How to Remove Paint From a Scuba Tank

Written by sam surgalski
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How to Remove Paint From a Scuba Tank
After many dives, water can creep underneath the paint, causing bubbles to form. (diving tank image by Marcin Wasilewski from

Scuba tanks are a vital part of every scuba dive or paintball trip. Unfortunately, after many dives, or after lots of use, your tank's paint can begin to corrode. Not only will this look awful, but it can harm the protective barriers of your scuba tank. Luckily, the paint can be removed with some equipment and time. This job is best done before your tank has to by hydro-tested, because in the process of removing the paint, you will also need to remove the stickers located on your tank containing vital information concerning your test dates. If you're seeking a "new look" for your tank, removing the paint is the first step. After that, just colour in your tank with some permanent markers.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Aircraft stripper, such as Jasco Premium Paint or Epoxy Remover
  • Wire brush with scraper head
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Paper bags
  • Scouring pads
  • Paint cleaner
  • Gas mask
  • Painter's tape
  • Chemical-safe brush

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  1. 1

    Cover the valve of your scuba tank with painter's tape. This prevents any type of chemical stripper from getting into your tank, which could contaminate your air.

  2. 2

    Lightly score your entire scuba tank with the scraper, making sure to score the sticker area. Although you shouldn't make direct contact to the metal, you should get close.

  3. 3

    Place the stripper on your tank using your chemical-safe brush while wearing the gloves and gas mask. This brush will need to be thrown away afterward, so purchase a cheap one.

  4. 4

    Let the stripper sit on the paint for at least 15 minutes. The chemical needs time to work.

  5. 5

    Remove the bubbled-up paint as lightly as possible. If you try to scrape it off too hard, you could damage your tank. Keep reapplying the stripper for stubborn spots.

  6. 6

    Polish the tank with soap, water and a rag. This gets rid of any leftover paint, stripper or dirt.

  7. 7

    Clean up the area using the paper bags. Paper soaks up chemical stripper quite well, so grab lots of them.

  8. 8

    Reapply your hydro inspection stickers to the top of your scuba tank. If you are getting a new test done afterward, make sure to bring the receipt from your last inspection, which provides proof that it is a legal tank.

Tips and warnings

  • If you would like to customise your scuba tank, use permanent markers instead of paint. Paint can corrode and ruin your tank. Markers will not only protect your tank, but the colour will stick for quite a long time.
  • Paint strippers can be very toxic if inhaled in large doses; wear a mask whenever using it.

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