Aluminum Fishing Oxygen Regulator Failure, Galvanic Corrosion

Webpage Updated                                               Monday  March 11, 2019

Aluminum oxygen regulators, click-style, flow adjustable, flow rates calibrated in liters per minute flow (lpm) and fractions of liters per minute flow rates (0.03 – 1/32 lpm) and Galvanic Corrosion.


High pressure oxygen regulators with aluminum alloy bodies are commonly advertised and sold on the internet to fishermen. Sold at bait and tackle shops, Cabela’s Sporting Goods, Walmart and other big box store outlets advertised as “Commercial Grade” fishing oxygen system regulators “Designed for use in a marine environment.”

Click-style aluminum oxygen regulators are a common component of store bought and homemade fishing/bait life support oxygen systems. Aluminum regulators are inexpensive, cheap and disposable. Galvanic Corrosion is a serious problem with all aluminum oxygen regulators used in Marine environments.

Sport fishermen that fish in Marine and salty coastal bay waters are all at risk using click-style adjustable high pressure oxygen regulators with aluminum alloy bodies. Many aluminum oxygen regulators are colored; red, blue, gold, yellow, green, pink, etc. All aluminum alloy regulators, regardless of the color, are prone to catastrophic effects of Galvanic Corrosion.

Fact – Click-style aluminum body oxygen regulators are Not “Designed for use in a marine environments” nor are they “Commercial Grade” oxygen regulators contrary to popular internet advertisements, infomercials, salesman talk and fishermen bro-science beliefs. Aluminum oxygen regulators are extremely prone to mechanical malfunction and failure specifically caused by Galvanic Corrosion –

What does Galvanic Corrosion look like? When Galvanic Corrosion (white power) becomes visible on aluminum oxygen regulators, the corrosive process is well established and metal damage and pitting has begun. The flow control adjustment knob seizes, becomes inoperable (fixed) and aluminum metal pitting is actively rendering aluminum oxygen regulator unsafe to use.

Corrosion damage is predictable and should be expected to with click-style aluminum alloy regulators when used in Marine environments, coastal bays, coastal estuaries as well as fresh water fishing environments. Corrosion should also be expected and is predictable with brass body oxygen regulators that are plated with a chrome alloy when used in these fishing environments.

Galvanic corrosion is a metallurgy problem with aluminum alloy, chrome alloy and salt exposure. The corrosion is that white powdery oxidation that forms outside and inside aluminum oxygen regulators.

What is Galvanic Corrosion? – Understanding the Metallurgy Science

Galvanic Corrosion is an electrochemical process in which one metal corrodes preferentially when it is in electrical contact with another metal (i.e. metal alloys), in the presence of an electrolyte (salt). *** The presence of an electrolyte (salt) and an electrical conducting path between the metals in the alloys are essential for galvanic corrosion to occur.

The electrolyte (sodium chloride, NaCl, salt) provides a means for ion migration whereby ions move to prevent charge build-up that would otherwise stop the Galvanic Corrosion reaction.

Salt (electrolyte) is a common element, ubiquitous in all marine environments, fish saver and bait saver livewell supplements.

Galvanic Corrosion affects freshwater fishermen too – Many fresh water fishermen have also seen and experienced negative effects of Galvanic Corrosion on aluminum click-style oxygen regulators. Freshwater fishermen that use livewell supplements to aid tournament fish and live bait health are at risk.

Fishermen that use and depend on aluminum O2 regulators in marine (salt water) environments have all seen and experienced Galvanic Corrosion, regulator malfunction resulting in frank failure, dead bait and fish in livewells.

Expect click-style flow adjustment knobs to corrode, freeze-up and fail. Or worse, gas flow to the diffuser occludes and stops and all the live bait and tournament fish in the livewell dies… the regulator, a vital component to the life support oxygen system – FAILS.

Acute aluminum oxygen regulator failure has spoiled many live bait fish trips and cost C&R tournament fishermen thousands of dollars yearly.

Livewell Supplements and Chemicals – All Fish Saver/bait saver/bass saver/redfish saver livewell chemicals, additives and supplements contain electrolytes (sodium chloride, NaCl or salt). Livewell supplements and additives are promoted and sold to fishermen as “good for live bait and live tournament game fish health (aid with osmoregulation, harden scales, reduce mucus production. Salt is a common inexpensive livewell electrolyte.

Who Makes Aluminum Oxygen Regulators – Click-style, flow adjustable (LPM and fractions of LPM), high pressure oxygen regulators with aluminum alloy bodies are manufactured in the US and Asia by many companies: Cramer-Decker Medical, Sun Set Healthcare, Allied Healthcare, Gen Tech Medical, Rosco Medical, Drive, Western Medica, Essex Industries Medical O2 regulators, Chad Medical, Mada Medical, in the USA, China and Mexico that are adjustable-flow, calibrated in liters per minute (lpm) and fractions of lpm are classified as “Medical” oxygen regulators and all these high pressure oxygen regulators have aluminum alloy bodies. Click-style aluminum alloy oxygen regulators are all manufactured to FDA medical regulator specifications and registered with the FDA as medical devices. The bar code imprint on the manufacturer’s original shipping box identifies the regulator manufacturer.

***None of these regulator manufacturers classify their click-style, flow adjustable (LPM and fractions of LPM),  aluminum alloy body high pressure oxygen regulators as “Commercial” oxygen regulators. These companies have click-style, aluminum oxygen regulators manufactured in China or Mexico to FDA specifications, then import these regulators into the United States. They are manufactured, classified and FDA controlled as “Medical” Oxygen regulators… not “Commercial” oxygen regulators.

Regulator Safety – Uncontrolled emergency high pressure regulator blow-outs can be a serious fire and explosion safety issue especially when the blow-out happens in open water on fishing boats. The pure oxygen high pressure gas release from the damaged regulator will be loud and uncontrollable.