Why you should never get painted scuba tanks

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Me using my friends blue tanks.

A year ago I bought a pair of Luxor A80s so that I could continue sidemount diving. The dive shop had them machine finished and in several different colours. I had actually wanted to get yellow tanks as I thought that yellow tanks with a black wetsuit and harness would look pretty cool, unfortunately they only had one yellow tank and even though blue was my second choice (my friend had blue tanks and I couldn’t have the same as my friend), I picked black.

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The looked cool; all black and sleek. I liked the fact that I looked like a ninja. But it wasn’t to last. My love of penetrating wrecks started to cause them to be chipped. This then caused salt water to get in under the paint. It’s not possible to get the salt out from under the paint and this causes the paint to blister and crack. Eventually the paint falls off. The salt also starts to eat away at the aluminium causing corrosion and damage. Brian (my cave instructor) doesn’t like painted tanks as the paint chips off in the cave leaving small flakes, so it is better to have brushed aluminium/steel tank for cave diving.

I eventually decided to bite the bullet and remove the paint from the tanks. I searched around on the internet and found Klean-Strip – Premium Stripper which can remove the paint without damaging the tanks. I bought a can on my recent trip to the USA (it only costs $6.50) and brought it back with me. I cleaned and prepared my tanks, then applied the stripper. I left the stripper for a good 10 minutes before removing the paint with a plastic scraper. One can will almost do two tanks, there are still some sections that need going over. I will see if I can find the stripper here in the Bahamas and finish the job. But for the meantime the tanks are stripped.

You can see in the photos below how the tanks were before I stripped them of their paint, and how much corrosion has been caused to the tanks. If there is a place that does glass-bead blasting, then I might just get them to be all shiny and new 🙂

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