When it comes to aquascaping your reef, there are a variety of methods that can help you to create attractive, stable rock structures and to place corals securely. As with most things in this hobby though, there are advantages and disadvantages to each of these methods.
The use of reef putty is perhaps one of the most effective and hassle free approaches. However, even this time-tested approach has its critics. Some hobbyists have reported that their putty has caused cloudy water (even to the point where water parameters were so detrimentally impacted that livestock was lost), or general ineffectiveness of the product.
As we had a nice trumpet coral that needed fragging and placing, although we’ve used putties in the past with mixed results, we thought it would be a good time to test the latest cement available to the hobbyist and see if things have changed in the last few years.
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For our test, we used EPO Putty which is a fairly new entrant into the UK market. This clay-type two-part epoxy putty adhesive follows the format of other products in that you break a chunk off each of the two sticks included and then knead these together into a pliable putty which is then applied. The first thing we noticed about this product was how easy it was to blend the two components toegether with minimal mess and no skin irritation.
With our ‘blob’ at the ready, our stategy was to attach our frags to the chosen pieces of rock outside the tank, then to let it harden, and then to place the corals back into the tank. In all honesty we found this to be a flawed strategy as the frags simply fell off as we replaced the rocks into the water. We didn’t want to leave the frags out of water for too long and this simply didn’t give the putty enough time to harden. This method could still be useful for plain rockwork though, particularly if using dead or artifical rock. (NOTE: preparing the putty before removing items from the water and allowing it to harden for a while first may also help in this situation).
Giving it a second try with the frags now underwater we were fearing the worst, expecting clouds of clay particles as the putty broke apart (the tank contained numerous corals softies, LPS and SPS, and fish incidentally). However, we are happy to say that things became much easier at this point and no cloudiness or disintegration was observed. The putty was so light and pliable that it was easy to mold into all the cracks at the point where the frag met the rock, and in a juffy the two pieces were fastened safe and sound. We did add some short lengths of rigid air-tube to prop them up and after a couple of hours we removed these to find the pieces were stuck fast. Skimmer production ceased briefly but we think that was becuase of hands in the tank. This resumed after an hour or so… and our LPS corals even came out to feed!
Fastforwarding a month, nothing appears to have been adversely affected and we noticed nothing untoward in our detailed water tests. Perhaps the only negative we can think of for this product is that it only comes in white – but on the flip side, we actually think this could encourage it to blend in more rapidly.
At under £5 for 100g, this product is comparable price-wise with existing brands. It looks to be stocked widely in the UK and is backed up by a great website. Click on the banner below for more information!