When hobbyists place new coral frags into their aquariums, they typically secure the plugs to the live rock structure with putties and epoxies. This is all fine and dandy for most frags, but there’s one additional step that gets left out that has a huge impact on the way encrusting corals grow. For new frags that haven’t quite encrusted on the frag plug, their first direction in growth is usually downward as gravity takes over. This downward growth, usually no more than a few millimeters, means that the coral isn’t growing outward. In fact, it won’t grow horizontally until it has reached the plug or the surrounding rock. Obviously this sort of growth doesn’t really apply to plating corals, but corals like chalices and encrusting Montipora frags will follow this pattern. To get the corals growing horizontally as quickly as possible, surround the frag with thing layer of putty to make the growing edge level and flush with the surface it will grow on. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the coral grows outward when compared to corals who aren’t prepared this way.