How To Remove The Coral From Rock [Tips & Tricks]

When you have corals in your tank either plugged or glued they can grow out of place very quickly. And sadly you can’t stop it from growing because it’s in their nature.

However when you feel the need to remove the corals from a rock whether to mount it in another rock or plug it somewhere else then I must warn you. Because this is a very tricky business as these things tend to grow back on the rock surface again and again.

So, this means you have to be very tactical in removing them from your rock. Meanwhile, if you are looking to use the coral again in your tank then you have to be even more careful not to damage their body while removing. 

The good news; in this article, I am about to discuss all the possible ways you can remove corals from your rocks and frag plugs in many different alternatives. Now you can choose whichever one you like.

So, let’s get down to business–

How To Cure The Rock From Coral- Step By Step

Coral on Rock
  • Firstly, It’s not a good idea to try to remove the coral while the rock is still in the aquarium. Because corals cannot live out of the water for more than an hour.
  •  So, if you want to save the coral for gluing it again somewhere else then the first step is to take the rock out from the water tank and immediately dip it in a bucket of water.
  • Now the thing is if you cut the corals at the base or try to scrape them off, they will grow back within a month even leaving blistering wounds all over the base. However, this step can be a bit risky.
  • Because the feet of the corals go very deep inside the rock which is totally not visible to us. So, even if you get rid of them from the rock they can grow back pretty much from nothing.
  • Well, in this case, if you wish to get them totally removed from the surface then you have to put the rocks in boiling water and this should kill off the corals forever from the rock surface.
  • Another way to kill the corals is if you can put the rocks in highly concentrated salt water and rinse it very well followed by scrubbing the rock surface with a nylon bristle brush. 
  • One very effective way of removing the coral from the rock is if you cut the rock portion that is covered with the coral. To do this you have to use a power Dremel tool or a hacksaw but don’t forget to wear eye protection and a respirator so that any small particles of rock cannot enter through your mouth or eyes. 
  • However, It’s better not to use a hammer because this tool can split the rock into any shape and ruin the overall structure of the rock.
  • Another good way is to use a sharp chisel and peel the upper layer of the rock carefully and then you will be able to glue your coral into a plug or any other rock.
  • Even if the coral is wounded a little in the process, there is no need to worry because it will naturally heal itself very soon.
  • As a precautionary measure, you can dip them in a strong and aqueous iodine solution to disinfect any damage done in the tissues of the coral. This solution will also work as an antiseptic for them and also helps to slow down if there is any infection spreading. 
  • You can also use coral bone cutters to remove the coral frags from their plugs. First, cut the stem of the frag plug, and then can easily glue the disk anywhere inside the tank as you wish.
  • With time the corals will grow back and then you can again use the bone cutters to cut the joint of the glue that will separate them.
  • And gladly you can follow the same method when you are mounting the Zoas and mushroom corals.
  • Whenever you are fragging a new coral I recommend you to use coral frag mounts (our pick:  Oceans Wonders Coral Frag Plugs)
  • However, during any type of coral mounting, you always need to use safety goggles and safety gloves for protection.

 How To Mount Coral Frags on Live Rock

mounting coral frags on rock with coral glue

Coral frag is a small fragment of coral cut from a larger one. These frags need the support of live rock for their growth and development. 

The good news is they are very resistant to injury. So you don’t have to worry much about that.

You can buy coral frags from the store and also you can mount the ones you have just removed from the rock into a new live rock or in a new tank.

Now let’s see how can we mount the coral frags on the rocks–

  • Before mounting the coral frags in the rock you have to treat them by dipping in a coral dip solution to prevent and cure them from any infections, pests, and diseases. (our pick: Brightwell Aquatics Frag Recover)
  • If they look healthy, get them out of the solution and rinse them nicely with water.
  • The next step is to clean the rock with water and a nylon bristle brush.
  • Now pick a place where you want to put your coral and it will depend on the type of your coral. SPS corals prefer high-intensity lights whereas LPS and soft corals prefer to be in partially shaded positions.
  • Also, make sure to pick a place where the corals will show their beauty as they grow. 
  • Cut off the plug on the bottom side of your coral and use epoxy putty and put it over the rock in the shape that will fit the rock (our pick: Gorilla All Purpose Epoxy Putty)
  • Then place the coral into the putty in the same place and your work is done.
  • On the other hand, you can also use super glue gel to attach them. Normal glues won’t work under water so you have to get the right kind of glue.
  • Now, put the glue on the coral frag plug and push it on your live rock. The glue will take about one or two days to fully harden. 
  • But if you are putting glue from the outside of the water then put a little bit of water over the glue to prevent smearing it when the coral is placed on it.


Now that you know both the removal and mounting process of the coral on the rock, you have to try and see how it works for you. Feel free to experiment around and the whole process will be very easy for you with practice.

Since the corals grow in large amounts and contaminate the water in your tank. So, knowing how to remove the corals from the rock will give you an extra advantage and help you to keep your aquarium in balance.

I have tried to make this article as resourceful as possible and I hope it worked out very nicely for you as a guidebook both in gluing the coral into the tank and also removing them from the frag plugs and rocks. 

Howard Parker

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