What is DBTC?

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Don't Break the Chain

DBTC is an acronym for "Don't Break The Chain" The idea is that it works like a Pay It Forward (PIF) type program, where someone donates a particular coral fragment with the idea that the fragment recipient(s) will grow it out to give to others who will also do the same.

I still don't get it. Why do we have this?
The idea behind it is to help organically spread coral species throughout the reefing community while lessening the impact of harvesting corals from our oceans. This is a way to promote a non-greedy way of helping get corals out there to people in the hobby. If you can get a coral fragment from a local farmer, that means less of an impact on our oceans. A great many of the "abundant" corals are not in any way mari/aquacultured since it's still profitable to hack them out of the seas. It's also a good way to safe-guard your corals. If your colony ever dies, you can include a clause saying "If my tank crashes, you have to give me a frag of your frag back".


Ok fine, so how do I get some free corals?
Now while you will get 'free corals,' this is not what this program is about. This is about sharing within the club and amongst others. While there will be a bit of a 'greed' factor that seems to permeate inevitably, especially with more desirable corals, you have to understand the idea that more will be offered. The way it works is that each coral grows exponentially (ideally) and while it may take some time for the coral to grow/propagate, it will be offered again in due time. This program is NOT about stocking your empty tank with new corals for free; it's about helping grow a renewable resource and making it available for others for free.

Time? How much time do I need to wait?
It depends entirely on the amount of corals that are initially offered and the type of corals. Some corals, specifically soft ones, grow quite readily and can be fragmented and dispersed quite rapidly. Others like the small polyped stony (SPS) corals grow relatively slowly, with some only growing a few inches a year! Patience is key, just like everything else about our hobby. ;)

I don't have Limited Edition or otherwise rare corals though.
It doesn't matter as this program isn't about distributing rare corals. If an opportunity arises, then all the better! However, what is necessary for this program's success is the sharing of all corals and not just rare or exclusive ones. If you have those brown mushrooms, feel free to offer them up. Just don't be sad if no one wants any. :p

Ok, I have corals I'd like to donate. Who do I give them to? What do I do?
Alright, now we're talking! First, you give them to whomever you wish as they are your corals after all. Second, you may want to list some basic rules or follow some standard rules for who gets them. Third, start a new topic in the appropriate subforum of DBTC and type in all the gory details.

Before you do that though, we have some advice or optional guidelines:
  1. Give a brief title of the coral in the forum thread you create, like "Blue acropora" or whatever.
  2. Give a more detailed description of the coral in the body of the thread. If you don't know the exact species, who cares! It's hard, it's a stick, call it an "acropora." Chances are you'll be correct and someone else will most likely help you identify. Besides, most corals can't be accurately identified beyond the genus. Also, it's worth mentioning what lighting you have it under, how high in the tank it is, the flow conditions, fish load, and/or anything else that's out of the ordinary that you might think is relevant (yes, that includes red bugs).
  3. A picture is worth a thousand words! Get a camera and take a picture. Don't worry if it's not the best; just give everyone an idea of the overall color/shape of the coral. Post to any of the many online photo hosting sites (,, and then post the image via the tree icon (above) that accepts the direct URL to the image.
  4. Be sure to mention your rules and what you would expect from your recipients.

What are these rules that you mention?
The rules are simply more of a guideline. The overall call belongs to whomever is offering the coral fragment(s) since this is very much a voluntary distribution program. However, here are some standard 'rules' that can easily be followed or referred to as "DBTC Rules:"
  1. Must be a BAR (Supporting) Member - You may open this up to whatever clubs you'd like. However, keeping it within the club, at least initially, is ideal.
  2. Must be good with XXX - You can set a requirement for having previous experience with a type of coral. This could mean that you didn't just finish cycling your tank and want to fill it up with corals.
  3. Must agree to give frags to at least two or three members before selling/trading it. - This is to retain the community sharing and exponential growth of corals. It also helps safeguard against the coral fragment donor from having an issue such as a tank crash or other disaster.
  4. Must agree to pick up at XXX - Location and time preference is in favor of the coral fragment donor but meetup locations can be arranged. BAR meetings are great events to attend since you can knock out two birds with one stone.
  5. Must share pictures of progress - It's always nice (and common courtesy) to share with the donor and the rest of the club on how your fragments are doing. You can do that by updating the DBTC thread from where you received a coral fragment and/or updating your own tank journal(s).

How do I find chains that have frags available?
Check out all the DBTC subforums and post in the respective thread or contact the member via a conversation (aka PM). This program works best when members keep their frag status updated so be sure you do your part!
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Coral reefer

DBTC Officer
Just bumping This up. It has a lot of good info that many newer members may not know. Some older members may take it for granted that everyone knows what dbtc is, but let's just make sure.

I willl be posting up a "sticky" soon so that everyone can easily see what it is, why we do it, and how it works.
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