Restarting after 5yr hiatus

Yelsew

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I have a 180gal tank that's been down 5+ years. Its completely empty of water due to evaporation but still has 350#'s of rock and 3" sand bed that has hardened. I replaced all the bulkhead fittings and ordered new pumps and replaced the fittings on my refugium. But I'm kind of lost on how to soften up the sand and getting rid of the white line on the glass where the top layer of sand touches the glass. I really hope that I can reuse the sand and rock without having to replace it. Can someone please help me?

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andrewey

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You'll need to soak/rinse the dried sand/rock to remove all the extra salt. After that, the rock will need to be cured (put in a bucket/vat with a heater and a powerhead) and you'll need to perform frequent water changes to remove excess phosphate trapped in the rock or use a phosphate binder (lanthum chloride, gfo, etc.). You can also look into acid/bleaching the rock. There are pros/cons to each method.

As far as the sand is concerned, if you can break it up, it will likely desolidify with vigorous rinsing. If that doesn't work, you may need to use a diluted acidic solution (such as vinegar) to help break it up. It's a balancing act between helping to break it apart and dissolving the sand, so take it slow. Once it's in a state that resembles sand, you'll want to rinse, rinse, then rinse some more. You can choose to bleach the sand if you choose.

The white line can likely be removed with soaking with a vinegar solution. Let it sit overnight then use a metal scraper.
 

AcroNem

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I would do as suggested above with the rock, but I would switch out your sand bed. It's cheap enough and worth it if you're starting over to have fresh substrate. You can reuse it, it's just much more of a pain making it usable again and getting all organics out of it. Also +1 on the vinegar at removing those lines.
 

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