How Long Can I Keep My Live Sand in Buckets & Bins?

Macimage

Active member
Hi,

I had to breakdown my 225 this past weekend due to a crack in the bottom.

How long can I keep my live sand in buckets and plastic tubs? My husband is concerned that it will start to go bad and smell due to die off in it. He thinks I need rinse it and let it dry it out.

I think it can stay damp in the buckets for perhaps a month.

Should I dry it all out and/or rinse it all or can I leave it in the old salt buckets? I don't want dead stinky sand in the house.

Thanks!
Joyce
 

rock_on

Member
I had mine in buckets for 5 days on a move and the smells was awful when I opened them.

I rinsed and stirred all the sand before I put it back in the tank and seemed to be fine.
 

Macimage

Active member
I had lids on two of them overnight and they started to smell.

The ones that are open are fine. I wonder if leaving the lids off will help?
 

Pife

New member
If you were thinking of re using it I would rinse it and let it dry out. A lot of people dry it in kiddie pools
 

Mael

New member
To be safe I would rinse and dry it out, then when you restart and use it just get a couple cup fulls of live sand from a fellow reefer if possible to seed the rinsed sand. It will take longer to get back to a full live sandbed but it is the safer route I believe.
 

thegrun

Team RC
The problem with live sand is that when you take it out of the tank you stir up trapped detritus that will often cause a cycle in the container you are storing the sand in. There are also organisms near the surface the sand that will die off when buried under 12" of sand. This die-off also can start a cycle. As recommended above I would either use new dry sand or take the time to thoroughly wash and dry your old sand.
 

andrewkw

New member
Any advice for washing out the old live sand? I have more then 300lbs in my basement that I'm dreading bringing up to wash but really have to get on it before it starts to smell.

For the new sand I replaced it with I poured 30lbs in a 5g bucket at a time stirred it up then let the water run for 10-20 minutes then put it in another bucket and ran the water for a couple more minutes. My tank still clouded for 2-3 days.
 

Macimage

Active member
Before I removed the sand from the tank I stirred it up really well in approximately 180 gallons of tank water to get rid of lots of the trapped detritus before I siphoned the tank water out.

However, it sounds as though I should rinse and dry it out.

Hopefully, I will be reusing the sand if I can get my 225 back up.

Thanks everyone!
 

LobsterOfJustice

Recovering Detritophobe
Anything deeper than the first couple inches goes bad real quick, a matter of days. I would put an inch or two in a bin or small aquarium instead of a bucket (to maximize footprint) with some circulation/heat, and rinse/dry the rest.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
I usually dump it by the cup into a bucket through a spaghetti strainer. Never surprises me what comes out. Usually several sticks and a bunch of shells/coral plugs.

After a good rinse I put the sand into a large rubbermaid with a water/bleach mixture for 24 hours. This will break down the organics and leave very fresh sand for when its used the next time. I dry it out on a plastic sheet in a room with a window open and put it in little piles. Its a lot of work but it makes for a better product when you need it.

I probably have 400lbs to process...
 

Macimage

Active member
I usually dump it by the cup into a bucket through a spaghetti strainer. Never surprises me what comes out. Usually several sticks and a bunch of shells/coral plugs.

After a good rinse I put the sand into a large rubbermaid with a water/bleach mixture for 24 hours. This will break down the organics and leave very fresh sand for when its used the next time. I dry it out on a plastic sheet in a room with a window open and put it in little piles. Its a lot of work but it makes for a better product when you need it.

I probably have 400lbs to process...

Thanks for the tips. I never thought of those and they make good sense. I actually have a dedicated fish room spaghetti strainer:)!

I have over 500 lbs. so it will be quite a chore but worth it.
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
I feel your pain. For that much I wouldn't try to do it all at once. A bucket at a time. It may take a while but there is no sense throwing your back out over the stuff. It doesn't matter how long it sits in the buckets if you bleach it.

It may leach phosphates for a bit when you use it again. That will be the downside to reusing sand. I don't think its a big deal if you deal with the phosphates early on and before you toss a bunch of light at it.
 

Macimage

Active member
I feel your pain. For that much I wouldn't try to do it all at once. A bucket at a time. It may take a while but there is no sense throwing your back out over the stuff. It doesn't matter how long it sits in the buckets if you bleach it.

It may leach phosphates for a bit when you use it again. That will be the downside to reusing sand. I don't think its a big deal if you deal with the phosphates early on and before you toss a bunch of light at it.

Good point on doing a bit at a time.

Do you put around 1 cup of bleach in a 2' x 18" rubbermaid?

Do you rinse the bleach out of the sand or does letting it dry take care of it?

Thanks!
Joyce
 

tkeracer619

Premium Member
I usually use about a half cup per 5 gallons of normal regular bleach. You can go stronger. I give it a quick rinse with tap water before letting it dry. Make sure to wear thick rubber gloves when handling sand, there are all sorts of things from tube worms to urchin spines.

I've found everything from batteries to long forgotten razor blades in aquarium substrate. A strainer is a must :)
 

Macimage

Active member
I usually use about a half cup per 5 gallons of normal regular bleach. You can go stronger. I give it a quick rinse with tap water before letting it dry. Make sure to wear thick rubber gloves when handling sand, there are all sorts of things from tube worms to urchin spines.

I've found everything from batteries to long forgotten razor blades in aquarium substrate. A strainer is a must :)

Thanks!

When we removed the sand from the tank we found two hair clips that had fallen out of my hair at separate times while I was cleaning the tank in years past!
 

Macimage

Active member
If you put heaters, power heads, and lights over them (with timers), you should be able to keep them in their indefinitely.

The empty salt buckets are full of sand and there is only an inch of water on the top. The bin has over a foot of sand and 2" of water at the top. I think the sand is too deep?
 

kevin_austin

New member
The empty salt buckets are full of sand and there is only an inch of water on the top. The bin has over a foot of sand and 2" of water at the top. I think the sand is too deep?

I'm sorry, I was thinking rubbermaid bins. 5 gallon buckets might be a bit more of a problem. You might stop over at Walmart or Home Depot and get a few. A few of these would keep everything fine for as long as you need it:

http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-Commercial-FG9S3100GRAY-Gallon-Capacity/dp/B001B1C4G0

I had the live rock and critters for my current reef in rubbermaid bins for several weeks with some T5 fixtures over them (and circulation pumps and heaters). They did quite well and the coralline algae on the rocks actually expanded during that time.
 

Macimage

Active member
I'm sorry, I was thinking rubbermaid bins. 5 gallon buckets might be a bit more of a problem. You might stop over at Walmart or Home Depot and get a few. A few of these would keep everything fine for as long as you need it:

http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-Commercial-FG9S3100GRAY-Gallon-Capacity/dp/B001B1C4G0

I had the live rock and critters for my current reef in rubbermaid bins for several weeks with some T5 fixtures over them (and circulation pumps and heaters). They did quite well and the coralline algae on the rocks actually expanded during that time.

I have some sand in one of those and it is 3/4 full with 2" of water.

It seems very deep to have it alive in the bottom half but that would be great it it were alive.

How full did you have your bins?
 
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