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Housings and hydrogen sulfide

hydrogen sulfide

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#1 Alison Perkins

Alison Perkins

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:34 PM

Does anyone have experience taking their housings and strobes through hydrogen sulfide layers? I was recently diving through a layer of hydrogen sulfide and it had quite the affect on various metals in my gear: my drysuit zip changed colour from silver to bronze, my silver pressure gauge is now dark grey/black, the burst disks on the scuba tanks even darkened. I was wondering if I took my camera gear (Sealux housing with Inon strobes) through the stuff what might happen.

Underwater photographer based in New Zealand.


#2 newmanl


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Posted 18 December 2013 - 01:05 AM

Hi Alison,


I took a housing and strobes into/through a hydrogen sulfide layer once in a cave in Mexico and the while the housing seemed unaffected (Ikelite at the time), all the fittings turned a dull grey colour as a result of the exposure. Apparently the Hydrogen sulfide reacts with metal ions to form metal sulfides which are often dark in color. I also noticed the same thing with my suit zipper and the metal fittings on the strobes. While my photo gear didn't look as shiny afterwards, there doesn't seem to have been any negative, long-term effects.


I now have an Aquatica housing, and while I haven't exposed it to the H2S, yet, I would think the same would happen - exposed fittings may turn dark, but the coated housing should be fine.  


Hope that helps.



#3 dpaustex



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Posted 10 February 2014 - 08:19 PM

The hydrogen sulfide (H2S) reacts with free oxygen and dissolved oxygen in the water to make sulfuric acid (albeit, weak). However, this mixture does cause oxidation of certain metals. The Ikelite (and most other) housings use stainless steel parts. This same solution will darken the stainless, but should not cause it to corrode beyond that.  The same thing is happening inside your regulator, too. Be sure to properly soak, then FLUSH, all of your equipment, and you'll be fine.