How to Rinse and Reuse an Old Sandbed
There is always someone who is just starting in this hobby and may not know some of the things we take for granted. I'm all about documenting step-by-step instructions for just about anything and everything I do so that one day, someone can google it, and find a reassuring article on what they are about to venture forth and do. Having said that, I had to rinse out and reuse my old sand from my 150-gallon tank. This sand had sat in a large 50 gallon trash can on the side of my parents house for over 18 months. Open to the elements and rain.
But, hey why not make use of it for the next tank!?
Step One: Bribe a stronger friend to schlep your heavy bucket of sand around for you. Rule #1 of Reefing- Its always funner to do tasks with other reef buddies.
I don't need all of it for my new tank, so I went to my parents' house and got a shovel and a 5-gallon bucket and scooped out what I thought I would need and took it home. The bucket was full, and filling it with water and swishing it would have made a huge mess so I opted to transfer the sand into something more manageable. I happened to have an 18-gallon bin on hand that I just purchased to help with my future water changes, so into the bin the sand went.
Step 2: Pour sand into an easy to manage receptacle.
Step 3: Fill the bucket up with water, leaving enough room to swish around without spillage.
It only filled up about the bottom four inches which allowed me to fill up the bin with water from my garden hose to at least the halfway point. I swished the sand around and looked for debris that I didn't want in my new tank. I found all manners of things from frag plugs, dead snail shells, and even dead frags still on their plugs.
Step 4: Remove larger debris from the sand.
I took all this out and then dumped the water out of the tub. I did this at least four or five more times until the water stopped raising with a dirty foam and debris on the top. It wasn't coming out clear by any means, but I was certain that it was clean enough for my purposes.
Step 5: Empty the water out of the bin and refill four or five times over. Making sure to swish around the sand in the new water each time.
Step 6 Optional: Trick the neighbor's kid into thinking it is fun to help.
I still have to wait for my rock to come in before I can add the sand to my new tank, so for now it is resting a little sloppily in the five gallon bucket next to the tank. I didn't bother getting every last drip of water out, it won't really cause that much trouble in the tank. I'm planning on using melev's directions on how to add sand to an existing tank
because I'm doing the aquascape and water first.