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Paintball air tanks are required by the government to be hydrostatic tested every few years to ensure they are structurally sound and safe for use. The life of air bottles used for paintball purposes can be measured by their hydro test date. Most modern air bottles must be tested every five years. The date at which this must happen can be determined by checking the bottle for information printed on it or stamped into it. CO2 bottles and aluminum compressed air tanks have a date, in month and year, stamped into them near the valve at the top, while an information label is printed into the side of each carbon fiber compressed air bottle, also with a month and year. Hydro testing must be performed within five years from the date found on the bottle. Once tested, the bottles will either be re-certified for another five years of use, or will be rendered unusable should a reason be found not to approve them such as visible damaged.

All cylinders have ratings that start with “DOT” or “ICC,” followed by the service pressure of the container.  For example “DOT 3AA 1800” means a DOT approved cylinder made to the “3AA” specification rated for 1800 psi.  Some common ratings and test intervals are below:


5-Year test:

3-Year test:
How to read Fiber Wrapped/Carbon Fiber Cylinder Markings   How to read C02 tank markings How to read Aluminum or Steel Cylinder Markings


1. DOT Exemption Number

2. Service Pressure (psi)

3. Serial Number

4. Manufacturer

5. Original Hydro Date with Testing Agency Stamp

6. Rejection Elastic Expansion (cc)



  1. Cylinder Specification consisting of three sections:

    DOT – Department of Transportation
    3AA – Specification of type and material of cylinder construction.
    2265 – Service Pressure in psi.


    2. 12345 – Cylinder serial number (See Note A)

    3. Gas Inc. – Identifying symbol (See Note A)

    4. Manufacturing Data:


    4-70 – Date of manufacture and original test date.
    XX – Inspector’s official mark.
    + - Cylinder qualifies for 110% filling.

5. YY – Manufacturer’s identifying symbol.

6. Retest Markings:

    4-75 – Data of first 5 year hydrostatic retest
    ABC – Retester identifying symbol.
    + - Cylinder requalifies for 110% filling.
    * - Cylinder qualifies for 10-year retest interval.

7. Neck ring owner’s identification.


    A. Serial number and identifying symbol may be that of purchaser user or manufacturer.

    B. “Spun” or “Plug” must be stamped near DOT mark when an end closure in the finished cylinder has been welded by the spinning process or effected by plugging.

    C. Markings “5” and “6” are usually shown diametrically opposite other markings on the cylinder neck.


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