Reusing sand
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:31 AM   #1
tinkerpuppet
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Reusing sand


I have a 10gal that I am breaking down and setting up again. I'm fighting some hair algae and green dust algae as well as a bunch of trumpet snails.

I've had the tank set up for 2.5yrs, with sand substrate. I have used root tabs in the past, but not recently.

Is it possible to somehow rinse it out/clean it so that I can reuse it? Do I need to do anything special to try and kill/prevent the algae?

And when I put it back in, its been a long time since I've thought about substrate, should I add anything on the bottom? I see a lot about potting soil. I will only have some basic plants, nothing high needs. Is this something I need to worry about? I figure that while I have it all removed and cleaned, now would be the time to think if I need to upgrade/change it at all.

Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:54 AM   #2
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If the sand is cheap, just toss it and start with some new stuff. Though when I wanted to reuse my Seachem black sand, what I did was toss it into a 5 gallon bucket and give it a few rinses with the garden hose until it rinsed clean. If you want to try and kill any potential algae, drop a few capfuls of hydrogen peroxide into the bucket. Keep the sand stirred and let it oxidize for a few minutes before pouring out the liquid then give it another rinse.

If you want to go low-tech, try adding some Miracle Grow Organic Choice Potting Mix under the sand. It's great for crypts and other root feeders. Just be sure to watch your ammonia and nitrites the first month or so after setup.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:01 AM   #3
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Could boil the sand to if you have a big stock pot..... Ooorrrr empty the tank and pour some boiling water on the sand, let it sit then rinse

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Old 10-03-2012, 04:31 AM   #4
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Thanks, those are both great tips. I would like to reuse it if I can, no sense in wasting it if I can make it clean again.

I'm going to look more into the potting soil. Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinkerpuppet View Post
Thanks, those are both great tips. I would like to reuse it if I can, no sense in wasting it if I can make it clean again.

I'm going to look more into the potting soil. Thanks!

Make sure it's the organic stuff.

A lot of people use this with great results:
http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Gro-00...ce+potting+mix
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NWA-Planted View Post
Could boil the sand to if you have a big stock pot..... Ooorrrr empty the tank and pour some boiling water on the sand, let it sit then rinse

I'd refrain from pouring boilng water into a tank. Some tanks aren't tempered glass... boiling water and glass don't go too well together, not worth the risk IMO
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Old 10-03-2012, 02:57 PM   #7
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A little bleach will also kill pretty much everything in the sand, then rinse with some dechlor in the water, then dry it, especially in the sun. Any chlorine remaining after the dechlor rinse will evaporate.
As weak as 19 parts water: 1 part bleach is a weak solution that some plants can tolerate, but kills quite a lot of algae, but a stronger solution would be quite safe for sand, and more sure of killing things. Let it soak a while (half an hour or longer).
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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For killing the snails I would want to make sure. Since they have a nasty habit of closing the door, I would favor letting it soak at least overnight. The chlorine needs some time to soak in, open the door and kill the snail. Bleach is the treatment preferred by health agencies for cleaning things like new water towers and pipes. They specify 12-24 hours to assure getting all the critters. And I do want to assure you the bleach is safe.

In this case though, my personal choice would be to replace the sand. While it may seem waste, it does have the advantage of time saved, water saved, and you wind up with nice new sand without a bunch of dead snail shells. I buy a fifty pounds bag of pool filter sand for ten dollars and save my effort for things that pay better.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:15 PM   #9
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Yeah, replacing the sand is starting to sound like the better choice. I do have a big fresh bag of playsand that didn't get used by my kids sandbox this year.

That just gets me wondering if it is sand I want again, or maybe switch it up for something else...

(its these little decisions that make my husband laugh, I'll lose sleep over this for nights!)
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