
Post Fragging Care
GSP appreciate good water flow, but they will need lower flow while they recover from the fragging process. About two or three weeks should be enough time for them to ‘bed down’ and attach to the frag plug or live rock.
Figure 6. Use decent reef glue to attach the GSP to the coral mount you have chosen and when you are done place it back in the tank. Don’t place the frag in full flow yet, as you want to give it a couple of week’s recovery time and allow it to attach to the plug by itself.
You can then move the coral to a higher flow part of the tank which will promote good healthy growth. The water will also bring nutrients further aiding development.
As with all fragging, always keep an eye on how the corals are recovering. If your corals are looking poorly after a few days it is sometimes worth removing them from the tank altogether to avoid infections spreading to the other frags.
It is always worth running carbon while your corals are recovering after a fagging session.
Step 6. Use decent reef glue to attach the GSP to the coral mount you have chosen and when you are done place it back in the tank. Don’t place the frag in full flow yet, as you want to give it a couple of week’s recovery time and allow it to attach to the plug by itself.
Figure 7. The finished product on the Pebble ready to be returned to the tank.
GSP is another good coral to practice on and is very forgiving of mistakes. It recovers well from the fragging process and will quickly fill out to add some visual impact to your tank.