Diy Frag Plugs. My Experiment

RRaquariums

Chatroom Moderator
Chatroom Moderator
Joined
Feb 4, 2014
Messages
760
Reaction score
61
Location
US
So I'm downgrading from my current 300 gallon reef tank to a 75 gallon frag tank. New job and less time made me choose to do soemthing a little smaller. But I've had a lot of fun growing and selling my corals and I'm looking forward to really focusing on getting the corals to grow fast and have a more controlled system. Anyways to the point of this little thread. Most of the corals in my big tank are colonies and some are rather large so in order to move them into a smaller tank and sell parts off to help fund this new tank I needed to start cutting them up and putting them on frag plugs. As anyone that has kept corals knows most of the time you really don't need that many frag plugs on a regular basis so buying a few online or at a store is a great and easy way to get what you need. My problem was I need a lot of frag plugs probably around 200 and I'll keep needing more as I buy and sell more corals in the future. Obviously the cheap and DIY loving side of me took over and I started looking for a better option then shelling out 150$ for frag plugs. There's lots on the internet about buidling your own plugs some are very stupid ideas and some are nothing short of super easy. I hit on two methods. The first method is the one that is easiest and you can build a lot of plugs fast.

Method 1 will make frag discs.

(What will you need)

1 bag of Portland cement. (Do not use regular cement) I found this cement cheapest at Home Depot they sell a 90 lb bag for something like 11$

1 bag of aragonite sand. (Do not use play sand) I found this cheapest at pet smart they sell a 30 lb bag for 22$

1 mixing bucket or bowl.

1-2 cookie or baking tins with a lip on them.

Something to mix with. (I use an old spoon)

Plastic sheeting or trash bags.

PVC pipe to cut out the shapes you can use whatever size you want depending on the size of frag plug you are wanting.

(How to make it)

Place the plastic or trash bag in the cookie tins and make sure it's won't come off.

Depending on how thick you want the plugs to be and how much you are doing you will need to adjust the mix but a rough start is what I use to fill two cookie tins with about a half in thick of the mix.
1 cup Portland cement.
2 cups aragonite sand.
Start with half cup of water and add more as needed and mix until the mix is the consistency of thick pudding.

Poor the mix into the pan until it's as thick as you want.

It's usually pretty wet when its first added to the pans so I let it sit for an hour or two until it starts to get a little harder and will hold a shape.
I then take the PVC pipe and use it like a cookie cutter and make circles in the sheet of mix.

After this is done place the tins in a warm dry place and let them set up over night or at least for 8 or more hours until they are hard.

Once they are hard I use a flat tip screw driver to break them free of the sheets and punch out the frag plugs.

Now comes the boring part conditioning the plugs. Cement has many things in it that cause ph to rise a lot and also can leach other nasties for a while once under water. So most people will say place the plugs in a bucket of water and change it out everyday until anything that can leach out has. But I'm lazy and didn't want to mess with changing water so I took the idea I heard a long time ago of placing the plugs in the water storage tank of my toilet. Now I know this at first sounds disgusting or like its a stupid idea but the water storage tank of a toilet is perfectly clean water that gets flushed and replaced usually several times a day so not only is it constantly cycling water it's saving you water since you aren't waisting any in a bucket. It will also get the job of conditioning the plugs done faster as they are constantly getting plunged into new water and being washed by the new water coming in.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pc192tv894i3p9a/2015-12-24%2015.51.02.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jjvxa478eh6k68c/2015-12-24%2015.48.43.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mywfmnf4gsjtdpd/2015-12-24%2015.51.11.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/sud70o718jwkq48/2015-12-24%2015.51.54.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/54dye98x8rbg7si/2015-12-24%2015.51.25.jpg?dl=0

I'm working on the second method for building plugs with stems on them which is more work but it's coming along so stay tuned folks :)
 

jag51186

Fishaholic
Joined
Feb 8, 2015
Messages
400
Reaction score
48
Location
US
Very interesting! Even if I have no idea what frag plugs are!
 
OP
RRaquariums

RRaquariums

Chatroom Moderator
Chatroom Moderator
Joined
Feb 4, 2014
Messages
760
Reaction score
61
Location
US
That's a good point I did fail to mention what they are used for. Frag plugs are small discs or squares that are used to glue small pieces of coral to so they will stay up or so you can attach them to rock work.
 

ricbea

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Aug 28, 2015
Messages
78
Reaction score
16
Location
CZ
Hi RR,
I love this kind of ingenuity. Not only are you saving water by not tipping buckets away but you are also saving water well as your cistern will be using less waterl, of course it is dependent on how many plugs you have in the cistern and actually how much water you displace but every little helps. Personally i haven't extended my hobby into the salty side but this has piqued my interest and I will follow with interest.
Is there any chance of some pictures what you are breaking down and also going to be building up please?
 
Richard.
 
OP
RRaquariums

RRaquariums

Chatroom Moderator
Chatroom Moderator
Joined
Feb 4, 2014
Messages
760
Reaction score
61
Location
US

betta fish

Fish Herder
Joined
Oct 8, 2008
Messages
1,563
Reaction score
121
Location
GB
Looking good, I love the cistern idea, when I had my marine tank I made my own live rock, it was a bit hit and miss some of it didn't look too great but once it matured it blended in quite nicely and saved me alot of cash 
 
Top