Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: South New Jersey, USA
I'm a newbie, but it sounds like I have the same setup as you: Aquatek regulator with paintball co2. Mine is working well with zero delay between switching it on and seeing bubbles.
Here's my setup: 1. the aquatek regulator. 2. the free bubble counter with integrated check valve that came with the regulator. It works really well. 3. The fluval 88g ceramic disk diffuser. 4. High pressure hose line (not the softer hose for a regular air line). 5. I have the larger valve opened to about 22psi and that seems to be just right for 1 bubble per second. 6. It's been running perfectly for almost a week now (the first week) so I never even got around to tweaking the smaller adjustment knob. My smaller adjustment knob is still wide open (to the left). 7. The entire paintball tank is up around 900 psi, I think.
My failures and discoveries along the way: I originally tried to use the fluval bubble counter, but that requires a separate check valve, and the standard air check valve I tried to use leaked due to too much pressure. I didn't like the fluval bubble counter anyway. The plastic was thin and cheap and I don't like how both hoses (in and out) are on the same side.
One way I could tell I had a leak was that my bubble rate was inconsistent. If you see 1 bubble per second for a while, then all of the sudden 8 or 10 bubbles very quickly, then you know you have a leak somewhere. A better way to find a leak is to dip the entire bubble counter (and check valve) into the aquarium or a glass of water. ... and then there's always the soapy-water-makes-bubbles method.
I'm fairly inexperienced, but I personally think that 60 psi might be enough to start causing damage to the diffuser. If you put too much pressure, then you'll get large bubbles that go around the ceramic disk instead of through it. Also 60psi seems like way more pressure than some of the push-on hose connections can handle. At that pressure some of the connections may start leaking. Regular, flexible air hose will most certainly leak at that pressure.
In order to get a good connection with the stiff high-pressure hose, dip the very end of the hose into a hot cup of water to soften it, then push on before it cools.
I have experienced "sticky" check valves before. Blow air through your valve before assembly to make sure it's working and that you have the direction of flow correct. I get the impression they're sometimes stuck shut when you first purchase them, but it's less likely they'll stick shut while you're using them regularly.