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Scuba cylinders are made from either steel or aluminum materials. A Steel scuba tank is offered as a High Pressure tank or Low Pressure scuba tank. High Pressure steel scuba tanks allow up to 3442 psi to be pumped into a cylinder, while low pressure steel scuba tanks can fill up to 2640 psi. Steel dive tanks weigh more due to the material in which it’s made, requiring less weight to be used in a weight belt. This is a benefit for some scuba divers.
Divers Direct carries 4 sizes in Blue Steel scuba tanks. Our cylinder sizes come in 80 cubic foot, 100 cubic foot, 117 cubic foot, and a 133 cubic foot. The 117 or 133 cubic foot steel cylinder is recommended for technical divers doing deep diving. If you are a recreational diver, these tanks may be too heavy. A 100 cubic foot cylinder is the most often purchased steel cylinder. It is the same physical size as the aluminum 80, but holds more air. There are many sizes of scuba tanks, but you will find common standards throughout the industry. Standard psi in an aluminum scuba cylinder is 3000. 80 cubic foot tanks are the most popular among recreational divers, and are also the most commonly found tanks on the water. Divers Direct also carries the 40 cu ft, 50 cu ft, 63 cu ft and 100 cu ft. There’s a size for everyone!
If you’re a technical diver, or if you are just searching for that extra peace of mind, then a pony bottle is for you. Pony tanks are small cylinders used primarily as a back-up air source. The main difference between a pony tanks and a spare air source is the air capacity. You will be able to get more air out of a pony tank than a spare air. Additionally, pony tanks will allow you to make your safety stops as necessary without running out of air. Pony tanks come in 13 cu ft, 19 cu ft, 30 cu ft and 40 cu ft sizes.
When purchasing a tank, you should evaluate how quickly you go through your air in your cylinder, the frequency of diving you are planning to do, and the type of diving you’ll be doing. Pick a scuba cylinder that is light enough for you to carry and large enough to supply air for an ascent and safety stop from your planned diving depth. You should note that there is no "one size fits all" cylinder out there in the market.
If you are in doubt and need assistance, our trained sales staff are here to help you. Please contact our professional sales staff toll free at 1-800-DIVE-USA, or via e-mail [email protected].
Remember to keep at least 200-300 psi in your cylinder at all times. Never drain your tank completely. Draining your cylinder will allow moisture to enter, creating rust and corrosion as well as pitting in the tank, which is grounds for condemning it. Store your scuba tank in a cool dry place. Avoid rough handling that will cause dents, gouges or nicks in the tanks.This will also invite corrosion of the metal and can weaken the cylinder. It is important to get a visual inspection (also known as a VIP) on your cylinder at least once a year by a certified VIP technician. Every 5 years your cylinder will require hydrostatic testing. Please note that most scuba cylinders Divers Direct carries in their stores are already nitrox compatible. Due to shipping restrictions, all scuba cylinders shipped via air will not include the air fill. All cylinders being shipped via ground transportation will only have 500 psi, in order to keep the visual inspection current. If you are planning on purchasing from one of our local stores, please bring your certification card.
Scuba tank size depends mainly on air consumption. Larger divers tend to consume more air and will need a larger tank. Scuba tanks are measured in cubic feet, and the standard tank size is 80 cu. ft., though many divers prefer the 100 cu. ft. tank since it is the same physical size but can hold more gas. The 117 cu. ft. and 133 cu. ft. scuba tanks are mostly for technical divers who are going on deep dives. If you’re a recreational diver, you’ll not be needing quite that much volume, and since those sizes are significantly heavier, it may be best to stick with the standard 80 or 100 cu. ft. scuba tanks.
When buying a tank, you can choose between steel or aluminum material. Aluminum is a far lighter material and aluminum scuba tanks tend to be bottom-heavy, making them easy to stand on their own without a boot, but also causing you, the diver, to be tail-heavy as well when wearing your tank. Aluminum tanks resist rust more effectively than steel tanks as well. Steel scuba tanks have a more balanced weight distribution, and since they tend to be on the heavier side, divers can use less weights when they dive, which many scuba divers view as a bonus. When choosing a steel tank, you’ll need to choose between high pressure and low pressure—high pressure holding up to 3442 psi, and low pressure holding up to 2640 psi. So both tank materials have their pros and cons, it’s just a personal preference regarding weight and durability that will lead you to the right tank material for you.
Many divers who live nearby a dive location or who can travel easily to a dive spot prefer to purchase a tank. That way all the scuba equipment you need is in one place and ready to go any time you are. If you’re a traveling diver and often take an airplane to your dive locations, traveling with a scuba tank may be quite cumbersome. Therefore, figuring out your most frequent mode of transportation to your dive locations will help you make the decision about whether renting or buying a scuba tank is ideal for you.
Maintenance is key to keeping your tank in proper condition. Ways you can better maintain your tank include ensuring you keep at least 200-300 psi in the tank at all times, keeping your tank protected from dents and dings, keeping the interior of your tank moisture-free, and getting an annual visual inspection (VIP) and a hydrostatic test every 5 years by a certified VIP technician. Keep your scuba tank valve covered and protected when you’re not using your tank and store it in a cool dry place. If you follow these guidelines on scuba tank maintenance, you should have plenty of dives with the same tank(s) for years and years.
As mentioned in the previous question, you’ll need a valve cover. If, for whatever reason, you don’t already have a valve cover for your tank or yours has been damaged, it’s essential to replace it. A tank boot can be useful in helping your scuba cylinder stand upright on its own while also protecting its base. You may enjoy having a carry handle for your tank which can make tank transportation easier, especially when you are toting multiple tanks, and a tank rack can keep your tank or tanks steady and secure when in transport. Finally, spare O-rings are an accessory every diver must keep on them.
Since most dive excursions involve at least two dives in a trip (one tank per dive), many divers who purchase their own tanks often get two so that they don’t need to rent a second cylinder. If you’re exploring the world of cave diving or deep diving, you may enjoy the peace of mind that comes with adding a pony tank to your setup. Keeping a pony tank will offer you a secondary air source if you run out of air in your main cylinder. These can be life saving in emergency situations.