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What fish feeders have you used and what you recommend or don't recommend?

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Thanks...good info. :-)


Michael Cosmo said:
I know many of you have a lot more experience with fish feeders but I thought I would share my experience so far. I was going away and Ron hadn't built one for me yet so I took a chance and bought this one from Amazon. Petmate Le Bistro Portion-Control Automatic Pet Feeder
Description "The Petmate LeBistro 10-pound programmable feeder faithfully delivers portion-controlled meals to your dog or cat while you are away and relieves you of the daily chore of scooping and measuring. The stylishly-designed unit dispenses portions that you select ranging from 1/4 to 3 cups and dispenses them up to three times per day. It's perfect for pets who need a little weight management.

Easy Programming for Portion Control
Programming is as easy as setting the alarm clock using the large LCD screen. Just 3 buttons take you through the process. There’s even a meal counter. The Petmate LeBistro programmable feeder holds 10 pounds of food and accommodates a full range of dry food sizes, shapes, and types. The food hopper is conveniently transparent for monitoring food levels at a glance and has a handy twist-lock lid to keep the food secure.
Removable Bowl Makes Cleaning a Snap
The bowl is easily removable for cleaning and is top-shelf dishwasher safe. The Petmate LeBistro 10-pound programmable feeder is very energy efficient, allowing 3 D-cell alkaline batteries (not included) to power the unit for up to six months. A low-battery indicator lets you know when the batteries need to be changed. Assembles easily in minutes with no tools. It measures 16”x10”x19” and includes a one-year limited warranty."

Here are some pics of my installation.

As you can see I have it over the fish tank covered with a plastic bag and 5 gall on bucket. I has been working fine for 2 months. It holds a lot of feed. 10 lbs. It can be shaken to spill a little or if you can access the control panel it can dispense a serving. It tells you how many servings it has dispensed. So far so good. There are 477 reviews on Amazon. Here is the pdf of the manual. It can also have an AC adapter.
I have to say, I wish I had seen this unit before building mine. It is cheaper, smaller and so far has proven more reliable. Mine works but there are still some issues I'm trying to get corrected.
Michael, This Petmate looks like it would be good for fingerlings and adult fish.. I think it may be too much for fry....seeing how I read the smallest amount it dispenses is a 1/4 cup. What do you think...?

Any one have suggestions for a feeder for fry......They only eat crumbles or tiny pellets. A few hundred fry wont need much, but 'several times' a day.....???
You are right. It wouldn't work with small pellets.
For small quantities, think of something that will drop pre-measured amounts rather than measuring it for you. Something like this -- http://www.amazon.com/Lentek-6-Day-Automatic-Pet-Dish/dp/B00006JHRE...

you could just mount it upside down. downside is you only get 4-6 feedings a day and it needs to be reloaded every day.

or just build it with a slow turning gear motor, two discs and a bunch of pill bottles.. it would work the same, just mount the pill bottles to one disc, fill the bottles with however much food you want, each pill bottle would drop the food it holds as the gearmotor turns the second disc, which has a hole in it. How many bottles you is up to you.
Thanks guys.

Michael, I thought I read, that the food needs to be a 1/2 inch (?). Even though it's smaller...the fish food must be working for you. Have you tried smaller sized feed ?

Kobus, I've reloaded shotgun shells....the re-loader used the slide bar with holes... for the powder and shot. I'll have to think about that.

Ron, The 6 day feeder idea sounds good too.
When I was reading the Amazon review I noticed this ...
As a safety precaution, the lid won’t rotate if it meets some resistance.. I wonder if the crumbles or powder would get up under the edge and be enough resistance to stop the lid?

I might give this one a try....Eheim 3581 "Feed-Air" Digital Automatic Feeder
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=35...
It feeds up to 4 times a day. It has some good reviews and the price isn't too high.

Or maybe this one...Ekomixo Automatic Feeder
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578 4430 12136&pcatid=12136
It feeds up to 3 times a day. It has one review and it says powder will work in it. It's less money, which is good, as I will need several.
Good to hear the pet bistro is working well. Might not be appropriate in a very small system or one with only a few fish or very small fish but it sounds like it is working well for your situation.

The feeders I use have some of their own drawbacks but my understanding is that even the "BEST" commercial aquaculture automatic feeders out there have drawbacks. So, think carefully about your situation to help you choose the best solution for your application.

As for the powder feeder idea, keep in mind that the high protein powder or meal usually used for fry is going to be a bit oily and will probably not act like gun powder in a loading machine.

I have used cheap little tiny feeders to feed flakes or meal to my fry before. These feeders also have drawbacks but they seemed to work well enough short term to feed the fry. Biggest problem is with the feed caking up in the rotating hoppers (it is also really hard to wash out the hoppers and get them really dry before re-filling them) and needing to re-program them every time you change the batteries. These are the little Feeders you can get for less than $20 that run on AA batteries. I wouldn't trust a commercial amount of fry to one of these feeders but setting one up the week before you are going on a vacation to get the settings right and then trusting an aquarium of fry to it would be fine.

If you are running a truly commercial operation, I would hope you have a person who you train and pay to check everything who will be on hand to check daily while you are gone.

I know some folks here will choke on the price of these. From my experience these are extremely reliable, require no electricity, and are unaffected by feed size. If you set it up right I doubt rodents will be a big problem. I used to work for an aquaculture research facility and a very well know aquarium and have used quite a few of the commercial feeders. I like these the best.The clocks work well (come in a 12 hour and 24 hour version). I picked up a used one my previous employer was going to throw out, put a new clock on it and have been using it daily for a year now. All I do is wipe off the belt and load the feed.

http://www.aquaticeco.com/subcategories/2253/Belt-Feeders

For certain situation I expect those belt feeders are perfect.  However, the reason I need automatic feeders is for when I'm gonna be out of town all week.

Hi TC,

You should look into Moultrie automated wildlife feeders- I can usually find them for less than $40 refurbished online.  Add a plastic bag for a skirt to direct the feed downward and you've got an automated, large-capacity feeder for cheap.  

 

I've been running mine for 3 years now with no problems.  You need to replace the lantern battery every year or year and a half.

 

Nate

http://www.bigsupplyshop.com/Moultrie-Feeders-Pro-Hunter-Feeder-Kit...

 

I have used these in the past- also refurbished ones that come complete from Moultrie (I think I got those for $40 apiece or so.)

 

Nate

I struggled with the Moulgrie feeders at one point in time (I'm not sure which particular model I tried compared to yours.)  I think my two main problems with them were...

1-the timer was too limited for a small home system that might only want to feed a few seconds worth of feed.  Essentially, it fed too much and could only do it once or twice a day.

2-no aggitator inside the bucket and no slope to where the feed enters the dispenser so there would always be quite a bit of old feed that would never make it out of the bucket.

 

I have one game feeder I'm now using to dispense scratch to the chickens but my problem with that one had been that it tended to feed way too much and whenever a squirrel or other critter or wind bumped it, it would drop feed too so didn't work for the aquaponics outdoors though a bag or chunk of liner would have kept the feed from going out of the tank.  The other feeder was designed to flip feed into a farm pond and it didn't drop feed when jostled but it was designed to throw the feed far so it whipped the feed like bullets and even after we replaced the metal spinner with rubber it still tended to whip the feed pretty extensively and again hand the hopper issues and kinda limited programing. 

 

The pet feeders I'm using now are costly but they are much more precise in the amount of feed dropped (I have control right down to the second and can feed up to 8 times a day,) it is an auger feeder but there is also an agitator up in the hopper to keep feed from wedging and there is a little slope to the bottom of the hopper so not as much old feed wasted caught around the edges.  Just wish it was easier to make them weather, bug and rodent proof.

 

Of course this time of year with it getting cold I'll probably shut off the feeders when I leave town for a week since I'm probably better off letting the fish go hungry instead of risking an overfeeding incident.

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