Corrosion Resistant Materials

There are three types of materials that are ideally suited for working around salt water.

These are stainless steel, aluminum and plastics.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel (SS) is probably the best material to use our around saw water as far as durability goes. There are many grades of stainless steel and some or more corrosion resistant than others. Typically the more resistant types are also the most expensive types. Stainless steel in general tends to be much more expensive than aluminum or plastic, but it’s very durable and is very strong and stainless steel can be very useful around salt water aquariums. But it is typically used more in commercial systems, not home hobby systems.


Aluminum typically doesn’t rust in the presence of saltwater, although it may pit. When exposed to salt water, it will develop a dull finish over time. We don’t recommend that you use aluminum underwater but it seems to be ok above water. It seems to work well and is very durable. We use it a lot as it is low cost, very strong, and structurally never seems to decay.


Plastic materials are probably one of the best materials for a beginner. These don’t usually corrode although they can degrade under UV light. So you want to make sure, if you’re buying a material or an item that’s made of plastic and it’s going to be exposed to your lights for long periods of time, make sure the plastic is labeled”UV resistant”.

But typically plastics are very resistant to saltwater corrosion. Some of them may also become brittle over time, but in general, the plastics like polyethylene, are very good.



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