Automated fish feeders

JCW_1

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As I live in a rural area in the middle of nowhere it is virtually impossible to arrange fish feeder/sitter when I go on vacation.

Has anyone used any type of automated system? I understand there are things that take time to dissolve in water and something that works on a timer. Are these any good?

I'm not prepared to leave them without food for one week, particularly as they are still young and need food. Worst case i'll pay for friend/relative to travel here and stay for a bit, but i wonder if the automated feeders are good and reliable.
 

Colin_T

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What sort of fish do you have?
How old are the fish?

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Weekend and holiday feeders have layers of flake food imbedded in a calcium block. As the calcium dissolves, the food is released. These blocks require the pH to be 7.0. If the pH is too low, the block can dissolve completely in a day or two and release all the food in a short space of time. If the pH is too high, they don't dissolve at all.

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Automatic feeders can work and some brands are better than others. If you use them, you should get one well before you go on holiday and set it up and monitor it. They need to be dialed in so they don't add too much or too little food at a time.

You need to keep them dry and if moisture builds up in them, the flake food can stick to the feeder and stop food going into the tank.

I don't use them because I prefer to leave the fish without food for a short time. But @AbbeysDad has and he might be able to offer more insight into good brands.

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If your fish are more than 1 month old, they should be fine without food for a week. Add a heap of live plants a few weeks before you go and increase the lighting period to 16 hours a day. The extra light will encourage plant and algae growth and the fish can eat these. You can add some live Daphnia to a tank and the fish might be able to eat the
baby Daphnia.
*NB* Do not add live Daphnia to tanks with power filters because the Daphnia will get sucked into the filter.

If you feed the fish 3-5 times a day for a few weeks before you go away, they will build up some fat reserves and can live off that. If you feed the fish more often, do big water changes and gravel clean the substrate every day or two while feeding more often, to keep the tank clean.

Clean the filter a few days before you go away. That way it will be less likely to block up and stop working while your away.

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If you get someone in to feed the fish, measure out the portions of food and put them in small plastic containers or ziplock bags. tell the person to put one container/ ziplock bag in every couple of days. If you are feeding baby fish (less than 1 month old), then get them to feed once a day.

More fish die from overfeeding than starvation when you go on holiday and let other people care for the fish.
 
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JCW_1

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What sort of fish do you have?
How old are the fish?

--------------------
Weekend and holiday feeders have layers of flake food imbedded in a calcium block. As the calcium dissolves, the food is released. These blocks require the pH to be 7.0. If the pH is too low, the block can dissolve completely in a day or two and release all the food in a short space of time. If the pH is too high, they don't dissolve at all.

--------------------
Automatic feeders can work and some brands are better than others. If you use them, you should get one well before you go on holiday and set it up and monitor it. They need to be dialed in so they don't add too much or too little food at a time.

You need to keep them dry and if moisture builds up in them, the flake food can stick to the feeder and stop food going into the tank.

I don't use them because I prefer to leave the fish without food for a short time. But @AbbeysDad has and he might be able to offer more insight into good brands.

--------------------
If your fish are more than 1 month old, they should be fine without food for a week. Add a heap of live plants a few weeks before you go and increase the lighting period to 16 hours a day. The extra light will encourage plant and algae growth and the fish can eat these. You can add some live Daphnia to a tank and the fish might be able to eat the
baby Daphnia.
*NB* Do not add live Daphnia to tanks with power filters because the Daphnia will get sucked into the filter.

If you feed the fish 3-5 times a day for a few weeks before you go away, they will build up some fat reserves and can live off that. If you feed the fish more often, do big water changes and gravel clean the substrate every day or two while feeding more often, to keep the tank clean.

Clean the filter a few days before you go away. That way it will be less likely to block up and stop working while your away.

--------------------
If you get someone in to feed the fish, measure out the portions of food and put them in small plastic containers or ziplock bags. tell the person to put one container/ ziplock bag in every couple of days. If you are feeding baby fish (less than 1 month old), then get them to feed once a day.

More fish die from overfeeding than starvation when you go on holiday and let other people care for the fish.

I have 6 tetra and 1 guppy.

I don't know age, but they are young - guppy hasn't fully developed tail/fins. They are older than 1 month.

I think it's best to try and get someone to travel here and stay even for a few days to feed midweek. I'm away for 1 week.
 

AbbeysDad

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I don't use them because I prefer to leave the fish without food for a short time. But @AbbeysDad has and he might be able to offer more insight into good brands.
I agree that fish, with the exception of fry/juveniles can go without food for 7-10 days. Any longer requires a fish sitter or an auto feeder. @Colin_T is correct in that I have had success with Eheim feeders, both the Everyday feeder and the Twin Automatic feeders. Ideal for pellets, but if you use flakes they may need to be crushed enough so as not to block/plug the outlet. Also, any auto feeder MUST be setup several days or a week before departure to ensure proper delivery rates. :)
 

SmasLeeviy

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Indeed, you can buy an automatic fish feeder. Today, many models on the market have different characteristics and prices. For an aquarium, a zacro or freesea automatic fish feeder is best. The Zacro is unique, with a USB charging cable, giving you flexibility for different charging scenarios. The battery lasts a long time, and the battery management is well optimized for longer and more efficient life and can power your aquarium for approximately 3 months after charging. The freesea has the advantage of having a 200ml food storage capacity and supports both granules and powders.
 
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lottabubbles

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i have been using the Eheim German made auto fish feeder for about 18 years. we used to do 2 week motorcycle vacations twice a year and it always performed well. can program 4 feeding cycles any day combinations.
i use flake food and crush up the flakes and it flows out the outlet fine. this one unit has fed 26 fish in the 125 gal. aquarium. batteries seem to hold up well for 2 years in the unit.
 

Archerfish

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I agree with lottabubbles. Eheim Everyday Fish feeder. I have several and they work extremely well when you are in a situation where you will be away for a long-time or concerned that leaving their care in unfamiliar hands will result in disaster.
 

anewbie

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I have 6 tetra and 1 guppy.

I don't know age, but they are young - guppy hasn't fully developed tail/fins. They are older than 1 month.

I think it's best to try and get someone to travel here and stay even for a few days to feed midweek. I'm away for 1 week.
Does your tank have live plants or algae; guppies will live off biofilm/algae/plant matter if necessary. I've read bad things about most auto feeders including Eheim so i myself have been reluctant to try them though i will probably get one for the basement aquarium. The two that i'm leaning towards from my research are the eheim and aquarium-coop. I'm a little leary about the aquarium-coop one because aquairum-coop user tend to act like a cult and are reluctant to give an honest evaluation of a product but other than that it has decent reviews.
 

Uberhoust

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I used automated feeders from time to time. Occasionally I have to travel for work and getting others to feed my fish has not been successful. Un-experienced people tend to always overfeed, at the least making a mess you have to clean up when you get back.

I have used a few different types but I would stay away from the ones that are specifically on a clock motor. IE they only feed once every 12 hours, they are hard to calibrate and move too slow. The one I have had the most success with is the Eheim, but as others have said they are not perfect. In particular the amount of food dropped into the tank is a bit variable. They work best with pelleted food but I use mine with flake food. You have to break up the food before loading into the hoppers to make it as uniformly sized and without the large flakes that cause issues with the food distribution. The style above is a good choice but they tend to have a shorter time.

You need to spend some time calibrating the feeders to the tank. At the time I was using I had 4 tanks and 4 feeders, with the feeders calibrated for each tank. I calibrated each by dropping my normal feeding amount in a bowl, then adjusting the number of barrel rotations and opening size to consistently drop slightly less than what I would feed them. I found I got better control using more barrel rotations but if your tanks are small this might not work that well. I have a moisture problem in my house with relative humidity approaching 70% and the food stayed unclumped for over 6 weeks. You cannot place the feeder anywhere near a bubbler or the outflow of the feeder.

They are not ideal but, in some cases they are better than getting others to feed the fish.
 

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