Aluminum Fishing Oxygen Regulator Failure, Galvanic Corrosion

WEBPAGE UPDATED              Wednesday  February 16, 2022
 MANY DIFFERENT BRANDS OF CLICK-STYLE ALUMINUM BODY OXYGEN REGULATORS SOLD IN AMERICA TO FISHERMEN ARE “MADE IN CHINA” and “MADE IN MEXICO.” MANY CONTAIN INTERNAL COMPONENTS MADE WITH ZINC. ZINC IS A WELL KNOWN INEXPENSIVE “SACRIFICIAL METAL” USED IN MARINE ENVIRONMENTS NECAUSE ZINC IS QUICKLY ATTACKED AND DESTROYED BY GALVANIC CORROSION. ZINC ALLOY COMPONEENTS INSIDE A FISHING OXYGEN REGULATOR BODY IS A MAJOR GALVANIC CORROSION PROBLEM.

GOOGLE “SACRIFICIAL METAL” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrificial_metal

GOOGLE “DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ELECTROLYSIS AND GALVANIC CORROSION” – https://www.boataccessoriesaustralia.com.au/blog/our-blog/difference-between-electrolysis-and-galvanic-corro/

All aluminum body click-style oxygen regulators with brass cores,  adjustable flow rates calibrated in liters per minute flow (lpm) and fractions of liters per minute flow rates (0.03 – 1/32 lpm) often malfunction and fail because of Galvanic Corrosion when exposed to marine environments (salty water, salty ambient air and all livewell supplements that contain salt, electrolytes).

High-pressure oxygen regulators with aluminum alloy bodies are commonly advertised and sold on the internet to fishermen as components for fishing oxygen-injection livewell systems to keep bait fish, shrimp and tournament fish alive in livewells. Some oxygen systems are capable of “supercharging live bait” some oxygen systems cannot/will not “supercharge live bait.” Aluminum oxygen regulators are advertised and sold at bait and tackle shops, Cabela’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, Amazon, on the internet and other big box store outlets as “Commercial Grade Oxygen Regulators” fishing oxygen system regulators “Designed for use in a marine environment.” This is “fake advertisement” that is FALSE AND DECEPTIVE.

Fishing oxygen regulators that are made for marine environments have solid brass bodies. They are plated with pure nickel, not nickel/chrome alloy plating. They contain no Zinc internal components. Pure nickel plating will tarnish like an old Buffalo Nickel. Nickel/chrome alloy plating has a mirror finish, shiny like a new chrome car bumper. All nickel/chrome plated alloy oxygen regulator plating is very prone to galvanic corrosion when exposed to marine environments and livewell supplements containing electrolytes (salt).

All aluminum alloy regulators, regardless of the regulator color, are all prone to catastrophic failure because of the adverse effects of Galvanic Corrosion when exposed to and contaminated with salt, salty air or livewell supplements containing electrolytes.

Electrolyte (salt) is added to all livewell supplements to aid osmoregulation and reduce the work of metabolism in stressful summer live transport condition.

Fact – Many bait shops and internet stores sell click-style aluminum body oxygen regulators. Most of these O2 regulators are made in China and are Not “Designed for use in a marine environments” nor are they classified as “Commercial Grade Oxygen Regulators” contrary to popular internet advertisements, infomercials, salesman talk and fishermen bro-science beliefs. Aluminum oxygen regulators are very prone to mechanical malfunction and failure specifically caused by Galvanic Corrosion – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion

What does Galvanic Corrosion look like? When Galvanic Corrosion (white power substance) becomes visible on aluminum oxygen regulators externally, the corrosive process is also well established externally as well as internally 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 freshwater fishing environments. Corrosion should also be expected and is predictable with brass body oxygen regulators that are plated with a chrome-nickel alloy when used in fishing environments.

Galvanic corrosion is a metallurgy problem. 

What is Galvanic Corrosion? – Understanding the Metallurgy Science https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion

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, sodium) 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. Salt is also the major component found in bait saver and fish saver livewell supplements and chemicals.

Salty air exposure and direct salt contamination activates Galvanic corrosion and regulator failure with aluminum oxygen regulators.

Galvanic Corrosion can cause aluminum body oxygen regulators freshwater fishermen use too – Many freshwater fishermen have also seen and experienced negative effects of Galvanic Corrosion on aluminum click-style oxygen regulators. Freshwater fishermen that use aluminum O2 regulators around livewell supplements containing electrolytes (salt) are at risk of Galvanic Corrosion.

What kind of regulator problems to expect: Expect flow adjustment knobs to corrode, freeze-up and fail. And worse, expect the O2 gas flow to the diffuser to fail, gas orifices occlude with corrosion and gas flow stops. When that happens, all the live bait and tournament fish in the livewell will suffocate quickly in minutes… the regulator, is a vital component to an oxygen-injection life support oxygen system.

Acute aluminum oxygen regulator failure has spoiled many live bait fishing trips as well as costing C&R tournament fishermen have lost thousands of dollars every summer because of O2 regulator failures.

About Livewell Supplements, Additives and Chemicals (SPECIFICALLY THOSE IMPORTANT ELECTROLYTES) – 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 osmoregulation, harden scales and reduce mucus production. Salt is a common inexpensive livewell electrolyte.

FACT: Most high-pressure aluminum oxygen regulators are manufactured in China, Mexico, very few are manufactured in America. 

The Oxygen Edge™ O2 regulator is a precision dose, click-style high pressure oxygen regulator that is manufactured in America. It is the only click-style high-pressure “COMMERCIAL GRADE ” oxygen regulator engineered and custom manufactured for use in marine and freshwater fishing environments. The regulator body is manufactured with solid brass bar stock and the plating is pure nickel. The regulator is engineered, and custom designed specifically to inhibit the negative effects caused by Galvanic corrosion. There are no internal zinc components: It IS NOT CLASSIFIED AS A “MEDICAL GRADE” OXYGEN REGULATOR.

The Oxygen Edge™ delivers as adjustable dose of oxygen; the dose of pure oxygen delivered is calibrated in pounds of fish (2 lbs. – 200 lbs.), not calibrated in liters per minute. Simply dial in the pounds of fish in the livewell or bait tank and the “Supercharging” dose of pure oxygen is delivered to the diffuser. The dose of oxygen required for “supercharging live bait fish and shrimp” is considerably more oxygen that required to simply keep bait alive on a 100 F summer day and insure minimal, safe continuous DO Saturations required to prevent hypoxic water quality.

MINIMAL SAFE, SUSTAINED LIVEWELL OXYGENATION IS ALWAYS 100% DO SATURATION OR GREATER DURING ALL LIVE BAIT AND LIVE FISH TRANSPORTS.