How do you dry out used tank sand to save it for reuse?

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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How do you do it? The only way I can think of is to spread it out in the sun in small quantities/thin layers to dry thoroughly, but between grey, drizzly days, wind that will blow it away if the tray isn't deep enough, and how long it will take to dry out a good amount of sand, I can't help feeling that there's a better method that my brain isn't bright enough to think of. I have two or three baking trays I could use, but they're not large, some would blow away, and it will take me forever to get the whole bucket full of sand dry. Halp.
 

Byron

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As you have surmised, it is the depth of the sand layer that governs how long it takes for all moisture to evaporate. It can be years. I have a large garbage-type container in which I put the gravel removed from my tank some seven years ago. It is about 20 inches in depth, and if I poke down into it, it is still very, very wet at the bottom.

What I did was rinse it very well, then just leave it in 3-gallon buckets about 2/3 full. Provided you rinse it first, the wet doesn't matter when it is time to use it.
 

Rocky998

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I want to know if others also have ideas... I still am not sure if I'll be using the sand from this tank in the new one...
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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As you have surmised, it is the depth of the sand layer that governs how long it takes for all moisture to evaporate. It can be years. I have a large garbage-type container in which I put the gravel removed from my tank some seven years ago. It is about 20 inches in depth, and if I poke down into it, it is still very, very wet at the bottom.

What I did was rinse it very well, then just leave it in 3-gallon buckets about 2/3 full. Provided you rinse it first, the wet doesn't matter when it is time to use it.
Dang, if you don't know some magical way to dry it out, then there really isn't one! Thank you for confirming my thoughts though!

I'll give the baking tray method a try - would have worked well during the heatwave we had earlier in the summer, but it's so grey and drizzly now that it's hard to dry laundry, let alone a load of wet sand.
True that it's easy enough to clean it if it's left sitting in a bucket. It's only the top layer that gets gross and is easy enough to wash clean. But I have three different substrates I'd hoped to dry out and store away neatly, rather than having random buckets in the garden.

I think the gravelish river stone stuff that isn't very pretty is gonna get used as paving sand where the bottom of the garden gets boggy in winter, and I'll have a go at slowly and methodically drying trays of the more expensive aquarium sand.
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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In the old days (1960s) when I was a kid, the recommendation was to spread out on a tray and bake at 300 degrees or so. All bacterial growth will be decimated, good or bad depending on your view.
WHY.DIDN'T.I.THINK.OF.THAT!

You're brilliant, thank you!!! I have a vague memory of something like that, must have seen my parents do it decades ago or something. Thank you so so much!! This is why I made this post, I knew someone out there must have a method! Man, I want to buy you a drink, I'm so grateful! lol

Not worried about cycling bacteria, they would die out no matter what method you used as soon as it dried out anyway, and even if kept wet in a bucket for too long, so perhaps the idea of baking the substrate is something I heard when we've talked about killing off disease or a bad bacteria.
I'm so happy! Thank you!
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Well...the cost of firing up an oven to do this would likely far exceed the cost of a bag of sand.
I'm planning to add a tray or two any time I'm using the oven for dinner though, not turn it on especially to dry it out. There's usually space to spare in the oven any time I'm making a casserole or cottage pie.
 

Rocky998

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I'm planning to add a tray or two any time I'm using the oven for dinner though, not turn it on especially to dry it out. There's usually space to spare in the oven any time I'm making a casserole or cottage pie.
I wouldn't put it in the oven with a food item... But ok 😅
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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It costs gas (in my case) or electricity to run an oven, hot enough and long enough to dry out sand, and it's expensive. More expensive than using the stovetop. In the UK certainly, power costs have already shot up to levels that have caused a national crisis. No one wants to waste power.
 

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