In this short article I would like to familiarise you with the topic of coral reproduction. 

Corals can reproduce both sexually and asexually.

Asexual reproduction

Corals can reproduce asexually in two ways by budding or fragmentation. 

Budding is the process of producing new polyps. New polyps “bud” from parent polyps to form new colonies. 

Fragmentation is the process of creating new colonies by branching the coral. In nature, it happens that part of the coral due to mechanical damage will be detached from the main colony, forming a new one. This method is often used in marine aquariums. Aquarists cut off a piece of coral, glue it to a base and create habitats in this way.

Sexual reproduction

As for sexual reproduction, in most cases polyps in one coral colony produce sperm, and polyps in another colony produce eggs. There are exceptions where one coral produces both sperm and eggs.

In the next phase, fertilisation of coral larvae takes place in the coral body or water, which is called spawning.

In some areas, mass coral spawning occurs on one particular night of the year, and scientists are able to predict when it will occur. Fertilized coral larvae swim in the water. Drifting, they attach themselves to the ocean floor to rocks or other solid surfaces, where they grow to form new colonies.


Aquarists most often fragment corals, reproducing them in this way. We commonly call this “coral fragging”.

Sexual reproduction is extremely rare in the aquarium environment. According to the information that aquarists provide, this is related to the phases of the moon and the appropriate water temperature.

About the author

Picture of Marek Protasewicz

Marek Protasewicz

Reefkeeping has been my passion for over 10 years now. I love learning. The hobby has taught me many valuable lessons, patience being the best example.
Combining work and passion is my path. I run Crazy Coral, a marine aquarium shop, for a number of years. Building this business from the scratch I learnt from my own mistakes at a heavy cost.
Later I managed a project aimed at development of methods for quick growth of Corals in non-natural conditions. The project was carried out by Get Sales, Poland.
Presently, I am responsible for distribution strategy at Reef Factory, of which I am a
co-founder. The company produces smart devices for marine aquaristics.
The last projects I have been involved in are Social Reef and ReefPedia.

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